After many months of consultations and some concessions by the Empire State Developemnt corporation (ESD), Manhattan Community Board 4 (CB4) testified at the Environment Impact Statement meeting on December 8, 2021 . CB4 opposed the project unless significant changes are made.
From a transportation standpoint, the project still does not describe what improvements to the current station will be funded , and does not commit to using thru running for the capacity expansion – which will be included in a later phase of the Gateway project.
ESD committed to create a public realm task force and fund it – an excellent outcome – but did not guarantee that the task force would be funded in parity with MTA funding, which would insulate the task force from costs overruns.
ESD also agreed to a Transportation Management Plan, that will measure vehicular and pedestrian congestion at regular intervals over the life of the project and implement mitigation measures that will be funded by the real estate development. This initiative is a first for pedestrian volumes. We are happy that ESD took our concerns in account.
In parallel , our elected officials obtained from Governor Hochul that MTA convene a “Station Advisory Group” to let the public comment and keep abreast of the changes to Penn Station that will be funded by the development. CB4 send a letter to the Governor asking that the group be formed as soon as possible.
Clearly 2022 will be another busy year!