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Old Posted Jan 22, 2007, 11:20 PM
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Hell's Kitchen residents fight for subway stop

By Justin Rocket Silverman and Chuck Bennett
January 22, 2007

The MTA is playing a "shell" game with the No. 7 extension that it will regret for years to come, agency officials and transit advocates warn.

Late last year, the MTA quietly dropped plans to create a new station at 10th Avenue and 41st Street because of budget worries. Instead, the extension will create just one stop, at 10th Avenue and 34th Street, and a "shell" of a station for future development at 41st Street.

That's an outrage, MTA watchers say, because it cheats residents and businesses of a much-needed stop.

"Do it as you build the line or it will never get done otherwise," said Andrew Albert, a nonvoting rider representative on the MTA board.

Albert and the New York City Transit Riders Council are scheduled to hold a news conference Monday morning along with elected officials to demand the creation of the 41st Street station.

"Thousands of people live in the area. They deserve a station," Albert said. "Its an insult to watch the trains whiz by your neighborhood."

Even worse Albert said, the MTA's own bean counters estimate, that if they build the 41st Street station now it would cost $200 million, but to wait several years to build it the cost could easily top $400 million.

Last November, the MTA said it will only build a "shell" of a station that could be converted into a functioning station at some point in the future.

City Hall, whose main concern is providing subway service to its West Side Yard development plan, is providing $2.1 billion, but the MTA is on the hook for the inevitable cost overruns.

Albert said City Hall should use its budget windfall to create the station. The one-stop extension is scheduled for completion in 2012 with construction scheduled to start in December this year.

Newly installed MTA executive director Elliot "Lee" Sander has earlier this month that he will review the concerns about the 10th Avenue station.

Residents and local business owners were miffed at being stiffed out of a new station.

"For the people in the neighborhood, it's a huge injustice that they are not going to put a subway stop here," said Bob Leventhal, owner of the 42nd Street Wine Loft at the corner of 10th Avenue. "The people here deserve it."

Hell's Kitchen resident John Hoover, 80, said its unfair to be bypassed.

"The people here need it," he said. "I have to walk 15 minutes to the Port Authority every time I want to get a train."
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