MTA looks to develop comprehensive map of subway system


Countless emergency exits, phones and even tracks are buried — and sometimes forgotten — in the tunnels of the subway. (Courtesy of TGOS)

Buried beneath streets of New York City are 722 miles worth of subway tracks. From Far Rockaway to 241st St in the Bronx, subway tunnels wind and snake their ways through borough, over bridges and under tunnels. And no one really knows what’s down there.

Sure, we all know the general route of the system. We know where the D or the R will stop and where the train is going, but no one knows all of the countless emergency exits and alarm boxes are, where the tracks dead end or where hidden remnants of a long-gone station are. But now, in a story fascinating to transit buffs (and fairly mundane to the rest of you), the MTA is going to find out just where everything is in the tunnels of the subway.

Newsday has more, albeit only a little:

The MTA and the city’s Office of Emergency Management announced Monday a plan to map electronically every inch of the New York City subway system. The project, slated to cost about $200,000, will give first responders better information about the layout of the system in case of a terrorist attack or other emergency by making electronic versions of the subway map easily downloadable.

The map, containing every exit, emergency phone, and alarm box underground, will be available at a central command headquarters that will communicate with the emergency workers on the scene.

Let me just say: That is so cool. While I’m sure it will be some secret, sensitive document, I want that map. A full look at what’s underneath the city! It will have all of the exit doors labeled and all of those funny lighted phones an observant straphanger can spot as the trains crawl through the tunnels.

It’s certainly a positive step for security. First-responders have to be able to, well, respond. But the subway nerd in me likes this idea too just because this map will be the Holy Grail of information concerning stuff in the New York City tunnels. Will they map the homeless villages of mole people too?

Categories : Subway Security

9 Responses to “MTA looks to develop comprehensive map of subway system”

  1. Todd says:

    I want that map too!

    Okay Ben, here’s the deal. We’re going to steal that thing. I’ve already got a rope. We’ll sneak into the ‘central command center’ via the air duct. You’ll disarm the lasers while I grab the map.

  2. Excellent plan. I think that we could probably rope some more people into our nefarious scheme after next week’s happy hour.

  3. raronauer says:

    The map would also help you plan which car to take for the speediest exit.

  4. Julia says:

    Wait, the MTA doesn’t have a comprehensive map of the subway system?

  5. I hope that map includes the places that used to be a staircase, especially the ones in Times Square, and I hope that someone within the MTA will realize that those staircases not being there is a huge burden to NY’ers who are trying to escape the sea of tourists as quickly and as easily as possible.

  6. Alex says:

    Now if they could only tell me exactly where every train is live on Google maps I would be impressed.

  7. Gary says:

    They should hire that guy from Forgotten NY to do it . . . he knows everything!

    Seriously, I would love to have that map on my wall. I fantasize about exploring the abandoned tunnels and stations under the city . . . but as a 30-something attorney, have no wish to be thrown in the brig.

    The best use of the map might be for planning where to reactivate old lines or extend them for new connections (e.g. Second Ave Subway, express tracks on the F line in BKLN.

  8. Amanda says:

    This is cool to a geography geek as well…

  9. Todd says:

    Julia: Come on, that’d make way too much sense.

    Ben: We can formulate our plan over beers.

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