Home Second Avenue Subway Maloney, Silver urge forward progress on SAS Phase 2

Maloney, Silver urge forward progress on SAS Phase 2

by Benjamin Kabak

Pressure from certain realms of New York City politics to keep moving forward on the Second Ave. Subway has grown stronger over the past few weeks as Representative Carolyn Maloney has trained her attention on Phase 2 of the project. After drawing out some words from the MTA on the fate of the project, she and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver have penned a letter to MTA Chairman and CEO Tom Prendergast. Maloney could be emerging as the champion who can keep this capital construction effort moving forward.

The letter to Prendergast is a continuation of the latest dialogue between the two sides. Maloney and Silver acknowledge the MTA’s update as the agency reaffirms the 2004 Final Environmental Impact Statement, and the two are pleased the MTA hopes to discuss funding with the Federal Transit Administration. In the meat of their letter, they hit upon a key point:

We believe those steps need to be done with all due haste in order to ensure that the MTA is moving forward with a seamless transition to the next phase. In our view, it would be much harder to continue construction if there is a significant lag between the two phases. Currently, the MTA has a great team in place that knows the plans, knows the problems and can build on lessons learned during the first phase of Second Avenue Subway construction. If the MTA fails to move forward now, much of that knowledge will be lost as people move on to different projects.

In coming years, the number of people commuting to jobs on the East Side is expected to continue to expand and the need to proceed with construction of the subway grows critical, particularly in Midtown. Furthermore, East Side Access is expected to add riders to the already overcrowded Lexington Avenue line. These two changes make it more important than ever to quickly begin Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway. The closer we get to the next phase, the closer we come to fully realizing the vision for the entire project, which is so urgently needed throughout the East Side, including Lower Manhattan. We look forward to learning more about your plans for the Second Avenue Subway, including the timetable for your study, any changes that you expect to make, any difficulties you currently foresee and the timetable for your negotiation of the full funding grant agreement. We want to reiterate our strong support for this project and our willingness to work with you to make sure the project moves forward as quickly as practicable.

Maloney’s office assures me as well that the Congresswoman plans to continue to push for progress on Phase 2 and will be staying involved in the process, however it shapes up to be. The MTA meanwhile will soon put forth plans for its next capital campaign, and the push is on to include initial funding for SAS Phase 2. It would indeed be a shame lose the forward momentum generated by Phase 1, and there’s no reason why Phase 2 discussions shouldn’t begin now.

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Bolwerk August 9, 2013 - 5:39 pm

Silver set the project back decades. He’s really a self-serving twerp.

With Democrats like him, who even needs Republikans?

SEAN August 9, 2013 - 8:07 pm

Silver set the project back decades. He’s really a self-serving twerp.

you could substitute Silver for almost any politition with that description.

With Democrats like him, who even needs Republikans?

Perhaps other republicans?

Justin Samuels August 10, 2013 - 4:12 am

At the same point, he finally ended up being instrumental in getting state funding for Phase 1. Now he’s pushing Phase 2. So that’s good.

Bolwerk August 10, 2013 - 9:29 am

Of course he’s instrumental. If he doesn’t do it, the show is over, like with congestion pricing.

He doesn’t deserve praise for occasionally performing the minimum necessary effort to do his job.

Phantom August 9, 2013 - 6:11 pm

What is phase two?

Benjamin Kabak August 9, 2013 - 6:16 pm

North from 96th through preexisting tunnel to 125th St.

Phantom August 9, 2013 - 6:18 pm

Oh hell

I thought it was going south

We’ll never see that

Justin Samuels August 10, 2013 - 2:03 am

Sure we will see the Second Avenue Subway go downtown. BUT PHASE TWO was obviously going to be the second phase, partially because a lot of the tunnels are already there in Spanish Harlem. So you might as well make use of preexisting work.

BoerumBum August 12, 2013 - 9:12 am

I don’t know… a lot of the tunnel from 96th to 125th is already done. Seems like Phase II is low hanging fruit.

Chris Miller August 9, 2013 - 6:35 pm

I think it’s fantastic that, with this being one of the few projects that’s actually planned and not just speculated, that moving forward as planned is truly newsworthy.

Kinda speaks to the distrust over generations about the project in general.

Shawn August 9, 2013 - 7:11 pm

This project needs champions and support. A silent majority will fail. It needs vocal persistent support from new yorkers and it needs political champions who can count on that support for votes.

I don’t know how the internal machinations of this city’s politicians, community groups, and media work but I can tell you this: I’ve been around here long enough to know that if we’re still thinking about what to do this time next year then the second avenue subway will be just a “silly little spur” for the Q train that goes no higher than 96th and no lower than 72nd street.

I’d even go a step further, I think most local politicians, state bureaucrats, and big businessmen have already come to the conclusion that nothing more than a “silly little spur” will be built. Time will only tell if their cynicism is correct or if the people of this city have the attention to actually will the impossible into existence.

alen August 9, 2013 - 7:20 pm

i think its a good idea, but i’m waiting for proposals to dig new tunnels in queens and expand subway service here

SEAN August 9, 2013 - 7:34 pm

That’s what the studies over the reactivation of the silly little line to the Rockaways through forbidden parkland are all about.

alen August 9, 2013 - 7:47 pm

a lot more better places to dig new subway tunnels through queens that will probably get a better ROI than the rockaways

queens blvd
northern blvd
under 108st into corona
something that touches kew gardens hills

and they need to lay the fiber cable and new switches on existing lines to increase the amount of trains that can run over them

SEAN August 9, 2013 - 8:11 pm

No arguement over that last point. Tunnels aren’t useful if trains cant run through them eficiantly.

