NYC’s Moynihan Station is the First Big TIGER Stimulus Winner

New York City’s Moynihan Station project has snagged $83 million in grant money from the stimulus law’s Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) announced today.

moynihan_articlebox.jpgA rendering of the proposed Moynihan Station. (Photo: The Real Deal)

The grant makes the intended successor to the current Penn Station, a longstanding priority for New York’s congressional delegation, the first winner in a highly competitive chase for $1.5 billion in federal transport funding aimed at moving the U.S. DOT towards a more merit-based decision-making process.

The TIGER funding will allow the project to begin its Phase I of construction, which includes building vertical access points from the street to the new transit hub. Work should begin by the end of the year, according to Friends of Moynihan Station, a private-sector advocacy group founded by the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s (D-NY) daughter.

Station is the poster child for the best way to use federal funding –
it creates jobs, upgrades aging transportation infrastructure, and
leaves behind an economic engine for the entire region," Schumer said in a statement.

Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer also hailed the federal grant through his spokeswoman: "For too long, Moynihan Station has been stopped dead in its tracks. Now
that our congressional delegation has been able to secure a down payment, we
can begin moving forward on this project, which will create jobs, ease
congestion, boost tourism, and right the wrongs of half a century ago" — a reference to the destruction of the original, above-ground Penn Station, which urbanist pioneer Jane Jacobs fought to preserve.

The rest of the Obama administration’s TIGER grants are expected to reach public view starting tomorrow, with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood slated to visit Tuscon (hoping for streetcar aid) and Kansas City (home to the ambitious Green Impact Zone).

12 thoughts on NYC’s Moynihan Station is the First Big TIGER Stimulus Winner

  1. Let’s hope the ‘fine folks’ over at Cablevision/MSG don’t destroy this building too as they did the original Penn Station. I’ve seen their griping that they need more space out of any new station. For real? How ’bout Cablevision/MSG rebuilds the original Penn Station before they get anything.

  2. Doris… seriously, have you tried using the existing Penn Station in New York? It is operating at near-full capacity with around 600,000 passengers per day shoved into a series of small tunnels undernearth Madison Square Garden. The economic benefits from increased efficiency and productivity in the midtown Manhattan area would be more than enough to justify doing this project. Plus people wouldn’t be reduced to human cattle walking through the existing station. If it weren’t for “hack politicians under the control of developers”, there would still be a decent station had it not been torn down in 1963 for the construction of MSG. Speak not about what you do not understand and go troll somewhere else.

  3. Nick, Penn Station is not used to its full capacity.

    First, it doesn’t have 600,000 passengers a day: it has 300,000 boardings, of which 150,000 are at the two subway stations serving Penn. The two subway stations are doing just fine with their cramped passageways and 8 tracks; the issue is the 21-track mainline station.

    Second, the station concourses are not used efficiently. On the lower concourse, only 54% of the area is used for passageways, staircases, and other passenger-related functions. The rest is used for Amtrak back offices and concessions. At busy train stations around the world, it’s standard to tear those apart to make room for more corridor space. The rent money coming from the concessions is much less than the cost of building a second train station.

    Third, tearing down the old station made the station ugly, but it didn’t make it non-functional. All the staircases are still there – it’s the concourses that have changed. There’s a staircase shortage on the NJT platforms – there are only two staircases per platform leading to the lower concourse. The LIRR did a remodeling and now has five per platform, which goes a long way to explaining why NJT thinks it needs new platforms and the LIRR does not.

    And fourth, busy train stations have high pedestrian densities all the time. By international standards Penn’s 150,000 boardings isn’t a lot. Shinjuku Station in Tokyo gets 1.75 million per day.

  4. Alon, that is exactly my point–there is not enough space in Penn for people to wait for the trains (they end up sitting on the floor or staircases during rush hour), nor are there enough ways to get to the trains. Grand Central in comparison has a very large main concourse and dining concourse for the excess bodies to wait in until their departure. I’ve been to Shinjuku, believe me, and I have seen how much better it is laid out–from the bigger waiting areas even down to the slightly slower escalators to make sure crowds of people do not get trampled–you don’t feel like you are suffocating. Though, in Tokyo, the demand for and use of rail travel in any of the large stations (Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shinjuku) positively dwarfs that of even North America’s busiest station, so that comparison seems a little unfair. Tokyo is a city built for trains.

    There are also have a lot more smaller commuter stations in overseas locations than New York to handle traffic going elsewhere in the city; take for example London (St. Pancras, Paddington, Kings Cross, Victoria, Liverpool Street, Waterloo, to name a few). Though capacity isn’t yet maxed out (which I said, by the way), my point was that it soon will be with growing traffic and increased services which are already at an average 1 train every few minutes; though adding track capacity is a different matter altogether. I’m sure the vast majority of people that presently use Penn would find additional space in Penn Station a welcomed improvement. Other than that, I don’t really disagree with anything you’ve said.

  5. Andrew, I hate to take away your opportunity to blast ‘fine folks over at Cablevision/MSG”, but the original Penn Station was torn down in 1963 (completed in 1968) there were no ‘fine folks over at Cablevision/MSG” at that time. As a matter of fact Gulf Western owned the building. It’s one thing not to have anything positive to contribute but at least try to get the facts straight when you choose to babble. Cablevision wasn’t founded until the mid 1970’s and didn’t acquire full ownership of MSG until 1997 long after the Beaux-Arts style columns were deposited in a Staten Island dump. People like you are living proof that a little bit of knowledge is dangerous. The architecture, style and structure of the Post Office is nearly identical to the original Penn Station, they were always considered “sister structures”. It was amicably believed that revitalizing it and moving the station below it would not only provide much needed additional space and convenience but would also provide an opportunity to restore a well deserved grand style rail station in the grandest city in the world.

  6. I’m so glad that the project has been approved & funding secured to rebuild Penn Station (Moynihan Station). We can enter the city like gods again rather than like rats. 50 years ago, cities were tearing down their magnificent train stations. Now, we find that we have to rebuild them. Maybe they’ll have a groundbreaking on the 100th anniversary of the opening of the original Penn Station. What I am worried about is how long the project will take. New York no longer has the building spirit that built the Empire State Building in just over a year. Look at how long it’s taking to rebuild Ground Zero. Minneapolis has it–they rebuilt that I-35 bridge in just over a year in their brutal winter–but not New York anymore.

  7. Jean: yes, in recent years New York has struggled with the concept of spending billions of dollars on prestige projects. This is not necessarily a bad thing. If those projects get canceled, it saves the public money. The spirit of demolishing multiple city blocks to build a World Trade Center with one third the floor area ratio of the Empire State Building, or moving Penn Station one block further away from the CBD at great cost, is not a good thing to have. The real problem occurs when the projects get approved but take forever.

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