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Archive for 'Moynihan Station'

Dare We Start Feeling Optimistic?

penn stationThe Times’ editorial board thinks there may be hope that the dream of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and now Senator Schumer, may be realized. With the leadership of Senator Schumer, federal stimulus money and a major role of the Port Authority, New Yorker’s may finally get the train station they deserve. Below is their statement in its entirety. The Senators’ Railway Station After years of starts and stalls, replacing New York City’s gloomy, subterranean Pennsylvania Station with an elegant transit hub suddenly looks possible again. Veterans of this project and its many iterations see a glimmer of hope that the grand old Farley Post Office on Eighth Avenue can still be converted into a splendid new railroad hall named for the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. That renewed hope is there for two main reasons. First, Washington is handing out money. Second, Senator Charles Schumer, New York’s high-energy force on Capitol Hill, has moved the Moynihan project up on his priority list. In a speech last week to business leaders, Senator Schumer laid out a cogent plan for making the new station come to life. Amtrak’s new leadership would have to play a major role and agree to make Moynihan the point of departure and arrival for its Northeast Corridor trains. As a grand open hall — more a renovation with a new skylight than some of the dramatic and complicated schemes of the past — Farley would then become the uplifting gateway to New York City. The overall scheme would also allow for major renovations to the existing Penn Station, now an intolerably confusing maze. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey would also be asked to play a major role. The authority has many items on its to-do list, including rebuilding at ground zero and creating a new tunnel under the Hudson from New Jersey. But as Mr. Schumer and others argue, it makes sense for the authority to coordinate what is essentially a major Midtown transportation project. Mr. Schumer suggests, rightly, that the authority could contribute at least $1 billion of the money it now has earmarked for city projects. That would be added to $250 million designated for Moynihan that’s been sitting in the bank for years. Finally, Mr. Schumer and others want to move swiftly to get their hands on some of the money for high-speed rail and Amtrak included in the new stimulus package. Mr. Schumer’s point, and one that deserves repeating, is that in the Great Depression, New Yorkers went for the sky. They built the Empire State Building. Now it’s time to reach again, to use the present economic crisis to fulfill Senator Moynihan’s enduring dream of a great railway entrance into New York City. Read The Senators’ Railway Station in the New York Times.

MAS and Friends of Moynihan Station Call on Governor for Support

The Friends of Moynihan Station, of which the Municipal Art Society is a member, sent the following letter to Governor Paterson asking for his support of Moynihan Station.

Dear Governor Paterson:

We are writing to encourage you to act quickly and decisively on Senator Charles Schumer’s call to jump-start Moynihan Station by publicly announcing your full support for the project.

Your support is necessary for Moynihan Station to receive some of the federal funds available for rail projects thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. If the $100 million that Senator Schumer requested from Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration is not spent on Moynihan, it will likely go to out-of-state projects.

Moynihan Station is one of the most critical civic and infrastructure projects planned for New York City this decade. It will be one of the main catalysts for economic growth in Manhattan and the region as the economy recovers. It will also allow for the construction of High-Speed Rail service on the Empire Line, which will help to revitalize upstate New York.

We ask you to announce your full support for the project by inviting the Port Authority to act as a co-lead agency with the Empire State Development Corporation.

The Friends of Moynihan Station look forward to working with you and your administration to make Moynihan Station a reality.

Sincerely,
Friends of Moynihan Station


An Action Plan for Moynihan Station

madison square gardenToday the New York Times reported that Senator Charles E. Schumer has a plan to jump start work on the Moynihan Station project, by using some federal stimulus money to build a train station in the Farley Post Office to be used by Amtrak. According to the Times, Senator Schumer is “calling for the injection of $100 million in federal stimulus funds to convert the post office building, expand the city’s transportation infrastructure and employ thousands of workers. Mr. Schumer also renewed his call for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to take charge of the project and asked them to invest $1 billion.” MAS President Vin Cipolla today said, “The Municipal Art Society wholeheartedly supports Senator Schumer’s plan to achieve a new Moynihan Station. By dedicating federal stimulus funds to this project we can create near-term jobs while enhancing our mass transit system for the long term. Federal funding also enables us to protect the public’s interest in this project, creating a grand work of civic architecture that that stands as an inspiring gateway to New York City. This project has a real functional purpose; it will increase capacity and improve the experience for the nearly 500,000 people who move through Penn Station every day. Continue Reading>>

