New York City Infrastructure projects

The first $4 billion piece of the legendary 2nd street subway has just opened. Having rode the Lexington Subway one time, I can appreciate how much this is anticipated. In case you are not familiar with the geography of the New York Subway system:

And specifically Manhattan

Background of the project

The new section is on the Q line on the right side in yellow heading North up to 96th street. You might be saying “well, why don’t those lazy bastards just walk two blocks to Lexington Ave?” It isn’t about location, it is about capacity. The Lexington line carries traffic from most of the area North of Manhattan. Despite having 4 tracks (2 express in the middle, 2 local on the outside, the trains are incredibly overloaded. Not quite like Japan where they physically push people onto the cars, but close.

The North End will continue on to 125th stree eventually (Spanish Harlem), and later to the south past the United Nations.

Donald Trump was very much involved in last year’s big transit debut. Trump saw the opportunity to revitalize the lower West Side which had been occupied by railroad tracks, including covering over the MTA/Amtrak/LIRR/NJ Transit rail yards West of Penn Station. While Trump sold off his investment, the Hudson Yards project is fully under construction. To connect this new neighborhood to Midtown, the 7 line (in purple) was extended West and South from Times Square.

The other huge transit project is the East Side Access tunnel. It was another unfinished dream – when the subway tunnel was built under the East River, it was made with two levels, but one level was unused. The East Side tunnel will use the old tunnel and connect the existing rail yard in Brooklyn to a new station underneath Grand Central Station at 42nd and Park Ave. that will allow ~160,000 Long Island RR passengers to commute to Grand Central and not clog the subway and take some pressure off of the overloaded Penn Station. Price tag is $10 billion and should be done in 2022.

Another wish list item that got more urgent after Superstorm Sandy flooded the tunnels is to replace the Hudson River tunnel and/or build new tunnels. A recurring idea is to take the vacant post office building next to Penn Station and convert it into a Penn Station of the stature of the original, whose demolition is widely regarded as a horrible mistake. New Jersey Transit is going ahead to build its own Hudson River tunnel to a new terminal on the Hudson River where a pier exists currently.

Donald Trump has said he wants to spend money on projects like these. Chuck Schumer obviously would like these projects to all move forward. Chris Christie will take anything NJ Transit is offered. Look for some cooperation very early on. Ignore that in 20 years, global climate change will flood Manhattan constantly.

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