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Cuomo Has a Unique Opportunity with Penn Station

The disastrous state of the country's most busy transit station presents an opportunity to make big improvements.
May 4, 2017, 9am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Sixteen people were injured in an April 14th stampede to avoid gunshots that turned out to be a false rumor in New York's Penn Station. Now, the station is undergoing maintenance and railroad officials say, "Passengers at the hemisphere’s busiest train hub should expect delays 'indefinitely,'" Michael Kimmelman writes in the New York Times.

There have long been plans to make major improvements to the crowded station. "About 650,000 daily passengers, a number equivalent to the entire population of Boston (and steadily rising), use the station entombed below Madison Square Garden in Manhattan," Kimmelman writes. But New York Governor Cuomo is not allowing the more ambitious plans to deal with the station’s overcrowding be viewed by the public. Instead, the governor is trying to focus attention on his new train hall to connect the station to the Farley post office to provide access to Amtrak and the Long Island Rail Line, an upgrade, Kimmelman argues, is little more that cosmetic.  "In effect, the governor wants to slap a two-car garage onto a dilapidated split-level and declare the property good as new," Kimmelman argues.

Instead, the governor should build the new tunnels to New Jersey and rework the station's 33rd Street entrance where crowding is the worst. Kimmelman writes that Cuomo, "…could become a true political legend by — and this is what matters most — delivering the public what he promised, which Farley alone won’t achieve: a 21st-century station finally worthy of this great city."

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Published on Sunday, April 30, 2017 in The New York Times
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