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7 Train Extension to New Jersey Backed by New Study

By Mathew Katz | April 10, 2013 11:44am | Updated on April 10, 2013 3:27pm

NEW YORK CITY — The 7 train to New Jersey? It may not be dead after all.

A new study claims that riders could make it between Secaucus, N.J., and Grand Central Station in 16 minutes if the the train was extended under the Hudson and into the Garden State.

Nearly three years after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie shut down a project to build a new tunnel under the Hudson River to connect his state to the West Side, the study commissioned by the city's Economic Development Corporation claims extending the 7 train to New Jersey is not only feasible, it's a good idea.

The study, commissioned in 2011 and completed by Parsons Brinckerhoff, proposes that the MTA extend the No. 7 line from West 34th Street and 11th Avenue to Frank R. Lautenberg Station in Secaucus.

According to the study, the train would have a ridership of about 128,000 straphangers per day, assuming 30 trains ran an hour. A trip between Secaucus and Grand Central Station would take a mere 16 minutes.

"The extension of the No. 7 Subway would result in the first trans-Hudson tunnel connection that would provide direct rail access from New Jersey, not only to the West Side of Manhattan, but also to the East Side and multiple locations in Queens," the study said.

"It would provide needed capacity across the Hudson River and advance the broader goal of enhancing regional connectivity."

Those benefits include improving access between New York, New Jersey and Queens, and better connections to New Jersey Transit's Rail and Bus Services.

The proposal is reminiscent of the $8.7 billion Access to the Region's Core, or ARC Project, which began construction on a tunnel linking New York and New Jersey in 2009. Christie shut down the project in 2010 because of New Jersey's lack of funds.

According to the study, the extension would be able to take advantage of existing investments in transit infrastructure, including the $2.1 billion the city spent to extend the 7 train to the far West Side, along with roughly $1 billion spent by New Jersey on the ARC project and Frank R. Lautenberg Station.

Some of the environmental reviews and approvals that were won by the ARC Project could also be used by any 7 train extension, the study added.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has long supported such an extension, said he hoped to discuss the plan with the other stakeholders, including the MTA and officials in New Jersey.

“The lack of new transit investment is creating a serious and urgent threat to New
York City’s economic competitiveness," Bloomberg said in a statement.

"Extending the 7 train to Secaucus is a promising potential solution — it would leverage
existing investments and be compatible with other proposed projects — and is deserving of serious consideration."

The study does not discuss the cost of the extension, but it would likely be incredibly expensive. Along with building a subway station and train yard in Secaucus, the proposal would also require numerous improvements at existing subway stations and the construction of a planned 7 train station at 10th Avenue and West 41st Street, something that was planned by the MTA but dropped due to lack of funds in 2007.

Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the MTA, largely dismissed the notion of extending the 7 to New Jersey.

“We don’t see this as an economically viable idea," he said.

Officials at New Jersey Transit did not immediately respond to requests for comment.