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31st Street Gateway provides added convenience for more than 80,000 New Jersey commuters

August 31, 2009

NEW YORK — NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles and Board Member Susan Hayes  greeted rush-hour commuters this morning 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 entrance – the heavily traveled entrance on 7th Avenue opposite 32nd Street – to gain access to the NJ TRANSIT concourse, which opened in 2002.


“When we improve the convenience of our public transportation system, we make commuting just a little easier for our existing customers and encourage more people to leave their cars at home,” said NJ TRANSIT Chairman and Transportation Commissioner Stephen Dilts.


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. 


“NJ TRANSIT rail customers now have a gateway of their own, making the NJ TRANSIT concourse even more convenient and easier to enter and exit,” said NJ TRANSIT Board Member Susan Hayes.  “This investment improves the travel experience for our customers by saving them a few steps, and more importantly, a bit of time.”


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.


“This new entrance serves as a gateway for New Jersey residents who come here to work and take advantage of the City, as well as for New Yorkers taking trains to attend our universities, business trips to pharmaceutical companies, travel to Newark airport, sporting events, the Shore, and other great destinations in New Jersey,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles.  “Like our new double-decker rail cars, this investment helps us relieve congestion on our system and in New York Penn Station while we construct our new tunnel under the Hudson River and a new station under 34th Street.”


Designed as a gateway for NJ TRANSIT customers to complement the concourse, the $19.2 million entrance also will benefit Amtrak, Long Island Railroad 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.


NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 895,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 12 commuter rail lines.  It is the third largest transit system in the country with 165 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.