Home 7 Line Extension The 7 line brings development to Hudson Yards

The 7 line brings development to Hudson Yards

by Benjamin Kabak

A shot of the 7 line extension from June. It’s beginning to look a lot like a real subway tunnel. (Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin)

As Mayor Bloomberg’s time in office nears an end, his tenure is racing against the clock for the 7 line extension. For better or worse, this project, less one key station, is his baby, and earlier this year, he vowed to push trains through the tunnel before his term ends if it means an opportunity for a ribbon-cutting. It may not be ready for revenue service until mid-June of 2014, but some sort of ceremony will take place before the end of the year just to Bloomberg can pat himself on the back for delivering the dollars.

At a certain point, the conversation surrounding the 7 line changed. I used to call it the Line To Nowhere, and while it’s sort of the line to nowhere, in a few years, it’ll be the Line That Turned Nowhere Into Somewhere. It shouldn’t surprise us because most of New York City developed on the backs of the various subway lines, but development of Manhattan’s last frontier is following the subway and at a very rapid pace.

In a big piece in this week’s Crain’s New York, Dan Geiger explores that development. The dollars are starting to roll in, and soon the buildings will start to rise. Geiger reports:

With the long-talked-about transit link almost ready, the area’s real estate interests are betting vast sums that more tenants will follow in the footsteps of the major companies that have already booked huge blocks of space, including Coach, Time Warner and L’Oréal. Indeed, as Crain’s first reported last week, Citigroup is considering relocating its global corporate headquarters from Park Avenue to Hudson Yards.

In response to those bullish signals from tenants, developers are snapping up major development sites at a prodigious pace, making the area the most active in the city this year for such deals, according to real estate experts. The 7 train’s looming arrival has only hastened that frenzy. Bob Knakal, chairman of sales brokerage Massey Knakal, said small fortunes are being created, as the activity has pushed up land prices by double or more.

“A lot of the development sites that only a short time ago were considered speculative are now tangible,” Mr. Knakal said. “You’ll see a lot more happen in the neighborhood coming up. There are at least four very significant sites that I know of that will be in play within the next month or two right smack in the Hudson Yards.”

The Related Cos., already in the process of developing the 26-acre, $15 billion Hudson Yards complex, has been the most voracious buyer of adjacent sites in a doubling down of its holdings in the area. The company has entered into a contract to acquire a parcel between West 35th and 36th streets—for $75 million or more—that will border a new “Hudson Boulevard” being constructed by the city to run between 10th and 11th avenues.

The actual arrival of the train to the area was a key moment psychologically for developers. As Geiger notes, those investing in the area believe that 70 percent of residents will use the 7 train on a daily basis, and the level of interest has increased as it’s become clear that the subway is a reality and not just a promise. Meanwhile, Related, the company with the largest stake in the area, plans to start work on the platform that will cover the Hudson Yards early next year.

“If there were no No. 7 subway, I’m not sure we would be starting the platform then,” Jay Cross, the head of the Hudson Yards project for Related, said to Crain’s. “But knowing that it is going to be there means we have to get going and that we will also have enough tenant interest for the space there.”

Is there a lesson here — besides, that is, the one Dan Doctoroff was espousing a few weeks ago when he praised the 7 line at the expense of the Second Ave. Subway? We see that subway construction can still feed development and can still dictate where people want to live, work and build in New York City. The same doesn’t happen around Select Bus Service lines, and our politicians would be wise to pay attention the Hudson Yards. There are other areas of the city that could use subway lines and the subway lines can lead to more density and a better use of scarce space.

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D. Graham October 8, 2013 - 12:06 am

The foolish thinking by Doctoroff trying to portray expansion as only being useful to undeveloped territory is so misguided. There are going to be new business, new buildings and increased property values up and down 2nd Avenue once the line starts running.

Rezoning is the new in thing for developers in NYC.

