Feb
16

With TIGER grant in hand, Moynihan Phase I set to begin

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A federal TIGER grant approved today ensures that at least the first phase of the Moynihan Station proposal will see the light of day. (Rendering via Friends of Moynihan Station)

After years of proposals, politicking and promises, Moynihan Station is finally poised to become something of a reality. Earlier today, Sen. Chuck Schumer, long a champion of the Penn Station expansion project, announced an $83 million TIGER grant for the station, and the money closes the Phase I budget gap. Construction will commence before the end of 2010.

As Elana Schor at Streetsblog DC details, the grant is part of the Obama Administration’s competitive $1.5 billion Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery program, and New York’s plan is the first bid winner. This award is a clean sign of the federal Department of Transportation’s move toward a more merit-based funding solution. “Moynihan Station is the poster child for the best way to use federal funding,” Schumer said. “It creates jobs, upgrades aging transportation infrastructure, and leaves behind an economic engine for the entire region.”

With this $83.3 million grant in place, the Moynihan Station now has a guaranteed $267 million set aside for it. The breakdown, per a press release is as follows: $110 million in previously earmarked federal funding, $35 million from the Metropolitan Transit Authority, $14 million from the State of New York, and $10 million from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

So what then does $267 million buy at the planned site of a new transportation hub? Unfortunately, not very much. Per Friends of Moynhian Station, the money will go toward:

  • Building two new entrances to Penn Station’s platforms from West of Eighth Avenue through the corners of the Farley Building;
  • Doubling the length and width of the West End Concourse;
  • Providing 13 new “vertical access points” (escalators, elevators and stairs) to the platforms;
  • Doubling the width of the 33rd Street Connector between Penn Station and the West End Concourse and;
  • Other critical infrastructure improvements including platform ventilation and catenary work.

Phase II, construction of the train hall in the Farley Building, will be independently funded and is currently estimated to cost between $1 and $1.5 billion. The Friends of Moynihan Station stress that all Phase I elements will be independently functional in the very likely event that Phase II doesn’t get off the ground any time soon.

Still, long-term advocates of the station were thrilled with today’s developments. “We’re very pleased this critical project is finally getting underway, after years of delay,” Bob Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, said. “There is no more important project for creating needed transportation capacity in the regional rail system and for catalyzing the redevelopment of New York’s Far West Side.”



Categories : Moynihan Station

26 Responses to “With TIGER grant in hand, Moynihan Phase I set to begin”

  1. Kris Datta says:

    I’m confused. When they say that Moynihan Station will increase capacity, how exactly will it do so? AFAIK they aren’t adding any track, but they’re just moving operations to the Farley Post Office to expand the concourses and such.

    • I’m not quite sure about that point either. Maybe the ARC tunnel + Moynihan Station allow for the better flow of commuters. Without adding more track beyond that, it will simply be a nicer and bigger station atop a maxed out train yard.

      • Josh K says:

        Yeah, the ground under Penn is getting awful crowded too. There’s the North River Tunnels, the West Side connector, the East River Tunnels, the #7 extension, ARC/THE tunnel, City Water Tunnel #1…
        Penn really needs a full lower level of tracks like GCT, with between 2-6 more tracks under the Hudson and at least two more tracks to Queens. ARC/THE isn’t really going to do much for LIRR or Amtrak, and it can’t easily be extended to Queens because it’s backed right up against the (leaky) City Water Tunnel #1.

        • Alon Levy says:

          There’s no capacity issue east of Penn Station. The LIRR runs 41 tph peak, and will run fewer once ESA opens. The four tracks of the East River Tunnels can run 48 tph at current signaling and could run 60 with moving block signals.

      • Jonathan D. says:

        Yes, this is a train blog, so of course capacity is thought of in terms of trains. I suspect they mean commuter capacity though. First, while the yard may be full and the tunnels saturated. Not every seat on every train is yet taken. Second, I was stuck at Penn this morning when the 7:15 Maple leaf died in the tunnel from Sunnyside blocking the next 3 Amtrak trains for an hour. It was a real zoo in the main concourse.

        • Nathanael says:

          Yes. They mean people-capacity. The trains aren’t full yet, but the waiting areas are jam-packed, and this will relieve that.

  2. Jonathan says:

    I don’t understand the Yaro quote either. How is a pair of new entrances on the west side of 8th Avenue going to “catalyze” the redevelopment of the Far West Side? Really?

