Grand Central Madison, one year later: Embraced by some, reluctantly accepted by others

February 25, 2024

In October 2022, Jesse Pardo told Newsday that he hoped Grand Central Madison would be “life-changing” for the tens of thousands of Long Islanders, like him, working on Manhattan’s East Side.

But reviews from some of the Long Island Rail Road’s other 230,000 daily commuters remain mixed a year after the station opened. Many of the nearly 80,000 daily Grand Central Madison users praise the station for providing a modern alternative to Penn Station, while others still lament the loss of the commute they had known for decades.

“We’re still not overly happy about the fact that moving around a lot of the trains … left a few holes in the schedule,” said Alan Kleinberger, of East Meadow, upon arriving at Grand Central Madison during a recent trip with his wife. “We understand why it was necessary, but we have mixed feelings about that.”

Mixed feelings would still be an improvement over where rider sentiment was in the weeks after Grand Central Madison launched. The service that came with the opening was widely panned by riders for crowding, delays and complicated transfers. In the first rider survey after the opening, overall LIRR customer satisfaction — among all riders — plummeted 13 percentage points, from 81% to 68%. As the LIRR has made revisions to its service plan, it since has rebounded slightly to 70%.

But even those who acknowledge the benefits of Grand Central Madison question whether the MTA, and its customers, are getting their money’s worth, given the project’s price tag, which more than doubled from its original $4.3 billion budget.

“Eleven billion dollars is a tremendous amount of money for a project that is not transformative in the way other projects we could have spent $11 billion on might have been,” said Michael Smart, associate professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.

Smart said subway extension projects, including on the Second Avenue line, would have given transit riders “more bang for the buck.”

“I think it’s a good project,” Smart said about East Side Access. “The fact that it exists today makes New York City a better place than if we didn’t have it. The benefits, however, really accrue to a relatively small number of people. For each person, the benefit is moderate.”

Newsday, 2/25/24

Recent Posts

New Paper on Affordable Rental Housing by NJSOARH

Local Landscapes of Assisted Housing: Reconciling Layered and Imprecise Administrative Data for Research Purposes The New Jersey State of Affordable Housing (NJSOARH) project seeks to understand the state of rental housing affordable to low-income and very low-income...

NJSPL – Extreme Heat, Coastal Flooding, and Health Disparities

Extreme Heat, Coastal Flooding, and Health Disparities: Climate Change Impacts on Older Adults in New Jersey By Josephine O’Grady New Jersey is facing a myriad of climate challenges, including extreme heat, heavy precipitation, coastal flooding, and more natural...

New Paper on Foreclosure Crisis by Prof. Eric Seymour

Prof. Eric Seymour co-authors Judged by Their Deeds: Outcomes for Properties Acquired by Contract Sellers Following the Foreclosure Crisis in Detroit Abstract Prior research has documented the reemergence of predatory land contracts in majority-Black neighborhoods in...

EJB Talks with Professor Michael Smart

Transportation, Urban Planning, and Racial Bias: Insights from Professor Michael Smart In this episode of EJB Talks, Stuart Shapiro interviews Professor Michael Smart, beginning with how he became involved in transportation planning and its impact on poverty and...

NJSPL – New Report: 15-Minute Neighborhoods

Report Release: 15-Minute Neighborhoods: A Pathway to Creating Healthier, More Just, Resilient, & Sustainable Communities in New Jersey By Jon Carnegie, June Greeman, and Jacob Thompson READ FULL REPORT Over the past several years, several policy threads have...

Upcoming Events

Master of Health Administration Town Hall


The Town Hall is an open and informal forum discussion for students to provide feedback, offer suggestions, and hear the most up to date news about the program. Hosted by […]