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proposed Penn Station train hall interior

This rendering from the slide deck gives a different view of the proposed interior:

Penn_Station_redev_proposed_train_hall_interior_slide.jpg

What the whole completed complex could look like:

Penn_Station_redev_train_hall_and_Penn_aerial.jpg

All images via the Cuomo admin.

The plan for a new Penn Station

Penn Station redev rendering

The train station would move across the street at the new Empire State Station. (The names Starkiller Base and Death Star were already taken.)

Andrew Cuomo's Tour of Major Infrastructure Project Renderings leading up to next week's State of the State power point address yesterday laid out his admin's plan for redeveloping Penn Station. And that's of interest here because NYP is the destination for so many train rides out of Albany-Rensselaer.

Cuomo is proposing a two-part plan for the Penn Station redevelopment: moving the train station portion of the facility across 8th Ave to a new station at the current post office building there, and then redeveloping the current Penn Station space as a subway hub. And there would be a new name for the two-part complex: Empire State Station.

Here are a few more bits and some renderings...

Renderings

They're above in large format -- click or scroll all the way up.

More bits

Press release blurbage:

Farley Post Office Redevelopment: As part of the Governor's proposal, the Farley Post Office, which sits across 8th Avenue from Penn Station, will be redeveloped into a state-of-the-art train hall for Amtrak, the new train hall, with services for passengers of the Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit and the new Air Train to LaGuardia Airport. The train hall will be connected to Penn Station via an underground pedestrian concourse, and increase the station's size by 50 percent. At 210,000 square feet, the train hall will be roughly equivalent in size to the main room at Grand Central Terminal. The new facility will offer more concourse and circulation space, include retail space and modern amenities such as Wi-Fi and digital ticketing, and feature 30 new escalators, elevators and stairs to speed passenger flow. The Governor's proposal also calls for an iconic yet energy-efficient architectural design.

Moving the "train hall" to the post office site isn't a new idea. Former New York US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan proposed it decades ago, and there was a plan dating back as far as 10 years ago for the construction of a "Moynihan Station" on the site. (Politico reports the train hall would be called "Moynihan Train Hall.") [NYT] [Politico NY]

It sounds like the plan for the Penn Station redevelopment is still a bit amorphous -- this deck of slides lays some of the design options Cuomo presented Wednesday.

The Cuomo admin says the total cost of the project would be $3 billion. Of that, $325 million "will come from government sources, including USDOT, Port Authority and Amtrak." The rest would come from private developers, who would put up the money in exchange for development rights at the sites. The state will be issuing a request for proposals and is looking for submissions within the next three months. The admin expects the project to be completed within three years, with the train hall finishing first.

The current Penn Station is... not good. So a better/more efficient/less ugly version would be welcome. But as it probably should go without saying, there's also good reason to skeptical -- because of the cost, because a developer isn't (publicly) attached, because designs aren't finalized, because this idea has been in the works for decades.

Albany to NYC

Albany-Rensselaer is the 9th busiest Amtrak station in the country, with more than 780k passengers either boarding or disembarking at the station in fiscal year 2014. (Penn Station is Amtrak's busiest station, with more than 10 million "on offs" there each year.) And the vast majority of passenger traffic to/from Albany-Rensselaer is connected to New York Penn. [Amtrak] [NARP]

Comments

Where is all this money coming from?? Cuomo's on a spending spree of late - perhaps he's just trying to shake off the Feds from his trail of prior illegality and unethical actions. Hopefully he will soon be sharing time with Shelly and Dean and NY can get a fiscally responsible official sitting in the governor's chair.

I didn’t realize how heavily used ALB is. It’s hard to wrap your head around the figure 780,000 passengers per year, so instead think of it this way: 2,136 passengers per day. To me, that’s surprisingly high (and heartwarmingly high, as a train aficionado) for a largely suburban region where a car is a necessity.

The thing that is odd about this press release is that I read about a proposal very similar to this about 18 months ago that made it sound like it was a done deal. It even had a timeline.Is this just the start of the publicity?

I ride the train a lot up and down the Eastern Seaboard, and I would say that Penn is one of the worst stations in terms of even having enough room for all the people waiting and riding. Not sure if this gigantic overhaul is needed, but it is definitely time for improvements.

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The City should take a more proactive approach based on neighborhood consensus. A prescriptive design guideline with great clarity could save lots of graves for aspiring developers and other stakeholders. The City has to be clear upfront on conditions to be met such as overall allowed building volume, easy river connection, parking, pedestrian oriented ground floor usage and etc. It not seems reasonable to expect commercial developers to build something on their own initiative to both maximize ROI and please all city residents.

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