Ron Aryel October 8, 2013 - 12:41 am

The 7 extension isn’t a line to “nowhere.” The presence of the Javits Convention Center, the most well-subscribed space in the US, and its supporting business, justified extending subway service. The first passengers riding the 7 subway will be, in addition to the residents of the new apartments towers on 10th Av along the High Line, the employees working at Javits every day and conventioneers who until now had no rail link to it, as well as people who can reach the Hudson water front by rail for the very first time. Agreed that the building boom powered by the subway extension will be massive – but there was already a reason to build the subway and the trains will be far from empty even in 2014. Maybe in 10 years we’ll have a plan to build the 10th Av station…

AG October 8, 2013 - 9:42 am

yeah the much maligned Javits gets a bad rap. yes the mafia-controlled construction caused it to have problems… and yes it’s “too small” for the biggest events… but as you said it has one of if not the highest occupancy rates every year among convention centers. Actually Crain’s just ran a story last week that now that the Governor’s ill-conceived plan to move it to Aqueduct Racetrack and tie it to casino were killed by the industry – there is talk of expanding it where it is. It was just recently renovated (with among other things a green roof that also helps fix the leaks) and modestly expanded… but because it’s so successful -the plans that were scaled down now are apparently back on the table in some form.

paulb October 8, 2013 - 12:21 pm

Have the bathrooms been fixed up? During the 90s, I thought the signs shouldn’t read “Men” and “Women” but “Latrines, that way.”

vkristof October 8, 2013 - 12:12 pm

It will also give some of the NYC-resident construction workers a quicker subway ride to the Hudson construction site. And there are already a lot of construction workers at the various projects.

And the DSNY workers at their facilities between 11th & 12th…

Tower18 October 8, 2013 - 4:31 pm

I’m sure they’ll have a giant temporary parking lot and curb space reserved for all the guys to drive their pickups in from LI

Howard October 8, 2013 - 7:12 pm

Why in ten years? These developers can purchase more air rights from the city or they could use the East Midtown rezoning funds.

D in Bushwick October 8, 2013 - 12:47 am

Finishing the 10th Avenue station should be a political high priority.
Extending the L Train to 11th Ave and up to 34th Street would make Hudson Yards a true destination and accessible surrounding neighborhood.

JMB October 8, 2013 - 9:54 am

Question, does the L run under 8th ave line or does it stop adjacent to it? I ask because the IND 8th ave line was built to stop 7 train expansion and I wouldnt be surprised if it was constructed to stop the L as well.

Its a good idea you propose nonetheless. Connecting the 7 and L would make an excellent loop and they probably could fit an additional stop at 10th ave/14th street and 10th ave/23rd st as well.

Bolwerk October 8, 2013 - 10:34 am Reply
Benjamin Kabak October 8, 2013 - 10:44 am

Under with the end west of the IND. The L could be extended westward from there if the drive and money were in place.

FivePoint October 8, 2013 - 1:00 pm

Well, when you make the transfer from the A/C/E to the L, it’s down a flight of stairs from the A concourse. I’d imagine it’s under.

Henry October 9, 2013 - 1:18 pm

It’s quite far under – so far that in fact, the ramps are marked as not wheelchair accessible because they’re so steep.

smartone October 8, 2013 - 1:28 am

Of course the real estate powers are licking their chops at extended 7 . that is why cuomo wants to move javis center to queens .. so the real estate vultures can have that prime Javis lot with subway station.

the 7 train terminus is now in west chelsea .. i would imagine within a few years there will be loud calls for a station to be added there
it is all about the benjamins

AG October 8, 2013 - 9:52 am

the governor’s “send the Javits to Queens” idea was pretty much shot down by the industry. even his allies were against it.

Justin Samuels October 8, 2013 - 7:26 pm

Genting pretty much killed the convention center in Queens because Cuomo wanted them to pay for building the casino without any guarantee NY would legalize table gambling and without any idea whether NY would allow other casinos to open up in NYC.

Btw, NY is going to allow 4 more casinos to open and allow table gambling, if approved by a voter’s referendum this fall.

AG October 8, 2013 - 8:43 pm

Genting is making money hand over fist draining weak minded middle/working class ppl at their current racino (a good number of pawn shops have popped up there as a result)… The two problems were that the governor wanted too big of a facility and the convention industry told him point blank the city would actually lose shows if he moved it there. Genting is not stupid… so the whole thing died. The ill conceived table casino issue was never to have NYC full casinos. Even as the vote happens in November – they are only for upstate…

Larry Littlefield October 8, 2013 - 7:33 am

“There are other areas of the city that could use subway lines and the subway lines can lead to more density and a better use of scarce space.”

