'It's Time to Start Digging'

new piece by Michael Kimmelman in The New York Times highlights the urgent need to build new rail tunnels under the Hudson River.

The current Hudson River tunnels, both more than 100 years old and critically damaged by Hurricane Sandy, serve not only the scores of thousands of daily commuters between New York and New Jersey but also rail passengers traveling between Washington, D.C., and Boston.

If one of the tunnels were to close for repairs before new tunnels are built, this would be a catastrophe for the entire Northeast, RPA President Tom Wright says in the article.

But building the tunnels by themselves won’t suffice. As Kimmelman observes, Penn Station is one of the worst transit hubs of any major metropolis, and it needs to be replaced in conjunction with the construction of new rail tunnels. “...Upgraded rail service and improved public space in the form of safe, efficient and dignified transit hubs go hand in hand,” he writes. “They’re both environmental and social justice no-brainers.”

In 2013, RPA and the Municipal Art Society launched the Alliance for a New Penn Station to advocate for a new Penn Station to replace the severely overcrowded and outmoded facility that sits beneath Madison Square Garden.

In two recent reports, the Alliance outlined the case for a New Penn Station and also put forward proposals for a new location for Madison Square Garden, a crucial step in order to fully reimagine Penn Station in its current location.

The metropolitan region needs and deserves a modern transportation network and a safe, welcoming and vibrant transit hub.