A joint letter from community organizations to Governor Hochul seeks transparency regarding Penn Station's planned design, transit improvements, and the General Project Plan. This effort was spearheaded by the Landmarks Conservancy.
September 25, 2023
The Honorable Kathy Hochul
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, New York 12224
Dear Governor Hochul:
The undersigned organizations all agree with you: New York needs a world-class Penn Station. The Station is vital to the City and region’s economy. Its users, and all New Yorkers, need to know that they are getting the station that the City, State, and region deserves.
Penn should welcome residents, commuters, and visitors with an excellent experience and abundant transit capacity. This is clearly the moment when that goal can be achieved. But there is conflicting information, and confusion, about what is happening and what could happen at Penn. With so much public money involved, we believe the public deserves full transparency and explanation on several issues.
Penn Station Design: Will there be a public bidding process for the design? Will the State comment on the other designs that have been made public? The MTA has announced its own plan. How would that coordinate with a new design? With the future of Madison Square Garden’s location in question, how will any plan accommodate for its potential move?
Transit Improvements: Many experts support through-running to expand capacity, but prior documents from the railroads have dismissed it as not feasible. Yet, another analysis of through running is being conducted now by the railroads. The public deserves a full explanation of why it is or isn’t suitable, with all studies released in full to the public, including detailed information about their methodologies.
General Project Plan: While we acknowledge the recent decision by State Supreme Court Judge Billings dismissing challenges to the GPP, there is still confusion. You publicly “decoupled” the GPP from Penn improvements. Yet Judge Billings’ decision noted that Empire State Development said the State is in talks with Vornado about certain sites. To what benefit, if there is no longer a connection to Penn? Why does the State still keep the GPP when other plans for Penn do not?
Why has the GPP not been withdrawn?
The loss of historic Penn Station left a scar that generations have tried to heal. If this is the moment when this loss is rectified, New Yorkers must be a part of that discussion. We look forward to a robust public dialogue that leads to the Station which New York needs and deserves.
Art Deco Society
Community Board 5
Council of Chelsea Block Associations
Environmental Simulation Center
Historic Districts Council
Human Scale NYC
Limited Equity and Affordability at Penn South (LEAPS)
MidTown South Community Council
Murray Hill Neighborhood Association
New York Landmarks Conservancy
Penn Area Residents Committee
Preservation League of New York State
Take Back NYC
29th Street Block Association
Union Square Community Coalition