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Second Avenue Subway: Route 132-B Study C Report

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The following is an excerpt from a report published by the New York City Transit Authority.

ROUTE 132-B - Second Avenue Subway, The Bronx, Study C, Supplement to Phase 1 Design Development Report

New York City Transit Authority, April, 1975

Contents

FOREWORD

This report is submitted in accordance with the agreement, dated February 24, 1972, between the New York City Transit Authority and Sverdrup & Parcel and Associates of New York, Inc.

Studies (identified as Study A in the agreement) made for a transit system based on the approved Route and General Plan for Route 132-B, which extends from East 126th Street in Manhattan to East 180th Street in the Bronx, have shown that a subway line so located along East 138th Street in the Bronx would unavoidably result in high construction costs as well as some environmental problems during construction. This report presents the results of studies made for an alternate route location (identified as Study C in the agreement) that eliminates that portion of the approved route along East 138th Street and in lieu thereof, places the alignment within the Penn Central Harlem River rail yards to the south of East 132nd Street. The rail yard area is being considered for possible land- use redevelopment by the City of New York. Studies, by others, indicate the desirability of having a new subway transit facility and passenger station within the redevelopment area. Redevelopment planning has not progressed to the extent necessary for a coordinated planning effort. However, an alternate route concept has been developed which, with minor modifications, could probably be adapted to a redevelopment between the Willis Avenue and Triboro Bridges.

The alternate route departs from the approved Route and General Plan approximately 150 feet north of the north bulkhead of the Harlem River and again returns to the approved route near East 141st Street, a length of approximately 1.4 miles. Studies herein are limited to this l.4 miles of route. Proposed alignments and construction methods for the alternate route are consistent at the tie points with the recommended concept for the approved Route and General Plan, Study A.

SUMMARY

A summary for alternate route Study C must necessarily make a comparison with the results of studies based on the approved Route and General Plan. The recommended concept for the Study A route was, therefore, compared to the two concept studies for the alternate route Study C in regard to construction costs, environmental impact and transit service provided.

A comparison of the recommended concept of the approved route with Concept I, which assumes continued operation of major Penn Central facilities in the yard area is as follows:

  1. The cost for the alternate route is estimated to be $123 million less than for the approved route; $240 vs $117 million. Both estimates include the cost of construction, land acquisition and physical damages to the Penn Central Railroad.
  2. Neither route requires the relocation of any families.
  3. The approved route concept will require the taking of five commercial properties employing approximately 210 people. The alternate route requires no permanent taking of commercial facilities; warehouse platforms and tracks in the rail yards removed or relocated during construction would be restored upon completion of subway construction.
  4. The environmental impact during construction will be greater for the approved route than for the alternate route.
  5. Both the approved Route and General Plan and alternate route Study C offer an improved level of service for 50,000 passengers per day. The alternate route would provide a slightly lesser level of improved service because 3,000 passengers per day from the South Bronx would not have transfer capability at the Brook Avenue Station and would have to "backtrack" from the Pelham Bay Park Line between Brook Avenue and Hunts Point Stations.

A comparison of the recommended concept of the approved route with Concept II, which assumes redevelopment in the rail yard areas, is as follows:

  1. The cost of the alternate route is estimated to be $127 million less than for the approved route; $240 vs $113 million. The amount shown for the approved route is total cost including land acquisition whereas the cost shown for the alternate route is for construction only and does not include the cost of land acquisition. No attempt has been made in this report to estimate right of-way costs for the redevelopment concept.
  2. Neither route requires the relocation of any families.
  3. Commercial property taking for the approved route is given in Concept I above. For the alternate route) it is assumed the redevelopment project itself would require the removal of existing commercial properties in the rail yards.
  4. The environmental impact during construction will be greater for the approved route than for the alternate route.
  5. The same comparison of service for Concept I is also applicable; however, if the redevelopment occurs, the alternate route with station would better serve the proposed redeveloped area than the approved route.

