WHITE PLAINS, Westchester County (WABC) -- New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Monday announced the completion of the full-scale $95 million renewal of MTA Metro-North Railroad's station in downtown White Plains, which has transformed the station into a state-of-the art complex.
The renovation began in 2018 as part of Metro-North's Station Improvement Initiative to bring a more customer friendly atmosphere for commuters.
The top-to-bottom station transformation included a refurbishment of the station's main entrance at the station plaza, the Main Street entrance, the Hamilton Avenue entrance, and the Mott Street tunnel. The station was remodeled to bring an updated, modern aesthetic to the station, including updated signage, glass entrances, wood soffits, a widened main lobby, improved lighting and upgraded HVAC system. The side and island platforms were extended to increase capacity as more commuters return to the system.
"Upgrading our transportation hubs to meet the demands of the 21st century is fueling the economic comeback that we need today and will help keep New York's economy competitive in the future," Hochul said. "The renovated station in White Plains is a prime example of this commitment and with these enhancements now complete, commuters and visitors will have access to a safer, world-class travel experience."
The project included construction of new staircases with an automatic system to melt snow and ice as it falls, helping to prevent slippery surfaces during the inclement weather. Crews also installed new platform canopies with wood ceilings, and LED lighting to match the upgraded aesthetic of the main lobby.
"It's safer, you're not freezing inside, you don't have to stand outside if it's too hot," passenger Corey Yancy said. "They put it together very well I think. The money was well spent to fix the place."
Another major improvement is enhanced accessibility.
"For wheelchair users like myself, seniors with mobility disabilities, parents of children in strollers, and so many others, it can be difficult to get around," MTA Chief of Accessibility Guemel Arroyo said. "But not here at White Plains."
The waiting room on the island platform was remodeled with expanded space, glass-enclosures with new interior station wall panels, wood ceiling and fixtures. The ticket office, restrooms and concession spaces were also remodeled to fit the station's new feel. Digital screens were installed in addition to better heating and cooling control so commuters can comfortably wait for their train.
Commuters looking to get work done on-the-go will also notice added amenities throughout the station such as Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity and USB chargers on benches. Digital screens were added on platforms as well to provide convenient access to train information. The digital signage complements newly installed ticket vending machines to make the station environment even more customer friendly.
"I have gotten a lot of compliments about the new station and zero complaints, which happens on nothing," White Plains Mayor Tom Roach said. "There is usually something wrong with everything."
The renovated station also includes new mosaic and laminated glass artwork by artist Barbara Takenaga featuring the artist's signature stylized abstract forms.
"This kind of project is exactly what we need as we look to increase ridership to support our regions recovery," Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi said. "Slowly but surely, our riders are coming back."
But there remains a long way to go. The latest figures show a weekday ridership of just 40% compared to what it was before COVID, though it rises to 80% on the weekends.
"We have to drive more people to not drive to the city," Assemblyman Chris Burdick said. "To get out of their cars, go to the station and get on the train."
White Plains station is the third largest Metro-North station, serving more than 12,000 commuters on a pre-pandemic weekday, trailing only Stamford and Grand Central Terminal. Similar to the Stamford station on the New Haven Line, the White Plains station is a hub station for Harlem Line commuters, providing express and local service. In addition to local and express connections, the station is also a hub for bus connections, with approximately 3,000 bus transfers per day in pre-pandemic times.
"The way it is now is nicer than the way it was before," passenger Mitsy Reid said. "Everything is better."
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