MTA’s Second Avenue Subway in East Harlem Moving Forward & Beyond!

 

 

 

Rendering of Phase 2, Second Avenue Subway at 125th Street. Image courtesy new.mta.info

In anticipation of Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway, an MTA community information center with rotating exhibits is open to the public on East 125th Street, steps from the MTA Metro North Station, and halfway between the #2/3 and #4/5/6.

The New York Post reported on October 23, 2023 that the Biden Administration has agreed to pick up half of the $6.6 billion tab to extend the Second Avenue Subway through East Harlem, providing funds the MTA says are essential to finally getting the project off the drawing boards and into construction.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Harlem) announced deal Tuesday, which will provide $3.4 billion to pay for the 1.5 mile subway extension that will add three new stops on the Q line at 106th St./Second Ave, 116th St./Second Avenue and 125th St./Lexington Ave.

Announced January 9, 2024, Governor Kathy Hochul announced plans to expand Phase Two. In a statement, “Looking to the future, the MTA will evaluate, scope and plan for another extension of the Second Avenue Subway west along 125th Street, adding three new stops at Lenox Avenue, St. Nicholas Avenue, and Broadway in Harlem. This extension would create connections with seven existing lines and serve 240,000 daily customers, with more than 90 percent of them from equity communities. It would also significantly reduce bus congestion along 125th Street, where more than 30,000 people ride the bus along this corridor every day.

This project scored well on the MTA’s 20 Year Needs Assessment, particularly for its cost effectiveness. In advance of environmental review and preliminary engineering, MTA will evaluate the feasibility of performing the initial tunneling work as a continuation of the Phase Two tunneling work and extending the tunnel boring machine’s westward path beyond Park Avenue to Broadway. If viable, this approach could save over $400 million over the life of the project.”

Rendering for Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway for 106th Street Station courtesy new.mta.info

The second phase of the project will extend Q train service from 96 Street north to 125 Street and then west on 125 Street to Park Avenue, approximately 1.5 miles in total. There will be two new stations at 106 Street and 116 Street on Second Ave, and a direct passenger connection with the existing 125 Street subway station on the Lexington Avenue subway line. Phase 2 will also feature an entrance at Park Avenue to allow convenient transfers to the Metro-North Railroad 125 Street Station.

Rendering of Second Avenue Subway, 125th Street Station entrance. Image courtesy new.mta.info

Each station will have above-ground ancillary buildings that house ventilation, mechanical, and electrical equipment, as well as space for possible ground-floor retail and community uses. The expansion will serve an additional 100,000 daily riders and provide three new ADA accessible stations — raising the bar for customer comfort and convenience. Increased multimodal transit connectivity at the 125 Street station at Park Avenue with connections to the 456, Metro-North trains and the M60 Select Bus Service to LaGuardia Airport, will allow for convenient transfers to other subway and commuter rail lines, facilitating smoother, faster transportation across the city and metropolitan region.

Rendering of Second Avenue Subway at 125th Street – entrance. Image courtesy new.mta.info

Phase II of the project is ready to go, pending an OK from the Federal Government that the funds are on the way. The necessary parcels of land were acquired by MTA on both the East and the West side of Park Avenue on 125th Street.

Rendering of Second Avenue Subway, 125th Street platform view. Image courtesy new.mta.info

Uptown Grand Board Chair Diane Collier said, “Uptown Grand Central is dedicated to transforming East 125th Street into a thriving corridor, and creating a welcoming gateway to Harlem. To strengthen this transit point, it is imperative to create more robust connections between the new Q train and 4/5/6 subway lines, M60 bus and Metro-North station; improve adjacent public spaces and calm our currently congested sidewalks; and offer opportunities for local art and retail. We look forward to the potential that the Second Avenue Subway brings to build the vibrant transit hub that the people of Harlem deserve.”

