On any given day, more people pass through Shinjuku Station than any other station in Tokyo, and you could replace “Tokyo” with “the world” and that statement would still be true. Because of that, the station is a familiar site to Tokyoites and travelers, but change is coming as large-scale renovations to the areas adjacent to the station are now underway.
Urban development tends to radiate out in circular patterns from Japanese cities’ major rail hubs, and a huge number of offices, shops, and restaurants can be found within a quick walk from Shinjuku Station. At least it should be quick, in terms of distance, but congestion in pedestrian spaces has become an increasing problem. To alleviate the situation, on Thursday construction work began for the remodeling of the plazas outside Shinjuku’s West and East entrance/exits, which will be made more open and spacious in order to keep foot traffic flowing in a more open, less stressful layout.
▼ Artist’s rendition of the new West Entrance plaza
▼ New East Entrance plaza
The construction will also seek to address another problem with the current layout, which is a lack of paths by which to cross from the west side of the tracks to the east, or vice-versa, without passing through the ticket gates. The solution: a new pedestrian deck above the tracks, which can be used without having to buy a ticket.
▼ The location of the deck, shown in blue, sits between the current paths that require circling around the southern or northern end of Shinjuku Station.
The construction project is officially titled the Tokyo Municipal Project Plan for Shinjuku Station Proximity District Land Readjustment Project, and no, it doesn’t roll off the tongue any more eloquently in Japanese, where it’s Tokyotoshi Keikaku Jigyo Shinjukueki Chokkin Chiku Tochi Kukaku Seiri Jigyo.
However, if you’ve got sentimental feelings for the Shinjuku Station you remember from your last time there, don’t worry, because you’ve still got plenty of time to say goodbye. While construction has begun, the planners aren’t projecting partial completion until 2035, and the target for the whole thing to be finished is even farther off, in 2047. Specifically, everything is scheduled to wrap up on March 31, 2047, though that’s probably because the Japanese fiscal year finishes at the end of March, not because some poor guy had to figure out work schedules for every day of the next two-and-a-half decades.
No specific reason has been given for the lengthy timeline, but it seems like the most likely explanation would be the project’s size (10.1 hectares), the complications of work going on concurrently with normal operation at the world’s busiest train station, or maybe just all the time it’s going to take to write out Tokyo Municipal Project Plan for Shinjuku Station Proximity District Land Readjustment Project at each construction site.
Source: Tokyo Metropolitan Government via Impress Watch via Otakomu
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