Throw away the old New York City subway maps of Manhattan. For the first time in more than 25 years, a NY subway line (the No. 7) has been extended and there is a new stop opened today mid-island – the Hudson Yards station at 34th Street and 11th Avenue – that is destined to be heavily traveled in the coming years.
Construction started May 2009 on the approximately $2.42 billion project. It extended the existing No.7 subway line’s service about 1.5 miles west from Times Square to a neighborhood on Manhattan’s far West Side at 34th Street that is the site of the Hudson Yards development projects, Javits Convention Center and expected booming growth in the coming years. It is also a short walk away from the popular High Line elevated park built on defunct rail tracks.
The station features the highest and longest escalators of any subway station in the city. There are also two inclined elevators on the upper mezzanine, which are the first of their kind for the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). There is no “token booth” since tokens were eliminated, but rather a stainless steel and glass “Station Service Center” to help visitors and sell tickets to those not wanting to use the machines. The station, which is the only one south of Central Park that services areas west of 9th Avenue, also includes additional train storage tracks that run south to West 25th Street.
The gleaming new subway stop was designed to accommodate 25,000 people in a peak hour. It is expected to become the busiest single line station in the NYC subway system once the 50 million-square-foot complex of office towers and residential high-rise buildings in Hudson Yards is fully developed. In fact, according to MTA estimates, the Hudson Yards station would serve about 100,000 trips per day (making it 20th busiest out of 468 stations in the NYC subway system).
The extension of the subway system to the area was a critical element in former mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration’s effort to turn the Hudson Yards District, a formerly forlorn area from 30th to 43rd Streets west of 9th Ave., into a vibrant extension of Midtown Manhattan. In spite being located just blocks from Penn Station and Times Square, the Hudson Yards are was long neglected. In the decade before the plan was approved, only four buildings were built in the area. Additionally, in the 20 blocks west of 10th Avenue, in the heart of Manhattan, there were reportedly only 11 residences.
The area was rezoned, turning a manufacturing district into a mixed-use community. The plans accommodate 14,000 units of housing, more than a quarter of which would be affordable (in mid-town Manhattan?); 24 million square feet of office space (the equivalent of nearly 40 percent of the office space in downtown Boston); 3.5 million square feet of retail and/or hotel space and over 40 acres of parkland.
As part of the plan, NYC paid for the extension of the No. 7 line to make the area a more attractive investment. This was the first extension the city paid for in more than 60 years.
There was to be a second subway station at 42nd Street and 10th Avenue, near the north end of Hudson Yards. But that was cut from the plan for budgetary reasons.
Even so, the fact that the first new subway stop (the 469th) in 25 years opened is good news for the area. The MTA subway system carries more than 5 million people a day, and with more higher-rising buildings changing the skyline annually, the ability to move more people is needed.
Written and edited by Dyanne Weiss
New York Times: Subway Station for 7 Line Opens on Far West Side
Metropolitan Transit Authority: New 7 Line Extension to 11 Avenue
ABC News: Manhattan Subway Extension Opens in Booming Neighborhood
NY Daily News: Next station stop: 42nd Street!