2009 October Finding of No Significant Impact New York City Second Ave Subway

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U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Transit Administration

Region II
Connecticut (rail operations), New York, New Jersey
One Bowling Green
Room 429
New York, NY 10004-1415

212-668-2170
212-668-2136 (Fax)

October 29, 2009

Ms. Sarah Rios
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
347 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017-3739

Subject:  FONSI for Second Avenue Subway - 72nd Street and 86th Street Station Preferred Entrance Alternative

Dear Ms. Rios:

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has completed its review of the Supplemental Environmental Assessment to the Second Avenue Subway Final Environmental Impact Statement: 72nd Street and 86th Street Entrance Alternatives, dated May 200 (May 2009 EA).  Based on our review of the May 2009 EA, which included the Section 106 analysis, and in accordance with 23 CFR Part 771.121, the FTA has issues a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Second Avenue Subway 72nd Street and 86th Street Station Preserved Entrance Alternative.  Please see enclosed copy of the finding for your records.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority/New York City Transit must send a notice of availability of the FONSI to affected units of State and local government, and the FONSI shall be available from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority/New York City Transit upon request by the public (23 CFR 771.121(b)).

Please be aware that the Second Avenue Subway project must be carried out in accordance with its environmental record, including the May 2009 EA and the enclosed FONSI.  If there are any changes to the Second Avenue Subway project, the FTA must be notified, in writing, before the changes are implemented to determine the need for possible additional environmental studies.  Should you have any questions, please contact Nian Chung at (212) 668-2180.

Sincerely,

/S/ by Nina Chung
for

Nancy Danzig, AICP
Director, Planning and Program Development

Enclosure: FONSI

 


 

U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration

Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)

Project: Second Avenue Subway: 72nd Street and 86th Street Station Entrances

Applicants: Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and MTA New York City Transit (NYCT)

Location: New York County, New York

Introduction

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued the Second Avenue Subway Final Environmental Impact Statement and Final Section 4(f) and 6(f) Evaluation ("FEIS") on April 2004 and a Record of Decision ("ROD") for the Second Avenue Subway project (Project) on July 8, 2004. New York City Transit ("NYCT"), an operating entity of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority ("MTA"), is proposing to revise the design of the Project's northern entrance at the 72nd Street Station and the northern entrance at the 86th Street Station. In order to analyze potential environmental impacts of the proposed revision, on June I, 2009, the MTAINYCT and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued a Supplemental Environmental Assessment to the Second Avenue Subway Final Environmental Impact Statement: 72nd Street and 86th Street Station Entrance Alternatives, dated May 2009 (herein after referred to as the "May 2009 EA"). The May 2009 EA was prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended (42 USC 4321 et seq.), the Federal Transit Administration implementing regulations (23 CFR 771), and all other applicable laws.

Based on the May 2009 EA, the FTA finds, in accordance with 23 CFR 771.121, that the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative (described in the May 2009 EA as Alternative 1 of the 72nd Street Station alternatives), and the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative (described in the May 2009 EA as Alternative 7 of the 86th Street Station alternatives), together the "Proposed Action", will result in no significant impacts on the environment beyond those identified in the FEIS and ROD.

Proposed Action

The May 2009 EA compared the impacts of the Proposed Action against the impacts of the No Action Alternative. The FEIS, ROD, and subsequent changes presented in four (4) technical memoranda form the basis of the No Action Alternative analyzed in the May 2009 EA. FTA determined that the design changes analyzed in the four (4) technical memoranda would not change the conclusions of the FEIS and ROD. Therefore, the impacts of the Proposed Action are compared against the Build Alternative of the FEIS and subsequent changes.

72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative

The 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will relocate the subway entrance at 305 East 72nd Street (the northeast comer of Second Avenue and 72nd Street) and a single, sidewalk elevator entrance (the southeast comer of 72nd Street and Second Avenue), the locations of the No Action design, to a newly constructed structure at 300 East 72nd Street (the southeast comer of 72nd Street and Second Avenue). An existing, four-story building at 300 East 72nd Street will be acquired and demolished and a new structure that will house five elevators will be constructed at the 300 East 72nd Street location.

