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Thread: Second Avenue Subway Project

  1. #61


    Quote Originally Posted by ube
    I know this had been said before, and because of cost it would be ludicrous at this juncture, but lets big dig the FDR !!!!!
    Yeah! And the Gowanus! And the Cross-Bronx!

  2. #62
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    West Harlem


    The Gowanus is being considered for tunneling...

  3. #63


    Because they can't shut down the Gowanus and divert traffic to the streets, or build a new one parallel, a rebuild of the elevated would have to be constructed a lane at a time. A tunnel is being seriously considered because it may actually be cheaper and faster to build.

    And it has community support.

    Third Ave minus the Gowanus would be one of the widest streets in Brooklyn.

  4. #64
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    West Harlem


    And maybe catalyze revitalization of the area, and I don't mean the Loews finishing up. It's more a degradation.

  5. #65
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    New York City


    Quote Originally Posted by TLOZ Link5
    That's not entirely true that the subway station hasn't been expanded in years. The most recent expansions was in 1988, when the E, J and Z (I think) were extended to Archer Avenue; and 1989, when the 63rd Street extension was finished. Of course, there was also the reopening of the Franklin Avenue subway in 1999, as well as the addition of the AirTrain.
    Not anything major like the SAS. "Over the last 60 years, for a host of reasons, almost nothing significant has been done to expand the city's transit system."


  6. #66
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    New York City


    So is there literally no hope for the subway to LaGuardia?

  7. #67
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    Jackson Heights


    The Line That Time Forgot

    They call the Second Avenue subway the greatest New York project never built. They may have to think of a new name.

    By Greg Sargent

    Beloved, believed in, glimpsed fleetingly only to disappear again for decades, the Second Avenue subway has long seemed to be New York City’s version of the Loch Ness monster. The plan has been on the drawing board since the year Babe Ruth hit his first home run for the Yankees—that is to say, since 1920, when it was envisioned as part of a massive subway expansion that brought us the IND, the trains that now run under Sixth and Eighth avenues. But the Second Avenue subway was derailed by the Great Depression, and despite a string of vigorous efforts, the plan just never got back on track.

    That, however, may be about to change. The Second Avenue subway is surfacing again, and this time the vision of a new line just may finally be realized.

    The project is suddenly enjoying a perfect storm of favorable circumstances. Peter Kalikow, the MTA’s chairman, is committed to expanding the system in a way not seen since—well, not since Babe Ruth hit his first home run for the Yankees. Some of the money is already secured: The MTA has a quarter of the $4 billion or so it needs to launch the first leg. Meanwhile, federal officials are bullish on the plan, partly as a result of lobbying by Kalikow, a major GOP fund-raiser, and many believe the federal government will soon commit to paying at least a third of the first portion’s price tag.

    Finally, a big political obstacle has been removed: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose district is on the Lower East Side, is telling colleagues that he’s ready to support the plan even if the MTA decides to begin uptown. “I am flexible on doing stages as long as there’s the understanding that we’ll ultimately do a full build,” he says.

    Sure, hurdles remain—it has to clear a final environmental review, and state and federal officials have to actually come up with the money, not just talk about it. But with Silver and Kalikow squarely behind the project, and consensus emerging among pols and civic groups (the Straphangers Campaign, the Regional Plan Association) on how and where to start it, the Second Avenue subway may be closer to reality than at just about any time during its tortured 84-year history.

    “We can really build it in our lifetime,” says Mysore Nagaraja, the MTA’s chief engineer charged with overseeing construction. Nagaraja, a slight, bespectacled man with the calming presence of a pediatrician, often hears colleagues joke that he should take a long look at the sun now, because he may spend the next decade or so underground. “You may have a dream, but is it realistic?” Nagaraja wonders aloud. “This is realistic. It’s really buildable.”

    With luck, and a last-minute burst of political will, the MTA could break ground as early as next year on the biggest subway expansion in 60 years.

