598-Space Parking Garage Located Steps from New Haven Line Harrison Station; 475 Spaces Dedicated to Metro-North Riders, Increasing Parking Availability by Over 80%
Project Being Completed With No Capital Cost to MTA
Garage Included in Phase One of Railroad’s First Transit-Oriented Development Project; Second Phase of Project Will Include Additional Residential Housing and Retail Space Surrounding Garage
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Acting Chair and CEO Janno Lieber and MTA Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi today celebrated the grand opening of a 598-space commuter parking garage at Metro-North's Harrison station. Located steps away from the station’s Connecticut-bound platform, the new garage increases parking availability at the station by more than 80%, with 475 parking spots dedicated to Metro-North customers. The garage is equipped with two elevators and two staircases making it fully accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and easy to reach the ground level and proceed towards the station platforms.
The garage will be owned and operated by Metro-North and is also the railroad’s first transit-oriented development (TOD) project. The first phase of the two-phase project included the construction of the garage and 83 apartments that wrap around the garage, as well as retail space and one of the two planned public plazas. The second phase of the project will include the construction of an additional 60 residential units, public open space, retail and commercial space, with additional surface parking to support prospective tenants. Today’s garage opening allows the next phase of construction to begin.
“This is a shining example of what the MTA can do when it works with community leaders and developers to deliver innovative, transit-oriented projects to help revitalize downtown areas,” Lieber said. “With the new garage also comes retail space and apartments that helps advance equity, creates more diversity, all making the community more attractive. It also incentivizes people who live in Harrison and the surrounding areas use mass transit to get to New York City or Connecticut, whether it is to pursue work opportunities or for leisure travel.”
“Improving the customer experience is always at the forefront of our minds. Once completed the Harrison station TOD, our first TOD project, will be emblematic of Metro-North's commitment to help transforming the areas around our stations into vibrant destinations,” Rinaldi said. “This is exactly what we need as we look to attract riders back to the system. With over 400 dedicated parking spaces for Metro-North riders, this brand new garage provides easier access to a station that serves our busiest line and will welcome new riders in the near future.”
“Demand for transit oriented communities has been on the rise with a steady flow of millennials and empty nesters moving to our region. This has been instrumental in strengthening local economies,” said Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont. “It’s great to see that Harrison is experiencing an increase in new and repurposed construction projects that will bring new jobs and new residents to our town. AvalonBay and Metro-North Railroad have certainly facilitated the growth we are experiencing today. I extend my sincere congratulations, on the completion of the new parking garage, to Janno Lieber and Cathy Rinaldi and to all who participated in this wonderful project.”
“This completed project is another example of the work being done in Westchester to meet the needs of our growing and thriving population,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer. “As the latest census numbers show, we are home to over one million residents with a multitude of diverse needs. Many of our residents commute into the City each day and this project with the MTA will allow easier access to the expansive MTA train system in our County. Congratulations to the MTA on the completion of another fantastic project.”
"AvalonBay is proud to have worked with our partners at the MTA and Town of Harrison to reach this day,” said Senior Vice President of AvalonBay Communities Jon Vogel. “Our investment in Avalon Harrison and the Harrison Metro-North Station will hopefully serve as a model for how to revitalize downtowns with an integrated mix of new apartment homes, neighborhood retail, remote work offices, and public open space, all in a way that reduces our reliance on cars to the benefit of the environment and the broader community."
“The completion of this parking garage allows riders to enjoy a smoother commuter experience,” said Rhonda Herman, MTA Board Member representing Westchester County. “Projects such as these make a difference in the lives of the people who use public transportation. This new garage will provide the parking resources we need as we see more riders return to the system now and in the future.”
“It’s hard to believe that when I attended the groundbreaking on June 5, 2019, that a little over two years later this garage would ready for our customers,” said Randy Glucksman, Chair of the Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council and MTA Board Member. “Providing more parking is providing an incentive for people to take the train, getting riders back onboard instead of behind the wheel for their commutes. This is another important step in our region’s recovery. Thanks to all who made this happen.”
“Making it easier for Metro-North riders to take the train is important for our region's recovery,” said Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA. “This project is another great example of the MTA working in partnership with communities to get things done. The timing of the Harrison garage opening is perfect as the Railroad ramps up service next week to accommodate more commuters.”
Once the entire development is complete, the station will have improved pedestrian flow with direct access to the train platform, an enhanced station environment with retail shops along the frontage of Halstead Avenue and in the two plazas and connecting courtyard being built in the second phase.
The full TOD project will come at no capital cost to the MTA. The Authority leveraged its ownership of the property to work with the Town of Harrison to develop a TOD that included enhanced parking, housing and retail spaces. AvalonBay Communities, Inc was selected as the developer for the project after a competitive RFP process in 2011. Negotiations between the MTA, Avalon, and the Town of Harrison led to a Joint Development Agreement that was executed in 2015 and a Land Disposition and Development Agreement executed in 2019 after approvals by the Town of Harrison and the MTA Board.
Designs for the project were vetted by the MTA and Town of Harrison, and completed in 2018. Developers broke ground on the site on April 15, 2019, building on existing MTA property. The entire TOD project is scheduled to be completed by 2023.
About the MTA’s TOD Program
Through its Transit-Oriented Development team, the MTA collaborates with property owners and municipalities across the region to promote development around transit stations that increase accessibility, and provide housing, retail shops, office and public improvements. The success of Harrison is being followed by other TOD development projects, at Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road which are being done in conformance with recently enacted municipal re-zonings.
Once complete, the Harrison TOD will be a transformative project for the station and the central business district of Harrison and is a three way win for the partnership. On the public sector side, MTA will have Improved station access (increased parking, improved pedestrian flow with direct access to the outbound platform from the garage); an enhanced station environment with retail shops along the frontage of Halstead avenue and in the plazas/courtyard; and increased residential density within walking distance to the station for potential ridership increases; all while avoiding any capital cost. The Town of Harrison benefits with a potential economic catalyst for the central business district and tax revenues from property that was previously public owned. Avalon Bay Communities now has a showcase TOD along Metro-North’s New Haven Line which has Metro-North’s highest ridership.
The MTA is currently working with the Village of Westbury to bring a mixed use residential development on the LIRR-owned commuter parking lot south of the Westbury Station following multi-billion dollar MTA investments in LIRR. The Authority continues to work with communities that have committed to improve and activate their station areas by rezoning to allow greater density and mixed uses.