Hochul visits Penn Station to tout LIRR concourse upgrades

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Tuesday, September 6, 2022
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New York Governor Kathy Hochul visited Penn Station Tuesday to tout major improvements amid the billion dollar redevelopment project. Chantee Lans has the story.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York Governor Kathy Hochul visited Penn Station Tuesday to tout major improvements amid the billion dollar redevelopment project.

Some of the improvements include dramatic new high ceilings that are three times the old height inside the Long Island Rail Road concourse.

The MTA says an innovative structural framing system allowed for the removal of the low hanging so-called "head knocker" beams. They also got rid of retail stores to make wider hallways.

The concourse stretches from Seventh Avenue near the 1/2/3 subway to Eighth Avenue near the A/C/E subway and now also features 9,500 square feet of color changing LED ceiling lights.

"Penn Station isn't just the busiest transit hub in North America, it is also the beating heart of New York City, and for too long it hasn't provided an experience worthy of New Yorkers," Hochul said. "Today, we're raising the roof on Penn Station - literally and figuratively - and paving the way for a better future as we unveil a wider, brighter Long Island Rail Road concourse. We're one step closer to making Penn a world-class transit hub and making New York an even more livable, and lovable, city."

ALSO READ | Officials hope Penn Station redesign will help improve safety for commuters

The changes at Penn Station have not been limited simply to cosmetic upgrades.

John Mueller, the MTA's new police chief, says officers are focusing more on targeting quality-of-life crimes.

"What we're looking for is as much visibility from our officers as possible," he said. "When there is an issue that rises up, they're all over it. And when they're attentive to detail and quick to respond, the problems don't get out of hand."

It is all part of a push to lure back commuters at a time when the governor is trying to get even more office space built in Midtown.

Ridership remains at just 60% of pre-pandemic levels, as many people continue to work from home.

The reconstruction of the Penn Station LIRR concourse is one of three major projects that officials say will transform the experience of LIRR riders in the coming months, along with opening of service to Grand Central Madison and the opening of a new Main Line third track.

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