    If you want to know why the dream of a Second Avenue subway line has endured, take a ride on the 4 train at 8:30 a.m. on a workday. If MTA rush-hour stats are to be believed, you’ll be sharing a train car with around 180 commuters. While on the West Side there are two and sometimes more lines, on the East Side, the Lexington Avenue line has borne the burden alone since the Third Avenue El came down in the mid-fifties. On any given weekday, the Lex carries 1.5 million passengers, more daily riders than the metro systems in Washington, D.C., Boston, and Chicago—combined.

    The Second Avenue subway would change that. The northern terminus would be at 125th Street and Lexington Avenue, allowing proximity to Metro-North, with its connections to Westchester. After traveling down Second Avenue, the line would fork at 65th Street. One line would curve west, to the F-train station at 63rd and Lexington, where it would join an already built tunnel linking to the Broadway N and R lines. The main stem, meanwhile, would continue down Second Avenue to the financial district. The cost of the entire project (which wouldn’t be complete till 2020) would be more than $17 billion, requiring construction of 16 new stations, as well as 28 sophisticated new trains that can travel closer together, thus easing congestion even further.

    The MTA wants to build the line—which would ultimately be 8.5 miles long—in small, financially realistic stages. Although the MTA is considering other options, the first portion would likely start at 96th down to the 63rd Street station, where it would join the rest of the system.

    The first leg will likely require the drilling of a shaft some seven stories deep into Manhattan at 96th Street and Second Avenue. Then a monstrous tunnel-boring machine—nicknamed “the Mole” by tunnel pros—would be lowered to the bottom. The Mole will inch forward, its spinning blades dislodging chunks of prehistoric bedrock—1.5 million cubic yards of it in phase one—after which the tunnel will be shored up with concrete lining.

    The Mole is a technological breakthrough. It enables tunneling to go on far beneath the surface with little impact aboveground, unlike the old “cut and cover” technique, which tore up streets. “We can tunnel without disturbing buildings,” says Nagaraja. “People in the buildings won’t even feel it.”

    That’s not to say there won’t be any serious disruptions. The drilling of the shaft would close a lane or two on Second Avenue in the Nineties. And then there are the new stations, which would be built inside existing buildings—not on sidewalks—meaning major problems for those who live or work in those structures. Whole shops are likely to vanish. You might want to drop by for a last look at the Food Emporium supermarket at 86th Street, or the Falk Drug and Surgical Supply store, at 72nd. They’ll likely be gone in a few years, condemned and replaced by state-of-the-art subway entrances. “It’s not a good feeling to think you have to leave the place you’ve been in for 50 years,” says Perry Falk, the drugstore owner. “This has been our home forever.”

    And yet there appears to be little organized resistance thus far. “The subway is something that the overwhelming majority of East Siders want,” says Charles Warren, chairman of the Upper East Side’s Community Board 8. “The opposition we’ve seen so far is really to the location of stations, not to the project as a whole.”

    The slow, fitful progress of the Second Avenue subway began on an early spring afternoon in 1925, in a park in Harlem, when New York’s mayor, a pasty-faced pol named John Hylan, raised a silver pickax above his head and plunged it into the sod beneath his feet.

    He was breaking ground on phase one of a massive new IND subway system that would allow the city to tear down those nineteenth-century relics—elevated tracks—that blocked out sunlight from Manhattan’s major thoroughfares. The Second Avenue line would be phase two of this grand expansion.

    Hylan hoped that his swing of the pickax would strike a great blow on behalf of the city’s people against their oppressors: the private companies that ran the IRT and what would become the BMT. Hylan called them “grasping transportation monopolies,” because they refused to risk profits expanding into new residential frontiers. The IND—the first municipally owned line—would challenge their hegemony.

    Phase one was built during the mid-thirties, but cost overruns and the Great Depression postponed phase two. In 1941, the hated Second Avenue El was torn down, leading residents of Yorkville to parade in the streets. A new underground line couldn’t be far behind, it seemed—but World War II suspended all construction.