86th Street Station Preferred Alternative

The 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will relocate the subway entrance from within the building at 305 East 86th Street, (northeast comer of 86th Street and Second Avenue), the location of the No Action design, to two new locations in the sidewalk on the north side of East 86th Street east of Second Avenue. In the revised design, a total of four escalators-two escalators per entrance---will be constructed in the sidewalk. One entrance will be approximately 21 feet east of the building line at Second Avenue and oriented toward Second Avenue, in close proximity to the comer. The other entrance will be approximately 229 feet east of the building line at Second Avenue and oriented toward First Avenue. Each pair of escalators will be covered by a glass canopy with a granite base located on the sidewalk and will be approximately 41 feet long and 14 feet wide. To accommodate the new subway canopies, the sidewalk will be widened (bumped out) by 6 feet along the north side of East 86th Street for a total of 270 feet from the intersection. The elevator entrance on the south side of 86th Street will not be changed.

The Proposed Action evaluated in the May 2009 EA, which included a Section 106 analysis, is the subject of this Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI).

Background

In April 2004, the FTA and the MTAINYCT issued the FEIS. The FEIS examined the potential environmental impacts of MTA's proposed 8.5-mile-long Second Avenue Subway, over the subway's full alignment from East 125th Street in Harlem to Hanover Square in Lower Manhattan. On July 8, 2004, FTA issued a ROD for the Project, based on the findings presented in the FEIS.

The Project's station entrances presented in the FEIS were based on conceptual and preliminary engineering. Subsequent to the FEIS and ROD, four technical memoranda have assessed the effects from other changes to the design of the Project. The design changes proposed in these previous technical memoranda did not result in any new significant environmental impacts from those in the FEIS and have been incorporated into the Project. Technical Memorandum No 1, dated November 2006, included changes to entrances for the 720d Street Station and 86th Street Station. The other three technical memoranda did not relate to the design or location of entrances for those stations. Technical Memorandum No. 1 evaluated, among other changes, the following: the addition of a new elevator entrance within the sidewalk on the southeast comer of 720d Street and Second Avenue; a revision to the orientation of the entrance within 305 East 72ild Street (at the northeast comer); elimination of an ancillary facility and entrance from within a new building on the southeast comer of 86th Street and Second Avenue; and the addition of an elevator entrance within the sidewalk at the southeast comer of 86th Street and Second Avenue.

Purpose and Need

Since issuance of the FElS and ROD, and review of technical memoranda for the Project, MTA/NYCT identified unanticipated difficulties in the implementation of the No Action Alternative design for the entrances at the north ends of the stations at 72nd Street and 86th Street. Below are a description of the No Action Alternative and the reasons for the design modifications, followed by a description of the basic siting requirements of station entrances.

Reasons for Project Changes

72nd Street Station No Action Alternative

The No Action Alternative for the 72nd Street Station includes one entrance at the south end of the station (northeast comer of 69th Street and Second Avenue) and three entrances at the north end of the 72nd Street Station: 1) an off-street entrance in a new building to be constructed for the Second Avenue Subway at the northwest comer of Second Avenue and 72nd Street; 2) an off-street entrance within a portion of the ground-floor retail space (CVS pharmacy) and below-ground basement space of the existing condominium apartment building on the northeast comer of Second Avenue and 72nd Street (305 East 72nd Street); and 3) an elevator entrance in the sidewalk on the south side of 72nd Street east of Second Avenue.

As engineering has advanced, it has become evident that the design for the two entrances on the east side of Second Avenue at 72nd Street in the No Action Alternativethe entrance within 305 East 72nd Street and the elevator entrance in the sidewalk on the south side of 72nd Streetwould require complex property acquisition and utility relocations, and present construction difficulties and associated risk to the overall Second Avenue Subway schedule and budget. Therefore design modifications have been explored.

Upon visual inspection and survey of the basement at 305 East 72nd Street, MTA learned that the location of the subway entrance houses the apartment building's laundry room and main service utility entrance and distribution for the building, including the electrical distribution panel, electrical meters, gas meter, sewer connection, and steam for the building's heating system. To accommodate the subway entrance, this laundry room and mechanical space serving the residential condominium units would have to be relocated into a portion of the basement that is owned by a commercial entity (CVS pharmacy), which would have to be acquired by MTA for that purpose. However, MTA believes it will not have full cooperation of the affected private property interests, and the relocation of privately owned and operated mechanical equipment would be difficult or impossible to undertake without the full cooperation of all affected parties, which MTA believes would not be forthcoming. Therefore, because of the complexity of the required property acquisition and construction and the associated risks to the overall Second Avenue Subway's construction schedule and budget, design changes are being sought to avoid an entrance at this location within the building at 305 East 72nd Street.

