The New York City subway system has long been in need of revamp. The subway and buses that serve NYC carry 7.7 million people every day, and the subway system alone has 24 lines and over 400 stations. Since the opening of the system in 1904, the trains have seen some change, but not much beyond air conditioning. The recent extension of the Q Line in New York, which runs between 72nd Street and 96th street under Second Avenue on the Upper East Side is the most dramatic change, with its three new minimalistic steel and concrete stations. The extension is known as the Second Avenue Subway.
The Q Line project awaits three more phases of construction. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) website describes the project, highlighting the inevitable timeline for its earliest phases. The first phase for the Second Avenue Subway was initially proposed in 1919, but due to economic and circumstance, it only came to fruition in 2004 with work starting three years after that. To build less than four kilometers, it took extensive work, 10 years and $4.4 billion
The second phase of the project is to extend the Q line from 96th Street to 125th in Harlem. It comes in at a hefty bill of $6 billion, even before two more extensions would be added to run to the top of the island bringing the total cost of the project to $17 billion. The completion of phase one, after ten years, did have an affect on the community, however. The hope is that lessons were learned from phase one and phase two will be run differently. At a meeting in East Harlem held by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, an attendee said, “We lived very close to where phase one was and we saw how the businesses were inconvenienced and really the hardship that a lot of the residents had because of the digging so hopefully there was a learning curve in phase 1 so they can avoid a lot of those pitfalls in phase two.” Another attendee said, “We have a lot of minorities and a lot of mom-and-pop stores and it’s concerning to me that they are going to be displaced.”
The project will be expensive but it will greatly benefit East Harlem residents in the long run. The ease of greater connection and updated infrastructure is crucial in any city, especially in one such as New York City. To tackle the issue of funding, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed a specialized tax. In a statement, he explained, “Rather than sending the bill to working families and subway and bus riders already feeling the pressure of rising fares and bad service, we are asking the wealthiest in our city to chip in a little extra to help move our transit system into the 21st Century.”
The second phase of the Q Line is expected to be completed by 2029.
Photo credit Wikipedia.