Drivers, Businesses Brace For 2nd Avenue Subway Construction
04/24/2007 08:39 AM
The long-awaited Second Avenue subway will eventually ease congestion for subway commuters, but it is already causing headaches for drivers on the Upper East Side. NY1's Kristen Shaughnessy filed the following report.
Copyright © 2008 NY1 News
Salih Bakir says the Second Avenue subway is a great idea, but he doesn't expect his business to survive the first phase of construction.
Bakir owns a Turkish fast food restaurant on 2nd Avenue between 94th and 95th Streets. The two lanes just outside are closed and he expects to lose 50 percent of his business now that a fence has been put up in the middle of the sidewalk in front of his restaurant.
“It stops my foot traffic. I’m not going to get my customers in the store because of all the construction that’s going on right now,” says Bakir.
A few doors down Hector Munoz owns a gourmet deli with an outdoor terrace. He expects to lose 20 to 40 percent of his business. Munoz says he could survive a few months of construction, but not the expected year and a half.
“Customers are not going to be able to sit on the terrace comfortably,” he says. “There will be dust, noise. It’s going to start at 7 — the same time I open and finish at ten — the same time I close.”
Concrete barriers and an eight-foot fence are being put up along the first two lanes of Second Avenue from 98th Street to 91st Street. That means no parking or stopping on the east side of the avenue — something a driver named Dave found out as he was forced to keep circling the block until the elderly man he picks up could be brought out.
“It's a nightmare,” he says. “This is an old age house. I have a gentleman I drive for. He has a wheelchair, and he can't get out. And they're telling me I can't park in front of the place.
For other drivers, this construction will test their patience as they are squeezed from five lanes into three — for the next 18 months.
“It’s going to have a devastating effect on traffic in the city, but we got to deal with it,” says another driver.
The first phase of the Second Avenue subway project stretches from 63rd Street to 96th Street and will serve as an extension to the Q train. It is expected to cost nearly $4 billion and is scheduled to be completed by 2013.
- Kristen Shaughnessy