In addition to the above, a 48-inch high-pressure steam main that serves a large area of the East Side of Manhattan is located beneath the sidewalk on the south side of East 72nd Street, close to the location planned for an elevator entrance in the No Action Alternative. When this location was incorporated into the Second Avenue Subway project in 2006, MTA, based on criteria set forth by Consolidated Edison, determined that the steam main would not need to be relocated because there was sufficient lateral distance between the proposed elevator shaft and the main. However, following the steam main explosion at the intersection of Lexington Avenue and 41st Street in summer 2007, Consolidated Edison revised its criteria for lateral clear distance around its high-pressure steam mains, and as a result, the proposed elevator entrance would be too close under Consolidated Edison's revised standards. Therefore, either the steam main or the elevator entrance would need to be relocated. If the elevators were shifted to provide the distance required to avoid relocation of the high pressure transmission steam main, the elevators would be in the center of the sidewalk, where they would impede pedestrian sight lines and block primary pedestrian view corridors. Therefore, shifting the elevators is not practical or desirable. If the steam main were relocated, cut and cover construction work would be extensive, complex, and costly. Therefore, to avoid the complexity of utility relocation, a new location not within the sidewalk is being sought for the elevators.

86th Street Station Entrance No Action Alternative

The No Action Alternative for the 86th Street Station includes three entrances, one at the south end of the station at 83rd Street and Second Avenue and two at the north end of the station at 86th Street and Second Avenue: 1) an off-street entrance within a portion of the ground-floor and basement-level space used by Food Emporium supermarket in the existing apartment building on the northeast comer of Second Avenue and 86th Street (305 East 86th Street); and 2) an elevator entrance in the sidewalk on the south side of 86th Street east of Second Avenue.

As engineering advanced, it became evident that the design for the entrance at 305 East 86th Street would present substantial difficulties during construction, and therefore, an alternative design for the entrance at the northeast comer of 86th Street and Second Avenue was required.

Following completion of the FEIS, MTA determined through additional investigations within the building at 305 East 86th Street that the design for the entrance in that building would require major structural modifications to the building. These modifications would substantially increase the Second Avenue Subway's overall construction cost and schedule. Specifically, the construction work would necessitate underpinning the building. Underpinning requires structural modifications to building columns, beams, and possibly apartments above the entrance location at 305 East 86th Street. Therefore, the residential apartments at 305 East 86th Street would have been impacted by the construction. In addition, the Food Emporium supermarket on the ground floor and a portion of the basement would likely have had to close because of the amount of space required for construction easements. Therefore, an alternative design is now being sought for the north-end access to the 86th Street Station to relocate the entrance from within the building at 305 East 86th Street.

Basic Siting Requirements

The entrances must meet certain minimum siting criteria (as outlined in the FEIS page 2-19) to be acceptable locations, including the following: entrances must be large enough to accommodate the projected ridership, and entrance locations should be sited as to be constructible in accordance with good engineering practice. In addition, entrances must be located to allow for a connection to the stations' mezzanines without major redesign of the stations.

Alternatives Considered

The May 2009 EA provided detailed analysis on four alternatives (No Action Alternative and three Build Alternatives) for the 72nd Street Station entrance and four alternatives (No Action Alternative and three Build Alternatives) for the 86th Street Station entrance.

72nd Street Station Entrance Alternatives

Initially, the MTA evaluated eight (8) build alternatives and the No Action Alternative for the 72nd Street Station entrance. These alternatives were examined for their ability to meet the purpose and need (siting requirements) and their ability to best meet the goals and objectives for the station entrances in comparison to other alternatives. As a result of that evaluation, five alternatives (Alternatives 2, 5, 6, 7, and 8) were eliminated. The No Action Alternative and the remaining build Alternatives -- Alternatives 1 (72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative), Alternative 3, and Alternative 4 -- were then assessed in detail in the May 2009 EA.

