FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 8, 2018
Rebuild Penn Station Hails Governor Andrew Cuomo for Urgently Calling for a New Station
New York, NY—Rebuild Penn Station hails New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for demanding a complete and urgent overhaul of the transportation depot in his 2018 State of the State address last week. The Governor made clear that the new Moynihan Station in the Farley Post Office is insufficient to fix the problems with Penn Station, which remains dangerous and ugly.
In the wake of recent terrorist attacks in the city, the Governor emphasized the urgent need for better security in the station. He also bemoaned the building’s terrible aesthetics, saying, “the architecture and configuration of Penn is substandard. I call it the seven levels of catacombs. They don’t like when I say that, but it’s true.” By contrast, the Governor previously said that the original station by McKim, Mead & White had “majesty” and was “the grand and triumphant entrance that New York deserved.”
Appearing to refer the need to move Madison Square Garden, in his address the Governor also said that eminent domain could be used to build a new station.
Rebuild Penn Station chairman Sam Turvey stated, “Governor Cuomo is to be commended for recognizing that we need to take immediate action to build a new station. The current hideous design is unworthy of New York. Nothing would better improve the security and aesthetics of the station than rebuilding the original magnificent design with state-of-the-art updates. Examples such as Grand Central Terminal show that stations from that era have proven to be especially adept at meeting modern transit needs.”
Rebuild Penn Station’s proposal will improve the safety and security of the station in the following ways:
· The original station’s intuitive design and clear sightlines will allow travelers to orient themselves and understand where exits are located.
· Widening the platforms and tripling the number of escalators to the tracks (as depicted here) will eliminate the current ingress and egress choke points.
· Removing Madison Square Garden’s support columns will eliminate obstacles to circulation and visibility that extend down to platform level.
· New exits will increase porosity to the side streets.
· New pedestrian ramps on Seventh Avenue will allow travelers to quickly leave the station en masse.
· The high ceilings in the concourse and main hall will allow the dispersal of smoke and poison gas.
You can find an FAQ on the proposal here.
Below please find the Governor’s full remarks on Penn Station:
Our transportation system must be better protected, and we must do it now. We have had warning. The past incidents shook everyone to the bone. We don’t need to understand anymore. We will do just that. In this year’s budget, we will do just that with more and better trained police and more state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, because government’s number one job is to protect its people, and we will do exactly that.
Penn Station is especially vulnerable. The most heavily traveled transit hub in the hemisphere. More people go through Penn Station every year than go through Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Airports combined. On top of the volume, the architecture and configuration of Penn is substandard. I call it the seven levels of catacombs. They don’t like when I say that, but it’s true. I have directed ESD, the MTA, and the Port Authority to work on a redevelopment plan with the neighboring private building owners so that we can restructure and rebuild Penn Station. They are cooperative and understand our needs and support our goal. We are now constructing a new Penn Station Farley Moynihan Train Hall right across the street. As that becomes operational, that will give us a flexibility to move operations from the old Penn to the new Farley. So we’re going to be coordinating with Amtrak, federal government, city officials to accelerate this comprehensive redevelopment project, which will improve the operation, the aesthetics and the security systems in Penn. The threat of terrorism is real. I take it very seriously as one of my prime responsibilities as Governor of this state. There is no time for politics, bureaucracy or delay. The State has the power of eminent domain for just such a purpose. We must make Penn better. We must make it safer. We must coordinate with all our partners, but we must do it now. There is no time for politics. There is no time for politics. No time for delay. We must fix Penn and we must fix it now.
Rebuild Penn Station is a project of the National Civic Art Society, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.