At rush hour, Grand Central Station is packed with people, as it services 26 trains per hour — including the 4, 5 and 6 lines, which carry more people per day than the systems in Chicago and Washington, D.C. combined. Grand Central has 465,000 entries, exits and transfers from the subway every day.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority has plans to address overcrowding by making expansions at Grand Central and at the Lexington Avenue and Fifth Avenue/53rd Street stations, which are also experiencing problems.
In a presentation to the community board in October 2012, the MTA detailed a plan altering infrastructure of the stations and adding train lines. The presentation used Victoria Station in London, which services almost 80 million passengers per year, as a non-ideal transportation situation. During rush hour, Victoria Station becomes an exit-only location until the number of passenger decreases.
“We never want to get to that point which is why we’re doing this planning now,” said MTA spokesperson Adam Lisberg.
Lisberg said any chance of entrance closings are far in the future.
The MTA suggested expansions to the mezzanine in Grand Central as well as expansions and reconfigurations of various stairways and escalators, including the ones leading to 42nd street from Grand Central.
There is also the possibility to alter pathways between terminals and build new connections between buildings and terminals.
In addition to changing the stations, there are plans to expand the 7 line west starting in 2014, which will increase the need for more transfer capacity and require that changes be made to the Long Island Rail Road East Side. In the distant future, more railroad trains will travel into the terminal, bringing more people to ride the Lexington Avenue line.
There are also plans for construction of a Second Avenue line that will run from Harlem to Lower Manhattan. This should relieve the mass of people riding the Lexington Avenue line.
The estimated cost of the expansion to Grand Central, Lexington Avenue and Fifth Avenue/53 Street is approximately $350 million to $450 million. According to Lisberg, the source of the required funding has not been determined.
“Identify[ing] the funding for that is a complex discussion at the moment,” Lisberg said.
The goal of these improvements is to make traveling through these locations easier and quicker. Stern freshman, Teodor Deliev, agrees that these expansions will improve his travels through Grand Central Station.
“I’m for expanding. It will make life a lot easier,” Deliev said. “Trying to get from one side of Grand Central to the terminal to the track, it could take a long time.”
LSP freshman and commuter student Kamila Hoe is looking forward to the changes. She transfers at Grand Central every day.
“I think we’ll all appreciate fewer crowds because it can get extremely crowded,” she said. “I think a lot of New Yorkers would agree with me. We don’t really care what they do as long as they’re actually improving conditions because the MTA already does what it wants anyway.”
Klein Aleardi is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org