The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced Nov. 19 that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, issued a “Finding of No Significant Impact” (FONSI) for Phase II of the Second Avenue Subway project, based on review of the Supplemental Environmental Assessment prepared for the project.
This phase of the project will extend the Q Subway train line from its current terminus at 96th Street and Second Avenue, north to 125th Street, then west to Lexington and Park Avenues, where it will connect with the 4, 5 and 6 Subway trains and the Metro-North Railroad. Three new stations will be built at 106th Street and Second Avenue, 116th Street and Second Avenue, and 125th Street and Lexington Avenue. Tail tracks, where trains will be stored prior to heading back south, will continue west just past Lenox Avenue.
“This is an important milestone that puts us a step closer to providing a long-overdue subway to serve the people of East Harlem,” said MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber. “With the environmental approval in place, we can move into a new phase in the effort to secure Federal funding for this important project. It’s urgent to build Second Avenue Subway Phase 2 so East Harlem can begin to receive the same benefits Phase 1 has delivered for the Upper East Side.”
The FONSI was issued after an extensive update of the original Environmental Impact Statement prepared in 2004. The finding means that changes to the design of the project since that time were found to have no additional significant adverse impact on the environment in the construction area.
In connection with the Supplemental Environmental Assessment, the MTA conducted a robust public outreach program, which included numerous meetings with and presentations to Community Boards 11 and 10, elected officials, business and residential groups and other major stakeholders. A 30-day public comment period was conducted, during which the MTA accepted comments on the Assessment and held a meeting on July 31, where the public had the opportunity to present comments verbally. The public comment period and meeting were advertised in six local newspapers, including Spanish language publications. Responses to all comments are contained in the FONSI.
Phase II of the project will provide a number of benefits for the East Harlem community, much of which sits in a “transit desert” with few public transportation choices. The new service will also stimulate the local economy, create thousands of jobs, cut commute time by up to 20 minutes a day, and further reduce crowding on the Lexington Avenue line. Phase I of the Second Avenue Subway, which began service on Jan. 1, 2017, reduced crowding at parallel stations on the 4, 5 and 6 Subway trains by up to 40 percent during the morning rush hour.