The completion of One Vanderbilt Avenue, which joins the world’s most recognizable skyline as the second tallest office tower in New York City at 1,401 feet, also marks a significant milestone for the Midtown transit system. All components of One Vanderbilt’s $220 million transit improvement project, designed by Stantec and funded by SL Green, are now complete and open to the public.
As part of a unique public-private partnership, these 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. Furthermore, 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 this bustling transit area each day.
Infrastructure improvements include a 14,000 square foot pedestrian plaza on Vanderbilt Avenue between Grand Central and One Vanderbilt. Inside the tower, a 4,000 square foot 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 distinctive interiors of Grand Central and its clearly organized, airy open spaces.
The long-shuttered passageway between Grand Central and the Socony-Mobil Building 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%, 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.
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.