The MTA will be working down the wire in an attempt to fulfill its promise of opening the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway by 2017. It’s not like the agency hasn’t had time. Sure, it’s a mammoth undertaking to build a new subway line under billions of pounds of brick and glass, but it was a promise set seven years ago.
“This multibillion-dollar project has taken decades to finish and the MTA owes it to residents and small businesses to wrap up construction as soon as possible,” Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez told the Wall Street Journal. “The MTA must always guarantee the safety of its riders, but this has taken long enough and they need to keep to schedule.”
The MTA has yet to set an opening date for the line, but at this point some wonder if a 2016 premiere is arbitrary. “We’ve been trying do this thing since the ’30s,” Nick Sifuentes of public-transit advocacy group the Riders Alliance told WSJ, “It has been delayed by politics, by the Depression, and by world wars, so this is probably not the project that anyone is going to hang their hats on at this point and say, ‘This is the one we need to get done on time.’ “
The city’s most recent subway station to open, the Hudson Yards 7-train extension stop, has been pointed to as a cautionary tale with its leaky and imperfect interiors. Some say it’s better to get the Second Avenue line done right than on time.
But progress is being made under the Upper East Side: the MTA has poached train cars from the Q line to ready them for their Second Avenue debut, the W has returned to Astoria, and test trains are doing laps on the new line. But with less than a month to go, and workers frantically trying to wrap things up, it’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen.