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Upper East Side Building Sues MTA Over Planned Subway Entrances

By Amy Zimmer | February 16, 2011 5:30pm | Updated on February 17, 2011 6:10am
Yorkshire Towers, at 315 E. 86th St., where residents and the landlords are suing the MTA to fight a planned Second Avenue subway entrance.
Yorkshire Towers, at 315 E. 86th St., where residents and the landlords are suing the MTA to fight a planned Second Avenue subway entrance.
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By Amy Zimmer

DNAinfo News Editor

MANHATTAN — The owners and tenants of the Yorkshire Towers are trying to stop the MTA from slapping two Second Avenue subway entrances for the 86th Street station in front of their bustling 21-story, 695-unit building.

The landlords and residents of the building filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the MTA and others, calling for further environmental review of the subway entrances planned for the middle of 86th Street, east of Second Avenue. 

The entrances would flood the sidewalk with nearly 3,600 passengers just during the morning rush, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which alleges that agencies didn’t properly study congestion and safety issues.

"If those studies and analyses were done, the last place you would locate a subway entrance is in front of Yorkshire Towers," said Joseph Ceccarelli of Ceccarelli Weprin, co-counsel for the building.

"Nothing was done to show what will happen with an army regiment-worth of passengers — 3,600 people — converging every morning on a sidewalk of 12 feet in front of a building with 2,000 residents," he added. Residents claimed their building would be the largest apartment complex affected by the subway construction.

Residents were also concerned about putting the entrances next to the building's circular driveway.

The mid-block entrances would create havoc for school kids waiting for buses and encourage a rash of jaywalking, said another attorney for the building, Jeffrey Glen, from Anderson, Kill & Olick. "The question is not 'is it going to cause an accident?' It’s 'How many?'"

A similar case was brought by residents in a 260-unit building on 72nd Street fighting a mid-block entrance in front of their high-rise. That planned entrance was relocated after further environmental review was required.

With models showing the majority of straphangers will be coming from the northeast, the transit agency's rationale for situating the entrance in front of Yorkshire Towers was to save them the few steps needed for crossing the street, the complaint said. 

"It will be a problem for our driveway because there will be no end to pedestrians all day long and part of the night," said Sheil Fine, 74, a resident of the complex for more than 35 years. "And this building has over 200 senior citizens with various problems of not being able to move or walk."

She said tenants had proposed five other locations.

The MTA declined to comment.

"We're not against the Second Avenue subway. We're New Yorkers. We need it," Ceccarelli said. "We're just against the siting of the entrance."