MAS President Vin Cipolla responds to Senator Charles Schumer’s Plan to Advance Moynihan Station

vin cipolla casual side angleToday Senator Schumer announced a plan to jump start the Moynihan Station project, by using some federal stimulus money to build a train station in the Farley Post Office that would be used by Amtrak. MAS President Vin Cipolla commented on the Senator’s plans.
“The Municipal Art Society wholeheartedly supports Senator Schumer’s plan to achieve a new Moynihan Station. By dedicating federal stimulus funds to this project we can create near-term jobs while enhancing our mass transit system for the long term. Federal funding also enables us to protect the public’s interest in this project, creating a grand work of civic architecture that that stands as an inspiring gateway to New York City. This project has a real functional purpose; it will increase capacity and improve the experience for the nearly 500,000 people who move through Penn Station every day. President Obama has made improving our nation’s public transportation infrastructure a high priority. In that light, Moynihan Station should be seen as a first step in enhancing rail lines and service on the Northeast Corridor.”

Schumer Calls for Stimulus Money for Moynihan

madison square gardenCharles Bagli reports in the Times that Senator Schumer has a plan to jump start the Moynihan Station project, by using some federal stimulus money to build a train station in the Farley Post Office that would be used by Amtrak.
Bagli wrote: “Senator Charles E. Schumer is calling for the injection of $100 million in federal stimulus funds to convert the post office building, expand the city’s transportation infrastructure and employ thousands of workers. Mr. Schumer also renewed his call for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to take charge of the project and asked them to invest $1 billion.”
The $100 million would not be from the State and City’s stimulus money (read here for more information ), but rather from the $8 billion set aside for high-speed rail service and $1.3 billion set aside for Amtrak. Schumer called for Amtrak to be more actively involved in the project and suggested they should be the tenant in the new station. They could offset operating costs through revenue from new retail in the station (may we suggest that Grand Central be the model). In addition to the Port Authority taking over the project, Schumer called on them to contribute at least $1 billion to the project. PA Executive Director Chris Ward responded:
“The senator’s effort to get Moynihan started is consistent with the port’s goal of developing a financially viable project,” said Christopher O. Ward, executive director of the authority. “The key is to work with Amtrak on an important transportation project for the entire region. Finding the necessary funding is our No. 1 priority.”
Schumer injected a note of urgency in getting started. “This is just what was envisioned by the stimulus: shovel-ready projects that generate a lot of jobs,” Mr. Schumer said. We couldn’t agree more. Read “Schumer Seeks Federal Stimulus Funds to Jump-Start Moynihan Transit Project,” by Charles Bagli in The New York Times

Question via Facebook: What’s up with Moynihan Station?

penn stationRecently, we were asked the following question on our Facebook pageWith all the talk about President Obama’s Economic Stimulus Package and its billions of dollars for public works projects, what’s happening with the Moynihan Station project?MAS remains a strong supporter of Moynihan Station. The project will increase capacity at the over-crowded (and miserable) Penn Station, which is the nation’s busiest transportation hub, with nearly half a million people passing through it every day. We don’t know whether the project will receive money from President Obama’s stimulus package, but it certainly seems to be eligible. Continue Reading>>

Times Critic Proposes MSG Demolition

madison square garden steps walkwayNicolai Ouroussoff, The New York Times architecture critic, wrote a rambunctious article about the handful of New York City the should face the wrecking ball. It’s no surprise that Madison Square Garden topped the list. Ouroussoff wrote:
No site in New York has a darker past than this one. The demolition of the old Pennsylvania Station, the monumental McKim, Mead & White Beaux-Arts gem that stood on this site until 1964, remains one of the greatest crimes in American architectural history. What replaced it is one of the city’s most dehumanizing spaces: a warren of cramped corridors and waiting areas buried under the monstrous drum of the Garden. Over the years the city has entertained dozens of proposals to improve the station, but none have amounted to much of anything, thanks to New York’s byzantine development politics. I propose we demolish the Garden. As arenas go, it is cramped and decrepit. And with it gone we could begin to imagine what a contemporary version of the old Penn Station: a monumental gateway to the 21st-century metropolis.
Well said! See that blue “WAMU Theater” sign in the photo? It won’t be there for long. According to the Times, since the Feds seized WAMU, the theater is going to have to change its name. Read Name Change Is Likely for WaMu Theater by Richard Sandomir in The New York Times. Read New York City, Tear Down These Walls by Nicolai Ouroussoff in The New York Times. Photo: by R. Conrad/The New York Times

