Bloomberg: 7 extension will run during term ‘if I have to push it myself’By
With just 319 days remaining in the final year of Michael Bloomberg’s third term, the rush is on for the mayor to see his pet projects through. An effort to rezone Midtown East and a ban on toxic, carcinogenic styrofoam containers will be among his final pushes, but the mayor also has his eye on the Far West Side.
In comments this morning, Bloomberg spoke about the looming final 10 and a half months, and it’s clear that he wants to take a ride on the new 7 line extension while still in office.
7 Line extension? @mikebloomberg says “they’ll run a train, if i have to push it myself.”
— Mike Grynbaum (@grynbaum) February 15, 2013
Considering the MTA’s projected timeline, Bloomberg better get those pushing muscles ready. The 7 line extension, once projected for revenue service by December of 2013, is not expected to be in revenue service until mid-2014. Perhaps, as a symbolic gesture for the outgoing mayor, the MTA will be in a position to run a
photo-op train from Times Square to 34th St. and 11th Ave., but I’m not holding my breath.
One may be wondering why the mayor cares so much about the 7 line extension when his record on rail-related transit issues has been spotty at best. The 7 line is a tortured part of his legacy, and he wants to point to the new subway line as an accomplishment of his years in office. Fully funded by the city, the 7 was an integral part of the mayor’s failed efforts to bring a stadium and the 2012 Olympics to the Far West Side. Even once the Olympics bid faltered, the mayor pushed forward with the 7 line as a driver of Manhattan’s last undeveloped frontier.
The project, of course, has not been without controversy. Due to rising costs, a second planned station at 41st St. and 10th Ave. that would have served a rapidly growing area with few current transit options was shelved, and only the barest of provisioning was put in place to ensure a build-out if money ever materializes. If the mayor is going to be so keen to embrace the subway extension, we shouldn’t be so quick to excuse him the project’s flaws.
The 7 line extension won’t be, as I once called it, the subway to nowhere. It’s going to spur growth in an area that will soon be filled with mixed-use buildings and office space. Yet, the extension represents missed opportunities as much as it represents growth, and the last missed opportunity will likely be Mayor Bloomberg’s chance to ride the first 11th Ave.-bound train while he’s still in office.