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Monday, August 31, 2009

New street entrance to Penn Station NJ Transit concourse opens

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NJ Transit Executive Director Richard Sarles and Board Member Susan Hayes  greeted rush-hour commuters August 31 at the grand opening of the new 31st Street entrance to the NJ Transit Concourse at New York Penn Station, a direct and spacious gateway between the concourse and street level.

The new entrance, located at the corner of 7th Avenue and 31st Street, provides new escalators, an elevator and stairs that will relieve underground congestion and improve commuter traffic-flow for tens of thousands of NJ Transit customers as they make their way to and from trains at the busiest rail terminal in North America.

Previously, NJ Transit customers needed to use the shared Amtrak concourse entrance­the heavily traveled entrance on 7th Avenue opposite 32nd Street­to gain access to the NJ TRANSIT concourse, which opened in 2002.

NJ TRANSIT ridership to and from Manhattan has quadrupled over the past few decades and is projected to double again over the next 20 years. The new 31st Street entrance will enhance the new Mass Transit Tunnel, a project that will create more and improved rail service to meet the growing ridership demand and ensure that New Jerseyans have easier, less stressful trips from start to finish. 

More than 81,000 NJ TRANSIT customers board trains at New York Penn Station each weekday, and make more than 44 million train trips to and from New York Penn Station each year.

Designed as a gateway for NJ TRANSIT customers to complement the concourse, the $19.2-million entrance also will benefit Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road and New York City Subway customers who share the massive midtown Manhattan rail hub by alleviating crowding at other entrances and interior walkways.

The NJ TRANSIT entrance features a barrel-vaulted ceiling and exposed trusses reminiscent of the original Penn Station as well as modern train information displays, signage and lighting.

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