A whole generation will have to die off and be replaced before many more areas that do not have subway service now think that would be a good thing. In fact, we may be heading back into a NIMBY dominant era in a few months.

JMB October 8, 2013 - 9:57 am

Wondering if NIMBYism will rapidly disapear as the Gen Y/echo-boomers eventually take control. They are far more progressive-minded, utilize mass transit far more and are already flocking back to the urban cores.

If so, we may indeed see expansion of shelved ideas from 2-3 generations ago that this city desperately needs (finding funding is another story altogether)

Larry Littlefield October 8, 2013 - 11:29 am

If Generation Greed were to hear that younger generations might have the money to build transportation expansions 20 years from now, they’s spend that money on themselves right now.

Bicycles. Low public capital costs, zero public operating costs, and public health benefits.

JMB October 8, 2013 - 12:06 pm

You’re so right, I forgot they already mortgaged our future (and my children’s future for that matter) so they can continue their unsustainable, greedy lifestyles.

David Brown October 8, 2013 - 8:11 am

I do not see where the money will be to add a New Station, let alone extend the (7) or (L)(even the MTA does not list this in their 20 Year “Needs” list). Subways are important when it comes to properties, but what Hudson Yards is about undeveloped and (or) underutilized land (particularly in Manhattan), and putting a use to it. This is what we saw with the “Meatpacking District.” (That area requires a walk to Subways but look how exclusive it is). It is basically an opportunity to turn an awful area into something very profitable. Hudson Yards like Hudson Square, SPURA, and the area by Washington and West Streets (which is why the Strip Club will be closed) are those areas.

AK October 8, 2013 - 10:16 am

I’m not sure I understand your second point. The Meatpacking District is one avenue away from the 14th Street ACE/L. The Javits Center is 3 avenues + a tunnel entrance away from the 34th Street ACE. That’s not an insignificant difference, right?

Hudson Yards has been “underdeveloped” for decades. Hard to argue that the impetus to its long-awaited development was anything but the introduction of the 7.

Nyland8 October 8, 2013 - 12:54 pm

“Hard to argue that the impetus to its long-awaited development was anything but the introduction of the 7.”

No. I’d make that argument.

Stephen Smith October 8, 2013 - 2:45 pm

There’s no doubt that office buildings wouldn’t be built without the 7 train extension, but I’d argue that the city could’ve gotten just as much residential development without the extension. Office developers demand much better transit access than residential builders, who’d throw skyscrapers up anywhere on Manhattan if you let them. (Build out the 34th St. busway as original planned and I guarantee you they’d have built apartment buildings on every square inch of land, even without the train.)

Which brings me to the real point: when you say, “Hard to argue that the impetus to its long-awaited development was anything but the introduction of the 7,” you’re ignoring the fact that until they planned the 7 train, the area was not zoned for real development (that is, housing/retail/office/hotel). So we can’t know whether it would’ve been developed without the 7 train, because it wasn’t allowed to be developed before the 7 train.

This is a big reason I think the value capture scheme was kinda bullshit. True value capture for infrastructure is capturing value that wouldn’t have been created without the infrastructure, but we don’t know if that was the case here, because the value wasn’t allowed to be created before the infrastructure was built.

Jeff October 8, 2013 - 3:55 pm

It’s hard to figure out what would have happened. But keep in mind that a key component of the project are the platforms over the trainyard.

The 7 train extension gave developers enough assurance of the neighborhood’s potential that the real estates developers were willing to spend $1 billion+ to build them out. Without that little bit of jumpstarting, it would be difficult to fathom that any developer would have been willing to pony up for that, especially for a bunch of residential towers.

And without the platforms, this neighborhood ain’t happening.

Stephen Smith October 8, 2013 - 5:29 pm

You seem to be forgetting that residential development was happening on far West 42nd St. before the 7 train extension was even a sparkle in Doctoroff’s eye. One River Place opened in 2000 (and with only 200 parking spaces for nearly 1,000 units!), and Larry Silverstein paid $20 million for the land beneath what are now the Silver Towers, between 11th and 12th Aves. and 41st and 42nd Sts., back in 1984!

