2010-11-24 / Front Page

7 Line Extension Proposed

BY LINDA J. WILSON

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed extending the No. 7 subway to Hoboken and on to Sacaucus, New Jersey. A new stop on the line, at 11th Avenue and West 34th Street, is expected to be completed in 2013. Vinny DuPre Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed extending the No. 7 subway to Hoboken and on to Sacaucus, New Jersey. A new stop on the line, at 11th Avenue and West 34th Street, is expected to be completed in 2013. Vinny DuPre Last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed extending the No. 7 subway-elevated train line, known locally as the “International Express” for the wide and varied number of ethnicities that live in the Queens neighborhoods that it traverses, from Midtown under the Hudson River from the West Side of Manhattan through the city of Hoboken and on to Secaucus, New Jersey. Extending the No. 7 line into New Jersey was backed by the Regional Plan Association and similar groups in the 1980s and according to research, was advocated as early as the 1920s.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jay Walder said at a news conference that although the extension of the No. 7 line aroused excitement when considered from a policy standpoint, the agency’s current financial situation made implementation of the idea unlikely, at least at present. The MTA has two major projects, the Second Avenue subway and a new rail station beneath Grand Central Terminal, currently underway.

Apprehension about potential cost overruns led New Jersey Governor Chris Christie last month to squelch plans to the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) project, which would have built a second commuter rail tunnel under the Hudson, despite the fact that $3 billion in federal money had been earmarked for a rail tunnel project between New Jersey and Manhattan. The No. 7 line extension proposal, estimated at $5 billion to $6 billion, would cost about half as much as the commuter rail tunnel plan, in large part because the city is already digging a tunnel to run the subway from Times Square to West 34th Street and 11th Avenue, according to a spokesman for Robert K. Steel, deputy mayor for economic development. The support of Christie, Bloomberg and New York Governor-elect Andrew M. Cuomo would be necessary for the plan to proceed. Christie in press reports indicated he would support the 7 line extension into the Garden State.

The No. 7 line extension from Times Square to 34th Street and 11th Avenue has been budgeted at $2.1 billion. On Thursday, July 15, a massive 110-ton tunnel-boring machine broke through the Manhattan schist underlying the Port Authority to complete drilling for the new stop at 11th Avenue and West 34th Street. The new station is expected to be completed in 2013. The Bloomberg mayoral administration has been seeking to redevelop the far West Side with new offices and apartment towers. According to a fact sheet on the tunnel plan circulated by the city, the concept is “a major catalyst for development of commercial property in Manhattan”.

According to “2nd Ave Sagas”, a blog by Benjamin Kabak, “This project seems designed to further support the real estate interests working to develop the Hudson Yards”, and points out that New Jersey commuters “would still have to take NJ Transit to reach the subway and would have to suffer through additional stops and a potential transfer before reaching midtown”. Several No. 7 line riders at the Main Street, Flushing terminus expressed little interest in taking the line an additional four miles westward to Secaucus, although other commuters said they could see advantages to the plan.

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