Gov. Cuomo and senator Schumer mark opening of West End Concourse

July 04, 2017 - Front Section

Manhattan, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo and senator Charles Schumer recently marked the opening of Penn Station’s expanded West End Concourse, the first phase of the transformational redesign of America’s busiest transit hub into a world-class facility for the 21st Century. The new concourse will provide access to 17 of the station’s 21 tracks, and will connect the future Moynihan Train Hall to Penn Station underground via 33rd St., with a connection to the 8th Ave. Subway (A/C/E). New plazas and street level entrances at 8thAve.into the century-old, landmarked Farley Building on either side of monumental staircase will provide access to this new, lower concourse as well as streamline boarding and exiting for passengers. Public art and landscaping will greet commuters accessing the trains via these new entrances.?

“The state-of-the-art-infrastructure, technology upgrades, and wayfinding improvements of the expanded West End concourse will provide immediate relief for passengers enduring increasing congestion and overcrowding in Penn Station and help New Yorkers get to where they need to go better and faster,” governor Cuomo said. “I thank senator Schumer for his leadership on this project and his commitment to making senator Moynihan’s bold vision a reality. With the final agreement allowing for major construction to begin, we are moving full speed ahead in our work to build a bolder, fully modernized Penn-Farley Complex, bringing Penn Station out of the Dark Ages and into the 21st Century.”

Senator Schumer said, “This is a monumental day in New York City history because we are one step closer to making senator Moynihan’s vision of transforming the Farley Post Office into a 21st Century rail hub a reality. The expanded West End Concourse will take tremendous pressure off of the overcrowded Penn Station complex, and attract visitors and community residents to the food, shopping and grandeur of the entire complex. Once complete, Moynihan Station is poised to be one of the greatest transportation and infrastructure legacies of our generation,” said senator Schumer. “I am proud to have helped deliver critical federal resources that paved the way for Moynihan Station and enabled Amtrak to contribute to this critical hub. I applaud governor Cuomo for his role in pushing this deal through the finish line. This is exactly how government is supposed to work. As New York City continues to grow, we must continue to invest in major infrastructure projects like this one to guarantee New York can handle the transportation needs of the next century.”

The West End Concourse Expansion completes the first phase of the transformational Pennsylvania Station-Farley Complex announced by governor Cuomo in September 2016 to redevelop the Farley Building, creating a new 255,000 s/f Train Hall to house passenger facilities for the Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak. Governor Cuomo unveiled the final agreement on the $1.6 billion redevelopment of the Penn-Farley Complex allowing for major construction to begin after decades of delays. 

Senator Schumer has long been a champion of federal support for Moynihan Station, taking up the mantle from senator Moynihan.  

Phase 1 of the project includes $80 million in federal earmarks secured by both Senator Moynihan and Schumer.  In 2010, Schumer secured $83 million from the TIGER program, the largest ever grant from this program. The TIGER grant provided the last piece of funding necessary to start the construction of Phase 1. Schumer repeatedly pushed then-USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood to support the project and to commit maximum federal support through the TIGER program. Other federal funding secured for Phase 1 of Moynihan includes $30 million in FRA High Speed Rail funding, $64 million in CMAQ funding and $6 million from Amtrak for a total federal contribution of $270 million.

 The new West End concourse increases passenger circulation and streamlines train operations by doubling the length and width of the original concourse, providing new stairways connecting with nine of Penn Station’s eleven train platforms, and adding an additional passenger elevator on each platform for comfort and increased ADA accessibility. These new vertical access points will allow passengers to enter and leave the platforms faster and more easily, reducing dwell time for the trains on these platforms during boarding and disembarking.

The expanded West End Concourse also features facilities and technology designed to improve overall passenger experience. 

Upgrades  include digital media screens for train information, graphic way-finding to improve navigation for tourists as well as regular commuters, upgraded high-tech and energy efficient LED lighting, and year-round climate control.?

The Farley Building’s Moynihan Train Hall will include shops and restaurants located under a new skylight on the building’s historic and architecturally dramatic steel trusses. The new Train Hall will increase total concourse floor space by 50 percent from the current facility, and service riders on the LIRR, Amtrak and eventually accommodate passengers from Metro-North. A total of nine platforms and 17 tracks will be accessible from the Train Hall. The Farley Building will also be redeveloped to include approximately 700,000 square feet of office and retail space, which will result in the creation of thousands of new construction and permanent jobs, and create a dynamic civic space for Manhattan’s West Side.

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