  1. The No Action Alternative for the 72nd Street Station is described above in the Purpose and Need section.
  2. Alternative I, the Preferred Alternative at 72nd Street, would relocate the subway entrance from within 305 East 72nd Street and relocate the station's elevator from the sidewalk on the south side of 72nd Street east of Second Avenue to a newly constructed structure at 300 East 72nd Street (southeast comer) that would consist of five elevators. The existing building at 300 East 72nd Street would be acquired and demolished and a new subway entrance structure, consisting of five elevators, would be constructed at the 300 East 72nd Street location.
  3. Alternative 3 would relocate the subway entrance from within 305 East 72nd Street to two entrances in a widened sidewalk on the north side of 72nd Street east of Second Avenue. One entrance, with a stair and an escalator, would be located in front of305 East 72nd Street and the other entrance, with two escalators, would be located in front of the apartment buildings at 311 and 315 East 72nd Street. At the southeast comer, no elevator would be constructed in the sidewalk; instead, the building at 300 East 72nd Street would be acquired and demolished and a new subway entrance structure, consisting of two elevators, would be constructed at that location.
  4. Alternative 4 would relocate the subway entrance from within 305 East 72nd Street to two escalator entrances in widened sidewalks alongside 305 East 72nd Street. One escalator entrance would be located in the sidewalk on the east side of Second A venue north of 72nd Street, and the other would be in the sidewalk on the north side of 72nd Street east of Second A venue. At the southeast comer, no elevators would be constructed in the sidewalk; instead, the building at 300 East 72nd Street would be acquired and demolished. A new subway entrance structure, consisting of two elevators, would be constructed at that location.

86th Street Station Entrance Alternatives

In addition to the No Action Alternative, MTA initially examined seven (7) build alternatives for the entrance at the 86th Street Station. These alternatives were then evaluated for their ability to meet the purpose and need (siting requirements) and their ability to best meet goals and objectives for station entrances in comparison to other alternatives. As a result of that evaluation, four alternatives (Alternatives 1, 3, 4, and 6) were not carried forward for further evaluation, and the No Action Alternative and the three remaining build alternativesAlternatives 2, Alternative 5, and Alternative 7 (86th Street Station Preferred Alternative }-were assessed in detail in the May 2009 EA.

  1. No Action Alternative is described above in the Purpose and Need section.
  2. Alternative 2 would relocate the subway entrance from within 305 East 86th Street to two new escalator entrances in a widened sidewalk on the south side of 86th Street east of Second Avenue.  One entrance would be located in from of 300-302, 304, and 306 East 86th Street and the other would be located in front of 316, 320, 322, and 324 East 86th Street. In addition to the escalators, the elevator on the south side of 86th Street east of Second Avenue (included as part of the No Action Alternative) would be moved slightly to the west to accommodate the escalators in the sidewalk. Each pair of escalators would be covered by a canopy located on the sidewalk.
  3. Alternative 5 would relocate the subway entrance from within 305 East 86th Street and relocate the station's elevator entrance from the sidewalk on the south side of 86th Street east of Second Avenue to a newly constructed building on the southeast comer. The two four-story buildings at 1654 and 1656 Second Avenue would be acquired and demolished on the southeast comer. A new entrance building, consisting office elevators, would be constructed.
  4. Alternative 7, the Preferred Alternative at 86th Street Station, would relocate the subway entrance from within 305 East 86th Street to two new entrances in a widened sidewalk on the north side of 86th Street east of Second Avenue. These entrances, both with two escalators, would flank the curved driveway in front of the building at 305 East 86th Street. Each pair of escalators would be covered by a canopy located on the sidewalk. The elevator entrance in the widened sidewalk on the south side of 86th Street would not change from the No Action Alternative.

Agency Coordination and Public Opportunity To Comment

Public outreach activities for the alternatives evaluated in the May 2009 EA have included a community meeting and a public hearing. These meetings were held to provide information about the proposed designs to the public and to solicit comments on the proposed designs and findings of the May 2009 EA.

  • June 18, 2009: A public hearing was held at the DoubleTree Metropolitan Hotel located at 569 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York during the public comment period for the May 2009 EA. The hearing was promoted through a newspaper announcement, advertisements, emails, and the MTA's web site. At the hearing, MTA made a presentation identifying the various design alternatives for both stations and describing the process for assessing their potential environmental effects. Project representatives were available to answer questions during and after the public presentation. The public was invited to make oral comments at the hearing and submit written comments during the comment period. At the hearing, a total of 18 speakers provided comments. In addition to the oral testimony at the public hearing, 24 written submissions and more than 1,200 letters, postcards, and petitions were received. The comment period was originally scheduled to end on June 30, 2009 but was extended to July 31,2009 at the request of Manhattan Community Board 8 and other members of the public. See Attachment A for a summary of the comments on the May 2009 EA and responses to those comments.
  • July 29, 2008: A public presentation was made to Community Board 8 and other interested members of the public. MTA was available to identify the various design alternatives for both stations and to describe the process for. assessing their potential environmental effects. Public comments were made before, during, and after the public information session. Comments included concerns regarding pedestrian safety at vehicle driveways, jaywalking, community impacts of midblock entrances, and the aesthetic character of station canopies. These comments have been addressed in the May 2009 EA and this FONSI.

