West Side Pols petition for a long-awaited subway stop in Hell’s Kitchen

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The long-running Hell’s Kitchen subway wasteland may finally have a lifeline, as local politicians have come together to demand that the MTA add a 7-train expansion project into its next capital plan.

City Councilman Erik Bottcher leads the crowd (including Assemblyman Linda Rosenthal, Borough President Mark Levine, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblyman candidate Tony Simone, Member Congressman Jerry Nadler and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried) to encourage a 7-train expansion. Photo: Sarah Beling

Eight years after the implementation of a 7-train extension in Hudson Yards at W34th Street and 11th Avenue, the original plan to build a second stop at W41st Street and 10th Avenue – abandoned due to lack of funding – has been revived, as City Council member Erik Bottcher and West Side officials held a press conference Tuesday urging the MTA and state leaders to reconsider the project for immediate installation.

“Now is the time,” Councilman Bottcher said, pointing out that the West Side has seen both a recent commercial bonanza and significant population growth – nearly 30% over the past 10 years – deserving the need for expanded transit options.

Council member Bottcher makes the case for the new subway station. Photo: Sarah Beling

“Tens of thousands of residents have moved into this neighborhood,” Bottcher said. “We saw explosive commercial growth on the West Side – and even today there is no station west of 8th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen. We had seniors in Manhattan Plaza and elsewhere who had to walk long distances to get to the train. We have residents on the west end of 42nd Street who must take shuttles to get to the train. But here we are, saying today, ‘No more delays, no more excuses, build this train now!’ »

State Senator Brad Hoylman added of the abandoned train proposal, “It was a bait and switch,” pointing to the many residential high-rises west of 10th Avenue. “The community accepted massive development, and we got one station, but we didn’t get the second that was promised. We already know residents will benefit, we know our business improvement district will benefit, we know small businesses will benefit – we know tourists are the economic engine of this district,” he added. , noting that the campaign to set the project in motion had been in play for years.

“No more bait and switch, no more delays – now is the time to take advantage of this infrastructure opportunity that lies beneath us today and make public transit a reality on 10th Avenue. We demand that Governor Hochul incorporate Train 7 into the MTA Capital plan this year!

Although the potential expansion has already been added to the MTA’s 20-year needs assessment, West Side officials, Community Board 4, and the Hudson Yards Hell’s Kitchen Business Improvement District sent a letter to Governor Hochul and to MTA President Janno Lieber, urging the agency to investigate the site. as part of their next capital plan. If implemented, the MTA would conduct an evaluation of the potential station by October 2023 before presenting its findings for further review and potential funding.

“I have proudly sounded the alarm about the importance of building a station at 41st Street and 10th Avenue for nearly two decades,” said Congressman Jerry Nadler. “The MTA cannot afford to miss out on the federal funding that I worked hard to secure under the bipartisan infrastructure agreement. It’s the perfect plug-and-play project, and I urge the MTA to quickly greenlight the station to help this neighborhood in desperate need of transit access.

For those sitting on the edge of the MTA’s shovel, potential expansion was a more complicated possibility. Jessica Winstanley, co-owner of Nicol Squash – located on the site of the proposed resort – told W42ST she was “on the fence” about the project, acknowledging both the potential benefit in business and the threat of to be uprooted.

Peter Nicol and Jess Winstanley of Nicol Squash, which is at the site of the proposed train extension. Photo: Phil O’Brien

“I think it could be really amazing to have a station built here,” Winstanley said, adding that it would help fulfill the family business’s mission to make squash more accessible and inclusive: “We have people who come from all over the world, and that would make it a lot easier for us,” she added. “But it’s kind of terrifying to think that we could be deported,” noting that it took them years to find a space large enough to accommodate their needs as a sports facility and that they were deeply invested in the Hell’s Kitchen community.”If we get kicked out, it’s another small family business that goes down the drain.”

Nicol Squash is zoned as MTA easement space, which means it has been reserved for potential transit use by the agency. At this time, Winstanley said, they had not been informed by the owner of any details regarding the proposed station. W42ST has reached out to property management company Related for comment and will update if we receive a response.

While a revolution could be years away, officials at Tuesday’s press conference stressed that public pressure through petitions as well as buy-in from city and state leaders could push the schedule to a more reasonable clip.

Richard Gottfried, a retired member of the New York State Assembly, pointed out that ten years ago, “in a short-sighted error, then-Governor, then Mayor and Chief of the MTA have decided not to build”, “we have a new governor and a new mayor and a new head of the MTA – it’s time to move that station up a few notches and do it.

Riders Alliance communications director Danny Pearlstein supports the subway expansion. Photo: Sarah Beling

Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, who shares the area with Gottfried (and her future successor Tony Simone), also stressed the environmental urgency of the construction. “The EPA has been stripped of its ability to regulate emissions – it’s up to us at the state and local levels, and of course Congress, to make sure our neighborhoods are cleaner and fossil fuel free, and that we have more environmentally friendly ways to get around,” Rosenthal said, adding, “Infrastructure is sexy! Riders Alliance communications director Danny Pearlstein added, “Public transit is the lifeblood of the city – our future depends on it, and few neighborhoods demonstrate the importance of public transit more than Hell’s Kitchen.

Borough President Mark Levine — echoing his comments regarding the potentially expanded bike lane on the West Side Highway — reiterated the need for transit alternatives as congestion pricing takes effect. “It can’t just be about charging a fee,” Levine said. “It has to be the carrot of improving public transport options and making it easier, more reliable and more accessible for people not to travel in a private car.”

Citing skepticism about the city’s potential to build a train extension faster than, say, the Second Avenue subway, Levine said: “I want to say something to the naysayers – the city of Paris is in the middle of a 14 year project. , building 68 stations in their metro. That’s almost five stations a year. London has just opened a new line – it is 100 kilometers long and has ten new stations. Can you imagine New York doing that? There is no excuse for the fact that New York City, over the past three and a half decades, has built four subway stations. We barely build one station a decade, and that’s inexcusable,” he added. “But if we only build one station this year, I can’t think of a place in New York more appealing than this.”

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