    The Second Avenue subway landed on the front page of the Times in 1950 when Democrat Ferdinand Pecora made it an issue in his mayoral run. He lost, but subway overcrowding remained a popular fixation, and a year later, New Yorkers approved $500 million in government bonds for the project. Officials quietly spent most of the half-billion dollars on repairs. When news leaked that the money was gone and there was still no subway, a furor erupted. “It is highly improbable that the Second Avenue subway will ever materialize,” the Times lamented.

    A decade later, with conditions on the Lex already intolerable, two men relaunched the project: Nelson Rockefeller and MTA chairman William Ronan, a self-styled Moses-like master builder. In 1972, Rockefeller, Ronan, Mayor John Lindsay, and a young congressman named Ed Koch journeyed to 102nd Street to break ground.

    As reporters scribbled, Lindsay drily noted that in the twenties, “some people suggested a transit facility along Second Avenue. And it was such a good idea that I decided to follow up on it immediately.” The pols took their swings with a pickax—but in an uncanny piece of symbolism, none could dent the pavement. A worker with a power rig was called in to break the concrete.

    To be sure, workers did build three segments of tunnel—between 99th and 105th streets, between 110th and 120th, and another downtown. But then the seventies fiscal crisis shelved the project yet again, and by the eighties, the MTA was running newspaper ads offering to rent the tunnels to private companies. “I remember being asked by a magazine, ‘What should we do with the excavations?’ ” Koch says. “I proposed growing mushrooms in them. Mushrooms need a dark interior.”

    This legacy of failure has meant that New York, a city that prizes all things new and current, has a transit system that was last expanded around the time Paris fell to the Nazis. “The list of new mass-transit projects built in other world cities in recent decades is incredible,” says New York subway historian Clifton Hood. “But here, we’re still riding around on a system built by our great-grandparents.”

    For the first time since Rockefeller and Ronan, the Second Avenue subway has two powerful patrons on the state level: Assembly Speaker Silver and MTA chairman Kalikow, a real-estate magnate who’s spent a career building big projects.

    Silver has been widely hailed as a Second Avenue subway hero since 1999, the last time the MTA passed a five-year capital plan, when he threatened to block a host of big state projects unless funds for the line were included. The MTA put $1 billion in its budget—a substantial sum still waiting to be spent. Silver’s leverage is again at a maximum, because the MTA this winter will pass its next five-year plan, and Governor George Pataki wants to please his suburban base by funding East Side Access, a tunnel linking the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal. That gives Silver a chance to play let’s-make-a-deal with Pataki and, if necessary, do what he did last time: hold up other big projects—like East Side Access—to win another burst of state funds.

    Kalikow, meanwhile, is the first MTA chairman in a generation who badly wants the project to happen; his recent predecessors were too busy rescuing the system from crime, graffiti, decay, and declining ridership. He has been aggressively lobbying (and throwing private fund-raisers for) U.S. senators like Richard Shelby and Patty Murray, who wield influence over transportation funds. Kalikow is engaged in other intricate behind-the-scenes politicking: He’s told colleagues that he may try to use $600 million in funds already earmarked for a train to La Guardia airport (a plan with an uncertain future) for the Second Avenue subway. That may lead to a clash with City Hall, which is likely to want the cash for extending the 7 line west.

    There are reasons to be optimistic about the Feds. In a barely noticed development in February, the Federal Transit Administration put the plan on its short list of projects being considered for funding. That’s a big deal, because FTA money comes from a pot of federal dough separate from funds overseen by Republicans who are trying to rejigger transit funding to shaft the city. FTA bucks are less captive to partisan wrangling and actually tend to be doled out to projects based on the merits. The FTA likes the Second Avenue subway because it would serve more than 500,000 and has broad support among New York pols.

