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Riders Flock to NYC Second Avenue Subway; City's First Major Subway Expansion in More than Half a Century

MTA New York City Transit’s Second Avenue Line—originally proposed in 1929 and the city’s first major subway expansion in more than half a century—is drawing large crowds since its opening on New Year’s Day, both for added rider convenience and for the soaring station infrastructure and art exhibits at the three new stations.

New York State Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo visited the line’s ­initial three new stations—96th Street, 86th Street and 72nd Street—at open houses in advance of service. The 1.8-mile stretch of new track, expected to serve approximately 200,000 daily ­riders, connects to the existing Lexington/63rd Street Station; it is expected to relieve overcrowded conditions on the nearby ­Lexington Line by as much as 13 percent or 23,500 riders. When the Second Avenue Subway is complete, it will cover 8.5 miles, extending north to 125th Street in Harlem and south to Hanover Square in the financial district.

“With unparalleled architecture and newly installed artwork along the Second Avenue Line, we are transforming these stations into underground galleries that encompass the spirit and cultural charm of New York,” Cuomo said. “This open house offers a unique opportunity for us to share this important project milestone with New Yorkers and marks the progress we have made in delivering a new, vital artery to one of the nation’s busiest transit lines. I encourage all New Yorkers to come for a tour and see this new state-of-the-art station for themselves.”

New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas F. Prendergast said, “Gov. Cuomo challenged the MTA to work aggressively to open the Second Avenue Subway on time and we have been working around the clock to meet this challenge. We’re thrilled to start the new year with a new subway line and invite all New Yorkers to come get a preview.” (Prendergast announced his retirement shortly after the subway opened. See the story in "People on the Move" in this issue.)

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo and MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast and a host of New Yorkers rode the Second Avenue Subway on its opening day, boarding at the 96th Street Station and exiting at 72nd Street.

Photo courtesy of Gov. Cuomo's Office

AECOM participated in a joint venture that provided engineering and architectural services for the $4.5 billion project. Skanska and Kiewit also were part of joint ventures related to the new subway line.“The Second Avenue Subway is a transformative project that takes a leap forward in engineering and design innovation of a transit system.” said Liam Dalton, a project manager at AECOM. “We are very proud to have been a part of the project. Its success is a testament to the hard work, dedication and close collaboration with the contractors.”

AECOM’s contributions included tunnel construction; geotechnical evaluations to accommodate telecommunications, electrical, gas, steam, water and sewage lines beneath the asphalt; updates to the tunnel ventilation system; pedestrian modeling that simulated 3,000 uptown and downtown train arrival combinations; and leading the multidisciplinary design of the new underground stations.

The design, based on a new set of NYC Transit station guidelines developed specifically for the Second Avenue Subway project, includes architectural detailing, ADA compliance, high ceilings, column-free design, lighting, top-level acoustics, increased safety and security and innovative artwork.
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