New York Penn Station

Our charts and data sets are compiled for access here.



Revisiting issues such as flooding, overcrowding and ridership safety, and infrastructure maintenance at New York Penn Station, we start with a closer look at the NYC Department of City Planning Flood Map (pictured top). Given the proximity to the Hudson River of its location at West 32nd Street and Seventh Avenue, Penn Station needs strategies in place to face the variable threat. By coupling and overlaying the city’s flood map with its subway transportation network via GIS datasets (pictured above), we are able to visualize and plan for subway contingency in the event of storms, heavy rains and flooding. In this case, we are interested in interviewing the design group about detailed strategy of resiliency.

Building History


From a historical perspective, Penn Station’s construction in 1906 and transformation over the last 100-plus years was published in a series of graphics by The New York Times in September 2016. Here we may utilize this visual to better understand the context of the construction of the building, which is an important clue to understand how the infrastructure worked with building and how people experience it.



In this graph, we are beginning to think about Amtrak track infrastructure maintenance through the lens of federal grants. By cross-referencing federal grants provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation to the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) against train accidents and incidents reports accessible through the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis, we can ascertain correlations linking government spending and as it relates to train operation. In light of the Presidential Administration’s plan released earlier this year Amtrak will necessarily face additional challenges in maintaining and improving track infrastructure at New York Penn Station.

Amtrak System Ridership Safety


This map (note: this map is a first draft) was generated using statistics and other forms of information provided by Amtrak and other sources. The blue bars represent ridership at each station, the red balls are train accidents, and the overall system network is displayed in green. It is interesting to see so many collisions in the south east. It maybe worth looking into the degree of these collisions and may provide some explanation as to where money for public transportation projects is going. New York Penn Station seems like a place with many unsafe conditions but in relation to other places, the priority for repair may be placed elsewhere. This we do not know yet so it may be worth investigation. From this point it would be interesting to see how federal money is being dispersed across these sites, and what other sort of renovation projects like current project, Moynihan Train Hall for Penn Station by SOM.

Lastly, we have put together a broad list of experts in fields of engineering, management, planning, design and public policy to seek interviews with next week. They are:

Richard Anderson, CEO Amtrak
Ken Griffin and/or Osborne Anthony, AECOM
Marla Gayle, SOM
Greg Lindsay, New Cities Foundation
Vishaan Chakrabarti, PAU Studio/Columbia GSAPP
Office of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio


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