New Midtown rail station approved for ARC Project

Nation’s largest mass transit project will double NJ Transit’s commuter rail capacity into Manhattan. The City Council approved the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s applications related to the $8.7 billion Access to Region’s Core (ARC) passenger rail project. Jointly sponsored by the Port Authority and New Jersey Transit, the project’s goal is to double the capacity of NJ Transit’s commuter rail service into Manhattan by building a rail tunnel under the Hudson River connecting to an underground rail station adjacent to Penn Station.

The Port Authority submitted an application for a special permit to construct the new rail station, six station entrances, and four fan plants to provide emergency ventilation. The rail station will be 150 feet below grade at the terminus of the proposed tunnel along West 34th Street between Ninth and Sixth Avenues. The Port Authority will build the entrances along West 34th Street near intersections with Eighth, Seventh, and Sixth Avenues, and the four fan plants will be located from Eleventh through Sixth Avenues.

The Port Authority also proposed a zoning text amendment to eliminate the accessory off-street parking requirement for new railroad passenger stations and to amend provisions related to the construction of the rail facilities.

The City Planning Commission approved the proposal with modifications. The Port Authority submitted alternative entrance designs, and the Commission selected the alternatives that best integrated the entrances with the existing transit infrastructure and maintained an active streetscape. This included positioning some entrances away from avenue frontage and on West 34th Street, and also locating entrances within 1 Penn Plaza’s publicly accessible open area.

At the Council’s Zoning & Franchises Subcommittee hearing, Christopher O. Ward, Executive Director of the Port Authority, explained the project would solve a “100-year bottleneck” for NJ Transit, and would help support the Hudson Yards and Moynihan Station projects. The project requires that the Port Authority acquire interest in City and private property, and Ward stated that the Port Authority is committed to working with landlords to negotiate a fair market value for any properties that must be taken under the federal eminent domain process. No one spoke in opposition.

The Subcommittee and Land Use Committee approved the project, with the full Council approving it on July 29, 2009.

Review Process
Lead Agency:Federal Transit Authority,FEIS
Comm.Bd.: MN 4 & 5,App’d, 34-4-0, 31-0-2
Boro.Pres.: App’d
MN Boro. Bd.: App’d
CPC: App’d, 10-0-1
Council: App’d, 47-0-4

Council: ARC Rail Road Passenger Station (C 090263(A) ZSM – spec. perm.); (N 090262 ZRM – text amend.) (July 29, 2009).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.