Issue 344 December 3, 2001
Last week, the MTA board approved a $200 million contract for the preliminary engineering study for the 2nd Avenue subway. The contract went to DMJM Harris. The study will cover eight miles of tunnel from 125th Street in East Harlem to the financial district and include 15 stations. The $200 million is part of $1 billion allocated for the project in the MTA's 2000-2004 capital budget, which is still not fully funded or received approval by the state legislature. The environmental impact statement for the new subway line is underway now. The MTA estimates that it will begin construction in 2004. The Second Avenue subway could take up to 15 years to build and cost estimates now stand at $12 billion.
- V-train/Chinatown Shuttle Announced -
NYC Transit has announced that the Queens V-train will start running December 17th. The service has been delayed about a month due to the Sept. 11 crisis. The V will run locally from Forest Hills in Queens along Queens Boulevard to 2nd Avenue and Houston Street in Manhattan using the 6th Avenue tracks. Weekday G-train service will terminate at Court Square to give way to the V. NYC Transit says rush hour headways on the G will be improved from 8-9 minutes to about 5-6 minutes during rush hours. The E-train will parallel the V as an express in Queens and split off to travel under 8th Avenue in Manhattan - the same route it takes now.
The F will run express under Queens Boulevard but will be re-routed as it approaches the East River. It will stop at 21st Street and use the 63rd Street tunnel to Manhattan. It will run under 63rd Street before rejoining its old route under 6th Avenue in Manhattan. The F's Brooklyn route is unchanged.
Critics are concerned that re-routing the F away from busy east Midtown stations will worsen crowding on the E line. NYC Transit says the plan increases overall service along Queens Boulevard. In announcing the start of service, Governor Pataki said that "With the opening of the 63rd Street connector and the new V train, things will get dramatically better for Queens commuters." In a few weeks, rider response to the changes will resolve the debate.
The Queens Boulevard changes will eliminate the 21st Street shuttle. That will allow Chinatown's Grand Street Shuttle to be extended one station west, to West 4th Street. The lengthening of the line has been requested for months by Chinatown merchants who were financially hit by the World Trade Center disaster in September and the Manhattan Bridge-related changes to subway service in August. When the City DOT required the MTA to switch the D/Q/B subway lines to the south side of the bridge, Grand Street was cut off from Brooklyn. The original shuttle goes only to Broadway/Lafayette. The extension will allow transfers between the Chinatown shuttle and the A/E/C lines.
MTR #344 portable document format (PDF) file version
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Related Articles and Links
funding for NY: half-full?
V-train plan scrutinzed (Feb. 5, 2001)
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