Governor Hochul lays out major transportation plans for New York City’s Second Avenue Subway Extension and Interborough Express

Getting the Green Light

Governor Hochul lays out major transportation plans for New York City’s Second Avenue Subway Extension and Interborough Express

Rendering of forthcoming 125th Street Q Train Station in Harlem (Courtesy MTA)

New York Governor Kathy Hochul laid out major transportation plans this week in her 2024 State of the State address. The big takeaways: three new subway stations under Second Avenue could be coming to Harlem, filling in a major transit desert, and Brooklyn and Queens will have new orbital service.

In her address, Hochul announced that completing phase two of the Second Avenue Subway (SAS) Extension, Interborough Express (IBX), cracking down on fare evasion, building the MTA’s first ever Infrastructure Hub, safety, and hiring local contractors for major infrastructure projects are her main priorities.

In 2017, phase one of the SAS extension opened with three Q Train stations located after 63rd Street. The announcement Hochul made this week marks the start of phase two of the Extension, which would add three more ADA-accessible stations after 96th Street, adding new stops at 106th Street, 116th Street, and 125th Street in Harlem. Construction contracts to execute the extension were solicited in July 2022.

Phase one of the Second Avenue Subway Extension added three new stops after 63rd Street. Phase two will add three more in Harlem. (Courtesy MTA)

SAS would connect with seven subway lines—the 1, 2, 3, A, B, C and D—and over 20 bus routes, and service approximately 240,000 daily commuters. Bloomberg estimates the project’s price tag will be $7.6 billion.

MTA officials note that the SAS Extension would do much to alleviate traffic congestion on 125th Street, where 30,000 people use bus service daily. The MTA also says that they’re exploring various approaches to phase two: One iteration would prolongate the tunnel boring machine’s westward path beyond Park Avenue to Broadway—a solution that could save tax payers $400 million.

106th Street Station (Courtesy MTA)

Another major initiative Hochul gave a progress update for is Interborough Express. In 2022, Hochul gave her notice of intent to add new orbital service connecting Brooklyn and Queens vis-a-vis a 16-mile long abandoned LIRR freight line, the Bay Ridge Branch. Upon completion, IBX would connect the communities of Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Borough Park, Kensington, Midwood, Flatbush, Flatlands, New Lots, Brownsville, East New York, Bushwick, Ridgewood, Middle Village, Maspeth, Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights.

MTA officials say commuters could traverse from Bay Ridge to Jackson Heights in about 30 minutes. IBX could service 40 million annual riders and is slated by officials to cost $5 billion.

View of the Bay Ridge Branch circa 2022 (Marc A. Hermann/Courtesy MTA)

“Every New Yorker deserves a safe, efficient commute—whether you’re a straphanger, a driver or a pedestrian,” Governor Hochul said in a statement. “We’re continuing to move full speed ahead on transformative infrastructure projects that will change the way New Yorkers get around. And we’re fighting for safety at the same time, so New Yorkers get home safely no matter how they choose to get around.”