Mitigation Measures

As a result of the Proposed Action, there will be no significant impacts and therefore, no mitigation measures, apart from those previously outlined in the No Action Alternative.

MTA will implement all measures to minimize harm as described in the May 2009 EA and this FONSI, consistent with the No Action Alternative. The FTA will require in any future grants that the Project be built consistent with its environmental record.

Summary Analysis

The May 2009 EA provided analysis on fifteen (15) environmental issue areas, which are consistent with the environmental issue areas analyzed in the FEIS.

The following eight (8) environmental areas evaluated for the Proposed Action would have no potential to change the conclusions of the No Action Alternative: (1) public open space, (2) infrastructure and energy, (3) contaminated materials, (4) natural resources, (5) coastal zone consistency, (6) safety, (7) environmental justice, and (8) indirect and cumulative impacts. Therefore, no discussion is provided in this FONSI for those eight environmental areas.

The May 2009 EA provided detailed analysis of the environmental impacts of the Proposed Action for the other seven (7) environmental issue areas: (1) transportation, (2) social and economic conditions, (3) displacement and relocation, (4) historic resources, (5) archaeological resources, (6) air quality, and (7) noise and vibration. Below is a summary of that analysis for the Proposed Action.

1. Transportation

  1. 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative

    During construction, similar to what would occur with the No Action Alternative, the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative has the potential to result in temporary significant adverse impacts. However, the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will require fewer construction diversions and a smaller construction zone than the No Action Alternative. The 72nd Street Station Preferred Entrance Alternative will also reduce the number of truck loads of spoils removed from the site during construction reducing the number of days of spoils removal from 23 days with the No Action Alternative to 17 days.

    Once completed, the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will not result in significant adverse impacts on traffic, parking, surface transit, and pedestrian circulation.

    Passenger Convenience: Although it will have less convenient street-level access for passengers than the No Action Alternative because it will no longer provide an entrance on the northeast comer of the intersection of Second Avenue and 72nd Street, the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will still provide two entrances at opposite comers (one on the northwest comer and the other on the southeast), and therefore, passengers will continue to have entrance options on both sides of the street. As with the No Action Alternative, the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will also have straight passages and good sightlines.

    Traffic, Parking, Transit: The 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will be within the footprint of the building lot at 300 East 72nd Street and will not require sidewalk bump-outs. It will not reduce on-street parking or the number of travel lanes, and it will not require relocation of bus stops for the M301M72 routes.

    Pedestrian Circulation: Since the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will not be located within the public sidewalk, it will not reduce the circulation area of the sidewalk, and the adjacent sidewalks, comer, and crosswalks will operate at level of service (LOS) D or better in the AM and PM peak periods. This is an acceptable level of service in urban environments.
  2. 85th Street Station Preferred Alternative

    During construction, the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative has the potential to result in temporary significant adverse impacts on traffic, parking, transit, and pedestrian circulation. These impacts are similar to what would occur with the No Action Alternative. Although the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will increase the duration of spoils removal from 23 days to 48 days. This is not considered a significant increase. In addition, the daily volume of trucks for spoils removal (65 truck loads per day) will be the same as identified in the No Action Alternative.

    Once the subway is operational, the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will improve street-level access to the Second Avenue Subway because most of the riders coming from the east will have closer access to a station entrance, as compared to the No Action Alternative.

    Passenger Convenience: The 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will be convenient for the majority of passengers anticipated to use the station, since it will not require riders to cross 86th Street, will provide direct access for passengers coming from the east, and will have good sightlines in its entrances. Since the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative provides two entrances on the north side of 86th Street with one farther east than the No Action Alternative, it is more convenient for riders coming from the east.

    Traffic, Parking, Transit: The 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will not result in significant adverse impacts on traffic and parking. The sidewalks on the north and south sides of East 86th Street will be widened by 6 feet with bump-outs into the curbside parking lane. Since the same number (four) of moving lanes for traffic as exist today will be maintained on East 86th Street, the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will not adversely affect traffic operations. It is also expected that sight distances for vehicles entering and exiting the circular driveway at 305 East 86th Street will improve as compared to the No Action Alternative since there will no longer be the potential for blockage by parked vehicles. Although the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will remove IS curbside parking spaces, the loss of parking is not considered significant. The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) has reviewed the plans for the lengthened bump-out and has indicated agreement with this design element (see the letter dated May 18, 2007 provided in Appendix B to the May 2009 EA). The bump-out of the south sidewalk will require the relocation of the eastbound M86 bus stop further east along 86th Street, but the westbound bus stop will not be moved. As with the No Action Alternative, the relocation of the eastbound stop will not adversely impact the operation of the M86 bus route.

