Home Asides Public Authorities Control Board OKs Moynihan Phase 1

Public Authorities Control Board OKs Moynihan Phase 1

by Benjamin Kabak

The New York State Public Authorities Control Board has approved Phase 1 of the Moynihan Station project. The vote today is a significant step forward as four years ago, the same board blocked then-Governor Pataki’s plan for the station. With a significant amount of federal funds in place and plans for the station complex broken up into the cheaper Phase 1 and the most costly Phase 2, the early work can go forward while the state scrounges up the dollars for the $1.5 billion Penn Station expansion.

Phase 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 points” to the platforms, and widening some underground concourses. The Empire State Development Corporation had signed off on it in March.

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IanM July 22, 2010 - 4:59 pm

That sounds pretty good in terms of relieving crowding in the concourses and stairs, but in general I’m still unclear on how/whether the Moynihan Station project is actually going to relieve Penn Station’s capacity problem, not to mention general pleasantness/appearance problem. Are more train platforms an eventual part of this? And how is the Farley building really integrated into it, if all the operations are still in the same underground concourses, which is where most entrances will lead? Will it just sit on top, looking nice but largely empty? Sorry, lots of questions, but any clarity on any of this would be appreciated.

Alon Levy July 23, 2010 - 1:30 pm

1. The plan does nothing to the platform level. Fortunately, the platform level isn’t at capacity; unfortunately, NJT thinks it is.

2. Moynihan Station involves putting the Amtrak offices, ticketing booths, and concourses in the Farley building.

3. The existing Penn Station concourses suck, but can be remedied with some remodeling. The LIRR remodeled in the 1990s and now has 5 staircases per platform. NJT didn’t, and still has 2.

4. Nearly half of Penn Station’s lower concourse’s floor area consists of back offices and concessions, rather than passenger flow space. This is partly being remedied, as Amtrak seeks to move back offices to other buildings, including Farley. The concessions are still going to be there.

Caelestor July 22, 2010 - 5:28 pm

Is there really no way that LIRR and NJT can run through operations like in Japan? It’d reduce train dwell times in the station and free up platform capacity.

Adam G July 22, 2010 - 5:34 pm

LIRR uses third rail, NJT uses catenary. Catenary wore extends out at least to Sunnyside on the Island (NJT and Amtrak use the Sunnsyide yards for train storage), but I don’t know how much farther, and I *know* there’s no third rail on the NJ side.

…of course, even if this technical problem were overcome, it’d still be a political impossibility, as getting tri-state-area transportation agencies to work together is about as easy as, well, swimming across the Hudson.

Scott E July 22, 2010 - 10:16 pm

The technical problem is an easy solution — they’ve done it on Metro North (one section uses catenary, the other uses third-rail, though the transition between the two isn’t exactly seamless). The inter-agency one, well, they do it on Metro-North west of the Hudson River, where NJ Transit owns and operates the trains, while the conductors all work for MNR.

Kai B July 23, 2010 - 9:00 am

Or do it like in Europe on interstate trains – switch train crews at Penn Station and keep going.

Alon Levy July 23, 2010 - 1:47 pm

More importantly, in Europe they run multi-voltage trains, because of incompatible electrification systems. All TGVs are dual-voltage, many are tri-voltage, and some are quadri-voltage.

Moynihan construction start in October :: Second Ave. Sagas July 23, 2010 - 12:56 pm

[…] this week’s PACB approval, construction on Phase 1 of Moynihan Station will begin in October. With a tortured history that […]


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