In Other Transportation News

richard ravitchStreetsblog provides a great wrap up of Monday’s first hearing of the Ravitch Commission , a 13-member body, headed by former MTA Chair Richard Ravitch, that is charged with recommending strategies to fund MTA capital projects and operating needs over the next ten years, a period when the Authority will be under unprecedented financial pressure as it expands its system and rebuilds its infrastructure. Streetsblog summed up the main themes that surfaced throughout the day’s testimony to the commission:
  • Responsibility for adequately funding the MTA should fall on those who benefit from its services.
  • The MTA needs more consistent and reliable revenue streams.
  • The city and state have been derelict in their contributions to the MTA, and debt financing has gone too far.
  • It is reasonable, even desirable, to institute regular and predictable fare increases, but straphangers are currently shouldering too much of the burden.
  • The MTA must become more efficient and financially transparent.
Read Ravitch Commission Faces Difficult Task of Shoring Up MTA’s Future by Ben Fried on Streetsblog.

More Press on Paterson’s Announcement

Eliot Brown writes about Paterson’s new direction for Moynihan Station in today’sNew York Observer.
Consistent with the project’s history, the pledge represents another turn in the project’s direction under new leadership. In prior permutations, the focus has been on revenue for the Post Office; an expansion of the train hall; a medium-size real estate transaction; and a mega-land-swap and an economic development project of gigantic proportions. The most recent plan, which was pushed by the Spitzer administration and which unraveled in March, involved moving Madison Square Garden to the Farley building and thereby unleashing $14 billion in public and private development. Now, the Paterson administration seems to be focusing on rail capacity; the platforms and tracks under Penn Station have room for no more trains at peak hours, given the way they are currently used, and the prior plans involved a much-needed expansion of pedestrian and waiting space, but did not address this issue.
Read Paterson Takes His Turn on Moynihan by Eliot Brown of the New York Observer. Read David Paterson: Port Authority should get ticket for new Penn Station by Douglas Feiden of the Daily News. Read Paterson Wants Port Authority to Pick Up Moynihan Project by William Neuman of the New York Times.

Port Authority to lead Moynihan Station Project; Upcoming Panel on Coney Island

moynihan station current frontLast Friday, Governor Paterson announced his intention to move forward with the construction of Moynihan Station which will be led by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  The Governor stressed that adding rail capacity and linking up the Station to other major transportation and infrastructure projects, as MAS has also suggested, were the most critical goals in moving forward. Learn more about MAS’ response to the Governor’s announcement. To read the Governor’s full press release, click here. This Wednesday, MAS will host “Coney Island at the Crossroads,” a panel on the City’s current redevelopment plan for Coney Island; read about the program on Kinetic Carnival. In other news, the winners of the design competition to reimagine Grand Army Plaza have been announced. Continue Reading>>