If completion of the entire Second Avenue Line should be delayed because of complexities arising from redevelopment of the rail yard area, the cost savings for this alternate concept, as compared to the approved route, would be lessened because of escalation of costs.

Adoption of the alternate route Study C would require a new Route and General Plan.

INTRODUCTION

The alternate route for that portion of Route 132-B studied in this report traverses the Penn Central Harlem River rail yards from west of Willis Avenue Bridge eastward to the approach to the Hellgate Bridge. Within this area, which lies entirely south of 132nd Street, are also located numerous warehouse and loading platform facilities owned primarily by the Penn Central Railroad.

Report studies for the alternate transit route are based on two concepts:

Concept I assumes the Penn Central would continue to operate their major facilities in the yard area. Consistant with this concept, a basic structural shell for a future station is provided but "finish" work is not part of the initial construction.

Concept II assumes the transit route would be constructed in conjunction with an overall area redevelopment plan that would include a passenger station beneath the present rail yard area.

Study A route, which follows the Approved Route and General Plan, is in tunnel at the tie point with the alternate route Study C just north of the Harlem River. The desirability of maintaining the alternate route in tunnel eastward to the Triboro Bridge was dictated for each of the two concepts described above. In the case of Concept I, the subway route would not interfere with those Penn Central operations at the Harlem River yards that the railroad plans to continue in use. In the case of Concept II, a subway route would allow the greatest flexibility in planning a redevelopment of the rail yard area.

Included in this report are drawings illustrating alternate route Study C vertical and horizontal alignments, track and station arrangements and design and construction features. A comparison of the transit service provided as compared to the approved route is included as well as cost estimates for each concept.

TRANSIT SERVICE

Plate 4 indicates track arrangement and stations for the alternate route.

The basic difference in service between the approved and alternate routes is that the alternate does not provide transfer capabilities between the Pelham Bay Park Line and the Second Avenue Line in the south Bronx area, as would be provided at the Brook Avenue Station under the approved route Study A plan. (Both routes provide a terminal station for the Pelham Bay Park Line at Hunts Point and a new station for continuation of service to present terminus at Pelham Bay Park.)

The effect of the elimination of the Brook Avenue transfer for the alternate route is that Second Avenue Line northbound passengers cannot readily select any of the five Pelham Bay Park Line stations between Brook Avenue and Longwood Avenue as a destination. This northbound passenger has the choice of continuing to use the Lexington Avenue - Pelham Bay Park Line or using the Second Avenue Line to Hunts Point and "backtracking" on the Peiham Bay Park Line to the desired station. Although this lack of direct service would affect 3,000 passengers per day, improved service is provided for the 50,000 passengers per day using the Peiham Bay Park Line beyond Hunts Point Station.

Alternate route Study C would not provide a common station for Dyre Avenue and Pelham Bay Park service. This common station service would be provided at Brook Avenue if the approved Route and General Plan were constructed. However, if alternate route Study C were constructed, Dyre Avenue Line passengers would have access to both IRT Broadway - Seventh Avenue Lines and the Lexington Avenue Line at the 180th Street Station.

Alternate route Study C would provide better service for the anticipated redevelopment of the rail yards. The approved Route and General Plan could also provide service to the redeveloped yard area by means of a new bus system from the existing Brook Avenue Station.

DESCRIPTION OF ROUTE - CONCEPT I

HORIZONTAL ALIGNMENT (Plates 2 and 5)

The two-track alternate route maintains the approved route alignment from East 126th Street in Manhattan to a location approximately 150 feet north of the bulkhead of the Harlem River. From this location, it departs from the approved route by swinging east-ward in an 800-ft radius curve passing between piers of the Willis Avenue Bridge; proceeds eastward beneath the Penn Central Harlem River Yard and passes between piers of the Triboro Bridge; swings to the north in a 950-ft radius curve to meet the two unused westerly tracks of the Penn Central near Willow Avenue and East 132nd Street. The alignment proceeds from East 132nd Street northward on Penn Central right-of-way utilizing the embankment and bridges of the railroad until the tie is made with the alignment of the approved route near East 141st Street.

