New York State envisions the expansion and modernization of New York City’s Penn Station, transforming Penn Station into a world-class facility for New Yorkers and visitors that will increase track and train capacity and enhance the neighborhood’s economic vitality. As part of the initial stages of the project, formerly known as the Empire Station Complex, VHB studied existing site conditions in the neighborhood surrounding Penn Station, with focus on land use and building conditions. Criteria used in assessing conditions included appropriateness of current zoning regulations, quality of the public realm, zoning conformance, lot utilization, lot configuration, property ownership, age of buildings, building and site conditions, energy efficiency, accessibility, building code violations, environmental conditions, economic performance, and crime. The completed study was approved by project stakeholders in Summer 2022.
The VHB team faced unique challenges due to the onset of COVID-19 and social distancing at the start of the project. With new health and safety precautions in place, the team quickly adapted to using a more iterative practice, staggering surveying activities in a way that kept everyone safe. Additionally, VHB used geographic information system (GIS) and mobile data collection technology to conduct the field data collection and provided ESD with a robust platform for visualization, analysis, and output of all data.