Home Capital Program 2015-2019 Third time’s the charm: MTA re-re-releases Capital Plan with money for SAS Phase 2

Third time’s the charm: MTA re-re-releases Capital Plan with money for SAS Phase 2

by Benjamin Kabak

Planning and preliminary construction for Phase 2 of the Second Ave. Subway, shown here in blue, will be a part of the MTA’s 2015-2019 capital plan.

In some reality, the MTA’s recent five-year capital began nearly 16 months ago at the start of 2015, and we are well into year two of the work. In our reality, Gov. Andrew Cuomo still hasn’t really funded the plan, and the five-year spending proposal hasn’t gone through the state approval process. Yet, on Wednesday, for the third time in two years, the MTA released a draft of the capital program. The agency thinks this one will finally garner Capital Program Review Board sign-off, and in it are plans to begin in earnest Phase 2 of the Second Ave. Subway.

This element of the capital plan — the northern extension of the Second Ave. Subway to Lexington and East 125th St. — is not without controversy. In August of 2014, when the MTA first put forward this five-year plan, the funding request for Phase 2 was $1.5 billion, and the MTA expected to begin construction in 2019. As Cuomo dragged his feet, though, the MTA had to revise the plan, and an October 2015 version included only $500 million for preliminary design and engineering work. The MTA said it couldn’t start work before the end of 2019 and planned to request the balance in the 2020-2024 plan. East Harlem pols were not happy, and politicians began a push to examine construction timelines (albeit one that came far too late).

When the state finally approved a budget a few weeks ago, Phase 2 of the Second Ave. Subway was back on the table, and the MTA has released the third version of their 2015-2019 capital plan that reflects this expenditure (pdf). All told, the MTA will spend around $1.035 billion on Phase 2 of the Second Ave. Subway, with approximately $500 million coming from the feds. The plan is a bit of a hedge as heavy construction won’t begin until 2019, and if the MTA misses that deadline, as the agency expected to six months ago, they can roll the money over into 2020 while lining up the rest of the funding to begin work on that phase.

If all goes according to plan, the MTA will spend around $535 million on environmental, design, and real estate and project support in order to begin utility relocation work for Phase 2. The new plan also, in the MTA’s words, “reserves $500 million to support progressing major construction activities.” This is a promise to maybe kinda sorta begin real work on Phase 2 by the end of 2019 with an eye toward ramping up construction activity through funds available in the next capital plan. (What happens if the next capital plan takes years to approve is an open question.) While the proposal allows for modest expenditures spread out over four calendar years, the reserve is all bucketed for 2019. Do you think major construction will start by then? I’m not convinced.

Meanwhile, at Wednesday’s board meeting, MTA CEO and Chairman Tom Prendergast echoed MTA Capital Construction President Michael Horodniceanu’s off-the-cuff cost estimate from early November. The agency still expects Phase 2 to cost between $5-$6 billion, an exceedingly hight amount even in New York City. Most of the costs seem tied up in the 125th St. station which involves tunneling underneath Metro-North tracks and the Lexington Ave. Subway while building a deep-bore subway stop that’s up to modern safety codes. It’s still not yet clear if the MTA intends to utilize pre-existing tunnel segments north of 96th St. that may be too close to the surface to support the MTA’s current approach to subway construction. We’ll know definitively one way or another within the next year or so.

And thus, this never-ending saga inches closer to another phase. One day, we may even have a full length Second Ave. Subway, but as the tenth anniversary of construction on Phase 1 nears, it’s still going to be a while.

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Duke April 21, 2016 - 12:29 am

“It’s still not yet clear if the MTA intends to utilize pre-existing tunnel segments north of 96th St. that may be too close to the surface to support the MTA’s current approach to subway construction.”

