Second Ave. subway project clears hurdle

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The next phase of construction will extend the Q train north to East 125th Street


  • The MTA plans to extend the Second Avenue subway to East Harlem from its current terminus at 96th Street as part of the project’s next construction phase. Photo: Steven Strasser

The Second Avenue subway is one step closer to expanding service to East Harlem.

It will likely be a decade until the Second Avenue subway’s second phase of construction is completed, but a federal finding issued last month represents an important milestone in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s efforts to build three new Q train stations extending the existing line north to East 125th Street.

The Federal Transit Administration issued a document known as a Finding of No Significant Impact in November after reviewing updated environmental assessment documents prepared by the MTA, paving the way for the MTA to begin assembling federal funding for the project.

“This is an important milestone that puts us a step closer to providing a long-overdue subway to serve the people of East Harlem,” Janno Lieber, the MTA’s chief development officer, said in a statement. “With the environmental approval in place, we can move into a new phase in the effort to secure federal funding for this important project.”

The first phase of the Second Avenue subway opened Jan. 1, 2017 following ten years of construction. The next phase will expand the line north from its current terminus at 96th Street and Second Avenue, adding new stops at 106th Street and Second Avenue, 116th Street and Second Avenue, and 125th Street and Lexington Avenue. The 125th Street stop will provide connections to the Lexington Avenue subway and the Metro-North Railroad for the historically transit-starved neighborhood of East Harlem.

MTA officials estimate the project will be completed by 2029 according to a conservative timeline, but say the second phase could potentially be completed as early as 2027 if funding is quickly secured.

Plans for the four-phase project call for the line to eventually extend south to Hanover Square in the Financial District.

“This finding is a major step forward toward making Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway a reality,” Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney said in a statement. “Phase 2 will make it much easier to commute to and from East Harlem, and to access Metro North and the LaGuardia bus at 125th Street. We have already seen the extraordinary success of Phase 1, and the MTA must move forward as quickly as possible to build the full-length Second Avenue subway up to 125th Street and then down to lower Manhattan.”

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