After close to a century of an on-again-off-again struggle to build a Second Avenue subway, transit officials have proclaimed their readiness for straphangers to finally board the new transit line amid an OK from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who proclaimed “the wait is over.”
“The on-time completion of this transformative project reaffirms confidence in government competence, increasing capacity on the nation’s busiest subway system and delivering a new vital transportation artery to millions of New Yorkers,” Cuomo said.
“New Yorker s have waited nearly a century to see the promise of the Second Avenue subway realized and after unrelenting dedication by hardworking men and women, the wait is over and the subway will open Dec. 31,” he said.
In the new subway’s first week, trains will operate only between 6 a.m and 10 pm. with nighttime used for testing of equipment and elevators. Full 24-hour service starts Jan 9.
Attempts have been made since the late 1920s to build a subway beneath 2nd Avenue to relieve the transit crush caused by the demolition of elevated lines above Second and Third avenues in the early 1950s.
Most notable was the abandoning of a number of subway stations that had been built when New York City nearly went broke in the mid-1970s.
The new subway line is expected to greatly alleviate the jam-packed conditions on the Lexington Avenue line, which carries more than 40 percent of all New York City subway patrons every day.
The Second Avenue line is to be built in four stages with the first phase providing service from 96th Street to 63rd Street and carrying more than 200,000 passengers daily. The Q train was rerouted from Queens for the project and has been replaced by the restored W train.
An added dividend is artwork by well-known artists installed in the new stations,
“The Second Avenue subway is the most significant addition to our system in 50 years and will serve more riders on opening than Chicago, Washington, D.C.and Boston transit systems combined and will significantly reduce crowding on the Lexington Avenue line,” said Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Tom Pendergast.
“Opening the line on time could not have happened without the support of Gov. Cuomo and the round-the-clock work and dedication from the thousands of men and women on this project who made this operation possible.”