August 29, 2023
by: Bria Donohue
Madison Square Garden. Photo Credit: Javier Losa via Wikimedia Commons.
Madison Square Garden. Photo Credit: Javier Losa via Wikimedia Commons.

On Monday, the New York City Council Land Use Committee and Zoning and Franchise Subcommittee voted on Madison Square Garden’s special permit extension application. After lengthy debate, the committee members voted unanimously to grant MSG a five-year permit extension, which is half the length of their current term that expired in July—and half of the City Planning Commission’s (CPC) recommendation. The City Council committees stipulated that the extension is contingent on the creation of a transportation management plan to address “use conflicts” for the arena’s pedestrian access and loading operation on West 31st Street. Councilmember Erik Bottcher, whose district includes MSG, said, “I believe this term strikes the right balance between long and short. It’s short enough to keep the pressure on, but enough time to do something meaningful.”

AIA New York has been a continuous supporter of CPC’s recommendations to grant MSG a limited term extension on their operating permit. We support the Department of City Planning’s (DCP) criteria that prioritize the creation of vibrant public spaces in and around Penn Station and MSG, as well as the realization of a modernized Penn Station with the civic presence and scale envisioned by the MTA’s and the region’s railroads (read AIANY’s full statement here). Commuters and visitors have suffered for too long from inadequate accessibility, efficiency, and connectivity at Penn Station. This limited permit extension will be the incentive needed on both sides to come to agreement on redevelopment plans to make the station and arena connected and compatible. The terms of the permit extension will allow for the railroads to redesign Penn Station to address critical life safety deficiencies within the station; rationalize station operations; improve station circulation at the street, concourse, and platform levels; provide ADA accessibility throughout the station complex; and enhance user experience through a consolidated concourse featuring high ceilings, extensive daylighting, and more visible and generous station entrances oriented to passenger destinations.


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