If they don’t they are making an extremely foolish decision and wasting a ton of money.

eo April 21, 2016 - 7:30 am

I would venture to say that they will need to use them. What are they going to do? Build a tunnel underneath them? Then they will need to cover all the costs associated with supporting the unused tunnel, so it does not collapse on the new one below. Also I thought that they are using the existing tunnel north of 96th street — that would mean that the current end of the line is close to the surface and will require a deep steep dive from those tunnels to depth deep enough to leave the other existing tunnels in place unused. Even though subways can tolerate steeper slopes, they are still rail vehicles and steep slopes are not desirable. I see the cost of building below the existing (but unused by phase 1) segments large enough that it would be impossible to justify regardless of the disturbance caused by the close to surface construction for the stations between the existing tunnel pieces. In fact I would not be surprised if Bronx politicians get told to either suck up the disturbance frome close to the surface construction or forget about getting phase 2 built due to the costs of deep construction.

As for phase 1, even though 96th and 86th stations did not need to be as deep as they are, the 72nd street station probably needed most of its current depth just by the virtue of being close to the deep 63rd street station which was preexisting.

Nathanael April 24, 2016 - 10:23 pm

Yeah, the MTA really must use the existing tunnel segments for as far as the tunnels actually go.

After that, of course, it’s all new-build and the curve to 125th St. has to dive.

Roger April 21, 2016 - 11:09 am

Why has it become so fashionable to dig a station so deep under the ground?

imogen April 21, 2016 - 12:00 pm

residents aren’t inconvenienced and utilities don’t need to be rerouted much

Brooklynite April 22, 2016 - 10:55 pm

Considering how long the mayhem has taken and how disruptive it’s been, I’m fairly certain that closing the street, digging a trench, and covering it over would be much faster than building an underground palace every half-mile as they’re doing now.

22r April 21, 2016 - 5:33 pm

Is there an article somewhere listing the station depths? Are they in the same ballpark as Hudson Yards (38m)? I was surprised to see that Hudson Yards is deeper than many of the Moscow stations (though many in Moscow are also far deeper).

Riverduckexpress April 21, 2016 - 9:20 pm

72 St is 99 feet below ground, 86 St is 93 feet below ground, 96 St is 49 feet below ground

Source: http://web.mta.info/capital/sa.....Report.pdf (page 23)

Italianstallion April 21, 2016 - 11:47 pm

The fact that 96th St. is so much closer to the surface tells me that they plan to connect to the existing tunnel north of there.

Riverduckexpress April 23, 2016 - 8:31 pm

Don’t forget that the Phase 1 tunnels already connect to the 1970s tunnels from 99th St to 105th St.

Also, interestingly, according to this document http://web.mta.info/capital/sa.....res-08.pdf 86th St and 96th St stations are actually both at a similar elevation and their different depths is caused by the elevation of the surface changing.

Nathanael April 24, 2016 - 10:26 pm

The construction should be divided into three functionally separate projects:
#1 — 110th St. station and tunnels from 105th to 110th and from 110th to the existing tunnels north of there

#2 — 116th St. station

#3 — 125th St. station, and from the end of the existing tunnels, the curves toward 125th, and the bellmouths for future Bronx service

Larry Littlefield April 21, 2016 - 6:13 am

“The plan is a bit of a hedge as heavy construction won’t begin until 2019, and if the MTA misses that deadline, as the agency expected to six months ago, they can roll the money over into 2020 while lining up the rest of the funding to begin work on that phase.”

As each plan is funded by debt, the likelihood that the next will not take place and the transit system will go into deferred maintenance and decay increases.

The only reason it isn’t happening this time is zero percent interest rates and the city’s economic boom. This denied Generation Greed the “circumstances beyond our control” excuse. It may be available next time.

Ryan April 21, 2016 - 7:21 am

Disappointing. Phase 2 should be canceled and everyone sent back to the drawing boards to figure out that the turn down 125 St is overly expensive, totally unnecessary, precludes any hope of future extension to the Bronx, and is probably not even be the best choice for an uptown crosstown subway.