    Pedestrian Circulation: The 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative's escalator entrances on the north side and the elevator entrance on the south side of East 86th Street will be located within the sidewalk, and the sidewalk will be widened by 6 feet. These sidewalks will operate at pedestrian LOS C or better in the AM and PM peak periods. At the intersection of Second A venue and East 86th Street, the comers and crosswalks will operate at LOS D or better in the AM and PM peak periods. Therefore, the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will not result in significant adverse impacts on pedestrian circulation when the subway is operational.

MITIGATION: As with the No Action Alternative, a Maintenance and Protection of Traffic (MPT) plan will be implemented to manage traffic and pedestrian conditions during construction of the Project. With implementation of the MPT plan, construction of the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will maintain at least three moving lanes on Second Avenue and at least one to two lanes in each direction on 72nd Street, the same as the No Action Alternative; and construction of the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will maintain at least three moving lanes on Second A venue and at least one to two lanes in each direction on 86th Street, the same as the No Action Alternative.

2. Social and Economic Conditions

  1. 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative

    Social and economic conditions are defined as those components of a community that influence its character, including population, land use, traffic, pedestrian conditions, and noise.

    During construction, the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will result in temporary but significant adverse impacts related to disruptions to access and travel patterns; increases in noise, vibration, and dust; temporary visual effects from barriers and construction equipment (including nighttime lighting); and removal of street trees. These significant adverse impacts are similar what would occur for the No Action Alternative. But unlike the No Action Alternative, this Preferred Alternative will eliminate the need to partially occupy retail space at 305 East 72nd Street and it will not introduce an elevator in the sidewalk on the south side of 72nd Street.

    During operation, the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will be consistent with the land use, zoning, neighborhood character of the surrounding area and will not result in significant adverse impacts on social and economic conditions. The 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will replace an existing, four-story residential building that has ground-level retail space at the southeast comer of Second Avenue and 72nd Street with a new structure dedicated to transportation use. This will result in the loss of I, I 00 square feet of local retail space and three. residential units. But given the large number of residential buildings and local retail establishments in the Upper East Side study area, the loss of this structure and its uses will not alter the overall character of the area. The new structure will be no higher than the existing four-story, building at 300 East 72nd Street, and although the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will change the appearance of the building site, the new structure will not be incongruous with the mix of different building types, heights, and architectural styles in the area. The 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will also bring additional pedestrians to the sidewalk of 72nd Street. The number of pedestrians will not differ noticeably from the No Action Alternative and the new structure will also not be incongruous with its setting. Since the new subway entrance will be on a wide crosstown street with a bus route and large apartment buildings, it will not result in conflicts with land use or neighborhood character. The 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will be consistent with the intent of the Special Transit Land Use District established by the New York City Zoning Resolution, which is a zoning district mapped along Second A venue in support of placement of entrances for the new subway. This district is intended to support construction of the Second Avenue Subway and to minimize pedestrian conflicts by encouraging provision of access to the subway, including weather-protected public access to the underground transit system.
  2. 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative

    During construction of the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative, there will be temporary but significant adverse impacts related to disruptions to access and travel patterns; increases in noise, vibration, and dust; temporary visual effects from barriers and construction equipment (including nighttime lighting); and removal of street trees. Construction disruption associated with this Preferred Alternative would be similar to that of the No Action Alternative. Both would require cut-and-cover construction across part of 86th Street and in the south sidewalk of 86th Street to construct the new entrances, and both would require traffic diversions affecting traffic patterns and sidewalk widths. Cut-and-cover construction would be required on the north side of 86th Street in front of 305 East 86th Street; in the No Action Alternative, cut-and-cover construction would be required within and in front of that building.

