A study released by the nonprofit Regional Plan Association (RPA) last week found that temperatures in New York City’s busiest subway stations are soaring and that the average temperatures hover around 94.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Although temperatures climbed past 104 degrees at the Union Square station on 14th Street, solutions are stymied by the design of each station, aging infrastructure, and the trains themselves. The RPA surveyed 10 of the busiest stations in New York and found that the sweltering temperatures were exacerbated by the heatwaves that much of New York (and the world) have been experiencing this summer. The constantly late trains aren’t helping commuters either, as passengers have been forced to wait for longer periods of time on the platforms. Why exactly are these stations so hot? As the Village Voice explains, the city’s busiest stations are often its oldest and their design precludes centralized climate control; this is also the official reason given by the MTA. The trains themselves output a large amount of heat as well, both through their air conditioners as well as braking. Each full train weighs around 350 to 450 tons depending on the make and length, and the kinetic energy required to brake is converted to heat when a train stops at a station. The hottest stations surveyed were where trains idled the longest. The Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall stop in Tribeca was unsurprisingly featured as well, as the 6 train makes its last stop there then idles before departing on its uptown route. When WNYC surveyed 103 of New York’s stations during the July 2015 heatwave, the Brooklyn Bridge stop clocked in at 107 degrees. For its part, the MTA has pledged to keep the trains running more efficiently to reduce the time passengers have to wait on these overheated platforms. While the MTA tests new communication and signal technologies that could improve wait times and braking efficiency, New York City Transit Authority President Andy Byford has pledged that most of the subway system will use communications-based train control by 2030. Still, as the climate warms, these types of heat waves are only going to become more common, and the fixes required to keep the city’s subway stations tolerable are solutions that will require long-term investments on par with the MTA's other sustainability initiatives.
Posts tagged with "Subways":
Danish studio Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has been award the commission to design a subway station in Paris. Working with local firm Silvio d’Ascia Architecture, BIG has designed the Pont de Bondy station situated northwest of Paris. The station will one of 68 new stations which will form the Grand Paris Express—a new infrastructure project in the French capital which is due to add 124 miles of rail to the existing subway network. Clad in terra-cotta, the looped "P"-shape design bears an orthogonal frame in section and spans the Ourcq canal, providing a sheltered walkway for pedestrians. Inside the P's counter will be the station area itself, meanwhile the other main entranceway extends along the canal's banks. This will elegantly connect with the sidewalk while passing under the existing tram and road bridge. Keeping with the typographic theme, "PONT DE BONDY" appears to be emblazoned on the structure in BIG's distinctive typeface. The Pont de Body station will be a major part of the Grand Paris Express, being one of nine special "emblematic stations" throughout the new subway network. Conceived by the Société du Grand Paris (a public agency for industrial and commercial transport development), the scheme aims to reduce travel times, link business districts with each other and the center of Paris, as well as connect airports Charles de Gaulle, Orly, and Le Bourget. BIG and Silvio d’Ascia Architecture's station will be part of Line 15, a ring route surrounding Paris, and be the main access point for the business hub that joins the Bondy, Bobigny, and Noisy-le-Sec districts. Other notable architects such as Kengo Kuma and Dominique Perrault are also part of the scheme, with both, like BIG, having won the commission to design a business district node. Kengo Kuma Associates has designed the Gare Saint-Denis Pleyel station located north of Paris and Dominique Perrault Architecture has designed the Gare Villejuif Institut Gustave-Roussy situated south of the capital. Both stations will be on the Line 15 ring route and connect to Pont de Bondy.
The non-profit group Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) has filed a federal class action lawsuit against the MTA over a Bronx subway station that remains inaccessible to wheelchairs despite a major overhaul. According to DRA, the MTA’s failure to make the station wheelchair accessible is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects people from discrimination based on disability. The Middletown Road station in the Bronx was closed between October 2013 and May 2014 for improvements, which included replacing staircases and other parts of the structure. The costly renovation also included new ceilings, walls, and floors, but failed to add an elevator. The station lies in the middle of a four mile stretch—which contains ten stops on the 6 line—that are not wheelchair accessible. According to the DRA, New York City has one of the worst public transportation systems in the country for handicapped people, with only 19% of subway stations accessible to wheelchairs compared to 100% of stations in Washington, D.C. and the San Francisco Bay Area. While city busses are all wheelchair accessible, they're often a much slower and less efficient way to get around. According to DNAinfo, the MTA claims it was not in violation of the ADA because adding an elevator would have been impossible due to the physical constrains of the station. The DRA asserts that it could've been done. Minor accessibility improvements to the station were implemented, including new handrails and tactile signs. The suit, which was filed on behalf of Bronx Independent Living Services (BILS) and Disabled in Action of Metropolitan New York (DIA), claims that an elevator would have been technically feasible. According to Anthony Trocchia, President of DIA, the suit is meant to call attention to the broader issue of wheelchair accessibility on the New York City subway system.
