Last year, the Hudson Yards 7 train extension project created the MTA’s 469th subway station. It was the first addition to the system in 26 years.
What took so long?
Transit expert Benjamin Kabak of the Second Ave Sagas blog says the the subway we have now is nearly the same subway we had in the early 1950s, give or take just a handful of stops. Indeed, before Hudson Yards, Queens was the most recent recipient of a new station, 21st St.-Queensbridge in 1989. Before that, Brooklyn got a Grant Avenue stop in 1956.
But the Bronx’s most recent subway stops were added to Dyre Ave in 1941. That was 75 years ago.
Despite massive capital projects (the current capitalization plan is $28 billion) and population growth, the MTA has only added 10 new stations and one replacement over the last 60 years.
Kabak says that this trend can be credited to “a perfect storm of non-investment at both the local and federal level” for generations.
One “villain” in the lack of investment in new stations was Robert Moses, the head of the Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority for decades. His plans emphasized cars over people, as he resisted rail service and even a pedestrian lane on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. He is also remembered for maintaining a five-cent fare that lasted 40 years.
Capital was simply not being generated to invest in the transit system, thanks largely to white flight from urban locations in the 1950s and the Big Apple’s 1970s funding crisis.
The latest funding plans aren’t expected to create many new stations, though the 2nd Avenue subway and the Brooklyn-Queens express rail are certainly welcome changes. Instead, much funding is being devoted to modernizing and repairing existing infrastructure.
Until new plans create stations in the Bronx, at least that borough doesn’t have it as bad as Staten Island, which still doesn’t have connection to the rest city subway system. In fact, most of its railway dates back to the 1860s.