Gov. Hochul unveils her scaled-down vision to improve Penn Station

Thursday, November 4, 2021
Gov. Hochul unveils her vision to improve Penn Station
Penn Station serves more people in a day than all three NYC airports and all that wear and tear is taking a toll.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Penn Station serves more people in a day than all three NYC airports and all that wear and tear is taking a toll.

On Wednesday, Gov. Kathy Hochul outlined her plan to spruce up the 57-year-old transit hub.

Her proposal would delay adding tracks and would instead rehab the old rail station. It will include the same 10 skyscrapers from previous plans that former Gov. Andrew Cuomo was behind, but the size of those buildings would be reduced.

She is also proposing making the station a single level train hall - allowing for more open space with higher ceilings, 18 more escalators, 11 more elevators and more accessibility to those who need it.

Compared to her predecessor's plan, Hochul's is more scaled down and has a critical focus on tracks used by LIRR, New Jersey Transit and Amtrak.

The plan also calls for doubling entrances and extra space to focus on 900,000 daily riders.

MTA Acting Chair and CEO Janno Lieber gave Eyewitness News a look.

"This lower level has no room for passengers,,,why? Because it's filled with backup house space, offices, mechanical rooms, things not used for passengers," Lieber said.

Another part of the vision are pedestrian friendly streets and a second floor with skylights. She wants to add eight acres of new public space and reduce congestion with widened sidewalks.

It's all to make it easier and more pleasant for the daily commuter.

"I'm reimagining the New York City commuter experience. New Yorkers do not deserve what they have been subjected to for decades at Penn Station," Governor Hochul said. "The era of neglecting our Penn Station commuters and the neighboring community is over. New York leaders are expected to offer visionary ideas and take bold actions, and that's exactly what my proposed transformation of Penn Station accomplishes. This plan puts New Yorkers first, delivering the rider-focused transit experience and great neighborhood they deserve. Investing in Penn Station means investing in New York's future as we recover from COVID and build a more sustainable, livable city."

Hochul also proposed renaming the transportation hub after New York.

"Has anybody ever asked the question why we have the largest transit hub in the western hemisphere named after a neighboring state?" Hochul asked.

The project will take four to five years, hence why officials are eager to get it started.

As far as the cost: the governor's office is still crunching the numbers, but it could be up to $7 billion.

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