Actually, the entire rest of the subway should be cancelled until the MTA figures out that failure to install express tracks will be killing us shortly after phase 3 opens and goes back to install what they should have been building from day 1.

eo April 21, 2016 - 7:34 am

Nah, due to costs you will never see underground express tracks ever again in the US. In fact make that the world. When was the last time anyone built subway express tracks in anywhere in the world?

smotri April 21, 2016 - 10:28 am

Recent express tracks: Line 9, Seoul, Korea, early 2000s (this is from UrbanRail.net, a very useful site about metros):

Line 9

Line 9 was built from 2002 onwards, and the first 25.5 km section between Gaehwa and Sinnonhyeon opened in 2009. Line 9 is triple-tracked and thus Seoul’s first subway line to offer express services. Run under a 10-year contract by Southlink 9 Company Limited, an operating company 80%-held by Veolia Transport Korea and 20% by Korea’s ROTEM group, it is also Korea’s first privately operated subway line

Webster April 21, 2016 - 8:01 am

Does it? I thought the plan called for provisions to allow for future extension further into the Bronx?

Ryan April 21, 2016 - 7:30 pm

A provision that will never, ever, ever see revenue service because of the enormous expense (both financial and logistic) imposed on 2 Av services by the 125 St misadventure in turn demanding full service be maintained to Park/Lex; the commenters below talking about splitting the Q and the T are talking about a service pattern that will never be allowed to happen because it will always fail CBA long before it gets to the community outrage part of the program. The dirty little secret is that somebody’s getting paid for a functionally useless provision and the biggest losers in this are the Bronx.

For more on this topic, see my other comments below.

Brooklynite April 22, 2016 - 10:53 pm

I agree that a Bronx line is imperative, and that the 125 branch is a rather suboptimal use of money, but would its construction not have some advantages anyway? If 10tph start at 125, those trains will then be empty when they arrive at UES stations, instead of being crowded with Bronxites. The cost of the Bronx line can be mitigated by recapturing an existing IRT branch, which would then provide additional capacity along Lexington.

BoerumHillScott April 21, 2016 - 8:30 am

The six systems in the world with higher ridership than NYC do not have express tracks.

Tim April 21, 2016 - 12:18 pm

Damn, there’s SIX with higher ridership? London, Moscow, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and Shenzen?

BoerumHillScott April 21, 2016 - 1:32 pm

Wikipedia says

Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul (which apparently has 1 line with 3 tracks), Tokyo, Moscow, Guangzhou, NYC, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Paris, Cairo, London, Shenzhan.


Alon Levy April 21, 2016 - 5:45 pm

Line 1 in Seoul has 4 tracks. London has two short 4-track segments, with one named/colored line running express and the other local. Tokyo has an overtake segment on one of its subway lines, and a commuter rail system with four-track (or more) lines with express tracks.

adirondacker12800 April 21, 2016 - 6:31 pm

Not that they have higher ridership, Chicago and Philadelphia have local and express service.

Nathanael April 24, 2016 - 10:31 pm

London has a lot more 4-track segments than that. They generally give the express and locals different line names.

Metropolitan / Jubilee Line from Baker St. to Wembley Park (this is actually six-tracked with “mainline rail”, see below)
District/Picadilly Line from South Kensington to Acton Town
District Line / “mainline rail” from Mile End to Upminster
Metropolitan Line / “mainline rail” from Finchley Road to Harrow-on-the-hill

LondonMoses April 21, 2016 - 1:37 pm

London is technically less busy: 1.35bln vs 1.75bln. Of course that London number is tube only. Add another 120mln for DLR, 180mln for Overground and 1bln for National Rail services.

Phantom April 21, 2016 - 12:57 pm

Reliable local service with stations that aren’t too close to one another may be better for more people more of the time.

Ryan April 21, 2016 - 7:40 pm

The presence of express tracks has nothing at all to do with local stop spacing, and in fact, the only stops I’d expect Second Avenue Express services to actually skip would be 96 and 106, and maybe 23.

