Last Wednesday morning outside of New York’s Penn Station, RPA joined other civic, design and transit organizations, state and local elected officials, community members and commuters to launch “Public For Penn.” This new campaign calls on elected leaders and agency heads to come together with community members and our groups to create a comprehensive plan to fix Penn Station and the streets around it.
“Originally, Penn Station was designed to serve 250,000 passengers,” Manhattan Borough President Brewer stated. “Today, almost 650,000 commuters pass through its halls on a daily basis – drastically exceeding capacity and making it dangerous for passengers to navigate safely.”
“More people enter Penn Station on a daily basis than the entire population of Portland, Oregon, and Las Vegas. While it’s the nation’s busiest train hall, it’s also crucial that we get a plan for Penn Station that takes into consideration the local neighborhoods and businesses which I represent. I’m grateful to the Regional Plan Association for launching this important commuter advocacy campaign,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman.
RPA has long advocated for a better Penn Station, issuing reports including “Rebirth of a Gateway: Moynihan Station, Madison Square Garden: Shaping the Future of West Midtown, and Penn 2023 Envisioning a New Penn Station, the Next Madison Square Garden, and the Future of West Midtown. In RPA’s Fourth Regional Plan, we recommended overhauling Penn Station to create an “expansive and gracious hub for an expanding [regional] rail network.”
The time is now to get it done. New RPA research shows that with the opening of Moynihan Station and East Side Access, there will be a short window where ridership at Penn Station will be at a generational low. Doing work then would be less disruptive and more cost effective. In order to capture that opportunity, planning must begin today.
“Doing nothing on Penn Station cannot be an option, ridership has the potential to increase by as much as 150,000 people by the year 2040,” said Tom Wright, President, Regional Plan Association. “We want these commuters on trains, and not adding to the congestion on City streets. But if we don’t prepare Penn, delays, emergency incidents and dangerous overcrowding will only get worse, putting human lives and our region’s entire economy in serious jeopardy.”