Rendering of Second Avenue Subway, 125th Street entrance interior. Image courtesy new.mta.info
Rendering of Second Avenue Subway, 125th Street entrance interior. Image courtesy new.mta.info

This announcement follows the Finding of No Significant Impact for the Central Business District Tolling Program issued by the Federal Highway Administration last week. Revenue from congestion pricing will support $15 billion in funding for critical projects in the MTA’s current capital program, which includes Second Avenue Subway Phase 2. The MTA is finalizing a funding agreement with the Federal Transit Administration for the project and has ensured that federally required contingency for the project is in place through a Capital Plan Amendment approved by the MTA Board last week, subject to approval by the MTA Capital Plan Review Board.

As part of the MTA’s commitment to delivering key infrastructure projects better, faster, and cheaper, the first contract for Phase 2 incorporates lessons learned from Second Avenue Subway Phase 1. Addressing utility relocation requirements upfront will reduce the risk of unexpected costs or delays later as construction progresses. The first contract will also include temporary streetscape modifications that will be required during construction, including new bike lanes to replace those that will be impacted by construction on Second Avenue, and building remediation in preparation for future contracts for the new subway station at 106 Street.

Additional cost containment initiatives in Phase 2 include reuse of a tunnel segment that was built in the 1970s from 110 Street to 120 Street along Second Avenue, early real estate acquisition, adoption of best value contract structures like A+B contracts, reduction in back-of-house and ancillary space, and close coordination of contracts.

Second Avenue Subway Community Information Center

The information center offers in many different ways, an outline of what subway riders might expect, beginning with the construction process and path the subway will take.

Second Avenue Subway Phase 2

 

Inside the MTA Community Information Center on East 125th Street

 

Inside the Second Avenue Subway, Phase 2 Community Info Center located at 69 East 125th Street

 

Inside the Community Information Center

Wall displays and interactive multimedia touch screens, along with in-depth videos track the Q-Line extension. Phase 2 will extend train service from the 96th Street station on the Upper East Side to East Harlem, with new stations at 106th Street and 116th Street on Second Avenue, and 125th Street at Park Avenue.

Take the wheel, and yes ~ you can honk the horn

One of our favorite interactive displays is the ability to drive the train! and yes, you can honk the horn.

Display on view

Expecting a 300,000 ridership daily on Phase 1 and 2 combined, this new section will connect to the M60 Select Bus Service to LaGuardia Airport as well as the #4,5,6 subway and Metro North on 125.

The three new stations (106, 116, and 125) will each provide ADA accessibility. The proposed $51 billion capital plan took years to put together. Now the question is ~ will Phase 2 become a victim of COVID-19?

Tunnel boring machine on display

Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway is part of East 125th Street, a work in progress. Moving forward and now in the Engineering Stage, below is an update given to CB11 by the MTA on January 12, 2022.

MTA presentation at CB11 meeting January 12, 2022

Below, the property in green indicates where the entrance to Phase 2 at 125th Street will be. It is the area on Park Avenue between 124/125th Streets, just east of the Metro North Station building (City owned property).

Read more about 1800 Park Avenue, owned by Durst Organization, on the other side of Metro North.

Property that will be used for Phase 2 at Park Avenue between 124-125th Streets.

Below, more information given during the January 12, 2022 CB11 meeting by MTA.

This project still has a long way to go. Once the project goes into the construction phase, it will take about eight years to complete.

Have you seen MTA Art & Design in the Second Avenue Subway from 63rd Street to 96th Street?

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Take a look inside this fabulous book on MTA Arts & Design in New York. Contemporary Art Underground presents more than 100 permanent projects completed between 2015 and 2023 by MTA Arts & Design. This ground-breaking program of site-specific projects by a broad spectrum of well-known and emerging contemporary artists has helped to create a sense of character and place at subway and commuter rail stations throughout the MTA system. Among the featured artists are Yayoi Kusama, Kiki Smith, Nick Cave, Ann Hamilton, Xenobia Bailey, Jim Hodges, Alex Katz, Sarah Sze, and Vik Muniz.

Don’t get lost. Get an East Harlem Map.