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Thread: New Penn Station (Moynihan Station)

  1. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by BPC
    Quote Originally Posted by billyblancoNYC
    Making a grand Penn Station, as it is now a rat-hole, is not idiotic. NYC is grand and it's transportation depots should be the same.
    I agree. In Europe, train travel is far more pleasant, and thus people use their cars much less. Anything we can do here to keep people from getting into their cars to come to Manhattan would be a plus. Great new train stations on the West Side and Downtown are two ways to do that.
    In Europe, gasoline is also two-to-three times more expensive than in the US, so it's less economical for them to drive their cars. Here's to gasoline taxes! :wink:

  2. #62

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    May 28, 2004

    Amtrak Is Slow to Embrace New Station

    By MICHAEL LUO and CHARLES V. BAGLI

    After years of delays, plans for a grand, new Pennsylvania Station built within the city's main post office building are being muddied by demands from Amtrak, the intended tenant, that it be allowed to use the space without paying any rent.

    Amtrak was supposed to anchor the soaring, glass-enclosed complex in the landmark James A. Farley post office building between Eighth and Ninth Avenues and 31st and 33rd Streets in Manhattan. But over the last few months, Amtrak has been weighing whether it should even continue to take part in the project, given its financial problems, said Clifford Black, a spokesman for the railroad. The railroad had said previously that it would not pay anything for the renovation of the station. And now Amtrak notes that it already has a sweet rent deal.

    "We own Pennsylvania Station, and we pay no rent," Mr. Black said of the current station below Madison Square Garden. "We wouldn't want to incur new rent."

    In another potential complication, if Amtrak does move ahead with the project, it will move only part of its operation across the street into the new station, Mr. Black said. Until now, the plan was for Amtrak to move its main ticketing and waiting areas to the Farley building and keep only a small presence in the current Penn Station, said Mark Yachmetz, associate administrator for railroad development for the Federal Railroad Administration, which has been active in the planning of the new station. But, citing concerns about inadequate access to platforms under the Farley building and passenger preferences for easier access to the commuter railroads to New Jersey and Long Island, Mr. Black said that at this point, Amtrak would probably split its ticketing windows and waiting areas evenly between the current Penn Station and the new one.

    This would not thrill the boutique stores and restaurants that were supposed to take space in the rest of the building, since they would be drawing customers from Amtrak trains and those passing through to and from Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit trains.

    The new station, if built, would be named after Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, one of the project's biggest advocates, who died last year.

    Empire State Development Corporation officials, who are overseeing the project through its subsidiary, the Moynihan Station Development Corporation, accused Amtrak of wanting to renege on a 1999 memorandum of understanding on the project, essentially a promise that it would contribute to the costs.

    "We're disappointed that Amtrak isn't meeting the commitments they made in the 1999 M.O.U.," said Charles A. Gargano, chairman of the development corporation. "We want to be flexible and work with Amtrak. We know the Northeast corridor is one of the strongest sectors in their system. We feel it would be in their interest to participate in the development of Moynihan Station as an important gateway to New York."

    According to Mr. Gargano, Amtrak had committed to paying about $3.9 million a year for the space. He also suggested that Amtrak could lease its current space below Madison Square Garden for more money than that.

    Mr. Black denied that Amtrak had reneged on anything. The agreement was contingent on a lease being completed in 1999, he said, making it moot at this point. He also said that agreement said nothing about a specific rent amount.

    Development corporation officials are now exploring whether New Jersey Transit - which has seen its number of riders climb in recent years and its space in Penn Station grow more crowded - might be able to use the space, although no deal has been struck yet, Mr. Gargano said.

    Until recently, little thought had been given to New Jersey Transit's access to the new station, said George D. Warrington, New Jersey Transit's executive director. It recently spent $200 million to upgrade its current space in Penn Station, and for many of its customers, access to jobs on the East Side make its current situation closer to Seventh Avenue more convenient.

    Mr. Warrington said he has asked his staff to begin exploring options for how the commuter railroad might use the new station. Right now, its tracks on the southern side of Penn Station do not even run under the Farley building. But the railroad is planning to at least extend its platforms under Farley, in conjunction with its ambitions to dig a new passenger rail tunnel under the Hudson River, he said.

