MTA’s East Side Access project renamed ‘Grand Central Madison’

June 1, 2022

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday announced that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s long-awaited 700,000-square-foot East Side Access Project will be renamed “Grand Central Madison.” The project, which brings Long Island Rail Road service to Grand Central Terminal, will increase LIRR service systemwide by 40 percent during morning peak service and significantly increase reverse peak service. Grand Central Madison is expected to open in December.

Photo by Marc A. Hermann / MTA on Flickr

The new LIRR concourse at Grand Central Terminal, first unveiled last November, includes a 350,000-square-foot passenger concourse, four new platforms with eight tracks, and 25,000-square-feet of retail space below the lower level of the existing transit hub.

The terminal is the largest passenger rail terminal built in the United States since the 1950s and will enhance public transportation capabilities for commuters coming from Long Island, as well as reduce crowds at Penn Station, as some LIRR service to the Midtown West station will be cut.

As 6sqft previously reported, the East Side Access plan was first proposed in the 1960s and was delayed until construction started in 2006. The project’s expected construction costs have jumped to nearly $12 billion, up from original estimates of just over $2 billion.

“This is an exciting, historic moment for New York State, Long Island, and the MTA as New Yorkers are just months away from being able to seamlessly ride a train between East Midtown and Long Island,” Hochul said. “Grand Central Madison – the largest new passenger rail terminal built since the 1950s – will be a game-changer for Long Island, allowing the LIRR to dramatically expand service and operate more reliably for commuters, and reducing overcrowding at Penn Station.”

As the LIRR’s first entry point that’s is not shared with other railroads, there will be fewer service disruptions and better flexibility for both trains and commuters which will make the entire system more reliable.

The new tracks and platforms have all been designed with “passive wayfinding,” which uses subtle color shifts to help passengers navigate the station, according to a press release. The new station will also feature real-time digital signage, cell service and WiFi, and 25 storefronts.

“The MTA has worked hard over the past four years – including throughout the pandemic – to hold to the 2022 opening date,” Janno Lieber, Chair and CEO of the MTA, said. “We reimagined project management to ensure adjacent contracts were carefully coordinated to avoid delay-causing conflicts; simplified the change-order process; empowered project managers and transformed an insufficiently detailed schedule with only 8,500 activities into 40,000 distinct items and activities that could be tracked and completed.”

Included in the project are four new street-level entrances on Madison Avenue between 43rd Street and 48th Street, two new entrances into the existing Grand Central Terminal, and two to Grand Central’s north end passageways at 45th and 47th Streets.


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