According to a spokesperson, Grand Central may need to get new staircases linking the mezzanine to the ground-level station and better pedestrian paths and sight lines in order decrease congestion, which is already a big problem. (2nd Ave. Sagas has a diagram of some of the planned changes.) The MTA estimated two year ago that it would cost up to $465 million (a number that has likely increased) to make all the necessary changes in the rezoning footprint, not counting the money that would be spent by private developers. Developers benefiting from the rezoning will also be forced to shell out for infrastructure improvements before their buildings are allowed to open. In particular, SL Green Realty Corp. plans to spend $200 million on improvements in connection with its massive One Vanderbilt development.
Conspicuously absent from the discussion are additional phases of the Second Avenue Subway, the first phase of which is scheduled for 2016 (but you know how that goes). 2nd Ave. Sagas writes:
These phases are years away from construction, let alone completion, but it's possible to argue that nothing is more important to a successful rezoning effort, especially east of Grand Central, than a full-length Second Ave. Subway. Despite these planned renovations along the East Side IRT, the 4, 5 and 6 can't really handle that many more daily riders. And don't forget about the East Side Access project, which will eventually connect the Long Island Railroad with Grand Central, and is already billions over budget and was recently delayed until 2023. Basically, the MTA has a lot on its plate, so let's hope the city does a good job of holding developers their infrastructure improvement promises.
· MTA eyes big upgrades from midtown east rezoning [Crain's]
· The son of the return of Midtown East rezoning [2nd Ave. Sagas]
· Midtown East Rezoning coverage [Curbed]
Photo by Ravi J