Thursday, October 29, 2015

SAS Phase 2 Moves Forward - Slowly

MTA Approves 2015-2019 Capital Program

The MTA board of directors formally approved the 2015-2019 capital improvement program at its meeting yesterday. The $26.1 billion plan includes $525 million to initiate work on the Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway.

2015-2019 MTA Capital Program
Page 222

In its entirety, SAS Phase 2 will complete the full project’s East Harlem segment. Its alignment will run under Second Avenue to 120th Street, then will turn west along 125th Street, crossing Lexington Avenue and ending at 5th Avenue to accommodate storage tracks.

SAS Phase 2 will utilize a tunnel section built in the 1970s from 110th Street to 120th Street and will be outfitted with tracks and other essential equipment. Three new stations will also be constructed at 125th Street, 116th Street, and 106th Street.  (An approximate map of Phase 2 can be found on this link.)

The amount allocated to Phase 2 is $1 billion less than what the MTA had originally proposed when the 2015-2019 capital plan proposal was first submitted in September 2014. The $1 billion reduction in spending reflects funding availability and the [MTA's] ability to "implement scope" within the plan period, according to the plan document that was released yesterday.

According to WNYC, MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg said the move was a practical decision, not a financial one; the agency realized it was unlikely it could get to the tunneling work during the current capital program, so it reallocated the money.

The $525 million in the approved plan will be used to fund environmental, design, and real estate work related to Phase 2 and project support so that preliminary construction work, such as utility relocation, can begin.

The balance of the work necessary to complete Phase 2 will be funded in future capital programs. (plural)

The 2015-19 Capital Program will now be submitted to the state Capital Program Review Board (CPRB) for approval. The CPRB is composed of one voting representative each from the Governor’s Office, the Senate and the Assembly, as well as from the Mayor of the City of New York for the New York City Transit portion of the program. By statute, if the CPRB does not veto the Capital Program within the next 30 days, the MTA can begin pursuing projects in the Capital Program.

In other news, the MTA recently released new set of images of the work progressing underground. The images that follow were taken at the site of the future Second Avenue Subway 72nd Street station.

Patrick Cashin / Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Ongoing work inside the future 72nd Street station. The stairway and escalator lead to the mezzanine level of the station.

Patrick Cashin / Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Workers installing ceiling panels.

Patrick Cashin / Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Much progress but still much to do over the next fourteen months.

Patrick Cashin / Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Looking south - a view from inside of what I assume is the South Crossover Cavern. Both of the tunnels in this image lead to the Lexington Av/63rd St station. A crossover track will be constructed at this location so that trains can change tracks if necessary.

Patrick Cashin / Metropolitan Transportation Authority

A closer look at right-hand tunnel from the previous image.

Note in particular the Low Vibration Track (LVT) system that is being installed as part of the project. This system is designed to reduce the transmission of energy from the vibrations that are generated by passing trains. (If you are interested in this topic I would highly recommend having a look at Christopher Maag's article "Silencing the Subway" which specifically looks at efforts to reduce noise and vibrations on the Second Avenue Subway.)

Additional images from this set can be found on this link:
MTAPhotos on Flickr
Second Avenue Subway Update: 72nd Street Station
16 images

Members of the MTA Board of Directors - NY City Transit/Bus Committee were shown this interesting video during their meeting earlier this week. The video, which was shot using an Unmanned aerial vehicle (a.k.a. Drone), shows the construction work taking place within the 72nd Street station work site and the tunnels south of this station.

"Drone Explores Second Avenue Construction Site" (2:08)
YouTube / MTAInfo channel

The person providing the commentary in the video is Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, the President of MTA Capital Construction.

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

"Anger in East Harlem Over New Delays in 2nd Ave. Subway Plans"
By Emma G. Fitzsimmons
The New York Times - 10/29/15

"Baby, Baby, Where Did Our Love (or Second Avenue Subway Money) Go?"
By Kate Hinds
WNYC - 10/29/15

"New MTA Capital Plan Slashes Funding for Second Avenue Subway"
By Kate Hinds
WNYC - 10/28/2015

"New York City and State Reach Agreement on M.T.A. Capital Plan"
By Emma G. Fitzsimmons and Alexander Burnsoct
The New York Times - 10/10/15

"Drone takes tour of NYC's 2nd Avenue subway line"
Video (4:51)
CBS News - 9/16/2015

"What Is With This Incredibly Specific Second Avenue Subway Sign?"
By Melissa Dahl
New York Magazine - 7/10/15

"More snags in progress on 2nd. Ave. subway line as pols doubt MTA's goal of 2016 opening"
By Dan Rivoli
Daily News - 7/1/15

Second Avenue Subway Update
Video (2:44)
MTA - 6/25/15

"Feds Say 2nd Ave Subway to Open Later Than MTA Expects"
Video (1:58)
By Andrew Siff
WNBC-TV - 6/8/15


MTA Second Avenue Subway Newsletters
Volume XLII - October 2015

Lex Av/63rd St Station Area

72nd St Station Area

86th St Station Area

96th St Station Area

Off Topic
Why We Need New Hudson River Tunnels

The Regional Plan Association, a nonprofit group funded by foundations, developers and New York City-area businesses, released this interesting animated video to help the public understand the need for additional rail tunnels under the Hudson River.

"Tunnel Trouble: Crumbling infrastructure is putting the region at risk"
Video (3:31)
Regional Plan Association

Further details on this topic can be found on this link: