MTA Agrees to Full Enviro. Review of 2nd Ave. Subway Stops Following Appeals from Rep. Maloney, NYC Electeds
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Assemblyman Micah Kellner, and representatives of other local elected officials met with representatives of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) last week to discuss the need for a full environmental review of the MTA's current plan for the entrance locations at 72nd Street and 86th Street for the Second Avenue Subway. The July 21st meeting was convened by the MTA in response to a letter sent by the elected officials, who are responding to community concerns about the impact of mid-block station entrances on their residential neighborhood.
At the meeting, the MTA announced that it would be conducting a full environmental assessment, which will include an opportunity for the public to comment. The additional environmental review will focus on proposed entrance design changes, along with reasonable alternatives, to update the design entrance concepts that were evaluated in the MTA/Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Second Avenue Subway Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) dated April 2004 and FTA's Record of Decision issued on July 8, 2004.
Congresswoman Maloney said: "I am pleased the MTA is committing to do a full environmental review, and to consider the feasibility of other alternatives. Mid-block entrances are not common in residential areas and will have a significant impact on pedestrian walking patterns, traffic flow, and emergency vehicle access to their buildings. It's important for the MTA to take a hard look at these concerns."
"As New York City's relentless growth continues to strain its transit system, there is no better time to complete the long-awaited Second Avenue subway line, said Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer. "Due to the scale and long-term impacts of this project, the city must focus on reducing any negative impact on the local community, both now and into the future. The MTA has made the right decision by agreeing to conduct an environmental impact statement."
"The MTA's decision to perform additional environmental reviews is a win for the East Side and a win for communities throughout the City," said Senator Liz Krueger. "Station entrances will constitute the Second Avenue Subway's most visible street level impacts. Given this, it is essential that major design and location changes are subject to the full environmental review required by the State law."
Assemblyman Micah Kellner said: "By conducting a full environmental review and considering alternatives to the mid-block entrances, the MTA is demonstrating that it is serious about responding to the public's concerns. After months of effort by the community, I'm glad the MTA is finally listening to us, and taking into consideration the needs of the neighborhood that will be affected by the Second Avenue Subway."
"I am grateful that the MTA has considered alternative plans and agreed to work with residents, community members, and elected officials to achieve a consensus on this issue. The Second Avenue Subway is important to the East Side and we must ensure that it accommodates the needs and desires of the community," said Assemblyman Jonathan Bing.
"It is prudent for us to have additional environmental review before we commit to these mid-block station entrances," said Council Member Dan Garodnick "These proposed entrances are on residential blocks, and likely will have an impact on pedestrian and vehicular traffic -- a point of great concern to the neighborhood."
"The residents of east 72nd and 86th Streets have very serious, very real concerns about the effect of mid-block subway entrances. I'm pleased that the MTA is taking those concerns seriously and will be conducting a full environmental review before they act," said Councilwoman Jessica Lappin.
On June 5, 2008, Congresswoman Maloney organized a letter to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) signed by Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Liz Krueger, Assemblyman Jonathan Bing, Assemblyman Micah Kellner, Councilman Dan Garodnick and Councilwoman Jessica Lappin asking the FTA to require the MTA to prepare a full environmental review of the new proposal for a Second Avenue Subway station entrance on the northeast side of 72nd Street.
The letter pointed to a range of environmental impacts including: (i)diversion of tens of thousands of commuters from a corner which has mixed commercial and residential uses to a purely residential side street, (ii) elimination of parking and vehicle drop off points, (iii) increased likelihood of jay-walking and (iv) changes to the neighborhood's character by increasing pedestrian activity, changing the natural features of the neighborhood and altering traffic patterns.
Although the FEIS discussed a station entrance at 305 E. 72nd Street in the CVS store, feasibility concerns caused the MTA to consider other locations. The MTA has presented plans to the community for a station entrance that will consist of two mid-block locations on the northeast sidewalk.