    Kalikow vows that FTA funds are all but secured for the first leg. “I’m completely confident we will have funding from the federal government by the end of the year,” Kalikow says. If the FTA chips in at least $1.2 billion, and Silver secures another $1 billion, the MTA, with $1 billion already on hand, will be in striking distance.

    “If the stars aren’t already aligned right now, they’re pretty damn close,” says Elliot Sander, a senior VP at DMJM+Harris, which would help build the first part.

    The Second Avenue subway has its share of high-powered skeptics, to be sure. Michael Bloomberg, for instance, seems far more interested in the 7 line. And the Partnership for New York City, a group of 200 top CEOs, recently slammed the plan, arguing that the new line’s economic benefits didn’t justify its enormous cost.

    “Outside of another politically untenable fare increase,” says Partnership CEO Kathryn Wylde, “the business community does not see where the money will come from to pay for the state’s share of projects such as the Second Avenue subway.”

    Silver and Kalikow beg to differ.

    The Second Avenue subway would alter life in East Side neighborhoods from Harlem down to Alphabet City. Residents would, for the first time, be spared the notorious trek to the Lex line that is known to real-estate brokers as “the walk.” As Regional Plan Association president Robert Yaro points out, the new subway would also grow the so-called hospital corridor—the big medical institutions along Second Avenue in the Twenties that are driving the city’s health-care industry.

    It would transform the real-estate market. Pamela Liebman, CEO of the Corcoran Group, predicts it would produce an immediate jump of at least 10 percent in the value of apartments east of Second Avenue from the Nineties down to the Lower East Side. “It would open up the possibility of more luxury housing east of Second Avenue,” Liebman says. “It would stimulate commercial development the whole length of Second Avenue, bringing in a whole new wave of support services.”

    Subway construction has often brought gentrification in its wake—the Sixth Avenue line sparked the long-term transformation of a low-slung working-class neighborhood into a wall of office towers—and the Second Avenue line would offer its own twist on the phenomenon. It would further inflate land values in upper-class Manhattan neighborhoods (notwithstanding the grumbling you occasionally hear in the luxe enclave of East End Avenue that the new line would bring in the sort of people current residents moved there to get away from). While some might find themselves priced out of Manhattan as a result, the new line could also stimulate economic development in low-income neighborhoods like Harlem and spur economic expansion in ways that, in the long run, might lift the whole city.

    Just as the subways built from 1900 to 1940 shaped the city’s growth through the twentieth century, so a Second Avenue line built now, at the outset of the 21st, could help drive the city’s growth for the next hundred years. The city’s future could hinge on its ability to move people into its ever-expanding business district, and eventually, the Second Avenue line could even revert to its original purpose: a trunk line for a whole new train system. Some planners, thinking deep into the future, envision it as a jumping-off point for subways into neighborhoods in the eastern Bronx and possibly in central Brooklyn—the neighborhoods that could absorb the workforce of the future.

    One person who’s thrilled by that prospect is Nagaraja, who’s looking to earn his place in the pantheon of great subway builders. At a celebration of the subway’s centennial, he found himself entranced by a large picture of William Parsons, builder of the first subway line. “One of the people who was with me commented that when they celebrate 200 years of subways, instead of Parsons’s picture, there will be your picture,” Nagaraja says, without a trace of irony. “I feel very proud of that.”

  8. #68


    The Second Avenue subway is surfacing again
    Wouldn't that make it an El? :wink:

  9. #69


    New York Daily News -

    2nd Ave. stubway for now


    Sunday, April 11th, 2004

    Transportation honchos plan to kick off the Second Ave. subway with a miniline that runs from 96th to 72nd Sts. and then shoots over to Broadway to bring passengers downtown, the Daily News has learned.

    The project could be ready in as few as seven years.

    "It makes the most sense," Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Peter Kalikow told the Daily News. "When you are done with that, you have an operating segment that ties into other lines and gives great service over to Times Square and downtown."

    Construction could start late this year on the first leg of the long-awaited project.

