Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, MTA officials and other local leaders today took the first ride on the extension of the 7 Subway line, terminating at the new subway station located at 34th Street and Eleventh Avenue in Manhattan. The 7 Subway Extension is the first extension funded by the city in more than 60 years, and will provide New Yorkers and visitors with a link to Manhattan’s Far West Side, building on the area’s enormous progress in recent years. The last extension financed by the city opened in December of 1950, when the Queens Boulevard line was extended to Jamaica-179th Street. This new extension demonstrates the commitment by the Bloomberg Administration to invest in infrastructure projects that will ensure New York City continues to be a leading global city in the future. The $2.4 billion project is scheduled to be completed in summer 2014.
“Today’s historic ride is yet another symbol of how New York City has become a place where big projects can get done,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This project is the linchpin of an ambitious transit-oriented, mixed-use development that is already transforming Manhattan’s Far West Side, and it demonstrates our administration’s commitment over the past 12 years to invest in infrastructure that will allow our city to grow for generations to come.”
“Today, the Far West Side is not so far away anymore. The subways are our bloodlines—they literally grow the city—which is why we made the extension of the 7 line into the once-desolate Far West Side the heart of the Group of 35 report in 2001,” said Senator Charles Schumer. “We knew that if we built it, they would come. And ‘they’ means jobs, jobs, jobs and an expanded tax base for the city, and a gleaming new mixed-use neighborhood where once there was only emptiness and promise. With the completion of the 7 line extension, it’s full speed ahead for development and economic growth on the far side of Manhattan. A special and heartfelt congratulations to Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn for leading the rezoning effort and for completing the first city-paid-for subway in many generations. It is a singular achievement that will pay untold dividends, and a grateful city thanks you for your vision and fortitude in making this vision a reality.”
“When we complete construction on this project next summer, the West Side will be connected to the rest of this vibrant city and will be just a train ride away,” said Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, president of MTA Capital Construction.
As part of the redevelopment of Hudson Yards, a 45-block area on Manhattan’s Far West Side, the City of New York and the MTA worked together to extend the 7 Subway line farther west from its current terminus at Times Square to the new subway station at 34th Street and Eleventh Avenue. Once completed, the 7 Subway will be the only line south of 59th Street to provide service west of Ninth Avenue, offering access to the Jacob Javits Convention Center and introducing subway service and fostering transit-oriented development to the emerging mixed-use community in Midtown West. Service will also improve for customers using the 7 Subway line in Queens and Manhattan as a result of the new station and additional tail tracks that extend to 26th Street to allow for the storage of more trains. Construction of the extension began in December 2007.
For the first time in New York City, tunnel boring machines (TBMs) were used to mine the subway tunnels. Two Herrenknecht manufactured TBMs burrowed 9,285 feet from Eleventh Avenue and 26th Street to Times Square. Local 147 NYC Sandhogs offered the Mayor the opportunity to name the TBMs and he chose to name them after his daughters, Emma and Georgina. As the tunnel boring machines mined, they placed pre-cast concrete lining rings along the excavated tunnel, making up the permanent liner of the finished tunnel. Tunneling between 34th Street and Times Square presented unique challenges, as the subway will run under the existing Eighth Avenue Subway, Amtrak/NJ Transit tunnels, as well as tunnels to the former New York Central Line, the Lincoln Tunnel and the Port Authority Bus Terminal and ramps.
To create the new station cavern below 34th Street and Eleventh Avenue, the contractor used controlled drill-and-blast. Work will continue into next year to complete full signal and power installation. In January of 2005, the City Council overwhelmingly approved the Bloomberg Administration's plan for rezoning the Far West Side of Manhattan. The rezoning allows for more than 40 million square feet of mixed-used development, including 24 million square feet of Class-A office development and 13,500 new apartments. The approval also resulted in the mapping of public parks and open space.
The city created two local development corporations: the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation to finance the costs of the 7 Subway Extension, new parks and other needed infrastructure; and the Hudson Yards Development Corporation (HYDC), which oversees planning and development in the Hudson Yards on behalf of the city. Hudson Yards is defined as the area bounded by Seventh and Eighth Avenues (East), West 28th/30th Streets (South), West 43rd Street (North) and Hudson River Park (West).
“This is truly an historic day and I along with the staff of HYDC are thrilled to be celebrating the 7 Extension along with Mayor Bloomberg,” said HYDC President Ann Weisbrod. “This day would not have been possible without the hard work and cooperation of so many people in the Mayor’s administration including City Planning, Office of Management and Budget and the Law Department. And special thanks to all of the staff of the MTA who worked so closely with us to make this day possible.”
“The construction of the 7 Subway Extension will redefine the future of Manhattan’s West Side,” said Alan Steel, CEO and president of the New York Convention Center Operating Corporation, which operates the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. “As we complete our own state-of-the-art renovation, this new subway station, right outside our doors, will introduce new audiences to the Javits Center and provide easier access for more than two million visitors we host each year. I would like to commend Mayor Bloomberg, MTA Chairman Prendergast and their staffs for their visionary work in making today a reality.”
The new subway station at 34th Street and Eleventh Avenue will be ADA accessible, and will be the first station in the system to have two high-rise incline elevators that will provide access to riders between the upper mezzanine and lower mezzanine, which is 108 feet below street level. Four high-rise escalators will also be installed at the station. MTA Capital Construction is managing the construction project and is being supported by a joint venture of Hill/HDR/Liro. In addition, Parsons Brinckerhoff provided design support with assistance from Dattner Architects. Work on the major structural elements was performed by a S3II, a joint venture of Shea, Schiavone and Skanska, which included tunnel boring from 26th Street and Eleventh Avenue to 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue and mining of the station cavern.
The three ventilation and facility buildings were constructed by CCA Halmar, a joint venture of Scalamandre/Oliveira and Yonkers Construction. Remaining finishes are being completed by a joint venture of Skanska Railworks. A secondary station entrance will be located on Eleventh Avenue between 34th and 35th Streets, which is being constructed by John P. Picone, Inc. A vibrant and colorful mosaic artwork will be installed at the 34th Street and Eleventh Avenue station entrances inside a recessed ceiling feature. The artwork is commissioned by MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design.
The 7 Subway Extension is an important piece of the overall development taking place across the Far West Side of Manhattan and the city’s commitment to building on this progress. The Hudson Yards development, one of the largest private developments in U.S. history, is currently underway. Since 2005, developers have committed more than $11 billion to build 14 million square feet of office, hotel and residential space in the area. To date, 6,000 units of housing have been built, including 1,600 units of affordable housing. 3,000 more apartments are expected to be built during the next five years. The first phase of the Hudson Park & Boulevard, which is two and a half acres, is also under construction.
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Marc La Vorgna/Patrick Muncie