Lawsuit filed over 2nd Ave subway entrance

February 16, 2011 8:32:43 PM PST
As if the Second Avenue subway doesn't have enough problems with cost overruns and delays, now there's a controversy about where to put subway entrances.

Some residents of a huge apartment complex on East 86th Street between First and Second Avenues are now saying, "Not in front of my building", and they have a case.

The MTA wants to build one of two new subway entrances mid block, right in front of the residential building.

But after years of pleading with the MTA to move them to the corner, residents filed a lawsuit Wednesday morning in the hope that the courts will make the MTA see why it is a bad idea.

For close to the last 60 years, George Goldman has loved living in his building on East 86th Street.

But if the MTA goes forward with its plan to build two subway entrances right in front of his home, all that will change.

"It's just going to be really rough on us to have entrances here with people from all over this whole East Side to these entrances to come in," Goldman said.

Phase one of the city's much talked about and needed Second Avenue subway project is currently underway.

It calls for a newly built line stretching from 63rd Street to 96th Street.

One stop would be at 86th Street. The entrances will be smack dab in front of the home for more than 2,000 residents that include grandmothers to little children.

The MTA plans for them to be on either side of an active circular drive leading into Yorkshire Towers.

"And into this area, they intend to bring 3,500 additional people per hour every morning. There are so many deviances to the analysis in which they have made, it is hard to know where to start," said Doron Gopstein, of the Tenant's Association.

Lawyers for the Tenant's Association filed a complaint Wednesday morning to stop the project.

The lawyers say the MTA failed to do a thorough environmental impact study.

The Tenant's Association says with four active driveways on the block, the entrances would be a safety risk especially during the morning and evening rush.

"That is 60 people a minute cueing to get into a subway, moving past where children are being picked up by their school buses, where the elderly are getting to be picked up to go their senior citizen centers," said Jeffrey Glen, the Tenant's Association's lawyer.

The tenants want the entrances moved to the corner of the block.

Residents say the MTA told them they chose the mid block site because it was better for the passengers and the flow of pedestrian traffic.

However, the tenant's of the Yorkshire Tower say the plan is opposed by a coalition of East Side elected officials.

Tenants of a smaller building along the Second Avenue line at 72nd Street successfully got an entrance moved from in front of their building to the corner, and now the residents in the Yorkshire Towers are praying for the same result.

The MTA did not respond to our requests for comment on this story.

The tenants say they have time to change the agency's mind.

While the station is expected to be completed in three years, no start date on the entrances has been announced yet.