And then there’s far West 57th St. by the West Side Highway, where developers are currently falling over each other to build residential high-rises, despite the total lack of transit west of Columbus Circle.

I stick by my original assertion: if zoned for high-density residential development, the land around Hudson Yards would have been developed already, even without the 7 train extension.

(As for the yards themselves, these could easily have supported residential development as well. And considering resi rents have far outpaced commercial rents, I’d bet that if it’d been residentially-zoned and there’d been no subway, it still would’ve been developed earlier than it’s happening now. The railyard is so close to Penn Station that it would have probably been able to support the highest rents of any part of the area.)

Howard October 8, 2013 - 8:17 pm

It happened because developers lured residents with free shuttle buses to subway stations.

AG October 8, 2013 - 8:39 pm

so why do you think the javits was sitting out there alone all these years? w. 42nd and west 57th are not really comparable… but this project is less residential than commercial

Stephen Smith October 8, 2013 - 9:52 pm

so why do you think the javits was sitting out there alone all these years?

Please refer to the zoning code pre-Hudson Yards rezoning for the answer to your question. The area was not zoned for development before very recently. The vast majority was zoned “M,” for industrial uses, while only a few parcels were zoned for high-density commercial/residential use. These parcels were isolated in the middle of a sea of industry, so it’s no wonder they never sprouted much until the 7 train and rezoning.

AG October 10, 2013 - 5:50 pm

But there was no impetus to change the zoning without the train extension…

Nyland8 October 9, 2013 - 9:43 am

Indeed, the idea that what the Yards lacked for development was a subway is absurd. Objectively, one need only look at the number of high rises built long ago around the Queens Midtown Tunnel, including at least 3 enormous ones east of 1st Ave. – none of which is anywhere near a subway. In fact, north of E. 25th St, there is even huge residential development east of the FDR Drive!

And all that massive development is nowhere near any major NYC ventricle like PABT or Penn Station, both of which are short walks to Hudson Yards. In fact there’s even a ferry terminal just stumbling distance away. That acreage south of the Javits has had more-than-ample transportation access for generations.

Anecdotally, in my small office near NY Penn, I have not one, but two commuters who ride the MetroNorth down into GCT, and walk all the way from there, because neither feels adding an extra $1,300.00 to their annual commuting bill is worth it. How many times is that decision revisited throughout midtown? I’m sure there are Long Island and New Jersey commuters who walk all the way over to their jobs on the east side too … the point being that, by NYC standards, there is nothing mass-transit inaccessible about the Hudson Yards location, and there never has been. Once it is developed, commuters will walk to there offices there from Herald Square and beyond.

The notion that the missing piece of the development puzzle was a rail connection to Flushing is ridiculous.

Karm October 9, 2013 - 10:17 pm

It’s not a guess as to what is the catalyst. The ppl who are actually building there say it’s because of the train. It’s mostly commercial there. It’s an office district foremost.

AG October 8, 2013 - 9:28 am

Ben – you’re last paragraph is absolutely correct… but the problem as always is the money. This was in many ways unique… but we still didn’t get 2 stations… sigh.. Hopefully that can be corrected in the next decade.

AG October 8, 2013 - 9:32 am

Well the mayor does deserve kudos… He changed is failure into a positive. The Jets/Olympic stadium idea was terrible in my mind (though the Yankees and Guiliani were the first to want to put one there)… but instead of throwing up their hands – his team came up with something better. Hudson Yards will produce much much more tax revenue for the city than any stadium. Still though… I feel he could have twisted a couple arms to get more money for the station at 41st and 10th.

Bolwerk October 8, 2013 - 10:39 am

He spent several times normal first world prices for one station stop for his vulture real estate friends. He could have made countless more useful extensions around the city for the price of the 7 extension.

I’m glad it will be useful, but the mayor and everyone else responsible for these high costs deserves punch in the junk.

AG October 8, 2013 - 11:32 am

“He could have made countless more useful extensions around the city for the price of the 7 extension.”

Like where? everything in NYC is expensive and most things get fought by community or environmental opposition. So what could be done for that price that would have as big an impact? I could list a dozen things I’d like to see done… but I couldn’t make an argument they would be a “better” use of the money.

