Home 7 Line Extension At Hudson Yards, waiting for Related

At Hudson Yards, waiting for Related

by Benjamin Kabak

As workers continue to forge ahead with the 7 line extension, the new stop at 34th St. and 11th Ave. remais on target to open in 2013, but will there be anything above ground besides the Javits Center? That’s long been the hot button question surrounding the city’s efforts at developing the Hudson Yards land. This weekend, Crain’s New York tried to answer it. The business trade took a look at six key projects, and among them are many transit-related developments. Moynihan Station and Atlantic Yards have garnered the headlines, but what of the Far West Side?

As Crain’s reminds us, February should witness a major milestone in the future of this project. That month, Related’s first $43.5 million payment of its $1 billion deal with the MTA is due after the two sides agreed on a one-year extension in 2009. “We’re working diligently with the MTA and expect to meet the deadline,” a company spokeswoman said to Andrew Marks. Meanwhile, others with vested interests in the area believe something will happen but not until after the 7 line opens. “The opening of the subway means that something will get built there,” Jon McMillan, whose company TF Cornerstone Inc. owns development rights along West 37th St., said. “Once we’ve got the 7 line here, it will be, ‘If you build it, they will come.’”

In the past, I’ve called the 7 line work the Subway to Nowhere because of the costs and nature of the project. The city dropped plans — which factored heavily into Mayor Bloomberg’s PLANYC proposal — to build a stop at 41st St. and 10th Ave. where residents actually need subway access and are banking on substantial development to make this costly subway extension worthwhile. Still, if developers in the area are optimistic, that’s reason for hope for Manhattan’s last frontier.

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Russell Warshay January 18, 2010 - 1:28 pm

The World Product Center, which will be 60 stories tall, is under construction at 11th between 33rd and 34th.

Older and Wiser January 18, 2010 - 1:38 pm

I woner if, once the extension is completed, it would make sense to look into a further extension that would provide an alternate route to the Javits and Grand Central for residents of West Chelsea, the West Village and all the way down to Tribecca. There might also be a market for the southbound trip from midtown to those neighborhoods as destinations in their own right.

ferryboi January 18, 2010 - 1:45 pm

I hate to kick the MTA when it’s down, but sometimes I think they cater more to RE developers than actual riders. Why cancel a station in a part of town (41st and 10th) that actually NEEDS subway service and open a station where almost no residential/commercial properties exist other than the Javits Ctr, which is already served by two crosstown buses? And as Older/Wiser points out above, why not extend the line down the entire West Side to connect with the “L” train at 14th St, creating a nice loop around the entire West Side? Why does the MTA insist on building trains to nowhere, such as the Second Ave line only from 125th St to 63rd? And what about Staten Island, the fastest growing county in the whole state, which has not seen any kind of new or improved rail service in 100 years, not to mention being the only county in a 50-mile radius of Manhattan with no direct rail service to the city?

Benjamin Kabak January 18, 2010 - 1:47 pm

Just to clarify: This project is being 98 percent funded by the Bloomberg Administration/NYC. They’re the ones who decided to cut the station at 41st/10th after the price tag went up by $500 million, and they’re also the ones who promoted the need for the station in the PLANYC documents. So don’t kick the MTA over this one; kick Mayor Bloomberg and his suddenly stingy administration for it.

Russell Warshay January 18, 2010 - 1:58 pm

Specifically, this is being funded by a bond issue with revenues guaranteed by new development. The idea is that the tax base is being expanded, and that marginal increase pays for the project.

Veritas January 18, 2010 - 4:32 pm

What happens if there is not enough development to pay back the bondholders?

Russell Warshay January 18, 2010 - 4:38 pm

That’s the hole in the plan. I believe that the city is then liable.

Boris January 18, 2010 - 4:53 pm

I don’t think there is any special fund to pay back the bondholders (is there ever?). Money would just be paid out of general revenues. Just like the other “socialism for the rich” projects of recent decades, the developers and bondholders are guaranteed to get paid, while taxpayers may or may not see any benefits, because actual contracts are stronger than the social contract.

Older and Wiser January 18, 2010 - 2:02 pm

I suspect that the greatest crunch in trying to get aboard the overcrowded Lex during rush hour is precisely in that 125th to 59th span. And a significant portion of the people who will use the first segment of the SAS live far enough East be tempted to just gas up the guzzler and hop on the FDR rather than face the long, UPHILL schlep or standing room bus trip all the way over to Lex.

ferryboi January 18, 2010 - 3:06 pm

Not sure about that, Older/Wiser. I lived at 74th and First for many years, and the schlep to the Lex Ave line was not that bad. I really don’t think there are that many people who drive on the FDR from the UES to Midtown. Most FDR and other city traffic no doubt comes from The Bronx, Westchester and other outer boros and suburbs, not Manhattan.

As for the 125th St-63rd St leg of the 2nd Ave subway, how exactly would riders on this line benefit other than maybe getting a seat on the train? If I had to take a downtown 2nd Ave train only as far as a connection to the BMT Broadway (N/Q/R) trains, than how much time am I actually saving as compared with getting on the Lex straight to Union Sq or Bklyn Bridge? I understand the city doesn’t have enough $$ to build an entire line to South Ferry, so I guess half a line is better than none. Still, NYC used to do much better than this.

Russell Warshay January 18, 2010 - 3:29 pm

When was the last time that you were on the 4/5/6, between 59th and 86th, during rush hour in the rush hour direction? These lines are packed. Rolling sardine cans. The SAS will draw riders off of the Lex and ease the congestion. Dwell times will decrease, so capacity on the Lex will go up.

Older and Wiser January 18, 2010 - 5:36 pm

Correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding was that the initial segment of the Second Avenue line would provide through trains beyond 63rd street all the way downtown via existing letter-line trackage, just not via 2nd avenue in the beginning.

Scott E January 18, 2010 - 5:40 pm

Nope. Phase 1 is just going from 63rd/Lex to 72nd, 86th, and 96th on Second Ave. Phase 2 brings it up to 106th and 115th on Second Ave and to the existing 125th/Lex station of the 4-5-6.

Not until Phase 4 will the subway go all the way downtown.

Benjamin Kabak January 18, 2010 - 5:57 pm

You’re correct. Phase 1 of the SAS will bring the Q train north to 96th St. It will provide a one-seat ride from Second Ave. on the UES to, say, Union Sq. but south of 63rd St., that ride will be via the BMT Broadway line.

Veritas January 18, 2010 - 5:57 pm

The plan for Phase I is to extend the Q train past its current terminus at 57th St/7th Ave. The Q will run east on 63rd St, stop at Lexington Ave, then continue east then travel up 2nd Avenue.

Alon Levy January 18, 2010 - 6:36 pm

For people whose destination is on the East Side, SAS would not be too useful. But not everyone works on the East Side. SAS is going to be the first direct line from the UES to West Midtown.

SAS isn’t “a connection to the BMT Broadway trains.” It’s a one-seat ride on the Q, and a cross-platform transfer to the N, R/W, and F. There’s a difference.

Alon Levy January 18, 2010 - 7:03 pm

The redevelopment of Hudson Yards (or Atlantic Yards, or Sunnyside Yards, or anywhere else there’s room) would actually be a good idea if it weren’t such a giveaway to big developers. The city could map streets over the yards and sell them to small-time owners lot by lot, with liberal zoning to allow experimentation.

Not everything has to involve collusion between big business and the politicians it buys.


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