Feb
18

Years late, REBNY throws support behind 7 station

By

The fourth post in Second Ave. Sagas’ history arrived on November 29, 2006. In it, I reported the news that the planned station along the 7 line extension at 41st St. and 10th Ave. might be axed due to rising costs. It was the first we heard of any change in the city’s plans, and over the next few years, the MTA and New York City engaged in some good old fashioned political wrangling. Even Sen. Chuck Schumer threw his hat into the ring. After the MTA shot down a proposal from the city to go 50/50 on the station, the two officially killed the planned stop on September 19, 2008, a good 17 months ago.

In the intervening months, I’ve checked in on the progress underneath 11th Ave. as the tunnel boring machine slowly makes it way toward Times Square. I’ve written extensively on the need for a stop at 41st. and 10th and the folly of building the extension without even a shell of a station. Transit advocates and those plugged into the urban planning community understand the need for the station now and if that’s not feasible, then at least provisions for a shell. Building nothing now would ensure nothing in the future because the costs will be just too high.

Yet, until just last week, we had few vocal allies in this fight. The people who needed the station and stood to benefit most — the real estate owners in Hell’s Kitchen and the residents there — were silent until last week when Mary Anne Tighe, the head of the Real Estate Board of New York City, spoke out in favor of the stop. Now, suddenly realizing that this station won’t exist, Tighe and REBNY are preparing to throw their weight behind a public campaign to urge the city to build something at 41st and 10th Ave. Where were they two years ago?

Charles V. Bagli profiled their efforts in The Times yesterday. The group has launched a new website/online petition called Build the Station and hope to use the same lobbying prowess that resulted in the federal government’s decision to move the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed trial in this subway oriented effort. “We think it should have two stops,” Steven Spinola, president of REBNY, said. “There is substantial growth already taking place near 10th and 41st. For them to quietly let the station evaporate, without anyone telling anybody, is a mistake.”

Based on Bagli’s story, REBNY is going to push the feds for money to fund this station, but it sounds as though REBNY is nearly too late to make a difference:

The station’s status is not exactly news, however. City and transit authority officials say that the station was eliminated from the plans more than two years ago, and it was not a secret. There were newspaper articles and protests by elected officials, including Senator Charles E. Schumer and Representative Jerrold Nadler. The city and the authority did retain an “option” with its construction contractor to build the second station, but that expired in September 2008.

For now, the plan is to continue to cut a tunnel from 34th and 11th to the current No. 7 terminus at Times Square. The tunnel will pass by 41st and 10th, where the second station was to be built…

Mr. Spinola said developers like Joseph Moinian and Larry Silverstein and tenants in some of the new towers on 42nd Street had long understood that the station would be built. The board, in fact, is so eager to see plans for it resurrected in these financially trying times that it says local landlords may be willing to provide some cash, say $50 million of the $800 million cost.

As Bagli notes, unsurprisingly, some developers care more about this station than others, and Related, the company trying to purchase the land rights atop the Hudson Yards, just wants its promised stop at 34th St. and 11th Ave. completed.

Many have long urged real estate developers to get involved, and the idea that those who stand to benefit the most should pay for some of the infrastructure improvements is not a new one in the public discourse. It has, however, often been met with contempt by landowners who don’t want to pay for improvements that won’t be realized for years down the road. If REBNY can truly convince someone, anyone, to fund this station, it would be a minor miracle. But then again, if the Moynihan Station can draw in $267 million for a bunch of staircases, why can’t this station, one in the path of oncoming construction and trains, get the money?

The city, of course, remained as obstinate as ever. “A 10th Avenue station might sound nice,” a spokesman for the mayor said to Bagli, “but the MTA and state budget problems are well known, and the city is in no position to step in to pay for that, too.”



Categories : 7 Line Extension

36 Responses to “Years late, REBNY throws support behind 7 station”

  1. Dave says:

    If folks in NYC were dumb enough to elect Bloomberg and the other fools in this state government, then you have no one to blame but yourselves.

  2. Mike says:

    Nonsensical comments about Bloomberg. He’s the one who’s responsible for the line being built at all. True, there isn’t enough money for both stations, but without Bloomberg we wouldn’t be getting either one.

