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$220M Grand Central commuter corridor opens

A $220 million upgrade to the midtown transit system that runs through Grand Central Station has opened to the public.

Designed by engineering giant Stantec, the commuter corridor was created as part of SL Green’s One Vanderbilt office tower development.

The network of improvements was carried out as part of SL Green’s One Vanderbilt development.

As part of a public-private partnership, the transit improvements will ease the commute and improve the experience for the estimated 750,000 people that passed through the adjacent Grand Central Terminal daily before the pandemic.

The East Side Access project, which extends the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) from Queens to Grand Central, is scheduled for completion in 2022 and is expected to bring up to 160,000 additional commuters to the transit area each day.

Infrastructure improvements include a 14,000 s/f pedestrian plaza on Vanderbilt Avenue between Grand Central and One Vanderbilt.

Inside the tower, a 4,000 s/f public transit hall and series of below-grade ADA-accessible concourses and corridors provide new and enhanced connections to the Metro-North Railroad, the shuttle to Times Square, and future access to the LIRR station as part of the East Side Access project.

The new transit hall’s flow and high-end finishes of stone, tile, glass, and metals echo the interiors of Grand Central and its clearly organized, airy open spaces.

The long-shuttered passageway between Grand Central and the Socony-Mobil Building at 150 East 42nd Street has also re-opened with the addition of two street-level subway entrances and a new entrance to the 42nd Street subway station on the southeast corner of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue.

Circulation space on the subway platforms and mezzanine has been increased by 37 percent, providing commuters more room to socially distance and allowing for increased capacity once transit use rebounds to pre-pandemic levels.

 Enhanced finishes, additional turnstiles and gates, new stairways, escalators, and an ADA-accessible elevator have been added to ease congestion and improve transfers and the overall transit experience in the third busiest station in the New York City subway system.

“The completion of One Vanderbilt and the corresponding transit improvements is a testament to the spirit of New York—one that never backs down when faced with challenge. Bringing this project to life required intense design coordination and complex approvals from multiple government and transit agencies,” said Stéphane Lefebvre, Stantec Senior Associate and project lead.

“We are immensely proud of our work, especially knowing that it will raise the collective spirit of New Yorkers and deliver a better transit experience to the scores of commuters that pass through the 42nd Street corridor every day.”

Stantec’s scope of work included: preparation of all transit-related designs (including those for meeting ADA compliance), coordination of approvals between multiple MTA agencies, coordination with city code enforcement on fire and life safety measures, and collaboration with stakeholders to ensure full integration between the new tower, Grand Central Terminal, the 42nd Street subway station, and the Grand Hyatt New York Hotel.

The transit project team included Stantec: Transit project design/engineering; Severud, KPF, JBB: Design of transit improvements on-site at One Vanderbilt; Tishman: Construction of on-site improvements; Halmar International: Construction of off-site improvements

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