The first comment is from the guy who finally stepped up and said “I AM IN CHARGE”
The Second Avenue subway has already become an “integral” part of the city’s transit network, touted Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday.The governor announced that Phase I of the project, which brought three new stations on the Upper East Side, has also successfully attracted riders away from the dreadfully congested subway stations nearby.
The next comment comes right from the heart: The MTA
It was a given that when the Second Avenue Subway opened on the Upper East Side on New Year’s Day it would change how the neighborhood commutes. But the rapid speed at which Upper East Siders have embraced the Q train has surprised MTA officials. Ridership on the Second Avenue Subway line increased by an average of 8,000 riders a week in January, peaking at 155,000 daily riders according to MTA data released Wednesday. After just one month the daily ridership is nearing the projected 200,000 daily riders MTA officials said the new line would service. The new Q line has also eased the burden on the nearby 4, 5 and 6 lines which run on Lexington Avenue and have long been some of the most crowded lines in the city. Daily weekday ridership at Upper East Side stations on the Lexington Avenue line has dropped 27 percent — 46 percent during peak morning rush hours of 8-9 a.m. — compared to January numbers from 2016, according to the MTA.
The opening of three new stations of the century-in-the-making Second Avenue Subway, and the top-to-bottom renovation of the Lexington Avenue/63rd Street station, provide a new emphasis on subway design over the years. I’m no architecture critic, but I have paid keen attention over the years as several design aesthetics have come and gone. Let’s take a look at these efforts from the very beginning. Above we see one of the ceramic sailing ships that grace the walls of the curved South Ferry station, which serves patrons of the Staten Island Ferry, accessing the #1 train. The nearby Whitehall Street station does the same for the R train. Until 2009, it was never thought to connect the two and allow free transfers until a new South Ferry station opened that year and the two lines were united. Hurricane Sandy made short work of the new South Ferry station in October 2012, so, after a few months of making Rector Street the southern terminal of the #1, the old reliable South Ferry station reopened, revealing the colorful station name tablets and ceramics one again. As a matter of fact, the ceramics were relieved of the dull brown paint job they had received and once again sport colors resembling the ones they had when the station opened in 1905.
The architects of subway stations that opened between 1904 and 1908, including the flagship City Hall station that is closed to the public except for sanctioned tours, were George Lewis Heins and Christopher Grant LaFarge, who also designed the massive Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Harlem and the original Astor Court buildings of the Central Park Zoo. Heins and LaFarge incorporated several design items they used at the Bronx Zoo into the City Hall station. These included such techniques as arches, vaulted ceilings, and polychrome tile.
If you are into politics, you had BETTER BE SUPPORTING THE SECOND AVENUE SUBWAY
The Trump administration might be threatening to cut funds to sanctuary cities like New York, but it’s thrown its support behind the Second Avenue Subway’s expansion into Harlem and Midtown, according to Rep. Carolyn Maloney.
The last two phases of the Second Avenue Subway line — which would bring service up to Harlem first and then to Midtown and neighborhoods below it all the way down to East 14th Street — has gotten the support of the new president’s transition team, who’s put the project on a “list of [national] infrastructure building priorities,” Maloney said.
The federal government is expected to allocate $14.2 billion towards the next two phases, which could mean progress on the line will be faster than it was during the first phase, Maloney said during a press conference on Tuesday.
Phase 1 of the project cost roughly $4.5 billion.
Information about the list and the project’s funding was leaked from the president’s transition team, and hasn’t been yet been confirmed by the White House, Maloney added.
Although she has not seen the list, she said $137 billion total will be dedicated to the 50 projects on it, including the Second Avenue Subway.
Maloney, who has been pressing Congress and the Trump administration to include the project on the list, spoke directly with the people who worked on creating it and was “repeatedly assured” that Phase 2 and 3 would be part of the plan, she said.
“We’re competing with every great project across United States of America,” she said. “We need to bring service to the underserved area of East Harlem, bring more economic activity, and relieve the over-congested area below 62nd street.”
The news comes in the shadow of Trump’s announcement that the government will seek to cut funding to sanctuary cities that refuse to adhere to his immigrant policies. Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to keep New York a sanctuary city, announcing that he would set aside a reserve fund in case Trump cuts federal funding.
When asked by a reporter whether funding for the Second Avenue Subway was in jeopardy considering Trump’s decree, Maloney said she doubted it because Trump is a New Yorker.
“I’ve been told by the transition team and the transportation team that we are on the first cut of $137 billion for an estimated $14 billion,” she said. “I will go back to Congress to address that. I’m opposed to any cuts to the City of New York. We give far more money to the federal government than what comes back.”
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.
The Federal Transit Administration has already approved funding for the second phase of the Second Avenue line, which will run from 125th to 96th streets. But the project will have to go through two years of environmental review, engineering design and community outreach before the funding will become available.
The MTA has signed two contracts for the environmental review and preliminary engineering and design portions, and a request for proposals has been posted for the community outreach part, Maloney said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on March 30, 2016 that $1 billion has been earmarked for Phase 2 in the new 2016-17 state budget.
The MTA did not respond to questions regarding the timeline and cost of the project, or whether they would be connecting the Second Avenue line to small tunnel sections that were built in East Harlem in the 1970s but were never used.
State Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez, who represents East Harlem and is the chairman of the State Assembly Office of State and Federal Relations, said he was “glad to see that Phase 2 and 3 of the Second Avenue Subway will be a priority project moving forward.”
“I will continue to work diligently with my federal partners to ensure all funding commitments are met,” he said.