SECAUCUS – Could the long discussed idea to bring New York City's No. 7 subway line to Secaucus be approaching reality? The Port Authority (PA) has sought Request For Proposals (RFP's) from consulting agencies last month to help plan for a study assessing additional rapid trans-Hudson service.
The Port Authority is carrying out the 18 month study in collaboration with New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), NJ Transit, and New York City. It aims to find an option to supplement the existing trans-Hudson network, and prepare for an anticipated ridership surge between both states, post 2040.
The agency is concerned about the trans-Hudson network's future ability to serve Manhattan's Central Business District, along with developing centers in the region, including Hudson County, Newark, Downtown Brooklyn, and Long Island City.
According to a study the PA commissioned in 2015, between 2010 and 2040, the agency expects a 50 percent increase in total peak-ridership using trans-Hudson transit. That same study also said that a No. 7 train extension could reduce demand for bus access to the Port Authority Bus Terminal by 25 percent by 2040.
"This study is intended to augment the region’s current and programmed long-term planning program by examining multiple potential options including possible extensions of the existing transit networks of NJ Transit, the Authority, and the MTA..." the PA said, in its RFP document.
The PA has previously studied extending the MTA's No. 7 train line from its Manhattan terminal at 34th Street between 11th and 12th Aves to Secaucus Junction. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg first proposed the idea in 2010. However, the MTA shot down the idea, saying it would be too costly.
But with federal funding for the Gateway Program – a multi-state and agency effort to rehabilitate the current North River Tunnel, and add another trans-Hudson rail tunnel – not likely to materialize, could extending the No. 7 line be the best alternative?
Possibly, but not anytime soon. According to Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton, speaking at a Crain's New York event Feb. 27, an extension probably wouldn't start until after the Gateway Project finishes in 2030. If it ever finishes, that is.