    • Mike says:

      Without that station this line that your hero Bloomberg is responsible for is a HUGE WASTE of money!!!

      • Who’s saying Bloomberg’s a hero here besides you? We all know he’s to blame for both this extension and this debacle at 41st. He pushed this extension as part of first his Olympics plan and later a land deal. It doesn’t look considering the priorities of other projects. Don’t worry. We all know.

      • Jonathan D. says:

        Sure, huge waste of money, because this didn’t happen when the 7 was built the other direction. Also, budget this, that, the other thing. Get this. Construction costs will never be cheaper than they are now either, and we could use the jobs. This would be a quick and easy way to create some.

  3. Scott E says:

    Honestly, it’s too little, too late. I’d love to see the station built, but now — when the budget is at its worst in years — is really not the time to lobby for it.

  4. Think twice says:

    Maybe this is how subway stations should be built in this city from now on. You build a long long tunnel from one major terminus to another and have the neighborhoods above self-evaluate out over whether and where extra stations should be built. Actually have them take ownership, responsibility, and pride in these stations rather than see them as a tax-payer-funded given that they can complain about later.

    • The problem with that approach though is that no neighborhood would ever agree to pick up the $500 million or $800 million tab that it costs to build a station. I’m sure the people around Hell’s Kitchen and west in the 40s would love that station, but how are they going to pay for it? The costs are immense.

      • Kid Twist says:

        Bake sale.

      • Think twice says:

        Not pay outright, if at all, but fight, lobby, rally, petition, organize, blog, maybe even fundraise as Kid Twist alluded to. It could pay dividends in getting more community cooperation with the city and a willingness to sacrifice during actual construction in order to get better transit. West Midtown’s problem was—just as you wrote—that they should have done this a long, long time ago.

      • Christopher says:

        I don’t buy that the land owners can’t get this station built. As I’ve said before, the new Silver Line going to Dulles is being paid through from a special taxing district. In fact, one reason it’s not going all the way to Dulles in Phase 1 is debate among landowners on what the boundaries for any additional taxing district is. A train that was originally proposed just to go directly to Dulles will now detour through Northern Virginia’s largest office and retail area — all because the landowners pushed it and found a way to pay for it.

        Similarly, a new station was built at New York Avenue on Metro’s Red Line, paid for by the landowners. In the last 6 years, that area has gone from under utilized warehouses to a major new office and housing location — paid for by the landowners themselves.

        This is not a ridiculous idea, the 7 train extension was a good idea. And Bloomberg is right to push for it, but the funding is all wrong. It should be at least partially paid for by the landowners.

  5. Josh says:

    “We think it should have two stops,” Steven Spinola, president of REBNY, said. “There is substantial growth already taking place near 10th and 41st. For them to quietly let the station evaporate, without anyone telling anybody, is a mistake.”

    What do you mean “without anyone telling anybody”? You would’ve known about this two years ago if you’d been paying attention.

  6. Skip Skipson says:

    In my opinion, REBNY assumed that the city was going to build this station no matter what….then they finally ‘paid attention’ that the city wasn’t going to pay for the station…I signed the petition and I don’t think it will do any good.

    While we are at can REBNY campaign for the 7 line to be extended using the formerly abandoned 10th ave/HighLine. Perhaps an elevated line will increase property values in the meatpacking district…

    • The ship has long since sailed on using the high line for an aboveground subway route. First, the elevated part of the highligh in the meatpacking district is now a park. Second, the tunnel boring machine is nearly at 42nd St. Third, the costs of retrofitting the High Line to accommodate subway infrastructure and appropriately sized stations would be an immense one. As interesting an idea as it is, that’s never going to happen.

  7. Zev says:

    $500M for a station…so how much is it for a shell of a station? Is there any way to build anything less than a shell of a station that could one day be expanded upon? Anyone know what exactly are the precise difficulties/costs with building this station later instead of now?

  8. kvnbklyn says:

    I think you’re missing the most important piece of info in the article: “The second station would be on land at 41st Street and 10th Avenue where Related Companies is erecting a large residential tower. “I’m not slowing my building down for it,” said Related’s chief executive, Stephen M. Ross.”

