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Developers Unfazed By Hudson Yards Transportation Concerns

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Despite assertions that Hudson Yards' transportation infrastructure could be underprepared for the growth the neighborhood is about to undergo, developers believe the new neighborhood will be able to support the influx of people who will descend on the neighborhood once $20B new building pipeline is completed.

Jay Cross

Related Hudson Yards president Jay Cross told Bisnow's Future of the Far West Side event that Hudson Yards development will be diverse enough in projects that it will attract people to come at different times of the day for various cultural activities. He disputed Bisnow columnist Lois Weiss' notion that traffic into the neighborhood would be concentrated during rush hour periods or would be concentrated through one transportation artery.

"Lois highlights a problem, that is, we are bringing more than 7 million people into the area, we are building the Shed, the Vessel, investing in $250M in cultural projects, and that is going to attract more people," Cross said. "But the zoning plans have not changed, only a third of the people come on the 7 train, a third of the people come to Penn Station, and another third will come by other means."

Cross said that he sees 35,000 to 40,000 people using the Hudson Yards subway station at rush hours every day, while the system is designed for 100,000 people to come through.

"There is a whole system with ferries, all the lines that go through Penn Station, the 7 is just one final component of a full transportation system," Cross said.

An MTA official told Weiss the 34th Street Hudson Yards station and its platform is designed for 25,000 people at its peak. The station and 7 line extension were planned at the time the city anticipated constructing a football stadium nearby, and that facility, and the ridership it would generate, were factored into the plans with the projections of day-to-day ridership and public transit needs to and from the area.

The MTA is confident that the line extension, stations and bus service will be capable of accommodating ridership at the full build-out of the Hudson Yards, despite projections that 37,335 people who will be expected to come through the 25,000-person capacity station at peak periods by 2025.

Dean Shapiro

Oxford Properties Group senior vice president Dean Shapiro said he sees crowded transportation as a normal aspect of living in New York. Oxford is an investor, alongside Mitsui Fudosan with Related in the Hudson Yards megaproject.

"New Yorkers are going to adapt, this is a crowded city," Shapiro said. "But you have other means of transportation besides the 7 line, there is Penn Station, Grand Central. You can't do better for access. I'm not concerned about transportation."

Weiss also disputed the notion that Hudson Yards would have adequate bus transportation. The MTA's capital plan for 2016-2017 is to purchase 190 buses for the entire MTA bus system, budgeted for $50M. Another 110 buses running on compressed natural gas will cost over $50M. City planners expect that by 2025, Hudson Yards will need 170 new buses to serve the new traffic volume.

Daria Salusbury

Former Related Cos vice president and current president of Salusbury & Co. Daria Salusbury said she is optimistic; New Yorkers have made the best of adversity in the past.

"The sky is not falling," Salusbury said. "Hudson Yards is not going to attract a massive exodus of commuters only from Queens. People will come from all over, Hoboken, Brooklyn, Jersey City and they will take different means of transit to get here."

Michael Evans

Not every developer at the event denied that transportation would be a problem for the Hudson Yards development in the future.

Moynihan Station Development Corp. president Michael Evans said he agreed that overall transportation will be a hurdle for Hudson Yards at some point. However, he said transportation can be a "good problem to have because it shows there is a high demand for the area."

Evans highlighted that there will be an additional station on the 7 line to relieve some traffic congestion and his project to redevelop the old James A. Farley Post Office into a new transit hub is "shifting transportation west." 

Moynihan Station will expand Penn Station's transportation services, relieving congestion at a station that receives 600,000 passengers a day.

CORRECTION, MARCH 31, 10:30 A.M.: A previous version of this story referred to Weiss' column as "evidence," rather than an assertion, of Hudson Yards transportation problem. The MTA believes its current train infrastructure can handle the full buildout of Hudson Yards, which had been mischaracterized. This story has been updated.