    As for Long Island Rail Road, which sends the most passengers into the current Penn Station of the three railroads that use it, officials there said they have no interest in taking Amtrak's place in the Farley building. The Long Island also recently spent money to improve its space in the current Penn Station and build its own entrance. More important, the way its tracks, on the northern side of the station, are set up, Long Island passengers would have to take a circuitous route to get in and out of Farley.

    Some theorize that Amtrak may simply be bluffing to get a better rent deal and that the agreement is not in any danger after all.

    This is the latest twist in the new station's saga. Ideas for the project began in 1993, but completion dates have come and gone. After Sept. 11, 2001, the Postal Service threatened the project when it decided that it needed to stay in the Farley building because one of its main centers in Lower Manhattan was severely damaged in the terrorist attack. In October 2002, however, the state intervened, and the post office agreed to sell the Farley building and vacate most of it.

    Despite the current questions, the development corporation has been pushing forward with plans to redesign the project. It will seek bids from potential developers in September and award the project by the end of the year, Mr. Gargano said. The cost, now estimated at $1 billion, has been inching upward, especially after the project grew when the post office agreed to give up most of the building. Most of the money for construction has already been set aside from federal and state sources.

    The project had been applauded by preservationists, who see it as a chance to right a wrong. The Farley building, with its imposing row of Corinthian columns, was designed by McKim, Mead & White, the same firm that did the original Pennsylvania Station across Eighth Avenue, destroyed 40 years ago and arguably the city's greatest lost landmark.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  3. #63
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    "We own Pennsylvania Station, and we pay no rent," Mr. Black said of the current station below Madison Square Garden. "We wouldn't want to incur new rent."
    No wonder this project is delay... :x Stop acting like children and grow up already! They need to make the new move to show travelers how important their commitment to NYC is and that they don't have to be beg to move.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Wieland

    Despite the current questions, the development corporation has been pushing forward with plans to redesign the project. It will seek bids from potential developers in September and award the project by the end of the year, Mr. Gargano said. The cost, now estimated at $1 billion, has been inching upward, especially after the project grew when the post office agreed to give up most of the building. Most of the money for construction has already been set aside from federal and state sources.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
    Does that mean b/c of this issue, or are they designing what we all thought were the plans for the new station?

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  6. #66
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    Amtrak is in a rough spot because Congress is not funding them properly, I don't blame them for not wanting to pay rent when they don't have to. The money could be better spent fixing equipment and tracks, that said I think a deal could be worked out somehow.

    Amtrak should move everything to Farley, and possibly leave some Ticket Vending machines in the current Penn Station complex. Im not 100% sure but I believe that the plan calls for an under ground connection from the Farley building to the Penn Station complex, if it's not part of the deal it should be.

    As mentioned in the article Amtrak might be able to lease their current space in Penn Station for equal or more than the proposed $3.9 Million Dollar rent at the Farley Station, Amtrak can lease their Penn Station space to NJ Transit which as mentioned is growing tremendously. Another option which makes sense is to lease the space to Metro North Railroad, when the Long Island Rail road begins sending some of their trains to Grand Central Terminal at the end of the Decade there will be space at Penn Station for some Metro North trains to Access Penn Station.

    Metro North can access Penn Station via Amtrak's Hell Gate line from Metro North's New Haven line and they can also access Penn Station via Amtrak's West Side rail line.

    Lease the Penn Station space to NJ Transit and Metro North for $4.9 Million and make themselves a $1 Million dollar profit.

  7. #67

  8. #68

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    It's a shame that one landmark is going to be altered for this- the Post Office, it's almost as though one landmark is being ruined to attempt to partially and not very effectively "replicate" another that was torn down.

    I have just looked at the "new" Penn Station renderings- especially the one of the new "proposed concourse" and "train boarding area" which totally lacks any character;

    http://www.trainweb.org/rshs/VD%20-%...tation%203.htm

    It's pathetic.

    Didn't I read the costs may run $1billion for this project? wouldn't that much money erect a NEW granite building on Madison Sq garden's site looking like the original Penn Station?

