Metro-North has announced that they are FINALLY reviving their Penn Station Access Study. The first part of study, formally called the Metro-North Penn Station Access Major Investment Study/Draft Environmental Impact Statement (MIS/DEIS), was carried out from 1999 to 2002. Since then, it seems it has been dormant. Railfans and transit planners used to speak about it in hushed tones and with tears in their eyes. The “DEIS” part of the study never came to fruition, even though it was promised for “Fall 2003″.
Now the study is back in a big way, with an Environmental Assessment (EA) scheduled for completion in 2011. Thankfully “analyses performed to date on [the proposed "Build"] alternative reveal no significant impacts that cannot be mitigated. Therefore, Metro-North has decided to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA), rather than an EIS.” That should save some time and money.
Click here for the press release: MTA Metro-North Railroad Renews Study of Access to Pennsylvania Station
The proposed “Build” alternative consists of Hudson Line service to Penn Station via Amtrak’s West Side line + Empire Connection, and New Haven Line service to Penn Station via the Hell Gate line. There would be five new stations built:
Hudson Line trains
- West 125th Street
- Upper West Side
New Haven Line trains
- Co-op City
- Hunts Point
I say that this service can’t come soon enough. For people who work near Penn Station or along the 8th Avenue IND or 7th Avenue IRT subway lines, this service could possibly significantly reduce their commuting times.
For a lot more information about the work done so far on this project (1999-2002), check out the Penn Station Access Study website on MTA.info. The site appears to have been updated to reflect that the EA will be done in 2011, and with a proposed “Build” alternative graphic that shows the station formerly called “West 59th Street” to now be called “Upper West Side”.
Bonus: a graphic from a past version of the Penn Station Access Study website.