New Cortlandt Station Expansion Is Complete

On Feb. 15, MTA, local and state officials celebrated the completion of a major project to improve and renovate the Cortlandt Station. The new facility includes an overpass extension that ties the original station east of the tracks with a new entrance on the west side off Route 9A, new parking and a landscaped, canopy-covered, intermodal drop-off plaza. The new overpass has a spacious, heated waiting area with numerous benches and a coffee concession. Both parking lots and the center island platform are served by elevators and enclosed staircases.

Cortlandt Station ribbon-cutting photo
MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota, Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi and Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut cut the ribbon of the newly expanded and upgraded Metro-North station in Cortlandt, N.Y.
Photo by MTA/Patrick Cashin.

"Road access and adequate parking are essential if suburbanites are to get out of their cars and onto mass transit," said MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota. "This project assures that Metro-North is ready for the ridership growth that is sure to continue as the regional economy recovers."

"The search for appropriate places to add parking is a major challenge in the dense territory we serve, said Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut. "This parking expansion is a boon for Westchester residents not lucky enough to have a Metro-North station right in their own neighborhood and will address current and future needs of the railroad and the communities it serves."

"Cortlandt residents have long deserved this improved, first-rate facility that we dedicate on February 15, 2012," said Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi. "The creation of a heated overhead station facility with elevators, benches for waiting, a coffee concession, a beautifully landscaped plaza with a restroom, a convenient bus drop off area and lighted sidewalks connecting it to Route 9A will make commuting much more pleasant for the 1,200 people who use the station every day. We thank MTA Metro-North for working with our community to achieve this goal."

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald, whose agency helped to fund the project said: "The Cortlandt Station parking and access improvements are a great example of the great things that are possible when Metro-North and DOT work together to promote transit in the Hudson Valley. Transit is a critically important component of our transportation network," she added, "and we recognize how important it is to ensure safe pedestrian crossing on our streets and highways."

NYSDOT provided $5.2 million in funding and highway design guidance to Metro-North to improve a long standing traffic operational concern in Cortlandt while adding rail commuter parking. Drivers and pedestrians using Route 9A and people accessing the VA Hospital will also benefit from the intersection improvements. In total $21.2 million in Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funds were provided through the Department for this project.

The plaza includes a ground-level snack vending area, a parking pay station, a ticket vending machine and a restroom with a composting toilet. The new parking lot has 712 new parking spaces for cars, 9 for motorcycles and 9 for motor scooters. The station has 1,615 parking spaces in total. An additional heated shelter was built on the north end of the platform and the entire facility has new lighting, signage, emergency call boxes and bicycle racks. Native, drought-resistant landscaping, including maple, birch, pine and locust trees, complements the improvements.

Metro-North has been adding parking throughout its territory for years in an effort to make mass transit more accessible. Cortlandt is the only station in this area of the Hudson Line that had land available for expansion. Parking lots at Croton-Harmon to the south and Peekskill to the north are locally owned and operated and at capacity.

While parking lots are not generally associated with "green" building, Metro-North considered the environment in designing and building the station.

In this case, the parcel was used for years as a training facility for operators of heavy equipment. Consequently, the land was continuously disturbed. There was no vegetation and nothing to prevent erosion during storms.

To address this, drainage improvements were developed as part of a comprehensive storm water pollution prevention system that included creation of a large open detention pond planted with native wetland species. This assures that sediment in the runoff has an opportunity to settle out before the water leaves the site and makes its way to the Hudson River.

In addition, the lot was designed and sloped to completely avoid pre-existing wetlands at the northwest corner.

Other environmentally friendly features include high efficiency light fixtures, steel and roofing with high recycled content, an auto-shut off faucet in the bathroom and a composting toilet that uses wood shavings, microbes and worms to breakdown sewage. It is the same system as that used at the Rockefeller Preserve in Tarrytown. The new elevator is a gearless traction elevator, which eliminates the need for hydraulic oil storage and uses less than half the electricity of a hydraulic elevator.

Drivers of hybrid cars are rewarded with 12 prime, close-in, hybrid-only parking spaces.

The project also included highway modifications to create a full, four-way, signalized intersection where the entrance to the station, the entrance to the Veterans Administration Hospital and Route 9A meet. Previously the roadways joined at offset intervals and there were no crosswalks or sidewalks. This intersection improvement by the New York State Department of Transportation, in use since mid-December, is expected to improve vehicle and pedestrian safety.

To build the improvements at Cortlandt, several land transfers and purchases had to be accomplished. Local 14 of the International Union of Operating Engineers relocated to property previously owned by the Keon Center Inc., which relocated to a new facility. Metro-North also purchased 2.1 acres from the Town of Cortlandt to put together the 9.5-acre site. In addition, Metro-North obtained a permanent easement from Peckham Industries to allow construction of the overpass extension and to enable future construction of a platform on the west side. Currently the station has a single, center-island platform.

No special west side permit is required for the lot that opens tomorrow. Customers with current parking permits may park on either the east or west side parking lots. There are 159 metered spaces set aside for daily users. Meter prices are $3.75 for 16 hours and $6.25 for 24 hours. Permits are $102 for three months plus tax.

The project cost was $34.7 million. The Federal Highway Administration's Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality (CMAQ) program, in partnership with the Federal Transit Administration, contributed $21.2 million. This includes a CMAQ grant to New York State Department of Transportation of $5.2 million for the intersection improvements. MTA Metro-North's capital program contributed $13.5 million to the project.

Design of the new facility was by Jacobs Engineers. Design of the Route 9A intersection improvements was by AECOM. Construction was by ECCO III Enterprises and construction management and supervision was handled by STV Inc.