  9. #69

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    What's saddest is that it's entirely possible to build a gracious, modern, and daylit Penn Station on its current site -- without even moving MSG (they can put office towers in its place when it moves). All the parties involved would never be able to coordinate the project, though.

    If you get a chance, walk around the Penn Station MSG complex at street level and note how much space above ground is scandalously wasted, especially at the now-disused taxiway between the arena and the office tower. It is comparable, perhaps even greater, than the space that the glass "clamshell" thing is crammed into between the two main bulks of the Farley ubilding. And, unlike the Farley, it's located directly over the meat of the station, over the center of all the platforms. Build a nice soaring glass atrium there, and orchestrate the circulation of crowds using the remaining street level space that is currently useless, empty and fenced-off(!) plazas. Gentleman, with talented architects, engineers and bureaucrats, it is absolutely feasible. But its never going to happen.

  10. #70
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    I never had the pleasure of seeing the original Penn Station. But, I just got back from a trip to DC via Amtrak. The difference between Union Station and the current Penn Station is harsh. The Moynihan project needs to move ahead as planned, NY deserves better than the hole in the ground Penn Station is now.

    In my opinion, Amtrak doesn't have much choice but to appear as cheap as possible. With constant threats to cut its funding, it would be foolish for them to take on any new expenditures.

  11. #71

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    June 2, 2004

    Fixing Problems in Tunnels, but Keeping Trains Running

    By MICHAEL LUO


    Upgrades are needed to tunnels that feed the transit hub.

    The tunnels that feed into Pennsylvania Station have long troubled those who have seen them.

    A serious train accident under the East or Hudson Rivers could send panicked passengers stampeding up the spiral staircases that rise 10 stories to the surface but are so narrow that rescue workers would not be able to descend at the same time. Passengers trying to walk out might have to edge along narrow, crumbling ledges along the walls. And firefighters rushing to help would be hampered by the absence of a water supply that runs the length of the tunnels.

    In the last two years, helped by federal money provided after Washington and New York City Fire Department officials repeatedly raised concerns, Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road, the three railroads that use the tunnels, have begun to make significant improvements. Railroad officials say that they are fixing the most critical problems as fast as possible but that they are limited by the relentless tide of trains that deliver 500,000 people in and out of the station daily.

    "You have to do this work," said Dan Stessel, an Amtrak spokesman. "But you can't shut down the nation's busiest terminal to do it."

    So certain crucial fixes remain a long way off - some not scheduled to be completed until 2009. This is a worrisome reality when many have singled out commuter trains as likely terror targets.

    "When you hear the completion dates, they are a little unnerving," said Gerry Bringmann, vice chairman of the Long Island Rail Road Commuters Council, which represents riders. But he says he does not believe the railroads can work any faster. The only thing to do is wait it out, he said, and hope for the best.

    "They are making progress," he said. "It's just a long way to go."

    For years, the work stagnated, primarily because Amtrak, the owner of Penn Station and the 16 miles of tunnels that funnel into it, was having financial problems. But after a series of critical reports by the United States Department of Transportation's inspector general and then the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Congress earmarked $100 million in emergency money to Amtrak for the upgrades, adding to $100 million already in its capital program. (The Long Island Rail Road had set aside $186 million for the tunnel work but had been waiting for Amtrak to put up its part.)

    The work is now proceeding, and federal officials say they are pleased. But a tour of the tunnels produces a mixed picture, showing the work that has been done and the problems that remain.

    Entering the tunnels from Queens aboard a slow-moving work train, what is immediately noticeable is how clean they are. Hardly a scrap of garbage or piece of debris can be found on the track bed. Properly maintaining the tunnels has long been the first line of defense against disaster, said James J. Dermody, president of the Long Island.

    The tunnels are now well lit by high-pressure sodium lamps, installed two years ago. They used to have a jury-rigged lighting system that worked like strings of old Christmas lights - when one bulb went out, the whole chain went. They were also far too dim to be helpful in an emergency.

    "It was lit, but you needed a flashlight everywhere," said Steven J. Alleman, Amtrak's director of fire and life safety.

