Let's Fix Penn Station
We must act now so we can finally fix this transit nightmare.
About Public for Penn
Public for Penn Station, a new commuter advocacy campaign, brings together transit and planning expertise and grassroots energy to increase the pressure on our local, state and federal leaders to finally address the Penn Station nightmare before it’s too late. Our campaign will push our elected leaders to put forward a comprehensive and feasible plan that addresses the capacity and safety issues that plague commuters.
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Principles for a Better Penn
- A plan must address the current and future capacity needs of Penn Station; built to accommodate 200,000 passengers per day, the station now operates at more than three times intended capacity with double-digit growth projected over the next twenty years (RPA estimates that ridership through Penn Station will increase by 40% as more commuters travel from New Jersey to New York City)
- In the event of a fire or terror-related emergency, commuters must be able to quickly, easily and safely exit the station regardless of where they are inside
- Passengers must have comfortable areas to wait for trains within Penn Station so they are not forced to congregate around track display monitors or outside platform doors
- Commuters must be able to exit platforms immediately upon stepping off trains, without having to wait in line for escalators or stairs
- No matter the season, temperature inside the station must be comfortable for commuters, without extreme heat or cold, including on the platform level
- Penn Station must be fully ADA accessible, allowing all passengers, including those with limited mobility to be able to easily go from level to level within the station at all hours, including rush hour
- New Yorkers must have a world-class gateway worthy of the busiest transportation hub in the Western Hemisphere
- Regardless of whether passengers are coming from the NYC Subway, Long Island Rail Road, Metro North, New Jersey Transit or interstate travel via Amtrak, they must have access to adequate waiting areas, restrooms and reasonable amenities within the station
- The station must seamlessly blend with surrounding buildings and the streetscape to create a welcoming, safe environment that complements the neighborhood
- As a modern, 21st-century transit hub, Penn Station must be designed with pedestrians and cyclists top of mind, offering ample bike parking, bike share docking stations and easily accessible restrooms and water fountains
- Any new major infrastructure endeavor on this scale must consider its environmental footprint; best practices may include repurposing existing elements of the station and leveraging energy efficient design, such as passive heating and cooling
- New York’s leaders must take advantage of the once in a generation opportunity to fix Penn Station while there are temporarily fewer passengers using the space as the result of the opening of East Side Access and Moynihan Train Hall
- With MSG’s operating permit set to expire in 2023, there must be a clear plan to move Madison Square Garden so that safety and capacity can be drastically improved
- The priority use and functionality of the future station must be to serve commuters
The following individuals and organizations are proud to support the Public for Penn Station campaign.
“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. 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.”
“Commuters have suffered through deteriorating transit infrastructure for too long. Penn Station presents very troubling safety challenges that we don’t see anywhere else across our system. It’s time to finally address these issues once and for all.”
“Penn Station is at a breaking point, a crisis that didn’t happen overnight but was created out of generations of neglect. Our leaders must grapple with the complex, long-term planning required to truly rebuild and deliver the new Penn Station that our city deserves. With five years left on Madison Square Garden’s operating permit, the time to act is now.”
“There is no argument that Penn Station is in dire need of attention. Penn Station welcomes more than half-a-million commuters, New Yorkers, and visitors every day. It is time the infrastructure be updated to fit the needs of our travelers in the 21st Century.”
“For far too long, the greatest city in the world has been saddled with one of its worst major transit complexes in the form of Penn Station. It’s time to chart real, concrete solutions to provide midtown Manhattan with the new hub we need and finally lay a foundation for this region’s rail transit network and economy that will be sound for decades to come.”
“The situation at Penn Station is dire, which bottlenecks hundreds of thousands of commuters every day. Unlike our subway network, which spans across four boroughs, Penn Station is a centralized location that we have the know-how to fix today.”
“We need a real, comprehensive plan for Penn Station and the surrounding streets to address the serious safety issues at this critical transit center. The clock is ticking which is why we are launching this campaign to hold our leaders accountable.”
“Our public spaces are a reflection of our values and today Penn Station is a poor reflection of the welcome we want to give to the hundreds of thousands of people who use it daily. We need our leaders in concert with local stakeholders to build on what has been years of good ideas and turn them into action now.”
“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.”
“The transformation of Penn Station has the potential to anchor an entire neighborhood renaissance, from a place all of us race through to an inviting space for New Yorkers and visitors alike. With the impending opening of Moynihan Station and East Side Access, now is the time to plan for this transformation and finally make it reality.”
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To make a contribution to support Public for Penn Station, email firstname.lastname@example.org.