The decades-long dream of bringing subway services directly to East Harlem is slowly moving forward as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority released impressive renderings of the line’s future stations and issued the first major contract to tender.
The contract, announced Wednesday, is valued at an estimated $50 million to $100 million and will require the relocation of all of Manhattan’s subway utility lines between 104th Street and 112th Street ahead of the first leg of the subway’s extension Funding Second Avenue north from its current terminus at 96th Street.
“As part of my administration’s effort to advance public transit equity throughout New York State, the Second Avenue Subway project will expand critical public transit to East Harlem, creating more choices for residents,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in an explanation.
“We remain committed to expediting this long-planned project for East Harlem, and I’m proud that it’s moving a step closer to reality,” she added.
The second phase would extend the Q to Second Avenue with stops at 106th and 116th Streets before turning west at 125th Street and continuing to Lexington Avenue, allowing for easier connection of the Q to the existing 4/ 5/6 and Metro North service.
The deal represents just a tiny fraction of the estimated $7 billion to $7.7 billion price tag for the extension.
Local politicians have championed the subway for decades, arguing that it speeds up commuting while reducing traffic and reducing air pollution in a part of the city with some of the highest asthma rates in the Big Apple.
The published renderings show a unified entrance for Q and 4/5/6 at 125th Street with the elevated Metro-North tracks nearby, and the entrance to the 106th Street station framed by the adjacent apartment towers.
Officials released the new illustrations of the proposed 106th Street and 125th Street stops, while officials confirmed they are continuing their review of the size and scope of the proposed stop designs after an investigation by the Post found they were twice the size needed – potentially hundreds of millions added up to the $7 billion project price tag.
The Post’s history shows that the MTA’s consultants created designs for stations ranging from 1,200 to 1,400 feet long, while the 10-car trains that run on the subway’s lettered lines are only 600 feet long are.
Across the Atlantic, the major transit systems in London, Paris, and Rome minimize costs by building stations that are much closer in size to the length of their trains.
It’s a repeat of a design decision the MTA and its outside contractors made when building the first section of the Second Avenue Subway through the Upper East Side, which helped drive costs into the stratosphere, independent experts say.