    During operation, the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will be consistent with the land use, zoning, neighborhood character of the surrounding area and will not result in significant adverse impacts on social and economic conditions. The 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will require less disruption to existing businesses and residents than the No Action Alternative, since it will not require permanent displacement of any businesses or residences in 305 East 86th Street or impacts to residential apartments in that building during construction. Once completed, the new escalator entrances on the north side of 86th Street will be located in front of the building at 305 East 86th Street, a large, 21-story apartment building that extends from 85th to 87th Street and occupies the western third of the block. East 86th Street is a wide, crosstown street and the location of new subway entrances within its north and south sidewalks will not be out of character for this urban setting. Adding a transportation use to the public sidewalk will be similar to subway entrances elsewhere in New York City. The 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will bring additional pedestrians to the north and south sidewalks of 86th Street, but this number will not differ noticeably from the No Action Alternative and will not be incongruous with the street's setting as a busy, wide crosstown street. The small number of parking spaces lost (15 spaces) to the bump-outs of the north and south sidewalks will not significantly affect parking supply in the surrounding area and therefore will not adversely affect nearby land uses, including street-level retail uses. The 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will be consistent with the intent of the Special Transit Land Use District, a zoning district mapped along Second Avenue in support of placement of entrances for the new subway.

MITIGATION: As with the No Action Alternative, during construction, a number of mitigation measures will be employed throughout the Project alignment to minimize effects on social and economic conditions. A community outreach program will be designed to provide residents and businesses with information about construction activities. Some mitigation measures will be aimed at maintaining operations of restaurants and stores along the construction zone by ensuring continuity of access and the visibility of signage. Construction activities will be limited to daytime hours to avoid disturbing residents in the area and measures will be taken to minimize construction dust and debris.

3. Displacement and Relocation

  1. 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative

    During construction, similar to what would occur with the No Action Alternative, the 72nd Street Preferred Alternative will not require temporary displacement of businesses or residents to accommodate construction activities. During operation, the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will eliminate the need to permanently displace a portion of the CVS at 305 East 72nd Street (1,260 square feet, 3 full-time-equivalent employees) that is required for the No Action Alternative. Instead, the 72nd Street Preferred Alternative will require full acquisition of the property at 300 East 72nd Street with the potential to displace approximately 1,100 square feet of commercial space (a ground floor restaurant and a cellular phone store with an estimated four employees) and three apartments, occupied by an estimated six residents. Overall, the 72nd Street Preferred Alternative will result in the displacement of a similar number of employees and approximately six additional residents as compared to the No Action Alternative.
  2. 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative

    During construction and operation, the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will not result in significant adverse impacts from displacement or relocation of businesses or residents, as there is no need to temporarily or permanently displace or relocate businesses or residents. It will eliminate the need to permanently displace a portion of the Food Emporium at 305 East 86th Street (2,800 square feet, 7 full-time-equivalent employees) that is required with the No Action Alternative.

MITIGATION: As with the No Action Alternative, all property acquisition and relocation of residents or businesses will take place in accordance with applicable federal and state regulations.

4. Historic Resources

  1. 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative

    Construction activities for the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will take place within 200 feet of one historic building-Catholic Church of St. John the Martyr. Once completed, the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will have a station entrance on the east side of Second Avenue within visual proximity of the historic building. As with the No Action Alternative and consistent with the Programmatic Agreement (executed on April 2004 pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act), the design of the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will be provided to SHPO and the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) for review and comment. Therefore, FTA has determined and SHPO has concurred that the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will result in No Adverse Effect to historic properties (SHPO letter dated March 12,2009).
  2. 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative

    The 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative expands the Area of Potential Effect (APE) beyond what was analyzed in the No Action Alternative. As with the No Action Alternative and consistent with the procedures set forth in the Programmatic Agreement, the buildings located within 200 feet of the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative's entrance locations were evaluated by professional architectural historians to determine whether they meet the eligibility criteria for the State and National Register of Historic Places and to determine if construction or operation of the station entrances will result in adverse effects on historic resources within the APE. The 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will have construction activities within 200 feet of one historic building Manhattan Apartments on the southwest comer of Second Avenue and 86th Street. The potential construction impacts on the Manhattan Apartments are consistent with those identified in the No Action Alternative, and the building will be included in the Project's Construction Protection Plan as to avoid potential accidental damage during construction. Once completed, the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will have station entrances on the east side of Second Avenue within visual proximity of the Manhattan Apartments. Consistent with the Programmatic Agreement, the design of the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will be provided to SHPO and the LPC for review and comment. Therefore, FTA has determined and SHPO has concurred that the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will result in No Adverse Effect to historic properties (SHPO letter dated March 12,2009).

MITIGATION: The potential construction impacts on the Manhattan Apartments, which is near the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative, and the Catholic Church of St. John the Martyr, which is near the n,d Street Station Preferred Alternative, are consistent with those identified in the No Action Alternative. These buildings will be included in the Project's Construction Protection Plan so as to avoid potential accidental damage during construction.