“but the mayor and everyone else responsible for these high costs…”

As to the costs – that’s a much bigger issue. No mayoral administration can solve that.
As an aside – it’s hard to find a project that will bring a better ROI to the overall city… Related alone (they are not the only one investing) is spending $15 billion in the area…. That benefits the city coffers…..

Bolwerk October 8, 2013 - 4:33 pm

If Bloomberg has shown one thing that could be useful to future mayors: they can build the infrastructure themselves, at least with Council consent. He didn’t do it very heroically, but he did it. They also have power over construction regulations.

So what could be done for that price that would have as big an impact

First of all, never look at impact by itself. Look at bang:buck ratio. It’s easy to spend a lot of money and have a huge impact.

$2B should buy about 4-10km of heavy rail in developed countries, using Alon Levy’s compilation as a shorthand. From there, my missive about the dart throw probably applies, assuming land use regulations are adequate (which is theoretically free).

Jeff October 8, 2013 - 1:02 pm

The city just struck gold with this extension and here you are to complain about it again.

Bolwerk October 8, 2013 - 4:31 pm

I have this really strange expectation that projects should be accomplished at a reasonable price. I noticed you don’t.

Jeff October 9, 2013 - 9:09 am

Well, you live in NY. Deal with it. Its not changing.

Bolwerk October 9, 2013 - 10:42 am

That may well be, but NYC isn’t going very far in the 21st century if it doesn’t.

Ian MacAllen October 8, 2013 - 10:00 am

I would think that in practical terms, most people will end up using the 7 much less than these articles suggest. Certainly commuting along the 7 will drive ridership and make living that far west easier.

But outside of commuting, I think most people living over there will end up on the A,C,E to do their everyday living, whether its shopping, drinking, dining, or whatever it is they do for fun. Avoiding transfers, especially late nights and weekends, is probably more important than a subway station that is closer.

The bigger story here is that Manhattan real estate has gotten to be so limited and so many neighborhoods have height or density restrictions, the development on the west side was inevitable. The 7 train’s existence might make some trips easier, but its not the economic force propelling these developments.

Benjamin Kabak October 8, 2013 - 10:07 am

Even at night, the 7 runs frequently enough to make not walking all the way from 11th Ave to 8th Ave worthwhile. That’s not a short stroll.

AG October 8, 2013 - 11:18 am

“not the economic force propelling these developments”??? but the developers specifically say the reason they are investing in Hudson Yards is because of the #7 extension…

Larry Littlefield October 8, 2013 - 2:18 pm

“The 7 train’s existence might make some trips easier, but its not the economic force propelling these developments.”

I disagree, and note that no one was rushing to build any buildings until it was almost completed.

After all, the city floated three bonds to build the Second Avenue Subway, and even broke ground. But those who built East Midtown and the Upper East Side ended up packed in on the Lex. So they were waiting to make sure the city wasn’t kidding this time.

Bolwerk October 8, 2013 - 4:42 pm

I looked at headlines about this and thought, “Surprise! Rail attracts development!” So, cool, we finally made it to where we should have been when the city was going down the toilet 30 years ago.

Now we just need to get construction costs down into the sustainable range. Probably too much to ask that the BRT salivators finally get a clue about the direction capital improvement needs to go, however.

Howard October 8, 2013 - 9:23 pm

I think people who ride the A,C,E will not benefit from this extension.

Herb Lehman October 8, 2013 - 10:17 am

This is a great thing and I’m looking forward to riding the 7 to the Javits Center for the first time. It’s just too bad the proposed 10th Avenue station didn’t get built. Though not the end of the world, it would have been really beneficial for a lot of people.

Guest October 8, 2013 - 10:28 am

Money from District improvement bonus could be used for a second station and not for another park.

Douglas John Bowen October 8, 2013 - 1:01 pm

Why so bregrudging of Mayor Bloomberg on this matter? Or does one assert that he had nothing to do with growing the system?

Larry Littlefield October 8, 2013 - 2:20 pm

True. This had been talked about for two Mayor’s prior, and Bloommberg got it done.

Andrew October 8, 2013 - 2:32 pm

I agree that the 7 Line Extension cost WAY too much money for only a 1-stop extension. I also agree that that amount of money could have been better used to fund other subway extensions/expansions such as 2nd Ave Phase 2 (and maybe even 3), a transfer between the G Train and the JMZ, and/or Express service on the Culver line.