Bolwerk August 9, 2013 - 9:54 pm

ROI on something like the Rockaway Line is probably extremely high, given that the Rockaway Line is already public property.

shawn August 9, 2013 - 8:17 pm

We need to be an all of the above kind of people. The message needs to be trains trains trains. Not train A vs. Train B. Divide and die.

the SAS, the 7 line extension, east side access – they all built off of eachother’s momentum. It wasn’t 7 line or SAS it was both.

we need to support the sas, triborough rx, new lines in Queens because every successful project helps the next project get off the ground.

SEAN August 9, 2013 - 9:07 pm

You are exactly right. Keep them trains rolling.

Scott August 10, 2013 - 8:33 am

Projects like the Rockaway Line and the TriboroRX are no brainers. Most of it is at grade or above ground. The Right of Way is already there. Expanding these lines will alleviate traffic (especially on Woodhaven/Cross Bay Blvd.) These lines will help grow the economy of countless areas in Brooklyn and Queens.

It is equally important to complete the SAS. This next budget is the one for these projects to fit into. The person who pushes these forward will be the person I vote for.

BruceM August 10, 2013 - 4:19 pm

Then vote for Congresswoman Maloney as she has been the most vocal champion of the SAS since the the days when the project was still considered just a pipedream. i’ve lived here long enough to tell you this.

AG August 10, 2013 - 8:44 am

very true… and at this point I’d be glad even for light rail. I was even driving along the Bruckner Expressway and realized how far the #6 train is for all the ppl on the southeastern side of the Bruckner. If a light rail line ran along it for the length of the Bruckner (the 138th st. bridge at the Deegan to the I95 interchange at Brush Ave.) it could have great effect.

Bolwerk August 10, 2013 - 9:31 am

Light rail is hardly slumming it. In many cases, it’s the best alternative both functionally and financially.

AG August 10, 2013 - 7:55 pm

well in terms of balancing capacity and cost – it’s probably best in certain circumstances… like the Bruckner corridor. Some places still scream for the capacity of a subway… SIGH

Bolwerk August 11, 2013 - 8:30 pm

Surface light rail would be excellent for crosstown trips in Manhattan, more effective than the subway I think.

AG August 11, 2013 - 9:44 pm

yes – i think most major crosstown thoroughfares in Manhattan could do well with them

BoerumBum August 12, 2013 - 9:30 am

As much as I’d like to see that, think about the opposition that SBS has had in setting up cross-town corridors in Manhattan. Don’t you think it would be amplified if the suggestion was to replace a cross-town street with light rail?

Bolwerk August 12, 2013 - 7:16 pm

Maybe, though the impact might actually be lower. Buses are louder and have a bigger footprint (ironically).

In any case, that kind of opposition is frivolous, and I can’t for the life of me see why transit advocates don’t focus on reforming the system that makes it so impossible to do anything. Sometimes they seem angry when I suggest the idea, as if the system is working or something. 34th Street should have at least gotten its bus improvements, like center-running, separated busways.

BoerumBum August 12, 2013 - 9:16 am

I’m hoping for no more derisive statements on the SAS from that silly little sabateur

D.R. Graham August 9, 2013 - 11:58 pm

In all honesty I don’t see why the major portions of construction shouldn’t get kicked off as soon as 2015 for phase 2 while the finishes are being added to phase 1.

This is of course pending the funding is put into place by then.

Justin Samuels August 10, 2013 - 2:17 am

If funding came through next year, or even later on this year, they could immediately start any utility relocation work that needs to be done.

johndmuller August 10, 2013 - 9:00 pm

The tunnel segments already constructed for Phase 2 – are they cut and cover with channels for four tracks?

If so, are the stations going to preserve the four track option, or are they going to plop down platforms where the inner tracks would be?

It would be nice if there were some 3 or 4 tracking potential in some areas to keep the express possibilities open. Otherwise, any extension into the Bronx would be kind of light on the trunk capability when it got into Manhattan, especially with a line on 125th. The people coming from further out could use some express segments to make their trips in a reasonable time.

Nathanael August 11, 2013 - 4:14 am

FYI, the tunnels already constructed have gaps in them where the stations would be built.

johndmuller August 11, 2013 - 5:33 am

Thanks; I’m aware of that, but am still wondering if they are four-track tunnel segments or not. If they are four-track, it would be nice if the stations were built in such a manner so as not to greatly disadvantage a subsequent upgrade of the line to four tracks (or even 3). For example, if they are building a center-platform station, they could build the platform above a shell that could later contain the express tracks (assuming that the station in question were a local stop).

Nick Ober August 11, 2013 - 4:02 pm

The existing 1970s era tunnels are two track not four track sadly.

Justin Samuels August 11, 2013 - 11:01 pm

The Second Avenue Subway will be all 2 track. However, look at the entire T line. There are huge gaps between the local stations to compensation for the lack of express service. After 72nd Street, for example, the next stop will be 55th Street and the next stop after that will be 42nd Street.

Even on the UES, from 72nd Street to 86th Street is a pretty big gap.

Alex C August 11, 2013 - 2:55 pm

Pretty much the only non-station work is the turn west to 125 St terminal. They really, really need to get to work on that ASAP.


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