In entirely expected news, the extension of the 7 line subway to Manhattan's Far West Side has been delayed yet again. The New York Times reported that the new 34th Street station, which was scheduled to open by the end of 2013, and then by the summer of 2014, won't actually be ready until July. What's the latest hold up? Well, apparently, the station's diagonal elevator has been causing some problems, and the MTA still needs to test the fire alarm, communication system, escalators, ventilation fans, and third-rail power. So, a lot still needs to happen before the public can ride the rails. In the meantime, the MTA tucked some pretty pictures inside a recent report to its board to prove that it is making progress on the station—right, the station that was supposed to open in 2013. Anyway, take a look below to see what New Yorkers will finally be able to enjoy this July, or whenever this thing opens. [h/t CityLab]
Overcrowding on New York City subway trains is becoming a major problem for commuters. According to new data from the MTA, there were 14,843 weekday delays caused by overcrowding in December alone. The New York Post found that the number is up 113 percent from the same period a year ago. Fixing the overcrowding will not be easy for the MTA as it is trying to accommodate record ridership and still dealing with damage from Superstorm Sandy.
Every so often, New York City's MTA shares a batch of construction photos to remind New Yorkers that one of its long-delayed projects is still chugging along beneath their feet. The latest photo set takes us underneath Manhattan where the MTA is busy borrowing tunnels that will one day connect the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central. The whole project is expected to cost nearly $11 billion and won't be wrapped up until 2023, so no need to rush through the gallery.
The planned giant Ferris wheel in Staten Island—one of kookier of the Bloomberg-era megaprojects—is apparently still happening. Eavesdrop always thought the step-Borough deserved more than a tourist trap wheel and a giant outlet mall, but hey, apparently Amanda Burden thought differently. According to the Associated Press, New York Wheel CEO Rich Marin said the project will include a thrill ride that will “simulate a ride in a subway car.” Here’s a better idea: buy a MetroCard.
Between June and August, a New York City subway platform is a pretty awful place to find yourself. Over those summer months, the subway has all the smells, crowds, and delays you're used to with the unwelcome addition of a shockingly stubborn heat that couldn't care less that you're on your way to a job interview. The temperature below ground is often ten or more degrees warmer than on the sidewalks above. And there is nothing you can do about it—getting around the subway heat is like getting around that tourist family trying to find their way to an AirBNB apartment in Carroll Gardens. It's impossible. The only good thing to ever come out of these hot and humid stations is the latest video from the geniuses over at Improv Everywhere. The folks who brought us the "No Pants Subway Ride" recently turned the Herald Square subway station into a full-service "34th Street Spa." The summer brought the heat, they brought everything else. [h/t Gothamist]
Manhattan's Second Avenue Subway continues construction on the island's east side. A new construction update from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority details excavation work at what will one day be the line's 86th Street station and the various pieces of heavy machinery that are used in the construction process. Take a look at the photos below and be sure to check out more spectacular tunneling photos from the Seven Line subway expansion and the East Side Access Tunnel for the Long Island Railroad. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. All images courtesy the MTA / Patrick Cashin.
There's plenty of tunneling going on underneath the streets of Manhattan. On the west side, digging through the city's bedrock has given way to interior station fit-ups for the Dattner-designed 7 line subway stations connecting Times Square to Hudson Yards as early as 2014. To the east, sandhogs continue to carve through solid rock for the $4.5 billion Second Avenue Subway Line while other crews outfit the tunnels with concrete and rebar. Between the two, more massive caverns are being opened up beneath Grand Central Terminal, which turned 100 this month, that will extend the Long Island Railroad to the famed station from Sunnyside, Queens in 2019. The $8.24 billion East Side Access Project will allow commuters to bypass Penn Station and enter Manhattan 12-stories below Grand Central. Now, the MTA has released a dramatic set of photos from inside the 3.5-mile-long tunnel, revealing enormous cathedral-like spaces connected by perfectly cylindrical tunnels. Take a look. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. All images courtesy Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin. [Via Gothamist.]
The much-talked-about 7 line subway extension on Manhattan's West Side isn't the only mega-infrastructure project making progress in New York. Construction continues far below the streets of Manhattan's East Side as crews tunnel through bedrock for the Second Avenue Subway line. This week, the MTA released a gallery of photos showing construction progress on stations between 63rd and 73rd streets. The photos show the enormous rock caverns that will one day be subway stations being prepped with liners, rebar, and concrete casing. According to Gothamist, construction progress varies by station, with the 72nd Street station 96 percent complete and the 86th Street station 42 percent done. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow:
Manhattan's newest neighborhood at Hudson Yards broke ground one week ago today, but the West Side area can be tricky to get to using the city's existing subway system. In 2014, however, the rumbling of trains far beneath the city's streets will stretch west from Times Square, extending the 7 Line subway a mile and a half over to 34th Street and 11th Avenue where Hudson Yards' first tower will be rapidly climbing at 30th Street and 10th Avenue. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has now shared a series of photos of the $2.4 billion, city-funded project, showing quite a bit of progress since AN toured the site one year ago this month. Most notable are the web of miles of conduit lining the walls and ceilings of the tunnels and the nearly complete ventilation towers rising near the Javits Center. Eventually, interior fit-ups will finish off the station's sleek interior with curving walls designed by Dattner Architects.