    Even if money were found tomorrow, the station could not be built as originally designed since the building that was supposed to have the subway entrance integrated into it is now under construction without a subway entrance. Construction photos of the building in question: http://bit.ly/dCYlZc

    • Christopher says:

      Of course he should never have been able to get building permits to build something that didn’t have a space for a future subway entrance. A new building went up in the Balston Gateway section of Arlington, VA with a space for a future a subway entrance. Although there isn’t currently funding for building that entrance and expanding the station, it’s part of the long-term plan for the area and so the building is required to make room for it.

      It’s like no one wants to make long term plans or be prepared for future growth and needs. God forbid anyone tell Stephen M. Ross how he should build his building. (Construction photos looks he’s built miles of parking into the building. Good of had more leasable floors and less or no parking for the cost of building the the station…)

  9. Mike G says:

    If they took the money from the useless Monynihan Station and Vision42 (a project almost obsolete if the 10th avenue station is built and a connection to 2nd Avenue is ever built), they’d be more than halfway there with the funds tomorrow…

    • What does Vision 42 have to do with it? That’s an advocacy project calling for a streetcar along 42nd St. It’s not funded by the city and isn’t related to the city at all.

      Moynihan Station, yes. Vision 42, not related.

    • Joe says:

      There isn’t any public money invested in Vision42, is there?

    • Russell Warshay says:

      How about the $91 million that Russianoff Plan would have reallocated to operational costs? If that $91 million (yeah, a lot more would still be needed, but this is a real start) can be moved around, I’d rather live with reduced service for a few years knowing that the 41/10 station will get built.

      • That $91 million doesn’t need to be moved around. It’s a stimulus grant of capital funds. It just needs to be allocated by the MTA to the right project. That still leaves the project approximately $400-$700 million short depending upon the estimate, but it’s a start.

        • Russell Warshay says:

          Do you know how much of the stimulus grant is already allocated? There could be a station lurking in those funds.

  10. paulb says:

    The correct analysis is so obvious, I’m sure someone must have thought of it, and I just haven’t seen it before: It’s not building the subway tunnels that’s so expensive, it’s the darned stations that break us! The city would save a tremendous amount of OUR money, in these tough times, just eliminating the stations from the 7 extension and the SAS. Then we’ll have our new subways, at a price we can afford. New subway = happy transit advocates; no stations = huge savings. Compromises like this will restore consensus politics and put the country, or at least the city, back on the right governing track, so to speak.

    • Jerrold says:

      Your comment IS intended to be satirical, right?
      For a moment I was thinking that you were insane.

    • Christopher says:

      Maybe there’s something to this. Maybe the city should pay for tracks and tunnels and the stations and entrances should be based on TIF-funding. Split up the capital outlay. A specifically NY subway version of public-private partnerships.

  11. Peter says:

    I’m not optimistic, but better late than never. At the end of the day, the Moynihan station is essentially a cosmetic thing. Subway service to an area where there is none is a game-changer.

    Conversely, no subway service almost always condemns an area to second-class economic status.

    Peter
    Inklake

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] Any Olympics plan for the city included heavy usage of the Far West Side. The Javits Center would have hosted six key events, including weightlifting, fencing, wrestling and table tennis, and the planned West Side stadium would have featured some track-and-field contests and the soccer matches. To ensure capacity for those events, the city would have needed a subway stop at 34th St. and 11th Ave. and probably would have paid to build the one at 41st and 10th as well. Instead, the costs skyrocketed, and we’re left with REBNY’s protests, years too late. [...]

  2. [...] project, but now the real estate board — which announced its support for this second station in February — calls the no-build plan a “terrible, terrible [...]

  3. [...] Any Olympics plan for the city included heavy usage of the Far West Side. The Javits Center would have hosted six key events, including weightlifting, fencing, wrestling and table tennis, and the planned West Side stadium would have featured some track-and-field contests and the soccer matches. To ensure capacity for those events, the city would have needed a subway stop at 34th St. and 11th Ave. and probably would have paid to build the one at 41st and 10th as well. Instead, the costs skyrocketed, and we’re left with REBNY’s protests, years too late. [...]

  4. […] the pace of development, but REBNY never seems to be out in front of key issues. For instance, they supported a station at 41st and 10th Ave. on the 7 line extension years too late, and their website devoted to the cause is no longer up and […]

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