MTA Says Exit Price From Second York Street Station Could Be Nearly Half A Billion

A long-awaited second entrance for the deep and cavernous York Street subway station on the F line in Dumbo would cost nearly half a billion dollars to build, according to the MTA.

The exorbitant price to build a complete new entrance and exit to the station would be between $420 million and $450 million, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials told a local Community Board 2 committee Thursday during a presentation.

Installing just one new set of elevators would still cost between $230 million and $260 million, according to a copy of the slides obtained by amNewYork Metro.

“I think we were all disappointed. It has been going on for so long and this stop has become an extremely active stop,” said Sidney Meyer, who chairs the CB2 transportation committee, which received the update from transit officials on June 16.

The exterior of the station in 2020. Photo by Susan De Vries

The 86-year-old station is the main one serving the growing waterfront district and has only one entry and exit lane at the north end of the platform, which includes a long incline leading to the level of the street, which locals compared to a “rock quarry.”

Dumbo has transformed over the past two decades from a sleepy former industrial area with artists in lofts into a bustling hub of residential and commercial development, and its views of Manhattan have also made it a magnet for tourists.

Daily subway ridership on York Street more than tripled from 4,100 in 2005 to 12,600 in 2019, according to MTA data in the presentation. More recently, there were 7,365 daily trips in April, about 58% of pre-pandemic levels.

“It was at full capacity before all this new development and there are more to come,” said Doreen Gallo, president of the Dumbo Neighborhood Alliance.

It’s not just about clutter, but also safety in the event of a fire or other emergency. Gallo and fellow local advocates have been pushing the MTA to add a second entrance since the 1990s, and transit officials have finally agreed to study it in 2021.

Difficult structure
MTA’s construction and development team argued in last week’s update that the high costs are due to the station being difficult to build.

The platform is 80 feet underground as it is the first stop in the borough and connects to the Rutgers tube crossing under the East River.

There are also six huge pillars on the platform supporting the Manhattan Bridge, and the columns along the edge are mostly only 15 feet apart, limiting where the agency can install a staircase and an elevator.

Moving these latter structures would essentially require rebuilding the entire station, according to the MTA.

station platforms

The platform has six underlying piers for the Manhattan Bridge. Photo via MTA

Much like the Under-River Tunnel, the 1936 station was built in cast iron rings, and reopening it for construction could undermine the integrity of the structure and also trigger a complete overhaul.

City officials had planned a second entrance when the station debuted as part of the city’s independent metro system under then-mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, but they never built it, according to the MTA.

Instead of a complete new entrance, the state-controlled Authority could simply build high-capacity elevators at the south end of the platform at about half the cost.

The best exits for both options would be on Jay Street near the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge Pedestrian Pathway.

But any program should compete for money under MTA’s five-year capital plans.

Capital competition
Transit officials prioritize stations for new elevators based on factors such as their distance from the next accessible stop under the Americans with Disabilities Act, ridership, demographics, transportation options, and more. transfer, constructability and cost.

“Given the complexity of this site, the initial assessment presents a realistic summary of the costs of constructing a second entrance,” MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said in a statement. “If the project progresses and is included in the MTA Capital Program, as with all capital projects, it will be competitively bid in the marketplace, which will determine the final costs.”

York Street would cost three times or more over the average ADA project budget of $79 million, and just one stop away is Jay Street-MetroTech, which is ADA-accessible. This makes him not high on the agency’s priority list.

“York Street will be considered – like all stations – but is not high on most data-based prioritization criteria,” the presentation read.

rendering

A rendering of a possible lift connecting to York Street station. Picture via MTA

Meyer – who stressed he was not speaking on behalf of the community council and was only sharing his opinion – said the high estimates did not make him optimistic that the station would get another way in and out. get out so soon.

“Because the cost is so prohibitive, it won’t be a priority,” he said. “My comment is as always, Brooklyn fuck off.”

The resort is on track to secure $7 million from a city air rights sale in 2021 for a new apartment and nearby office tower, including $1.5 million for design work and $5.5 million for further improvements.

The MTA has not yet received those funds and is still working with the city to finalize a letter of commitment for the money, according to Donovan.

Gallo, who has lobbied transit officials for decades, said they should get moving.

“They have to do something,” she said. “They keep putting it on the back burner, but it’s not something that’s going away.”

Editor’s Note: A version of this story originally appeared in amNY. Click here to see the original story.

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Richard L. Militello