While you’re right about reliable local service being more important to more people more often, 80 tph capacity through midtown helps yet even more people all of the time.

Express/local is a convention everyone understands more readily than local pairings A and B, but the ability to run Local Pair A and Local Pair B – and indeed, to send two branches each to Lex and the Bronx – is the true reason to require express tracks.

Larry Littlefield April 21, 2016 - 9:56 am

That turn is exactly the right thing to do.

While not the Manhattan CBD, the Upper East Side is a major employment center, particularly along the river with its health and education complex. That extension would allow a transfer from the Lex and Metro North to those destinations.

It would also provide a transfer for night/weekend diversions on the Lex for maintenance and reconstruction.

The only question is whether it makes sense to install a provision for a future extension to the Bronx to, in the form of a grade-separated turnout. The more important place to do so, however, was in Phase I, for the turn south from 63rd Street. Was that done?

Astoria rider April 21, 2016 - 10:28 am

Was wondering about that myself.
Did they widen the point at which the Q begins to turn towards 63st?
Is there a tunnel ready at or below 63 st on 2nd ave?

Astoria rider April 21, 2016 - 10:31 am

Im looking at the map in this post…its showing phase 1 going south of 63 st (the red part).

Tim April 21, 2016 - 12:20 pm

I believe they dug out the connection caverns where phase 3 would link into phase one to put in the switches to get th Q to 63rd.

From what I’ve seen of those caverns, it looks like there’s at least a pilot hole drilled into the rock face at the south end of the caverns for future expansion. I imagine they’d have to launch the TBM heading north, form somewhere in Murray Hill/Kips Bay.

Oh, they will HOWL if that ever happens.

John-2 April 21, 2016 - 10:47 am

They can always put in bellmouths south of 125th Street to allow for a future Bronx extension — they’ve been done in the past, and while some likely will sit there forever unused, once in a while the ones built 80, 90 or 100 years ago do get used for future projects.

(Any Bronx extension would be contingent on Phase III finally being built, which would allow the T to finally arrive and would at least open up the option of that route going to The Bronx while the Q turns west on 125th.)

Ryan April 21, 2016 - 7:56 pm

Not even during the height of the subway building boom did any of the MTA’s precursor organizations build provisions that they not only had no plans for using but in actuality no INTENTION of using.

Even if they did, this provision will never see service because no service patterns that involve it will push full service through both the Second Avenue’s expensive branches and therefore no plan for extending off the provision will pass CBA.

John-2 April 21, 2016 - 9:58 pm

Of course they intended to use the bellmouths. But you can probably name more that have been left unused, especially those built for the IND’s Second System, than the ones that were built and later were used for system expansion (such as the Van Wyck connection that originally was supposed to continue south past Jamaica, but ended up as the Archer Avenue line connection).

BoerumHillScott April 21, 2016 - 10:47 am

The 63rd connection was via turn-outs that will allow the connection to Phase 3 to be grade separated.

In the image from the Community Board 11 updates, it looks like the storage tracks north of 125th are no longer included in Phase 2, but there will still be a provision for a north extension before the curve.

Riverduckexpress April 21, 2016 - 11:12 am

It’s not shown in the community board 11 presentation, but based on the MTA’s solicitation notice for the design/engineering contract, it looks like the storage tracks up to 129th Street are indeed planned as part of Phase 2: http://web.mta.info/nyct/procu.....NFOsol.pdf

Larry Littlefield April 21, 2016 - 11:43 am

There you have it. The evidence suggests they will fail to build the right thing.

imogen April 21, 2016 - 12:06 pm

there’s also turning to 125th, though. what’s the “right thing”?

Larry Littlefield April 21, 2016 - 1:36 pm

The right thing, which they are apparently planning to build but probably will not, includes:

1) Making the turn to a terminal at 125th and Lex and Park, with transfers to Metro North and the Lex.

