Updated 10/9/17 - MTA goes back to the drawing board for the Proposed Emergency Ventilation Plant in Murray Hill

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Updated 10/9/17 - MTA goes back to the drawing board for the Proposed Emergency Ventilation Plant in Murray Hill

Updated 7/21/17, 7/29/17, 10/9/17

Excerpted from the MTA Emergency Ventilation Project website:

 July 2017 - the MTA/NYC Transit agency issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed Emergency Ventilation Plant for the Lexington Avenue Subway Line between the 33rd Street/Park Avenue South Station and the Grand Central/42nd Street Station. The ventilation plant will provide mechanical ventilation for this section of the 4, 5, 6 line, which currently has no ventilation for fire and smoke emergencies. The EVP would be located below grade within the Murray Hill Historic District which is designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, the New York State Historic Preservation Office, and the National Register of Historic Places.

Potential environmental impacts resulting from the project were analyzed, including traffic and parking, air quality, noise, vibration, historical and cultural resources, and others. In addition, thirteen possible sites were evaluated between 36th to 39th Streets on northbound Park Avenue and on the side streets east and west of Park Avenue.

As a result of the NYCT’s analysis and review of all the comments from the public and elected officials, NYCT has concluded that Site 12, located on Park Avenue's northbound side between East 36th and East 38th Street is the agency's preferred site. In aggregate, based on engineering, economic and environmental factors, Site 12 is most likely to minimize significant adverse effects and impacts during construction and operation.

Public documents and hearings

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement was issued on March 15, 2017 and a Public Hearing was held on April 5, 2017. The public comment period for the DEIS closed on April 28, 2017. During the DEIS comment period, over 120 commenters submitted commentary to NYCT in letters, “online” on the website, and oral and written testimony. NYCT reviewed and responded to all of the comments and appended the Response to Comments to the FEIS. 

On July 26 the MTA held a Board Meeting with agenda item 4i to vote on the recommendation to approve the findings of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Emergency Ventilation Project for the Lexington Avenue subway on Park Avenue. Several Murray Hill residents and representatives from neighborhood organizations testified, asking the Board to reject the project. The Board deferred this item until the next meeting, which will be on September 27.

At the September 27 MTA Board meeting, although the EVP was not on the agenda, the MTA accepted comments from the public on all topics. Several people testified from the Coalition to Save Murray Hill, a neighborhood group formed to try to stop the EVP. At the end of the public testimony, Chairman Joseph Lhota made the following statement directed specifically to the Coalition, “I want the Transit Authority to go back to the drawing board and evaluate what is the most new and modern system so that we can make this system as safe as possible. For the time being, the proposals right now for the Murray Hill station are going to be reviewed, and we will come back to the public at a later date to talk about what options are available to make the Lexington Avenue line as safe as possible.” You can see a video of this statement at this link (at time 4:00:28): http://service.mta.info/webcastplayer/boardmeetingYoutube.htm

The Final Environmental Impact Statement recommends Site 12 between 36th and 38th Streets on Park Avenue West for the plant. The MTA is aware that this area is in the historic district and has noted in their response that dynamite will not be used, and that they will closely monitor noise, vibrations and air quality.  MTA Meetings Calendar

Background materials: Final Environmental Impact Statement


MTA website for the Proposed Emergency Ventilation Plant
Volume 1
Volume 2 Appendices,Appendix A Response to Comments and Public Hearing Transcript


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