In his most recent column, Times archicritic Michael Kimmelman takes on the Gateway project, which would bring two new passenger rail tunnels into Manhattan, alleviating the pressure on the century-old existing tunnels, which had myriad weaknesses revealed during Hurricane Sandy. However, even with the planned tunnels, which are sorely needed, the transit problems will not be solved until something is done about Penn Station, which Kimmelman refers to as "the nation's busiest and most disgusting transit hub." The new tunnels, he writes, "without a better Penn Station to serve more riders and a booming west side of Manhattan would be tantamount to buying a big fancy garden hose without swapping out the rusty little bucket the water pours into."
The question, of course, is not whether something should be done about Penn Station, but what, and the answers are not forthcoming. The Gateway project could add new stops, extending Penn Station and creating Penn South, which would help, and also divert some of the traffic to Grand Central. But that doesn't do anything about Madison Square Garden, which the city has unsubtly hinted should move somewhere else and the owners, the Dolans, seem to have no interest in. Kimmelman proposes that moving all of Penn Station, not just Amtrak operations, to the James A. Farley Post Office across the street may be the best solution, but the post office seems equally uninterested in moving.
· The Case for New Hudson River Rail Tunnels [NYT]
· Four Plans For A New Penn Station Without MSG, Revealed! [Curbed]
· Gateway Project coverage [Curbed]
· All Penn Station coverage [Curbed]
· Kimmelmania [Curbed]