Home 7 Line Extension Work on final 7 line extension contract set to start soon

Work on final 7 line extension contract set to start soon

by Benjamin Kabak

Although the opening of the MTA’s first new subway station in over 20 years still seems as though it is a ways away, December 2013 will get here sooner than we realize. To that end, the MTA announced today that work on the final contract for the 7 line extension will begin this month. The contract — a $513.7 million deal awarded this summer to a joint venture of Skanska USA and the RailWorks Corp — will be funded through the Hudson Yards Development Corporation.

Essentially, this contract is for the finishes for the one-stop, $2.1-billion subway extension. Under it, contractors will lay tracks and build the signal systems and third rail. They will add numerous pieces to the infrastructure of the new station at 34th Street and 11th Ave., including escalators and elevators, power systems, lighting, plumbing, heating, ventilation and even air conditioning. “This award marks a major milestone as we continue to make progress on the construction of the 7 extension project,” Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, President of MTA Capital Construction, said in a statement. “With the award of this contract, we’re one step closer to opening up the Far West Side of Manhattan to major, transit-oriented economic growth.”

Unfortunately, though, with this contract comes the death of a barely-alive dream. For now, the 7 line extension will be just one stop from Times Square to 34th and 11th Ave. While not quite a subway to nowhere, this expensive expansion will not stop at 41st St. and 10th Ave. Contractors who built the tunnels made sure to grade the path at that location to allow future construction, but neither a shell nor carved-out walls will be in place. Any effort to right this transportation planning oversight will carry a significant cost. Still, the finish line for the 7 line extension is now in sight.

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Jerrold September 14, 2011 - 5:36 pm

“Oversight” means a careless mistake. This was NOT a careless mistake. It was a stupid decision that was the fault of greedy, rich politicians.

Jerrold September 14, 2011 - 5:39 pm

By the way Ben, when you said “no in sight”, I assume you meant NOW in sight. It could easily get misread as NOT in sight.

Jerrold September 14, 2011 - 5:43 pm

I see it’s been corrected now.

Matthew September 14, 2011 - 6:44 pm

First new station in 20 years? Someone forgot the South Ferry station that opened in 2009.

Alex C September 14, 2011 - 7:22 pm

Right, well that was a rebuild. One that decreased the station’s capacity, hilariously enough.

Matthew September 14, 2011 - 8:19 pm

That wasn’t a rebuild! The old station still exists above the new one.

I fail to see how the new station decreased the line’s capacity when the problem is at the other end and the 3 tracks required to get in and out of the VC terminal. If they would replace that track mess with a high-speed crossover like at South Ferry, then both ends would be balanced. All southbound trains terminate at South Ferry; but the northern end has some trains short-turning at 137th Street during rush hours. Hmmm, capacity problem at VC?!

Jerrold September 14, 2011 - 10:12 pm

Yes, it DOES sound strange to say that it decreased that station’s capacity.
The old station could hold half a train.
The new station can hold two trains.

Andrew September 14, 2011 - 10:35 pm

I think he’s referring to track capacity of the terminal, not passenger capacity of the station. South Ferry isn’t one of the busier stations on the line, so it’s most important that the terminal trackage be able to support the demand for service uptown.

Which track arrangement has the superior capacity I can’t say – loops and traditional stub terminals each have advantages and disadvantages.

Tsuyoshi September 14, 2011 - 10:26 pm

Ridership is pretty low by the time you get to the northern end of the 1. It drops sharply after 137th.

Andrew September 14, 2011 - 10:30 pm

…and that’s why some trains drop out at 137th: to provide frequent service where it’s needed most without requiring additional cars or crews.

Alex C September 14, 2011 - 11:33 pm

Old South Ferry obviously still remains (5 has to use inner loop to turn when it terminates at Bowling Green). Still, any time you reduce a terminal’s train capacity it’s a bit of a let down. Never know when service needs may rise.

John September 14, 2011 - 8:29 pm

This is a bleeping disgrace. A subway to nowhere it is. And it’s Bloomberg’s fault. He is a big jerk off.

Jerrold September 14, 2011 - 10:08 pm

If by jerkoff you mean he’s stupid, then I must say that he’s NOT stupid. More like an evil genius. He bought himself a third term, and I’m not totally convinced he will not attempt to buy himself a fourth term. The 11th Ave./34th St. station serves the needs of his rich real estate friends.

Christopher September 15, 2011 - 10:11 am

And really there is NOTHING WRONG with building transit to make areas developable. It’s how and why much of the CURRENT SUBWAY was built. We seem to think nothing as a culture of building new roads in fields but BY GOD don’t build transit into anything other already existing neighborhoods! That’s not how you encourage smart growth and brown field development. Investing in transit as a way to spur land develop is absolutely the right thing to do.

Sure yes, there should be a 34th Street station, AND it should be paid for with a special taxing district on the developments that will go in there. But I just don’t agree at all that we shouldn’t build transit because it benefits developers. Who the hell is it going to benefit when you put transit into underserved areas? Primarily it’s going to benefit the landowners.

Benjamin Kabak September 15, 2011 - 10:15 am

I’ve completely come around to this line of thinking on the part of the 7 line that’s under construction right now. Look at photos of the Flushing Line in its early days. That was actually a subway to nowhere. This is, at the least, a subway to the Javits Center and an area experiencing some rapid development. The 7 train will further spur economic growth in that area. I once called it a subway to nowhere too, but I don’t think that’s a fair charge.

I still think it’s a huge mistake to skip 10th Ave. and 41st St. Huge mistake.

Eric F. September 15, 2011 - 10:39 am

I’m with you on this. Many times a project is derided as being “for developers” (Westway was slammed in this manner), but that just sounds like a euphemism for ‘making the area desirable enough to encourage development’. Never understood why this was bad. Unfortunately, it’s ‘developers’ who, you know, are the ones who develop stuff.

Alon Levy September 15, 2011 - 2:18 pm

Ben, the photos from the Flushing Line can be deceiving. Remember, this was in a county that was doubling in population every decade.

Bolwerk September 16, 2011 - 3:40 pm

Largely doubling because of transit-driven growth. There are serious problems with the cost of the new construction, but I don’t see why such a dense, isolated neighborhood would fail to have a healthy ridership, at least as long as zoning and other land use regulations are supportive.

Jeff September 15, 2011 - 5:08 pm

Strange, that one successful subway system that Jay Walder is ditching us for? That’s exactly how they operate. Tie the expansion of the subway system to real estate development, thereby ensuring economic growth for the city and score some additional income for the agency to boat(remember the MTA is collecting air rights for the Hudson Yards too).

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Clarke September 15, 2011 - 7:08 pm

The “Subway to Nowhere” moniker also fails to hold weight when it comes to Amtrak’s Gateway Plan, which suggests bringing the 7 into Penn Station, which would allow for an “easy” (as easy as possible), 1-seat connection between GCT and Penn. This could ultimately be beneficial to the entire region (MetroNorth to GCT, 7 to Penn, NJT to Newark Airport, for instance).

Dan September 16, 2011 - 12:32 am

Not sure how popular that offering would ever be. Potentially a long trip and perfect timing required.

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