East Side Access Project Moving Along
How Will This Project Affect Manhattan Real Estate?
Progress on the East Side Access Tunnel project has been visible in Queens since early Spring 2010. The MTA has been busy drilling a new tunnel under the East River from LIC / Astoria, using the Sunnyside Railway Yard as its staging grounds. The photo to your left shows the view of the new tunnel being built underneath the East River from an Astoria / LIC perspective. The tunnel connects into Manhattan around 63rd Street.
Meanwhile in the Sunnyside railway yards, many of the buildings that once dotted the landscape have been demolished. Thankfully this doesn't include an old train station which has been around for many years [see photos in rest of story / slide show]. They’ve also cleared away a number of old warehouse and garage like structures along 43rd Street between Northern Blvd and 39th Avenue.
Click here to get an update on the East Side Access Project impact on Manhattan real estate & the upper east side NYC.
Manhattan Real Estate
MTA East Side Access Project Impact On Midtown, Upper East Side & Manhattan Real Estate
The East Side Access Project work is intended to be completed in 2016 and will enable LIRR commuters to terminate at Grand Central Station as well as Penn Station, albeit via different trains. Currently commuters from within Queens and Long Island can only terminate at Penn Station on the west side of Manhattan. The project is expected to reduce rush hour pressure on Penn Station, as well as ease some of the rush hour pressure on the east-west subway lines in Manhattan.
The project is forecast to cost $7.3 billion. Much of which is attributable to tunneling under the East River and through 3.5 miles of subterranean Manhattan. A new lower level will be added to Grand Central Station as part of the project. There is also some work being done to the 'Harold Interlocking' in Queens. The Harold Interlocking is the switching area in the Sunnyside Railyards that is used by the rail services to move train cars to alternative tracks [see photo above left].
While much of the work is visible here in Queens, the transit impact of the changes are Manhattan-centric. The new route, shown on the map to your right shows how the new route goes across the East River and down to Grand Central Station. You can also see the old route, which travels diagonally south along the Harold Interlocking, and cuts across the East River near the Mid Town Tunnel. The old route will remain in service.
Sunnyside Woodside LIRR Station - Negligible Improvements
We had heard rumors about a new station being built in Sunnyside as well as discussion about remodeling / upgrading the Woodside station. An MTA spokesperson said that at this time no such plans are in place as part of this project. The new commuter lines are expected to handle about 160,000 passengers per day, when they are completed in 2016.
Number 7 Subway Line Extension - Manhattan Real Estate - Midtown West Side
Separately there is another MTA project underway involving the number 7 subway line, called the Number 7 Subway line extension. This project will add at least one and maybe two more stops to the #7 subway line. The #7 subway begins at Flushing Main Street, runs through western Queens and currently terminates at Times Square. The #7 subway line extension project would have the subway continue onto the Jacob Javits Center with possibly a stop added in between.
The project was orginally scheduled for completion by the end of 2013, but there have been numerous delays, setting back the project years. Estimates for the project that we’ve seen are upwards of $2 billion and climbing. While the number seven subway line is almost entirely Queens-based, according to the project goals, this effort is designed to “transform the Hudson Yards into a vibrant 24 hour neighborhood”. It likely would increase the value of real estate on the west side of Manhattan in an area that could be encompassed in Midtown West.
Any Impact On East Side Manhattan Real Estate?
Based on the information we collected it appears the impact on Queens real estate is negligible. The MTA and LIRR are using land they already own or have leased, so they won’t likely impact property prices from the perspective of supply or demand and the train lines would shoot right through the borough as they always have.
And it appears that all of these public transit changes seem focused on bringing additional traffic to Manhattan and helping the MTA manage that traffic in Manhattan. As noted above, there aren’t any train station changes or additions planned for Queens, nor are there any plans for upgrades or additions to any Queens-only transportation services. Hence, we currently don’t expect any impact on Queens real estate either as a result of these MTA transit service investments / changes. The photo above and to your right is of an old building in the Sunnyside Railyards in early 2010.
East Side Manhattan real estate could possibly benefit from a corporate point of view, making it more easily accessible to those who live on Long Island by reducing the time of the daily commute.
LIRR Thru Queens & Into Manhattan – Overview
This section of our report is to provide you with a brief overview of the LIRR transit through Queens and into Manhattan as depicted on the map to your right. According to the MTA there are currently two major LIRR transit hubs in Queens: the Flushing train station and the Jamaica train station. I would hasten to add that the Woodside station plays a unique role in the LIRR configuration as every LIRR train to / from Manhattan runs through it.
The thin grey line shows how the Jamaica branch runs north up through the Woodside station before traveling onto Penn Station on the west side of Manhattan. There are several trains that terminate in LIC, but these are less frequent. Lastly, there's a line that travels south from the Jamaica station through Brooklyn, terminating at the Atlantic Terminal.
LIRR On Long Island Coming Into Queens - Overview
There are three major LIRR lines running through Long Island into which branches of the LIRR feed. The three main lines are denoted on the map below as A, B and C and correspond to the descriptions of them below.
A. Northern Spur – Port Washington Branch
The Port Washington line of the LIRR runs along its northern track, serving communities not far east of Queens and nestled along northwestern Long Island. The trains come through Flushing and Woodside and currently terminate at Penn Station on the west side of Manhattan.
B. The Main Lines – Oyster Bay, Ronkonkoma & Port Jefferson
The main lines of the LIRR run through the middle of Long Island and reach many communities along its northern shores that are east of Port Washington. These trains come through the Jamaica Station where passengers switch to catch trains running through Woodside and into Penn Station in Manhattan.
C. The Southern Lines – Montauk, Babylon, West Hempstead, Long Beach & Far Rockaway
The southern lines of the LIRR run along the southern shores of Long Island. The line comes in from Montauk through Babylon and connect traffic from many different branches, including West Hempstead, Long Beach and Far Rockaway.
Click this link for LIRR Schedules & Fares for Manhattan, Queens & Long Island.
Manhattan Real Estate - Related Stories
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