Central Subway: Opponents Claim Charter Violation Dooms Project

The Central Subway could use a similar boost

In a potentially game-changing allegation, foes of the controversial Central Subway project claim the city is violating its own charter by moving forward to construct a station at Union Square without putting the matter up for a vote.

The language — which could possibly derail the $1.6 billion subway line — hails from Section 4.113 of the city charter. This is an obscure provision even among those well-versed in the charter. But its ramifications loom large.

Subsection 2 of that charter section notes the following: “No park land may be sold or leased for non-recreational purposes, nor shall any structure on park property be built, maintained or used for non-recreational purposes, unless approved by a vote of the electors.”

There has been no popular vote on whether to construct the planned station at Union Square — which is park land — and none is scheduled. Opponents of the Central Subway say the law is clear and that the city is on the wrong side of it:

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