NJ Transit’s typical weekday ridership in and out of New York Penn Station, according to some updated numbers from a 2016 RPA study, was more than 200,000 in 2017. Long Island Rail Road was 242,000 and Amtrak around 22,000.
But New Jersey has seen the most growth, increasing ridership to and from Penn 281% since 1990; LIRR, by comparison during the same period, increased about 13%.Therefore, in order to improve the NJ Transit commuter experience at Penn Station, the New Jersey stakeholders have to make sure they're at the table, according to Brian Fritsch, who studies Penn Station and works with coalitions to advance the station's projects at the Regional Plan Association.
“It’s a really big, open question on how involved they’ll be,” Fritsch said of NJ Transit. “They will need to elevate their voice and make sure the needs of their riders are met.”
Cuomo’s plan to expand the overcrowded, chaotic and outdated station with eight additional tracks and a new terminal will help alleviate congestion and improve mobility for the complex system that maneuvers 650,000 people a day on Amtrak, NJ Transit, LIRR and the New York City subway.But who will get to use those eight new tracks is the big, unanswered question that will get hashed out over several years throughout the planning, design and community engagement process.
“Regardless of whether or not NJ Transit ends up having a large footprint in Penn South, the fact that Gov. Cuomo is pushing for this will free up space in the existing Penn Station in a number of ways,” Fritsch said. “Having a clear plan for what they want to do and realize that opportunity is super important.”
Read more on Northjersey.com.