2) Putting storage tracks north on 2nd Avenue — rather than far to the west on 125th, to allow a future extension to the Bronx.

Ryan April 21, 2016 - 8:15 pm

Putting them to the west would at least result in a provision that has more than a snowball’s chance in hell of ever seeing use as an extension, e.g. west to Broadway.

No reason not to stick with the alignment we’ve already locked ourselves into with this bad, bad plan.

No, if we’re committed to going to Lex, then we should own up to our lack of any good faith intention of going to the Bronx and at least save a few bucks off the bloated bottom line by deleting a functionally useless provision from the plan.

Riverduckexpress April 21, 2016 - 9:14 pm

Storage tracks up to 129th St are hardly useless.

John-2 April 21, 2016 - 10:02 pm

They’d ironically be the equivalent of the storage tracks north of 57th and Seventh on the BMT, which have been there now for almost a century and will finally become revenue service tracks full-time when the SAS opens (as opposed to the occasional reroute since 1989). The storage tracks north of 125 might stay storage tracks for years, but they’re at least pointed in the right direction to allow them to become revenue service tracks, if a Bronx extension is ever built.

imogen April 22, 2016 - 9:24 am

“The SAS 125th Street Station will connect with the existing subway station at 125th Street and Lexington Avenue and the existing Metro-North station at 125th Street and Park Avenue. The alignment will also include storage tracks and bulhead at 129th Street and Second Avenue for a future extension of subway service to the Bronx.”

what am i missing here?

imogen April 22, 2016 - 9:25 am

oh, reading your comment over it just seems like you were asserting it won’t happen

Ryan April 21, 2016 - 8:07 pm

Transfers to Metro-North are frankly unimportant. Nobody who isn’t taking Metro-North already is going to be swayed by a transfer that cuts 6 blocks of walking off of their trip and making life easier for commuters from upstate or Connecticut should not be a higher priority than doing so for commuters from one of the City’s actual boroughs.

And hey, surprise, going to the Bronx instead guarantees a Lex transfer at stations that AREN’T confusing messes like 125/Lex is! Not to mention all the other advantages of running to the Bronx, all of which cannot be ours because the trains must run to Lexington instead.

adirondacker12800 April 21, 2016 - 8:20 pm

Every passenger that uses an alternative to Grand Central is space for someone else to use it.

Guest April 21, 2016 - 11:45 pm

Hence the Bronx extension makes more sense. Run the SAS to E 138th St and E 149th St. That would draw eastside riders who would otherwise take the 4/5/6 down Lex. The SAS would avoid GCT.

adirondacker12800 April 22, 2016 - 12:01 am

If it goes up Third Ave it won’t connect to the 4. If it goes up the Concourse it won’t connect to the 6. Conceivable but not cheap to build, so that Metro North customers could change at 149th and the Concourse.

AG April 22, 2016 - 6:14 pm

I said it elswhere – this would be an opportunity to correct a historical wrong. If they build a station at 138th street they would right the wrong of not connecting the 4/5 with the 6 in The Bronx itself. It’s stupid that you have to go outside and walk or go to 125th street. This current SAS plan would be the same exact thing. Instead of turning to 125th and Park – they could build a station right in between 3rd Ave. and the Grand Concourse on 138th Street. There you could connect the Q/T with the 4/5 and 6 all in one connecting complex. Way more riders would benefit and I’m sure costs would be similar. Especially true as market rate housing plans and construction is booming in the Mott Haven area. Currently there are plans/construction for more than 4,000 units of market rate housing from 149th down to the 3rd Ave. Bridge. Many of them will be riding the subway. Plus maybe then Citibike will move up to the mainland.

Bronx Resident April 22, 2016 - 8:59 pm

Agreed, or you could just build a station on E 138th St and Third Ave with an underground pedestrian connection between the 4, 5 and 6. It’s a short distance between them.