The alignment would require the demolition of several railroad loading platforms and the abandonment of several tracks during cut and cover construction of the proposed subway structure. These facilities could be rebuilt after subway construction. Major facilities of the railroad in the yard area would be untouched by subway construction.

Preliminary discussions with the Penn Central Railroad indicate that subsurface easements in the rail yards with provisions for maintenance of major facilities are acceptable. The taking of two surface tracks between East 132nd and East 141st Streets is also acceptable.

The two tracks are at approximately 14 ft. centers except where provision is made for a future center platform station area south of Brook Avenue, the tracks are located at approximately 33 ft. centers.

VERTICAL ALIGNMENT (Plate 3)

Controls for vertical alignment were a) the elevation and grade of the approved route at the tie point just north of the Harlem River, b) the depth of construction to allow for a future station with mezzanine, c) the desirability of maintaining the route in tunnel between the Willis Avenue and Triboro Bridges, d) the elevation of the existing Penn Central Bridge over East 132nd Street and e) the limitations for grade desired at a station.

The profile conforms to the 2.7% tunnel grade of the approved route at the Harlem River, flattens to 0.5% grade through the proposed future station at an elevation of 41 feet below present ground surface and then rises at a 3.0% grade to a portal 150 feet east of the Triboro Bridge. A grade of 2.7% remains between the portal and the existing railroad bridge over East 132nd Street. Northward of East 132nd Street, the profile conforms to existing tracks resulting in grades of 0.2% or less.

DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION

At the location of the tie point with the Study A route near the Harlem River, cut and cover tunnel construction was recommended. Cut and cover construction is also recommended for the alternate route for its full length to the portal, a distance of about 13500 feet. Eastward of the portal about 900 feet of open cut (wall) section is required until the tracks would begin to climb on the Penn Central embankment. Plate 6 indicates the tunnel cross sections and the retaining wall sections east of the portal. Jack arch construction is shown for the cut and cover tunnel.

Tunnel construction would require the temporary relocation or support of tracks which must remain in service during the construction period.

Borings in the rail yard along the alternate route were obtained during the study. The subsurface data indicates a significant layer of weathered rock very close to the ground surface. The rock is not considered suitable for free-air rock tunneling. Large portions of the yard were created by filling in low areas including a stream that emptied into the Bronx Kill at the foot of St. Anns Avenue.

As the route proceeds northward. from East 132nd Street to East l4lst Street, ten bridges of the Penn Central over city streets are utilized to carry the two tracks. Plate 6 indicates typical details at the bridges and the relative position of the Transit Authority tracks to the Penn Central Railroad tracks. Estimates of construction cost include sums for the renovation of these bridges.

Plate 7 shows the new station near Brook Avenue. The drawing indicates the entire station which would be constructed for Concept II.

Construction of the route thru the rail yards, away from housing and businesses, will have a decidedly lesser environmental impact on the comuunity during construction than a subway route constructed along a street such as East 138th where apartments and businesses line both sides. Unavoidable adverse socio-economic impact of construction along East 138th Street would include some disruption of vehicular and pedestrian traffic: loss of business of adjacent stores due to hindered access: loss of basement space during underpinning operations of residential buildings and creation of noise, vibration, dirt and dust caused by the operatiors inherent in subway construction. The yard route, by simply not proceeding along a busy street, eliminates, or reduces, the undesirable effects of construction.

RIGHT-OF-WAY

For that portion of the alternate alignment that remains in tunnel, that is from the Harlem River eastward to near the Triboro Bridge, it is assumed underground easements would be obtained by the Transit Authority for a 100-ft width. Actual right-of-way acquisition would be required from the tunnel portal northward to East lhlst Street. An estimate of cost of such easements and right-of-way takings has not been obtained from the Penn Central Railroad; however, costs have been included as described in Chapter V.