    New stations would be built along Second Ave. at 96th, 86th and 72nd Sts. The line would then curve west - stopping at the 63rd St. and Lexington Ave. F line station, then run downtown along the existing Broadway tunnel.

    The plan is included in documents submitted to the Federal Transit Administration. The proposal is expected to be released in the coming weeks, when the public can comment.

    Officials have told the MTA it would be easier to get federal cash if the agency built the Second Ave. subway in segments so at least some service will be up and running.

    The first segment would attract about 200,000 daily riders and bring much-needed relief to the overcrowded Lexington Ave. line, officials have said.

    The next three segments would extend the line from 125th St. to Hanover Square. The entire project will cost about $17 billion and be completed around 2020.

    The first part of the project will make life more difficult along the avenue before it makes it better.

    There will be lane closures, construction noise and truck traffic. Some businesses and residents will be displaced, either temporarily or permanently, as station entrances would be inside buildings instead of on sidewalks.

    "It's going to be a headache with the noise and people running around doing construction," said Philip Roman, an optician at E. 72nd St. and Second Ave.

    There is a lot of uncertainty along the avenue, said Francesca Macaraaron, manager of Penang Restaurant at Second Ave. and E. 83rd St., which has an outdoor cafe.

    "We may lose a whole season of the cafe and quite possibly the entire restaurant," Macaraaron said. "Quite frankly, we are concerned."

    But Charles Warren, an area resident and Community Board 8 chairman, said, in general, the board and many East Siders believe the new line is desperately needed and, after some pain, will benefit the entire city.

  10. #70


    April 27, 2004

    M.T.A. Expected to Ask for Proposals to Build First Stage of 2nd Ave. Subway


    The long-awaited Second Avenue subway is expected to clear another important milestone tomorrow, when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's board approves the issuance of a request for proposals for building the project's first segment, from 96th Street to 63rd Street.

    The approval would pave the way for a contractor to start work by December, although financing for the project has still not been finalized.

    It is the financing - $3.8 billion for the first phase alone, and $16.8 billion for the project's full length, from East Harlem to Lower Manhattan - that supporters have been fretting over. An array of major transit projects are vying right now for limited city, state and federal funds. Their fates will be largely decided in the coming year, after state lawmakers approve the transportation authority's next capital program and the federal government weighs in how much money it will contribute.

    But if the transportation authority wants to stay on schedule - officials are hoping to have the first phase ready for riders by 2011 - the board needs to approve the issuing of the request for proposals at its monthly meeting tomorrow, Mysore Nagaraja, president of the authority's Capital Construction Company, told a group of board members during a meeting of the board's Capital Construction Committee yesterday before the committee approved the issuance of the request. It now heads to the full board for its approval, usually a formality.

    The Federal Transit Administration, which evaluates mass transit construction projects, is expected to announce its full support for the project next month with what is known as a record of decision, essentially the green light for a construction project to begin securing federal financing. Once that happens, transit officials said, the request for proposals can be sent out immediately.

    The awarding of the contract, however, will be contingent on the transportation authority's lining up the financing it needs.

    The planning phase of the project is essentially over, William M. Wheeler, the director of special project development and planning at the M.T.A., said yesterday. The Federal Transit Administration signed off earlier this month on the authority's final environment impact statement, which outlines plans for four construction phases over 16 years. The next step is to actually begin designing and building the first segment.

    If completed, the Second Avenue subway, expected to carry 560,000 riders a day, would offer two lines of service, one down Second Avenue from 125th Street to Hanover Square, and the other connecting to the F line at 63rd Street, continuing on to the Broadway lines and eventually to Brooklyn.

    Planners selected the 63rd-to-96th Street segment to be built first because it would benefit the most riders right away - 202,000 the day the line opens, Mr. Nagaraja said. The section of the Lexington Avenue line from 86th Street to Grand Central Terminal is the most overburdened right now. The first phase of the Second Avenue line would include new stations at 96th, 86th and 72nd Streets, and a connector to the 63rd Street station on the F line. It would also tie into the existing track for the Q line and allow a ride on to Brooklyn without having to change trains.

