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MTA CEO Joe Lhota had a long Tuesday. That morning, we were with him and the New York Building Congress at the Hilton New York to talk about MTA. Eleven hours later, a crane collapsed, killing one at the 7 Line extension construction site on the West Side. Today we're taking a look at the MTA's biggest projects, including the 7 Line, where construction stopped pending investigation.
1) 7 Line Extension
MTA CEO Joe Lhota
We snapped Joe demonstrating what your trainer always tells you: It's good to stay hydrated. He says the 7 will terminate at 34th and Eleventh, though some train "parking" will extend farther south. He adds that the MTA is prepared to work with Related to create underground walkways so residents and workers in Hudson Yards can get there without going out in the rain. He also says he's focusing on making the user experience better at that other West Side transportation bastion, Penn Station. (A Rangers' Stanley Cup upstairs at MSG wouldn't hurt.)
2) Second Avenue Subway
Second Avenue Subway
Ever wonder what's so difficult about digging to China? Take a look at what else is already under Manhattan. The Second Avenue subway, which will be known as the T, is way down the totem pole. In fact, Joe says it'll be four stories down, at the bottom of 50-foot escalators. Now that ridership is constant (there's no such thing as peak ridership hours anymore), the key for MTA transit, he says, is to carry more trains. The Lexington Avenue line has more passengers per day than Chicago or DC's transit systems, and once it's built, the Second Avenue line, which will alleviate the Lex line a bit, will carry more passengers per day than Amtrak and as many as Atlanta's MARTA. Tunneling for the T, he says, is almost complete.
3) LIRR East Side Access
NY Building Congress prez Richard Anderson and Cornell University facilities services VP Kyu-Jung Whang
We also snapped NY Building Congress prez Richard Anderson and Cornell University facilities services VP Kyu-Jung Whang, who says Cornell is looking for an architect and construction manager for the first building of its Roosevelt Island campus. Joe says the LIRR, too, is at capacity. A terminal (Penn Station is a through-station) is built out, and the escalator shafts, which mimic DC's Dupont Circle, are dug out. Platforms are being built now, and entrances will be added at 48th and 49th streets to unclog Grand Central. Joe says the terminal will boost Long Island, making commuters look at those communities the way they used to look at Westchester up Metro-North.
Broadway and 31st Street, Astoria, on April 3, 2012
On the way home, under the Broadway stop in Astoria, we snapped these birthday balloons making the best of a bad situation.