Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fixing up 2nd Avenue

MTA works to make good on its promise
to fix up the neighborhood on Second Avenue.

East 92nd Street, SE corner - looking N

The image above may appear to be unremarkable. However, it shows exactly what the MTA has in mind when they say they intend to "improve the pedestrian experience on Second Avenue."

In this image you can see:

- all new fencing, which is as straight as an arrow;
- newly painted storefront rolling gate doors;
- an unobstructed 7 foot 9 foot wide sidewalk; and
- freshly painted and straight crosswalk lines.

When you consider what much of this area has endured in the past three years, these are rather dramatic changes.

It was only several months ago, in this same spot, that a vagrant regularly staked out this corner under what was then a littered and unlit sidewalk shed. (I'm not exactly sure if the vagrant is still around as much or whether he has now shifted to a new area.)

92nd Street, SE corner - looking S

And a view in the other direction, showing an area of the launch box construction site that has not been yet been revamped.

btw. 92nd & 93rd streets - looking S

Another view of the incredibly straight fence that has been erected in this block.

93rd Street, SE corner - looking NW

Up on 93rd Street, they've recently painted the trim on the Sandhog's "Hog House" (their changing and shower rooms) the color blue.

94th Street, NE corner - looking W

Yet another example of newly painted and very straight crosswalk lines.


91st Street, SE corner - looking SW

Work continues in and around 91st Street. Here, the MTA contractors prepare to freeze the ground in advance of the 2nd TBM run on the east side of Second Avenue (projected for early 2011).

91st Street - looking N

A maze of insulated pipes and tubes can be seen in the image above.


97th Street, 50 feet west of the NW corner - looking S

In this area of the job site, the MTA's contractors continue their work to stabilize the north foundation of 1873 Second Avenue with a technique called Jet Grouting.

This lot is the location where Ancillary Building No. 2 for the 96th Street station will eventually be built.


When I walked by this location last Saturday, this machine was being used to remove bucket loads of what looked like a slurry material, from the foundation of the north side of the building at 1873 Second Avenue.


1815 Second Avenue (near the SW corner of 94th)
(former Rainbow Hardware location)

At this location, the MTA's contractor E.E. Cruz-Tully JV is demolishing part of the interior of this building to make way for the construction of the Entrance No. 1 for the 96th Street station.

btw. 85th & 86th Streets - looking E

The newly planted trees near the historic Heidelberg Restaurant would suggest that utility relocation work on the east side of this block is now complete. This is big news for the residents who live in this area.

84th Street - looking S

Down in the 80's, the MTA's contractor J. D'Annunzio & Sons, Inc. is continuing their work to relocate area utility lines, ducts and pipes.

83rd Street - looking N

A view of their active work zone between 83rd and 84th streets. In this image, the contractor is excavating a new trench for Empire City Subway.

82nd Street - NE corner

Someone told me that this type of engraved street marking was installed so that riders of the former IRT Second Avenue Line would know which street they were crossing. (Maybe a reader of this blog can confirm this?)


The MTA recently released (on their web site) a copy of the most recent MTA Capital Construction report to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for the Phase 1 of the Second Avenue Subway Project.

The report, which is linked below, covers the period July - September 2010.

MTA Capital Construction Report to the FTA - 3Q2010
Second Avenue Subway, Phase 1

Page 18 of the report.

Of particular note is this statement:
"The SAS Integrated Project Schedule (IPS) continues to forecast an SAS Revenue Service Date (RSD) of 30-Dec-2016 with 168 calendar days of schedule contingency."

When the project started back in 2007, the MTA had planned for 186 calendar days of schedule contingency in the overall plan. (Note: Fewer days available for schedule contingency reduces the likelihood that this new subway service will go into service by December 2016.)

But at some point in October, after the 3Q2010 report was published, the project's schedule contingency was reduced to 138 days.

One could wonder if the slower than expected progress of the TBM, due to the poor rock conditions under Second Avenue, will continue to erode the available schedule contingency days in the plan.

The report also showed that the projected "substantial completion" date of each of the active SAS contracts has slipped by an additional 1-2 months since the last quarterly report to the FTA.

Another notable point in the report is the significant number of accidents in and around the 86th Street utility relocation job site. To quote the report:
The OSHA recordable incidents ratio for accidents on this contract is 8.9.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics/ National Industry Average is 4.2.

The OSHA Lost Time Accidents ratio for this contract is 8.9.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics/National Industry Average is 2.2.
The other contract sites on Second Avenue appear to be safer places to work, according to the statistics quoted in the report.


It was reported last week that the tunnel boring machine approaching 76th Street.

The TBM mining operations just north of this area have been impacted by two major factors: (1) the poor quality of the rock in this area, and (2) a significant amount of gushing ground water (underground streams).


Community Board 8 issued the following letter, via e-mail, a few days ago:

The letter states that the MTA, with the help of Community Board 8, is soliciting comments regarding the materials and finishes of the planned Ancillary Facilities for the Second Avenue Subway.

Here a link to the presentation that is referenced in the letter:

And here is a link that will direct you to the page on the MTA's web site were comments can be submitted:
(select MTA Service = Planning Studies // Second Avenue Subway)

Comment can also be sent via e-mail to

Comments are due by December 15, 2010 early January, 2011.


Here's a listing of the recent additions
to the right-hand column of The Launch Box

Notice of Limitation on Claims Against
Proposed Public Transportation Projects
Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT
Federal Register Volume 75, Number 224 - 11/22/10
Pages 71181-71182
A notice announcing final environmental actions taken by the FTA for the Second Avenue Subway.

Report of the Lieutenant Governor on
New York State’s Transportation Infrastructure

As prepared by Richard Ravitch,
Lt. Governor of the State of New York

Note in particular this section of the report:
The $28 billion, five-year MTA Plan set out in October, 2009 faces a gap of at least $10 billion for its final three years. The MTA is in the middle of its largest system expansion in more than four decades, and there is now legitimate worry that the MTA will have great difficulty in finding resources sufficient to complete its current slate of mega-projects, including the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway and the Long Island Railroad’s East Side Access Project.


Anonymous said...

just wanted to thank you for keeping up this site. As an UESider I check it frequently, and as a former hobbyist webmaster I can appreciate the burden of keeping it up to date.


Laura said...

Great blog and photos! I have been following the construction and its effect, too. I recently looked into the history of the SAS and created an interactive time line on my blog-- I always knew the SAS was decades in the planning. All of these delays makes me wonder how much longer we'll have to wait..

petey said...

great blog. thanks for the picture of 82nd and 2nd, can't confirm that reason but it sounds likely. why not on every bldg then? owner's discretion?