    Building this section first would also allow the transportation authority to take advantage of tunnel segments for the Second Avenue subway that were built in the 1970's between 96th and 105th Streets, only to see their financing dry up. Those sections are in good condition, Mr. Nagaraja said, and would be used by the transportation authority to store trains at the northern end of the line.

    Of the $3.8 billion needed for the first phase, $1.05 billion has already been allocated as part of the transportation authority's 2000-04 capital plan, and the federal government has committed $9 million. The remaining $2.8 billion, however, will have to come from the next capital program and the federal government. The draft of the next capital program will not be available until July and must then go to Albany in October for approval.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  11. #71
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    Garden City, LI


    NY Post...

    April 27, 2004 -- Here's a sneak peek at what the Second Avenue subway will look like as the dream finally gets on track to becoming a reality.
    The new T line will feature sleek, brightly lit stations equipped with climate-control ventilation and built with no columns along the platform, officials said yesterday.

    "These will be 21st century stations," said Mysore Nagaraja, president of the MTA's Capital Construction Co. "There will be no columns, which will provide for better circulation of riders" on and off trains.

    The two-track line will be built in "four phases" starting with a stretch along the Upper East Side that will allow for direct trips to Brooklyn.

    The first phase of the 8.5-mile line will start at 96th Street - with stops at 86th, 72nd and 63rd streets - and veer west to 63rd Street/Lexington Avenue, where it will connect to the existing Broadway line.

    The opening segment will ease overcrowding on the 4, 5 and 6 Lexington Avenue lines and attract an estimated 202,000 daily riders.

    "The first section that we build will serve the most riders," Nagaraja said. "When we build this project, the people will already be there."

    The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said construction would start at the end of this year.

    The full-length line, which will run from 125th Street in East Harlem to Hanover Square in lower Manhattan, will cost $16.8 billion and is slated for completion by 2020.

    The second segment - running from 125th Street to 96th Street - will use existing tunnels that were closed during the 1970s after financial problems forced the city to halt the project.

    The third leg will run from 63rd Street to Houston Street, and the final piece will run from Houston Street to Hanover Square.

    The line will also offer connections to the Lexington Avenue line at 125th Street and 42nd Street/Grand Central Station, the L at 14th Street and the B and D at Grand Street.

    The Federal Transit Administration recommended the line be built in stages to make it easier for the MTA to secure funds for the project and enable riders to benefit from it as soon as possible.

    The opening segment will cost $3.8 billion. The MTA has secured $1.8 billion so far from the state and federal government and hopes to get the rest by year's end.

  12. #72
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    Looks like DC's stations...very nice. 2011 seems so far off but this is an exciting project. Too bad there will be no express line but us on the east side will be very happy when it finally gets built.

  13. #73


    Definately very good news.

    I'm wondering what the reasoning is for not slating the 96-125th streets to run until Phase 2? If the tunnels are already there, as the article states, it seems like the hard part is done. They should lay the track and let the gentrification of East Harlem pick up speed. It could help slow the escalation of Manhattan real estate prices

    It also seems TPTB are leaving themselves open to cries of racism (or classism), by making the streets above 96 st a "second priority."

  14. #74
    Architectural Padawan
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    Mar 2004
    Turtle Bay


    They're only building 4 stops from 96th to 63rd St: 96, 86, 72, 63. Extending the line up to 125 will add stops at 106, 116 and 125. By splitting the line here, they are simply halving the initial construction costs, and attacking the line at the area where it's needed most first.

    I'm wondering what the reasoning is for not slating the 96-125th streets to run until Phase 2?

  15. #75


    The 125 to 96 st segment only has connecting service at the northern end. The majority of morning commuters will be travelling south, and there will nothing to transfer to at 96 st.

    The 96 to 63 st segment has connections at the southern end to existing subway service.

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