Italianstallion April 22, 2016 - 10:51 pm

Why??? The connection at 125th accomplishes the same thing — a connection to the 4/5/6 — plus a connection to MNRR. A better deal.

Bronx Resident April 22, 2016 - 11:47 pm

A connection at E 138th and Third Ave with a pedestrian tunnel to the 4/5 is a much better option in the short term. The pedestrian tunnel would be a little over 1,000 ft.

Right now, E 125th St is very crowded. Ridership entry statistics are not a good indicator of its congestion because a large proportion of people standing on the platforms are transferring to back into the Bronx.

Connecting the SAS, 4, 5, and 6 in the Bronx would greatly improve connectivity in the borough. I would argue that a substantial percentage of the crowding at E 125th St and Lexington comes from commuters transferring from the 6 to the 4/5 and reverse (in order to access the East/West Bronx).

During service disruptions, the Bronx E 138th St station would allow accessibility for Bronx crosstown trips (64/5) if 125th St is down.

Crosstown 125th St service is necessary at some point, but an extension into the Bronx is a greater priority. I’m not too concerned about the E 125th St Metro North travelers because the Lexington Ave line is a very short walk away. E 125th St could also be served by SAS for now. Better enforcement of the bus lanes could make the buses even more efficient. Not sure if they have traffic signal priority, but they should if not.

Walt Gekko April 23, 2016 - 5:43 pm

As said in my own post, if you’re going to go crosstown, I would do it all the way to Broadway with connections to all other lines on 125 AND a direct connection to/from the 8th Avenue line at St. Nicholas Avenue. That to me is important to not only be able to transfer to all other lines along 125th, but with Columbia University undergoing a massive expansion this likely will be needed there.

AG April 23, 2016 - 11:31 pm

Are you kidding? It’s an incredibly annoying situation for people who don’t want to go to Manhattan.

AG April 22, 2016 - 6:09 pm

You are correct – but we all know Manhattan and suburban riders get preference before anyone else.

Guest April 21, 2016 - 11:49 pm


The Bronx is experiencing continued growth with no end in sight, and it would be wise to run phase 2 north to E 138th St and E 149th St to relieve Lex first.

If the SAS terminates at E 125th St and Lex, less Bronx commuters would transfer to it. Better to catch them upstream to better relieve the Lex Ave line.

david April 26, 2016 - 7:16 pm

Any evidence for this growth in the Bronx? And how would better transit impact this?

adirondacker12800 April 26, 2016 - 7:53 pm
ajedrez April 26, 2016 - 7:46 am

You could accomplish essentially the same thing by tunneling across the Harlem River to The Bronx and stopping at 138th and 149th. You don’t hit Metro-North, but you do hit the (5) & (6) trains.

Jonah April 21, 2016 - 1:46 pm

Modern “local” subway systems are faster than the MTA’s “express” lines.

Ryan April 21, 2016 - 8:10 pm

That’s irrelevant. See my response to Phantom above for why.

Italianstallion April 21, 2016 - 11:53 pm

You’re joking, right? The connection to the 4/5/6 and Metro-North at 125th will be incredibly useful. It will allow riders from the Bronx and Westchester to easily transfer to the SAS and get to hitherto difficult destinations. The stub end at 5th Ave will eventually lead to an equally useful crosstown line.

Bronx Resident April 22, 2016 - 11:53 pm

The Metro North station at Park Ave is less than 500 ft from the Lexington Ave line. Many more riders waiting at E 125th St and Lex are transferring from the Bronx, back into the Bronx (64/5). If we could remove those riders from E 125th St, the platforms wouldn’t be so overcrowded in combination with local riders and express transfers.

The Q is happening regardless, and those that want to use the Q from the Bronx would be better off transferring at E 138th St and Third (with a 1200 ft pedestrian tunnel between the (6/SAS4/5). The Mott Haven area was also substantially rezoned and will become a much more populated area.