Paterson Makes Bold Statement in Support of the Construction of Moynihan Station

governor pattersonToday Governor David Paterson made a bold statement in support of the construction of Moynihan Station when he announced conditions related to the future of Moynihan Station at New York Building Congress forum. He emphasized the critical importance for the project to emphasize infrastructure improvements and to that end announced that the Port Authority of New Yorkwould be taking over the project. The Governor said that while New York City and State are in a difficult economic climate, fiscal responsibility is not just about reducing spending; it’s about making wise investments. Throughout New York State’s history, the government has moved ahead with infrastructure projects during times of financial insolvency. For example, the state was facing a deficit for seven of the ten years it took to construct the Erie Canal and the Lincoln Tunnel, George Washington Bridge and the Independent Subway System (IND) were all constructed during the Depression. New York City was in the midst of a fiscal crisis during the construction of the historic Penn Station. “By any measure the 20th century was the New York Century. We entered it as a burgeoning metropolis and we left it as the greatest and most powerful city in the world. We can make the 21st century the New York Century as well, but only if we invest wisely in our infrastructure.” Paterson said the Federal government must put together a plan for the nation’s infrastructure so we may reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and avoid catastrophic disasters like last year’s bridge collapse in Minneapolis. He also decried the Federal government’s “starving” of Amtrak and reduction of slots at the city’s airports. The Governor said that we must bolster the rail options between Washington DC, Boston and other cities within 300 miles of New York City. Rail is the most fuel-efficient way to move people,, and it is critical that we lighten the loads of our airlines and on our highways. In the absence of a Federal transportation plan, Paterson said the State must develop its own plan. “It is fitting that 100 years after the building of the first Penn Station, we assess our infrastructure priorities and establish clear conditions for the future of transportation in our State,” said Governor Paterson. “If we are to realize our full potential for growth in the 21st century, then we must look to increase our rail capacity. That is why today I have outlined the conditions that I believe must be met if we are to move forward with the Moynihan Station project. Moynihan must be more than a beautiful station; it must move more people more efficiently.” The Governor’s specific conditions for Moynihan Station development include:
1. Ensuring that the Moynihan Station project increases transportation capacity by physically expanding the number of tracks and platforms and instituting operational changes by Long Island Railroad, New Jersey Transit and Amtrak. Paterson announced that he was asking the leadership of the three railroads to report to himself and Governor Corzine on how they planned to work together. 2. Coordinating the development of Moynihan Station in tandem with other major development projects including New Jersey’s Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) which is the first crossing under the Hudson in 50 years; The Governor made it clear that it would be a formidable challenge to ensure that the project will be coordinated with major infrastructure projects like ARC and unifying the three transit systems of Amtrak, Long Island Railroad and New Jersey Transit. “This is why we want the Port Authority to take over the leadership in terms of constructing Moynihan Station, and what we are really saying is that with such major development occurring, there has to be coordination,” the governor said. 3. Taking necessary steps to ensure that the project also helps to revitalize the surrounding community. While the Governor acknowledged the importance of making Moynihan Station a Gateway to New York city and catalyst for development on the Far West Side, he said first and foremost this is a transportation project.
“Increasing our transportation capacity is an important step, but it is only a one step. We must ensure that we carefully coordinate the improved capacity with other major development and infrastructure projects, which is why today, I called on my Deputy Secretary for Economic Development, and Infrastructure to convene all of the project’s partners from both the public and private sectors to discuss the challenges they face,” Governor Paterson continued. “Deputy Secretary Gilchrist will report back to me with an assessment of these challenges and potential solutions.” “By any measure the 20th century was the New York Century. We entered it as a burgeoning metropolis and we left it as the greatest and most powerful city in the world. We can make the 21st century the New York Century as well, but only if we invest wisely in our infrastructure,” added Governor Paterson. Read Governor Paterson’s press release. Read Paterson Invokes New Deal in Calling for Fresh Moynihan Plan by Eliot Brown in The New York Observer. Read Paterson Gives Moynihan Another Shot by Matthew Schuerman of WNYC. Read Paterson appoints aide to look into Moynihan by Theresa Agovino of Crain’s New York.

MAS Response to Paterson’s Moynihan Station Plan

moynihan penn station concept rendering somToday Governor David Paterson announced conditions related to the future of Moynihan Station at New York Building Congress forum. Kent Barwick, President of Municipal Art Society, commented on the Governor’s plans: “The original Penn Station, while architecturally spectacular, was primarily a visual symbol of a great transportation system. The tunnels that lead into that station, which connected New York City to the mainland for the first time, were engineering marvels of the time. The Penn Station architecture was important and beloved, but the infrastructure it housed was a critical element of New York City’s rise to its position as the nation’s greatest city. “Paterson reminds us that, at this time in our history, it’s time to revive the railroad, and we couldn’t agree more with his priorities. We must put transportation first. Penn Station was built in the beginning of 20th century, and we are confident that it is possible now, at the beginning of the 21st century, to accomplish the Governor’s transportation priorities while also creating the great entryway into New York City that Senator Moynihan envisioned. “Paterson’s plan of investment in the economy and our rail system shows a comprehensive grasp of all of the issues that the station embodies, from infrastructure to architecture. When MAS conducted a poll last year, we learned that people were dismayed with the inefficient and sloppy management of Penn Station. We know it will be difficult to work through the management problems with the three railroads, but we are confident it is possible. “We support the Governor’s approach and vision and we are pleased that the Port Authority has been given responsibility for this project — they have the capacity, resources and management to bring this project to fruition. We look forward to deputy secretary Gilchrist’s plan of action.”