5. Archaeological Resources

  1. 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative

    The 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will involve subsurface disturbance in areas determined not to have potential archaeological concerns. Therefore, FTA has concluded and SHPO has concurred that the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will have No Adverse Effect on archaeological resources (SHPO letters dated February 4, 2008 and March 12,2009).
  2. 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative

    The 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will involve subsurface disturbance in areas determined not to have potential archaeological concerns. Therefore, FT A has concluded and SHPO has concurred that the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will have No Adverse Effect on archaeological resources (SHPO letters dated February 4, 2008, June 20, 2008, and March 12, 2009).

MITGATION: None.

6. Air Quality

  1. 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative

    During construction, similar to what would occur with the No Action Alternative, the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative has the potential to result in significant adverse impacts on air quality. Once the subway is operational, the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will not adversely affect traffic flow and therefore will not result in significant adverse impacts on air quality in the long-term.
  2. 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative

    During construction, similar to what would occur with the No Action Alternative, the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative has the potential to result in significant adverse impacts on air quality. During operation, the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative, will not adversely affect traffic flow and therefore will not result in significant adverse impacts on air quality in the long-term.

MITIGATION: As with the No Action Alternative, comprehensive mitigation measures will be used to mitigate the potential air quality impacts during construction.

7. Noise and Vibration

  1. 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative

    As with the No Action Alternative, construction activities required for the 72nd Street Station Preferred Entrance Alternative will result in significant adverse noise impacts. Once the subway is operational, the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative will not result in significant adverse noise or vibration impacts.
  2. 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative

    As with the No Action Alternative, construction activities required for the 86th Street Station Preferred Entrance Alternative will result in significant adverse noise impacts. During operation, the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative will not result in significant· adverse noise or vibration impacts.

MITIGATION: As with the No Action Alternative, to reduce the noise impacts associated with construction, MTA has established performance standards that have been included in contract documents and must be met by contractors. Table 12-9 of the FEIS identified the construction period noise impacts and associated mitigation measures; the construction of the Proposed Action will be undertaken consistent with these measures. Construction of the Proposed Action may result in significant adverse noise impacts that cannot be fully mitigated because of the proximity of residences and other sensitive uses to the construction zone. As described above, the Catholic Church of St. John the Martyr and the Manhattan Apartments will be included in the Project's Construction Protection Plan so as to avoid potential accidental damage from vibration associated with construction.

Conclusion

Each build alternative evaluated for the 72nd Street Station would require acquisition of the building at 300 East 72nd Street. Whereas Alternative 1 would maximize the use of the footprint of 300 East 72nd Street for the new entrance, Alternatives 3 and 4 would use the property at 300 East 72nd Street and require additional construction within the north sidewalk of and below 72nd Street. Alternatives 3 and 4 would require more cut-and-cover construction and utility relocation. For these reasons, MTA recommended Alternative 1 as the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative.

For the 86th Street Station, construction of Alternative 2 would be more disruptive to the community than Alternatives 5 and 7. Alternative 2 would require temporary displacement of businesses and residents and Alternative 5 would require permanent displacement of businesses and residents. In contrast, Alternative 7 would avoid property acquisition and both temporary and permanent displacement of businesses and residents. As a result, the cost and the time to implement Alternative 7 would be less than Alternatives 2 and 5. Alternative 7, with an entrance on the north side of 86th Street would be more convenient for the majority of riders. For these reasons, MTA recommended Alternative 7 as the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative.

Determination and Finding

FTA has reviewed the Supplemental Environmental Assessment to the Second Avenue Subway Final Environmental Impact Statement: 72nd and 86th Street Entrance Alternatives (May 2009) and Attachment A of this FONSI. I find pursuant to 23 CFR 771.121 that the Proposed Action, the 72nd Street Station Preferred Alternative and the 86th Street Station Preferred Alternative, will not result in any significant impacts.

/S/

Brigid Hynes-Cherin
Regional Administrator, Region 2
Federal Transit Administration

Date: 10/29/09

Enclosure:

Attachment A: Summary of Comments and Responses on Supplemental Environmental Assessment to the Second Avenue Subway Final Environmental Impact Statement: 72nd and 86th Street Entrance Alternatives, May 2009 (October 2009)

 


 

Attachment A

[Attachment A has not been converted at this time, please refer to PDFs for pages 1 to 19, 20 to 39, and 40 with map]