However, I also think it’s important that we don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. While we could have had better, this is still a pretty good subway expansion. Looking forward, City and State pols won’t want to stick their necks out for transit expansions if they are going to get shouted at by both anti-transit (too much money) and pro-transit (not enough money/expansion) folks.

Jeff October 8, 2013 - 3:58 pm

Money-wise the 7-line extension is probably the most cost-efficient underground subway construction that New York will get these days. There were minimal obstructions (aside from having to tunnel through the 8th Ave lower level) and infrastructure wasn’t as built out as the rest of Manhattan which enabled tunneling to proceed much more smoothly.

Bolwerk October 8, 2013 - 4:44 pm

There is no underground infrastructure in other developed world cities. Only New York. Right.

Jeff October 9, 2013 - 9:09 am

Strawman’s argument. NY’s political and social realities are different than other world cities.

Benjamin Kabak October 9, 2013 - 9:17 am

This is an excuse, not a reason.

Bolwerk October 9, 2013 - 10:49 am

Internet debating 101: declare your opponent’s argument a strawman (without knowing what a strawman is), issue a strawman.

WTF do NYC’s political and social realities have to do with the fact that major cities all over the world have underground infrastructure and that they cope with it when constructing transit? I didn’t say anything about politics or society, I said something about infrastructure in response to you saying something about about infrastructure.

Henry October 8, 2013 - 9:54 pm

If by “New York”, you mean Manhattan, then yes, this was the most cost-efficient underground subway construction that New York could have possibly thought of.

The fact that no one has seriously looked into building a subway extension in the outer boroughs since 1968 is ridiculous.

Jeff October 9, 2013 - 9:06 am

There isn’t a site in the outer boroughs with the potential ROI of the 7-line.

Tower18 October 9, 2013 - 1:48 pm

ROI for who? Are we only talking incremental revenue gains, without measuring revenue and cost deltas from other areas? Are we valuing externalities?

Depending on your answers to these questions, you may be incorrect in your assertion about the value of the 7 line extension vs. outer borough options.

Bolwerk October 9, 2013 - 3:19 pm

I was going to ask, but then I figured ROI is another concept Jeff doesn’t quite comprehend. Obviously, if we only evaluate the project, the answer is ROI is negative, but then so is almost any public works project.

Anyway, ROI is a useless figure for comparing. We need to find some way to compare net present value.

Henry October 9, 2013 - 2:01 pm

It would certainly be a lot cheaper – pretty much the only way to do certain extensions would be to do cut-and-cover due to the lack of appropriate launch box sites, and there wouldn’t be a need to build stations with massive caverns and full-length mezzanines.

In any case, the main benefit of the subways would not be explicit TOD, but reduced operations costs upon opening. Currently, all feeder routes into Eastern Queens are extremely congested – the Q46 runs every two minutes during the peak rush and still skips passengers – but they’re loaded overwhelmingly in almost one direction, resulting in a very inefficient use of funds. Not only that, but the queues at bus stops in Jamaica and traffic result in increased travel and dwell times, further increasing inefficiency. Building extensions on Hillside, Jewel/73rd, and Merrick (and to a lesser extent, Northern) would allow for a more efficiently organized bus network and less diversions into congested areas, decreasing daily operations costs significantly. This is also true to a lesser extent in the Bronx and Brooklyn – railstitution would result in less crowded conditions and allow for redeployment of buses on more efficient routes (lengthy lines serving corridors generally don’t make money, while short, efficient feeder routes do).

Extensions would also definitely have an impact on property values, especially in Queens. Sure, there would be no $2B sale of real estate to a major developer, but it would largely work in the same way the ARC would’ve raised home values all across New Jersey – by reducing travel times over a large area, property values rise significantly. NYCT has an average bus speed of less than 10MPH; the R train in Queens has a scheduled average speed of 18MPH on the QBL. This effect would be even more pronounced because the portions of routes that subways would replace would also be the slowest segments.

