Let there be light! The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Tuesday unveiled the first section of new 18-foot ceilings at Penn Station’s Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) concourse. Installed by Skanska/AECOM, the new soaring ceilings consist of lighted panels supported by an inventive structural framing system that allowed work crews to remove “head knockers,” aging structural beams that limited the height of passageways within Penn Station, earlier this year.
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.
Governor Kathy Hochul rode a test train from Jamaica to the East Side Access complex at Grand Central Terminal on Sun., October 31, 2021. (Marc A. Hermann / MTA) Flickr
The project that will bring direct Long Island Rail Road service to Grand Central Terminal hit a major milestone this weekend. Gov. Kathy Hochul on Sunday rode the first passenger LIRR train into the new concourse at the Midtown East transit hub and gave the public a first look at the terminal. Expected to officially open in December 2022, the East Side Access project will provide direct service to Manhattan’s east side for Long Island and Queens commuters, while also reducing crowds at Penn Station.
View from 33rd Street, a shared space for pedestrians
A dark and cramped Penn Station could soon be replaced with a light-filled transit hub with more space for commuters. Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled on Wednesday two possible options for the reconstruction of the Midtown train station as part of his broader Empire Station Complex project, which would unify an upgraded Penn Station and the new Moynihan Train Hall. The interconnected station would increase train capacity at the site, which is considered the busiest in the country. It could serve 830,000 daily passengers by 2038, up from 600,000 the station served each day before the pandemic.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is boosting service on the Long Island Rail Road and the Metro-North as two more New York regions are officially cleared to start reopening. The Hudson Vallery region and Long Island have met the state’s metrics to begin reopening phase one businesses, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this week. Starting Wednesday, the MTA will increase capacity by 26 percent on Metro-North with 18 additional trains during peak service, as well as add 105 Long Island Railroad cars to meet restored demand for service.
Since the 1990s, the Regional Plan Association has been advocating for the restoration of passenger service to a rail line known as the Bay Ridge Branch that runs from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn to Astoria, Queens and is now used as a freight line. The MTA has announced that it will begin a feasibility study to “evaluate the potential for subway, commuter rail, light rail or bus service” along the line, which the agency notes would create the potential for reverse commuting and connect to 19 subway lines and the LIRR. In October, the RPA’s Kate Slevin explained to NY1, “We don’t have unlimited resources here in New York City, as we know, so the fact that we already have tracks there, that are underutilized, really means a lot.”
Photo of Hudson Yards via Flickr
As Related Companies CEO Stephen Ross continues to face backlash for throwing a fundraiser on Friday for President Donald Trump, his company is dealing with some drama of its own. Plans submitted a year ago to the Long Island Rail Road for the second phase of the Hudson Yards development have still not been approved by the agency, the New York Post reported.
Rendering courtesy of Governor Cuomo’s office
Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced plans for a new Long Island Rail Road station to be built as part of the Belmont Park Redevelopment Project, which will provide a home base for the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders. The station will serve the proposed 19,000-seat arena, a 250-room hotel, and a 435,000-square-foot retail complex at the state-owned horseracing venue, as well as local commuters who have long needed more transportation options. Located between the Queens Village and Bellerose stations on the LIRR’s Main Line, the station will be the first full-time LIRR station built in 50 years. It’s expected to be partially open by 2021—as the Islanders arena opens to the public—and fully operational by 2023.
On Thursday Governor Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled the final design for the new main entrance to Penn Station. The new 33rd Street and 7th Avenue entrance will provide much-needed direct access to the Long Island Rail Road main concourse and the subway, eliminate congestion by doubling capacity for riders entering and leaving the LIRR level and enhance safety and security. Construction begins next month and will wrap up in December of 2020. The new design is the first we’ve seen of the $600 million Penn Station revamp since last September when Gov. Cuomo revealed a new LIRR entrance and public plaza.
Photo via Flickr cc
Here’s what you need to know to get where you’re going by NYC public transit this Thanksgiving weekend. Special schedules apply for trains and buses from Wednesday, November 21, through Sunday, November 25 to get you over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house and back Thanksgiving weekend. The good news is that MTA is suspending bridge and tunnel maintenance for the holiday, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North are providing extra service, off-peak fares apply, and there’s a free bus to La Guardia. Look below for more information.