Second Avenue Subway Reaches Milestone

For all intents & purposes, the first phase of the MTA’s Second Avenue Subway has been a success.  Ridership continues to grow while helping ease the crowding issues that were happening along the Lexington Avenue lines.

Yesterday afternoon, the MTA announced that it had reached a major milestone for phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway which calls for it to be extended north to 125th Street. Here are more details via the press release the agency sent me:

Nov. 19, 2018 (New York, NY) – The MTA announced today that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, issued a “Finding of No Significant Impact” (FONSI) for Phase II of the Second Avenue Subway project, based on review of the Supplemental Environmental Assessment prepared for the project.

This phase of the project will extend the Q Train train line from its current terminus at 96th Street and Second Avenue, north to 125th Street, then west to Lexington and Park Avenues, where it will connect with the 4 Train, 5 Train, and 6 Train trains and the Metro-North Railroad. Three new stations will be built at 106th Street and Second Avenue, 116th Street and Second Avenue, and 125th Street and Lexington Avenue. Tail tracks, where trains will be stored prior to heading back south, will continue west just past Lenox Avenue.

“This is an important milestone that puts us a step closer to providing a long-overdue subway to serve the people of East Harlem,” said MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber. “With the environmental approval in place, we can move into a new phase in the effort to secure Federal funding for this important project.   It’s urgent to build Second Avenue Subway Phase 2 so East Harlem can begin to receive the same benefits Phase 1 has delivered for the Upper East Side.”

“Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway is a transportation option that has been long overdue for the residents and businesses of East Harlem,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “I am delighted that the project is gaining momentum thanks to our collective efforts at the city, state, and federal levels.  I will continue my push in Congress to call for the continuation of support to expand the Second Avenue Subway to secure equitable transportation and accessibility for the residents of East Harlem once and for all.”

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney said: “This finding is a major step forward toward making Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway a reality,” “Phase 2 will make it much easier to commute to and from East Harlem, and to access Metro North and the LaGuardia bus at 125th Street.  We have already seen the extraordinary success of Phase 1, and the MTA must move forward as quickly as possible to build the full-length Second Avenue Subway up to 125th Street and then down to lower Manhattan.”

“For residents of East Harlem, Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway will bring much-needed relief from overcrowded trains and lack of access to the Lexington Avenue line,” said Senator José M. Serrano. “The community has been eagerly anticipating this transportation option, and the FTA’s finding is an important step toward ensuring that those who live and work in the area can benefit from the new line as soon as possible.”

“The first phase of the Second Avenue Subway provided many lessons in partnering with the surrounding community to assure the viability of existing businesses and the quality of life of residents that will be most affected. Today’s finding from the FTA is a positive step forward to ensuring that Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway will receive federal funding. While as a community we will have major disruptions throughout its construction, the Second Avenue Subway will bring transit equity to East Harlem and provide much-needed congestion relief to the 4 Train, 5 Train, and 6 Train lines,” said Assemblymember Robert J. Rodriguez. “We will continue our push to make sure that Phase 2 is included in the MTA’s next capital plan and is funded to its completion.”

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said: “The FTA’s Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), released today, isn’t quite true—it doesn’t mention the positive impacts. Increased city and regional transit access, shortened commutes, and reduced overcrowding on the Lexington Ave Line are all reasons why the Phase II extension of the Second Avenue Subway into East Harlem will have a tremendously positive and significant impact.”

“I am thrilled the MTA will be moving into Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway expansion, which will increase transportation options for East Harlem residents and broaden their access to educational and employment opportunities,” said Council Member Diana Ayala. “I look forward to working alongside my community, the MTA, and all other stakeholders to ensure key community needs are addressed in the rollout of this phase.”

“East Harlem has been in a transit desert for far too long,” Council Member Bill Perkins. “The Second Avenue Subway extension to 125th Street and Lexington Avenue is not a convenience for our residents – it is a necessity. I call on the Federal Government to provide their share of the funding necessary to get this project underway.”

The FONSI was issued after an extensive update of the original Environmental Impact Statement prepared in 2004. The finding means that changes to the design of the project since that time were found to have no additional significant adverse impact on the environment in the construction area.

In connection with the Supplemental Environmental Assessment, the MTA conducted a robust public outreach program, which included numerous meetings with and presentations to Community Boards 11 and 10, elected officials, business and residential groups and other major stakeholders. A 30-day public comment period was conducted, during which the MTA accepted comments on the Assessment and held a meeting on July 31st, where the public had the opportunity to present comments verbally. The public comment period and meeting were advertised in six local newspapers, including Spanish language publications. Responses to all comments are contained in the FONSI.

Phase II of the project will provide a number of benefits for the East Harlem community, much of which sits in a “transit desert” with few public transportation choices. The new service will also stimulate the local economy, create thousands of jobs, cut commute time by up to 20 minutes a day, and further reduce crowding on the Lexington Avenue line. Phase I of the Second Avenue Subway, which began service on January 1, 2017, reduced crowding at parallel stations on the 4 Train, 5 Train, and 6 Train trains by up to 40 percent during the morning rush hour.

The milestone is pretty significant for the much needed completion of the project. Let us hope the agency will be able to get it done in a timely manner as the sooner the better.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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