Hudson Yards, Manhattan (History)

neighborhoods_manhttan_hudson_yards_300x30034th Street – Hudson Yards (also 34th Street, and in the past, 34th Street – Jacob Javits Convention Center) is astation in Manhattan’s West Side, built as part of the 7 Subway Extension for the IRT Flushing Line of the New York City Subway, and is the future southern terminal for the 7 trains. It has two tracks and one island platform with a large 3-block-long mezzanine, stretching between 33rd and 36th Streets, overhead. The station, originally part of the city’s bid for the2012 Summer Olympics, was supposed to first open in summer 2012.When London was chosen for the Olympics, the opening date was pushed to December 2013. In 2011, the opening was postponed to June 2014, pending the completion of the escalators and elevators in the station. By February 2014, the opening date had been pushed back twice: first to late summer/early fall 2014, then to November 2014, due to multiple escalator and elevator failures. As of December 14, 2014, the opening date is between April and July 2015 due to issues with the fire alarm and security systems.

The new construction, part of the city’s and the MTA’s master plan for the Far West Side, will extend the IRT Flushing Line west from Times Square to 11th Avenue, then turn south to 34th Street. It was originally proposed as part of the failed attempt to build the West Side Stadium for the New York Jets and the city’s bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Although the stadium plan was rejected by city and state planning agencies, the 7 subway extension plan received approval to move ahead, as New York political leaders would like to see the warehouse district west of Eighth Avenue and north of 34th Street redeveloped, and subway service would be an essential part of that effort. The extension, which sparked development in the Hudson Yards area, will also serve the newly expanded Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, just half a block away from the station entrances. It is a vital part of the Hudson Yards project and is expected to be used heavily by residents of that development once the station is opened.

The station was funded by the city, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and by taxpayers; it is the first city-funded subway station since the Jamaica – 179th Street station on the IND Queens Boulevard Line opened in 1950, and the first new unique station in the New York City Subway since the three stations on the IND 63rd Street Line opened in October 1989.

 

HISTORY

Construction

The station is part of a one-station extension to the burgeoning Hudson Yards area, which was originally US$2.1 billion, but grew toUS$2.4 billion. In October 2007, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) awarded a $1.145 billion contract to build 7,000 feet (2,100 m) of twin-tube tunnel to S3, a joint venture of J.F. Shea, Skanska USA Civil, and Schiavone. The contract was to build tunnel from the current 7 train terminus at Times Square westward underneath 41st Street to Eleventh Avenue, then down to 26th Street. Richard Dattner and Partners, Architects, designed the 34th Street station. After excavating the new terminal’s shell and creating the first 1,000 feet (300 m) of tunnel using the drill-and-blast method, S3 placed two tunnel-boring machines (TBMs) in the ground to dig the remaining 6,000 feet (1,800 m); as it dug, each TBM placed precast concrete liner segments to create the tunnel interior.

In September 2007, it was announced that the new station would feature platform screen doors, which have not been installed in the station as of December 2013. The station (along with the new South Ferry station on the IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Lineand the three Phase 1 Second Avenue Subway stations on the Upper East Side) will include special air-cooling systems to reduce the temperature along platforms.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s December 12, 2006, address to the New York League of Conservation Voters noted that in November 2006, the government began issuing bonds to fund the extension of the 7 subway to Eleventh Avenue and 34th Street.The $2 billion 7 train subway extension is being funded with New York City funds from municipal Tax Increment Financing (TIF) bond sales that are expected to be repaid with property tax revenues from future developments in areas served by the extension.

In June 2008, construction on the tunnels began along Eleventh Avenue in Manhattan. On December 21, 2009, the MTA said that a tunnel-boring machine broke through the 34th Street station cavern wall. Both tunnel-boring machines were scheduled to finish the required tunneling in the spring of 2010.

In April 2011, the MTA announced that the contract covering the tunnels, the station mezzanine and passenger platform was 85% complete, and that the systems contract, covering mechanical and electrical systems, electric power, lighting and train tracks would be awarded by July 2011. A second entrance to the station is planned. In May 2012, the MTA announced that the extension, now 65% complete, had received the installation of the first set of rails.

On August 21, 2013, the MTA announced that the 7 subway extension was 90% complete.

On December 20, 2013, Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg took a ceremonial ride on a train to the new terminal, celebrating a part of his legacy as Mayor, during a press tour of the uncompleted station.

Delays

In January 2012, the station was touted as under-budget and on schedule to open in 2013, before a series of delays plagued the project. The station, originally part of the city’s bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics, was supposed to first open as part of a two-station subway extension, including Tenth Avenue station, in summer 2012. When London was chosen for the Olympics, the opening date was pushed to December 2013; the Tenth Avenue station was dropped from construction plans soon after. However, in June 2012, the station’s opening was delayed to June 2014 for completion of the station’s fitting-out.

Then, the opening was delayed again to September 2014 to install the inclined elevator, as it had originally failed a factory test in Como Province, Italy. Officials had insisted that the Italian-manufactured elevator have software and parts made from a variety of different companies in America, rather than from a single foreign company. Michael Horodniceanu, chief of MTA Construction Company, told the New York Times that complications in the installation of the inclined elevator would likely cause a further delay of about three months, bringing the opening date to very late summer or early fall of 2014, or to November 2014. As of March 2014, the station’s tentative opening date was still November 2014.

However, the station was not delayed solely because of the elevators. The station’s opening was also pushed to later dates due to “integrated testing for fire protection”, which required the completion of all station infrastructure, including escalators, stairs, and elevators. Escalators and tunnel ventilation systems also caused the station to be delayed.

The station was expected to open for service in late 2014,but due to further elevator delays as well as problems with the extension’s ventilation systems, it was delayed to February 2015. The opening date was supposed to be before 10 Hudson Yards, the first Hudson Yards building, opens in July 2015, but as of December 14, 2014, the opening date was delayed to between April and July 2015 due to issues with the fire alarm and security systems. However, the secondary station entrance at 35th Street, as well as finishing touches within the station itself, is not expected to be complete until December 2015.

By June 2012, trains were still expected to run “for test purposes” by the end of 2013; the test trains did not run, but on December 20, 2013, Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg rode a train to take a press tour of the new station, on the first-ever passenger train to serve the station and as of June 1, 2014, the only passenger train to go to 34th Street.

By October 2014, the project was so far delayed that the MTA was offered US$4.75 million in “incentive” money if the station opened by February 24, 2015. Software changes were made to solve the elevators’ problems, and the elevators were installed. Testing would be complete by November. Three ventilation systems were already installed by October 1, 2014, with two more systems to be installed by the end of the month. On November 17, it was confirmed that February 24 would be the opening date for the station; new signs and the southern entrance’s canopy have been erected.