by Jeff Smith
A non-profit organization is calling Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Empire Station Complex an antiquated approach to improving transportation capacity while missing an opportunity to provide eastward commuter train service at Penn Station.
ReThinkNYC, which is among the opponents to the proposal to expand Penn Station to south by possibly demolishing buildings a block to the south, says the 40% increase in capacity is based on an obsolete transit template and should instead include through-service for Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and Long Island Rail Road.
According to the organization, through-running service would increase capacity for 20% more NJ Transit commuters and nearly 50% more LIRR riders. MTA Spokesman Aaron Donovan, however, dispelled the notion that a more seamless system running from New Jersey through Long Island would be feasible without a prior expansion of Penn Station.
“The MTA, Amtrak and New Jersey Transit have studied through-running as part of the Master Plan for the expansion of Penn as part of the long-hoped for Gateway program. We have included plans for additional through running in the future in all he scenarios we are considering. But so far expert analysis indicates that this – like the many other paper plans we have seen from others – doesn’t obviate the need for additional tracks and platforms to accommodate the significantly larger number of trains that will be coming across the Hudson once the Gateway Tunnels are built.”