Regarding ASTM’s Plan for “A New Penn Station”

Statement by MAS President Elizabeth Goldstein

June 28, 2023  |  New York, NY

On Wednesday, June 28, ASTM North America announced a proposal for a new Penn Station. MAS President Elizabeth Goldstein released the following statement in response:

“MAS welcomes the first public viewing of the ASTM proposal for Penn Station, which gives us hope that New York City can once again have a world-class transit hub on the West Side. What ASTM has accomplished thus far is impressive. They have presented a plan for a dynamic station entrance on 8th Avenue, a light-filled train hall with connections to all existing tracks, and an overall better experience for travelers. Just as important, they have gained support from a variety of key stakeholders.

Though we remain convinced that the best plan could only be achieved if Madison Square Garden (MSG) were to relocate, we think the removal of the Hulu Theater and incorporation of MSG is a clever approach to insuring the viable co-existence of Penn Station and a reconfigured MSG.  The ASTM approach to reducing the impact of freight deliveries offers an opportunity for a far more vibrant public realm around Penn Station and creates the possibility of a stronger connection with Moynihan Train Hall.

No project plan will ever be perfect or satisfy all parties. MAS would like to see additional improvements to the 7th Avenue station entrance, for example, and there are open questions about the costs of this plan compared to other approaches.

However, time is of the essence. ASTM’s plan holds the promise that all the stakeholders can be brought together in time to take advantage of Federal funding. This is a thoroughly considered proposal that should be taken seriously by everyone involved.

We urge Governor Hochul to build on the successful public-private partnership models used to great effect at Moynihan Train Hall and LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B. If the P3 approach is chosen then there must be a fair, open, transparent process to choose a single entity that will  lead Penn Station into the future. A fully open, transparent selection process is critical to encourage public input on and win public acceptance of arguably the most important public transportation projects in the country.

MAS led the fight to preserve Grand Central Terminal.  We have fought for a great Penn Station for decades.  Now is the time to get Penn Station off the dream boards and into our train riding future.”

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Matt Sollars

One of the entrances to Pennsylvania Station. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, NHRHS2010. Modifications: photo cropped.