As for dense development, both Jamaica and Flushing are two outer-borough sites with huge development potential. Both have very easy airport access and quick connections to the city, and are already thriving commercial centers, yet are still mostly single and two-story buildings. Flushing might have height restrictions due to LaGuardia’s flight paths, but there are pockets of 20-story buildings in the neighborhood – there is certainly scope to increase density. (Willets Point is not as promising due to its geographic isolation, which is why I never really understood the impetus to try and redevelop it into some glitzy mixed-use neighborhood.)

TL;DR not every subway project has to be built for the sake of office towers – there’s more than one way to increase property values.

Alon Levy October 9, 2013 - 8:39 pm

Yeah, but luxury real estate developers aren’t going to benefit from a subway under Utica, Nostrand, Northern, or wherever your favorite street is.

Eric October 9, 2013 - 3:30 am

“There were minimal obstructions”

Except for the corruption and labor difficulties.

Jeff October 9, 2013 - 9:09 am

Yeah, but that’ NY for you.

Michael K October 9, 2013 - 12:04 am

The Culver Line Express station have ridership that is too low to justify such a service – the high ridership stations are mostly local.

Guest October 9, 2013 - 12:03 am

Where is the green light? Its blue…

Walt Gekko October 9, 2013 - 12:50 am

One other thing that this development may also eventually wind up spurring is something that a lot of railfans have wanted to see for the longest time: The revival of the Culver Express in Brooklyn.

Especially if there is a direct exit from the (7) platform to the 8th Avenue lines added to the very front of the Times Square station at some point, and even if not, this might over time require an overhaul of the 8th Avenue lines into where the (C) after West 4th going south is re-routed to the (F) line and becomes the Culver Express to Coney Island (giving riders at Coney Island and along the Culver Branch a direct link to the 8th Avenue line they don’t currently have) while the (F) would be shortened with the (G) to Church Avenue while running local as it does now (overnights, the (C) would not run and the (F) would run to Coney Island as it does now). As companies move to the Hudson Yards as expected, I suspect the demand for an 8th Avenue connection to the Culver Line will increase (as the 8th Avenue line is the closest to the Hudson Yards that can go to Brooklyn), making this change needed. It does create a potential bottleneck with the (C), (F) and (M) trains all stopping on the local track at Broadway-Lafayette during the week, but if done right, it can be managed even if it means 32-33 TPH stopping at Broadway-Lafayette.

To compensate for the loss of the (C) along Fulton Street in Brooklyn, the (E) can go back to running to Brooklyn like it used to, though in this case running as a local in Brooklyn to Euclid most times, but extended late nights to Lefferts (eliminating the need for the late-night Lefferts shuttle and allowing the (A) to run express at all times). Because of potential capacity issues at Cranberry, during rush-hours, some (E) trains can terminate at Chambers (as the (E) does now), with these mainly being perhaps those that operate to and from 179th Street because of capacity issues at Jamaica Center. The (E) can also go back to being an express train between 50th Street and Canal.

There also can be a supplemental (K) train, which essentially would be a revival of the old AA/K route between Chambers and 168th Street that would run 2-4 TPH at all times and handle passengers at Spring Street during periods it would possibly be the only train stopping there as well as those looking for a one-seat local ride between Chambers and the upper west side.

This to me is what may have to be looked at if and when the Hudson Yards project comes to a much bigger fruition and more offices move there.

Henry October 9, 2013 - 1:30 am

1. What makes you think the switch at West 4th can be used during heavy weekday loads in regular service without screwing things up?

2. You admit that you would be shoving 32-33 TPH into Bway-Lafayette. The maximum capacity the MTA is willing to allow on non-CBTC track is 30 TPH, which is further limited by dwell times and speed restrictions. Since Sixth Av is not slated to receive CBTC any time soon, how would you propose going about this?

3. Sixth Avenue riders already have a very easy transfer to the 7 at Bryant – it’s an easier transfer than the one from PABT, which has such steep grades that the transfer is not wheelchair accessible. No one is going to walk from Penn Station – it requires traveling three long, unhospitable avenue blocks and a tunnel approach. Demand at Hudson Yards would have a very negligible effect on Eighth Avenue ridership.

4. MTA services are required to run at a minimum frequency. Running a 2-4TPH service during the peak is a non-starter, and would be of no use to anybody.


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