DESCRIPTION OF ROUTE - CONCEPT I

Concept II assumes the transit route would be constructed in conjunction with an overall area redevelopment plan that would necessitate the location of a passenger station in the present rail yard area. This would require coordination in the planning effort between the transit planners and redevelopers. Redevelopment planning has not progressed to the extent necessary for a coordinated planning effort. However, it is believed the concept presented could, with minor modifications, be adapted to an overall redevelopment south of East 132nd Street and between the Willis Avenue and Triboro Bridges.

ALIGNMENTS, DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION

The plans for this study indicate the same horizontal and vertical alignments and design features as Concept I. The route is retained in subway to a location east of the Triboro Bridge and the alignments accommodate a station which is part of the initial construction, south of Brook Avenue. The horizontal alignment may be shifted slightly in the north-south directions and the station in the east-west directions to orient the transit facility with redevelopment features such as street networks and location of new buildings.

The station shown on Plate 7 is a center-platform type with full mezzanine. It is recognized that the number of passengers to be served and the number and location of entrances would enter into final selection of station features. This information is not available.

RIGHT-OF-WAY

Whereas Concept I assumed railroad facilities must be maintained during construction, Concept II assumes the redevelopment project has dictated the removal of the railroad facilities prior to transit construction, The complexities of the redevelopment project prohibit any evaluation of land acquisition cost applicable to this concept.

COST ESTIMATES

Cost estimates are shown in Figures 1 and 2 for Concepts I and II. For comparison purposes with Study A, the approved Route and General Plan, each estimate indicates a total cost of the entire route from East 126th Street to East 180th Street. Each estimate is divided into three physical reaches of the route consisting of the alternate route length of 1.4 miles plus the approved route segments to the north and south.

For Concept I, which assumes the continued operation of major Penn Central facilities in the yard area, the total shown includes construction costs, cost of underground easements estimated at one dollar per square foot for a 100 ft. width, cost of right-of-way north of the portal estimated at four dollars per square foot and a cost of physical damages to the Penn Central. The cost of easements, right-of-way and physical damages have been estimated from the best available information. No estimate of these cost items has been obtained from the Penn Central Railroad.

For Concept II, which assumes redevelopment in the rail yard area, the cost shown includes only construction costs. Because of the complexities involved in the entire taking of the rail yards for a redevelopment project, no attempt has been made to estimate the cost of land acquisition for the subway servicing the redevelopment.

All costs are based on cost anticipated as of May l974 consistent with the estimating for Study A, the approved Route and General Plan.

For comparison purposes, the cost of the construction and right-of-way for the recommended concept of the approved route is estimated at $239,911,000.

FIGURE 1 - STUDY C - ESTIMATE OF COSTS - CONCEPT I SOUTH SEGMENT OF APPROVED ROUTE Construction Cost $28,718,000 Right-of-Way & Easements 15,000 Subtotal $28,733,000 ALTERNATE ROUTE (l.4 Miles) Construction Cost $44,126,000 Right-of-Way & Easements 1,870,000 Physical Damages to Penn Central RR l,496,000 Subtotal $47,492,000 NORTH SEGMENT OF APPROVED ROUTE Construction Cost $35,797,000 Right-of-Way & Easements 2,710,000 Physical Damages to Penn Central RR 2,231,000 Subtotal $40,738,000 TOTAL COST CONCEPT I $116,963,000

Estimated cost of station finish and machinery not included above is approximately $13,000,000.

CONCLUSIONS

Both concepts studied indicate the alternate route would result in significant savings in costs and in lesser environmental impact than would the recommended concept of the approved route.

Weighed against the above advantages, the alternate route would not provide a transfer between Second Avenue Line and Pelham Bay Park Line at Brook Avenue.

If completion of the entire Second Avenue Line should be delayed because of complexities arising from redevelopment of the rail yard area, the cost savings for this alternate concept, as compared to the approved route, would be lessened because of escalation of costs.

Adoption of the alternate route Study C would require a new Route and General Plan.









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