BoerumHillScott April 21, 2016 - 8:35 am

From the FEIS:

“North of 92nd Street, the project would use two existing tunnel segments (beneath Second Avenue between 120th and 110th Streets and between 105th and 99th Streets)that were constructed in the 1970s. North of 92nd Street, a combination of cut-and-cover and earth mining techniques would be used.”

A lot more info here:

Not sure if plans have changed since then.

Ralfff April 21, 2016 - 4:04 pm

BOTH of those statements are true north of 92nd street, or is one of them a typo?

BoerumHillScott April 22, 2016 - 8:24 am

As I read it, both statements are true. Existing tunnels will be used where they exist and a combination of cut-and-cover and earth mining will be used where they don’t

Nathanael April 24, 2016 - 10:34 pm

Correct. They have to use cut-and-cover to “dive down” from the existing tunnels to the mined level. 125th St. station and the bellmouths for tunnels under the Bronx River have to be quite deep, obviously. The existing tunnels are cut-and-cover.

Riverduckexpress April 21, 2016 - 8:58 am

Pretty sure the MTA has ALWAYS intended to use the 1970s tunnel segments in Harlem. The Environmental Impact Statement says so, and if that’s too old for you, this presentation made to community board 11 just a couple weeks ago seems to indicate they still do plan to use the East Harlem tunnels: http://web.mta.info/capital/sa.....0Final.pdf

Honestly not sure where people got the idea the MTA wouldn’t use them. I’m wondering if maybe it’s because the MTA is not planning to use the 1970s tunnel segment in Chinatown in Phase 4, and people are mixing up the two different situations.

Tim April 21, 2016 - 12:23 pm

Your last point is the most likely. Also, there’s no way it could possible be that expensive/disruptive to use the original 70’s tunnels down there. Lack of political will, I would think. It’s why they deep bored phase 1, after all.

tacony April 21, 2016 - 9:41 am

SAS has been planned for a century, and Phase 2 includes substantial existing tunnel work. How much utility relocation is required? One would have assumed that the MTA had already reserved an easement in the right-of-way and utility lines wouldn’t have been put in the way since at least the 70s, right?

BoerumHillScott April 21, 2016 - 10:04 am

Utility relocation was an enormous effort for the cut-and-cover parts of Phase 1.

The first 6 feet of any major street in NYC is a maze of conduits, pipes, and wires, many poorly documented.

2nd Ave and 125th street are no exceptions.

Nathanael April 24, 2016 - 10:36 pm

In the 1970s, MTA relocated the utility lines over the portions of the subway they actually *built*, but didn’t relocate the lines over anything else. So:
— the existing tunnels don’t require utility relocation
— the 116th St. station should require relatively little utility relocation, since it’s located in the middle of existing tunnels
— the segment around the 106th St station will require lots of utility relocation
— the section at the north end of the existing tunnels where it dives to make the curve to 125th St will require lots of utility relocation

BKTrain April 21, 2016 - 9:55 am

What is a shame is no one is talking about building the 2nd phase in pieces. A billion might get you a station at 106, with the existing segments from 99-105 and 110-120. This would be a huge win for East Harlem, especially considering there is no stop on the lexington line near 106 street.

A lot of other metros open one station at a time.

bigbellymon4 April 22, 2016 - 1:14 am

The 63rd street connection was opened station by station (Roosevelt Island, Queensbridge). The challenge with this is that you have to place crossovers (single or double, preferably double to maximize turn-around capacity). It wouldn’t make sense on the SAS because it would be a waste of infrastructure.

ajedrez April 26, 2016 - 7:49 am

I’m pretty sure they opened to Queensbridge in one shot in 1989.

will April 21, 2016 - 10:25 am

Use the existing tunnels, cut n cover all the way to 120 deep bored tunnel to the Bronx separate with one branch heading to the hub and another on NEC to hunts point

Brooklynite April 22, 2016 - 10:43 pm

IMO it would be best for the Bronx SAS to recapture one (or two) of the IRT branches, depending on whether or not the 125th St spur is built. For instance, if the SAS took over the Pelham line north of Hunts Point as well as the Dyre line, Lexington would suddenly have lots of ‘new’ capacity.

