By Philip Newman
A triumphant U.S. Rep Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria), joined by community advocates, neighborhood business owners, transit advocates and elected officials proclaimed Tuesday that the long-awaited Second Avenue subway is about to become a reality.
She also gave the overall $1.3 billion project a final grade of A-plus.
“The MTA tells me as of Oct. 1 the project was 98 percent complete,” said Maloney. “With that news, I am proud to be able to give them an A-plus on my final report card on the progress of Phase 1.”
The first phase covered the construction of three new stations between 96th Street and 63rd Street. The new 63rd Street Plaza, which is now open to the public, is 99 percent complete, while the 96th Street station is 97 percent complete, she said. The 86th Street and 72nd Street stations are 94 percent complete.
The Q train will serve the new Second Avenue line and the W train will be re-introduced to transport Queens riders who have used the Q.
“We have passed the point where there is any doubt that it will be finished,” she said. “In just a few short months, more than 200,000 riders will ride the Second Avenue subway on day one.”
Maloney, who began a campaign to revive the Second Avenue subway project in the mid-1990s, spoke at 63rd Street and Third Avenue at the new station entrance.
In a press release issued Tuesday, Maloney said “Phase 1 is expected to be completed by December 2016” despite pessimism in some quarters that the end-of-the-year deadline might not be met.
The project was first mentioned in 1919 by New York Public Service Commissioner Daniel Turner. The Great Depression of the Thirties foiled the first plans for the subway, while a new attempt that was made after World War II failed. After years of false starts and the building of some tunnels, the leg of the Second Avenue subway began construction in March 2007.