    The light from the lamps casts a pale glow on the crumbling benchwalls. Metal sheets bridge the most serious depressions, but they are clearly in bad shape. Stepladders have been placed throughout the tunnels so passengers can climb down to the gravelly roadbed in an emergency and walk out on a smoother surface. Along the walls are signs, put in recently, that tell people where they are in the 2.5-mile-long tunnel.

    The train rolls past metallic emergency communication boxes, illuminated by blue lights. Last year, these phone systems, capable of reaching emergency workers and the Penn Station Control Center, came on line in the four East River tunnels after several years of work.

    The system replaced an antiquated system that required users to crank up the phones by hand. But work on the communications system has not yet been finished in the two tunnels under the Hudson.

    "The old communication system has nowhere near the reliability you would need in an emergency situation," Mr. Alleman said.

    Metal shielding overhead interrupts the smooth arc of the tunnel ceiling. The shield hides construction work going on above the tunnel, Mr. Dermody said. On either side of the East River, in Queens and Manhattan, and on the western side of the Hudson River in New Jersey, workers are digging new ventilation shafts and building new emergency staircases to the surface.

    The new staircases will replace the almost-century-old spiral ones that have come to symbolize the dangerous conditions underground. The staircases are the only escape routes from the tunnels other than entrances and exits themselves.

    The new ones will be scissor-style, with landings every 15 or 20 feet for people to rest. They will also be wide enough for passengers to ascend and rescue workers to descend at the same time. At the same time, new reversible ventilation systems are being installed next to them that will be able to supply fresh air to the tunnels and suck out heat and smoke. The old blowers could move air in only one direction.

    But the staircases and the ventilation plants are among the critical changes that will not be made for some time. The ones on the New Jersey side will not be done until early 2005; Queens will be next in 2007 and Manhattan's exit stairwell and plant will not arrive until 2009.

    Officials point out that the staircases are to be used only as a last resort. In an emergency, the first option would be to send a locomotive in to tow the crippled train out of the tunnel; the second option would be to send a rescue train into an adjacent tunnel and have passengers escape through one of the passageways between the tunnels. The passageways, closed since World War II, were reopened recently as part of the improvements.

    Also incomplete is the standpipe system that firefighters need to get water into the tunnels to fight fires. Most of the metal piping is in place, but there are gaps that still need to be connected. Previously, the standpipes extended only 200 feet into the tunnels. As a stopgap, a decade ago, 150-pound dry chemical extinguishers were installed every 100 feet, but they would be useless in a major fire. The new system should be ready next year.

    Even after all these improvements are finished, more than $500 million in work still needs to be done, including repairing the benchwalls and repairing the tunnels themselves, officials said. Senator John McCain has introduced a rail security bill that would give $570 million to Amtrak to finish the work. Representative Peter T. King has offered a similar bill in the House. "Since Sept. 11, this becomes a homeland security issue," said Mr. King, who toured the tunnels recently. "After Madrid, it's even more so."

    But it is unclear whether the bills will pass, officials said. Some in Congress view the money as pork-barrel spending for New York.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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    Oh wow. Stories of tunnels nightmares are true.

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    A couple of shots of the south facade of the Farley Post Office building.




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    Nice shots! I never seen it from this side. I always seen it from 33rd or 8th and 9th. Since I work on 33rd between 9th and 10th. 8)

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    PENN STATION EXPANSION STAYS ON TRACK

    Published on June 07, 2004

    Charles Gargano, chairman and chief executive of the Empire State Development Corp., says that a $50 million gap in funding to redevelop the Farley Post Office will not hold up the project. The money is needed to improve ventilation of Amtrak's platform and tunnels, but the railroad is no longer able to pay because of financial troubles.

    ESDC will pursue funding by Congress, Mr. Gargano says, and plans to issue a request for qualifications later this month. ESDC hopes to name a developer for the $750 million Moynihan Station inside the old post office building by January.

    In light of Amtrak's financial woes, Mr. Gargano says, ESDC is pursuing New Jersey Transit to become an anchor tenant. Of Amtrak, he says, "They're crying the blues all the time."

    Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

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