Nathanael April 24, 2016 - 10:37 pm

Dyre Avenue Line is plausible, since it was built to “steam railroad” widths.

But the Pelham line has *IRT clearances*. Widening it to carry BMT/IND width cars might be totally impractical.

adirondacker12800 April 24, 2016 - 10:56 pm

It’s a line built under the dual contracts, in theory all they have to do is cut back the platforms like they did with the Astoria Line.

Rob April 21, 2016 - 11:30 am

“begin utility relocation work for Phase 2” — You mean to tell me that utilities were not relocated before construction started the last time? Or that they were subsequently allowed to foul the planned ROW? Come on!

Nathanael April 24, 2016 - 10:38 pm

Utilities were only relocated over the sections of tunnel which were actually built in the 1970s. The utilities in the blocks where they didn’t build the tunnels were not relocated.

If they can get those utilities moved out of the way ASAP, that will definitely speed up the construction of Phase 2.

Thomas Graves April 22, 2016 - 6:06 am

This must be a new record even for the MTA. $5B – $6B Phase II for a 5 block east/west extension, and a north/south extension of 29 blocks, 15 blocks of which are already existing tunnels. Helluva lot for 2.75 km of new tunnels.

Brooklynite April 22, 2016 - 10:42 pm

It doesn’t look like the problem of obscene construction costs is going away any time soon. There really needs to be an investigation into where all the money is going.

AG April 23, 2016 - 11:28 pm

I agree.

Walt Gekko April 23, 2016 - 5:36 pm

A bit late to this, but:

What should be considered for Phase 2 is to have it go all the way across 125th Street to Broadway. As I would do it, it would connect to every other line that runs on 125th Street with additional stops as follows:

Lenox Avenue (Transfer to 2/3)

St. Nicholas Avenue (Transfer to A/B/C/D). There would also here if possible be a connection to the 8th Avenue line that would allow for re-routes when needed as well as having special SAS service to Yankee Stadium for events there and if warranted have an SAS branch run via the Concourse line.

Broadway (Transfer to 1)

This could be especially important with (but not only because of) Columbia University’s massive expansion currently going on. That would be complete by the time Phase 2 would extend west like that.

Brooklynite April 23, 2016 - 10:17 pm

You post this idea into every thread remotely related to SAS. There’s no way Columbia will expand enough to be remotely relevant as a destination for a subway line. It’s not like the 7 line, which was built through fields: everything near Columbia is already built up, and if they expand they’re removing other trip generators.

Nathanael April 24, 2016 - 10:41 pm

Well, I think the SAS should run west right on past Broadway, connect to Metro-North Harlem Line’s “Penn Station Access” at the riverside, and go under the Hudson River to terminate in Edgewater.

But that’s a discussion for a day when New Jersey has a more useful governor.

Brooklynite April 25, 2016 - 4:44 pm

If we’re talking about New Jersey then PATH should be fare-integrated, the 6 and PATH red line should be merged for an EWR-Pelham line, and the 7 should go Hoboken for the NJT transfer, perhaps then continuing via Pavonia/Newport, Grove Street, and the HBLR ROW to Bayonne and even over the bridge to Staten Island. But that’s a whole other story…

More pragmatically, SAS is almost surely staying within NYC boundaries for the next century or two. A subway line (or three) to NJ is an excellent idea but it shouldn’t drag people all the way east to 2nd Av before turning south IMO.

AG April 25, 2016 - 6:46 pm

Good dreams – but dreams nonetheless… Meanwhile Paris gets the Grand Express and London gets Crossrail. It doesn’t even make sense to talk about Chinese cities.

robert jama March 2, 2017 - 1:29 pm



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