  3. Edward says:

    Real estate developers love this kind of stuff. Two new staircases are in the way of West Side “development” (what is the West Side now, farmland?). How about transforming the old Post Office into a hospital to replace St. Vincents? Or a supermarket, since there isn’t one good market within 20 blocks of here? Or how about affordable housing for working people? No, $100 million dollars for an unneccessary train station is what’s needed. I’m sure all the retail that will take over the concourse (Starbuck’s, Au Bon Pain, Duane Reade, et al) will totally transform the West Side into a Utopian paradise.

  4. Scott E says:

    With NJ Transit building a new station (or expanded Penn, depending on how you look at it) under 34th Street to the east of the existing Penn, I really don’t see the point of Moynihan — other than the fact that it would look nice in postcards. Though the increased “vertical access points” and catenary/ventilation work makes sense.

  5. SEAN says:

    I don’t think that the tunnel/ extention to Penn Station & other associated projects should be looked at in isolation to one another. Rather the whole project must be looked at in it’s entirety from expantion of the station complex to redevelopment possibilities around the neighborhood.

  6. rhywun says:

    All well and good, but… “Moynihan” Station? Really…? The station already has a perfectly good name.

  7. Ed says:

    While there are usually naysayers about these projects (why do we need another train station, we already have a perfectly good train station, waah), I was just in Penn Station to catch an Amtrak train, and we really do need a train station. Aside from Penn Station being generally a dingy, depressing place, its not even laid out very well. The Amtrak trains are the farthest out from the subways, which I think is appropriate, but you have to navigate through a maze of poorly marked tunnels to get to them, while dodging commuters trying to rush through what is really too narrow a space for them.

    I’m a native New Yorker, and I get the “we don’t have nice things in this city, we have FUNCTIONAL things” attitude. But Penn Station currently isn’t even very functional for what it is being asked to do.

    • If the point is to create a station for Amtrak, wouldn’t the money be better spent on shoring up Amtrak’s shakey finances, hopefully thereby making it more likely there will even BE an Amtrak in the future? I used think pyramid-building went out with the ancient Egyptians, but between ESA, Fulton Street, the PA’s WTC transit center and the Moynihan, its clear the King Tut syndrome is alive and well in New York.

    • Alon Levy says:

      Might I suggest kicking out the concessions and back offices from the lower concourse? Right now the concourse is 46% useless for passenger circulation. For some reason Amtrak’s keeping back offices in the middle of where all the commuters want to go.

    • Ray says:

      I say use the Tiger funds to fix Penn. Improve circulation, bring in light, open the entrances. Our station is functional. It’s just been mis-handled by too many entities sharing the space.

  8. Eric says:

    I was under the impression that NJ Transit would be moving operations to Moynihan Station and Amtrak would be staying at Penn. Amtrak isn’t really in a financial position to do much of anything.

    • kvnbklyn says:

      No, that was at one time the plan even though it never made sense since for commuters every second counts and the Farley building is further away from most jobs. Now Amtrak is slated to move in to the expanded station in the Farley building – if it gets built.

  9. petey says:

    in that picture, what are the two thin lines rising from the edges of the plinth supposed to be?

    “Penn Station being generally a dingy, depressing place”
    my count of dead people seen there rose to two recently

  10. Ted King says:

    Those two thin lines may be structural cables that will support the overhang above the entrance. They may change to a bow girder (think parentheses on their side) with vertical webbing that’s jacketed in concrete. That can made to look like a miniature version of the building’s facade.

  11. Woody says:

    Riding on the protected 9th Ave bike yesterday, I looked across to see a new supermarket in a Post Office owned building between 28th & 29th. It looked like “new news” so I pass it on.

    For sure now the Farley Building should be put to higher and better uses.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] weeks after the Moynihan Station projected earned an $83 million TIGER grant that will enable the city to build Phase I of the ambitious Penn Station expansion plan, New [...]

  2. [...] 1 of the Moynihan Station plan is a $267 million cosmetic and infrastructure project. It involves building two entrances to Penn Station, dropping 13 new “vertical access [...]

  3. [...] transit expansion plans, a firm start date for the project is good news indeed. Phase 1 is a $267-million expansion plan for Penn Station, and it is expected to be completed by 2016. When the $1.5-billion Phase 2 will [...]

  4. [...] Moynihan Station project won’t die and can’t really move forward either. Despite a TIGER grant and a groundbreaking in October 2010, the plan to spend more than a $1 billion without truly [...]

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