Home MTA Construction MTA finally addressing that whole ‘It’s too hot in the subways’ issue

MTA finally addressing that whole ‘It’s too hot in the subways’ issue

by Benjamin Kabak

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The new South Ferry Terminal will address the inadequacies of the current station while providing a transfer point to the Whitehall Street station. (Courtesy of MTA Capital Construction)

Two capital construction stories from the weekend; two examples of the MTA’s apparent decision to address the issue of overwhelmingly oppressive heat in the subway systems. Finally.

The first was this so-called NY1 Bobby Cuza “exclusive” on the 7 line extension. In the story, aptly covered here by SUBWAYblogger, Cuza writes about the plans to enclose the new 7 line platforms in glass doors.

I’ve written about these glass doors before, and I’ll maintain my position. Those doors will not be worth the cost. While the MTA hopes to air condition these train platforms on the Far West Side, the doors will break or be broken by unruly riders. They will malfunction; they will be a general nuisance.

The good folks on Subchat have engaged in an epic discussion on these doors, and this post seems to summarize everyone’s feelings. “Utter waste of public money. Wait until they all break down and nobody can get into or out of the train,” board contributor Olog-Hai said.

The other story, also from Cuza, focused on the new South Ferry station. I’ve written little about this capital construction project simply because it’s fairly unremarkable. The $500 million station is funded through federal 9/11 funds; it’s on time; and it’s a much-needed upgrade. Of note is the news about the potential for the station to be climate controlled:

The new terminal will not only save riders an estimated two to five minutes on their trips, it will also be fully accessible, provide a connection to the R/W station at Whitehall Street, and pump cool air onto the platforms in the summer.

“It’s not 100 percent air-conditioned, but the temperature in the station will be at least about 10 to 15 degrees below the outside temperature,” [Mysore Nagaraja, head of MTA Capital Construction,] said.

In July, I noted that the MTA had opted to ignore the heat issue on these line report cards. But today, I’m glad to hear that the MTA is starting to address this issue. It’s always oppressively hot in the subway stations during the summer. While I think the glass doors represent poor solutions to this problem, I have to applaud the MTA for taking the initiative to address a problem that will only get worse as the temperature outside climbs.

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15 comments

Streetsblog » Today’s Headlines September 11, 2007 - 8:53 am

[…] Glass Doors No Solution to Subway Station Heat (Second Ave Sagas) […]

Reply
Peter September 11, 2007 - 9:37 am

Have you ever traveled outside the US? To Hong Kong, for example, where all subways have sliding glass doors, and everything works great. I assume what you mean is the MTA’s implementation of this solution will be flawed and break, kind of like their elevators and escalators, hardly groundbreaking technology.

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anon September 11, 2007 - 9:43 am

“While I think the glass doors represent poor solutions to [the overheating] problem…”

And an example of a good solution would be? (Crickets)

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digamma September 11, 2007 - 9:49 am

10-15 degrees cooler? I’d settle for the same temperature.

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Yonni September 11, 2007 - 10:15 am

I agree with Peter. These doors work everywhere in the world, including in New York, at JFK AirTrain stations. Crowds are just as big in Shanghai or in Paris, where these doors are located, and they’re very effective; they rarely break down. This is an excellent technology solution to two very big problems – hot stations and trash on the tracks.

Reply
Benjamin Kabak September 11, 2007 - 10:21 am

I assume what you mean is the MTA’s implementation of this solution will be flawed and break, kind of like their elevators and escalators, hardly groundbreaking technology.

Considering the focus of this blog is on the MTA and New York, that’s generally a safe assumption 🙂

This is an excellent technology solution to two very big problems – hot stations and trash on the tracks.

I hope you’re right. However, considering subway culture in New York, you’ll simply see more trash on the platforms and benches instead. Until something radical happens and the MTA figures out a way to change people’s attitudes, inconsiderate straphangers will continue to avoid the trash receptacle at all costs.

As for the JFK Airtrain mention, the platform size-to-ridership ratio for the Airtrain is nowhere near the same figure for the subway. There’s plenty of room there for doors.

And an example of a good solution would be? (Crickets)

Crickets would probably not be a good solution to the problem. I would recommend more tunnel-to-surface vents to release the hot air spewed by the trains’ air conditioners. I would look into air flow options. Trapping people on the platforms just doesn’t seem like a good idea to me even if it works in Hong Kong and Paris.

Then again maybe heat-dissipating crickets would be a better solution.

Reply
Gary September 11, 2007 - 11:15 am

“Booby” Cuza? I thought this was a family site!

Finally met Inglesby last night at CGNA.

I’ve got to get some of those heat-dissipating crickets for my apartment. I’m hoping to cross-breed them with humidity absorbing grasshoppers and make my fortune.

Reply
Benjamin Kabak September 11, 2007 - 11:16 am

Hah. Gary, the dangers of relying on spell check. I need a copy editor for SAS.

Reply
wayne's world September 11, 2007 - 11:30 am

Pumping cool air sounds like more energy will be spent. It’s time to cut back on use of energy, not increase it. Sure, the platforms are hot but we all manage to survive.

Reply
The View from Underground: 9/11 services changes « Second Ave. Sagas | Blogging the NYC Subways September 11, 2007 - 12:25 pm

[…] 2nd Ave. Subway History « MTA finally addressing that whole ‘It’s too hot in the subways’ issue […]

Reply
Jason A September 11, 2007 - 1:51 pm

Outfitting platforms with sliding doors would be an unfortunate waste of money. The MTA has enough problems with funding critical components of subway service. Other cities are able to support sliding doors because they do not toil under the same funding and management constraints as the MTA. Considering the hapless state of NYC Transit, the last thing the MTA can handle is any additional responsibility over maintaining something that can (and will) break. While the doors would keep trash off the tracks and help prevent fires, they’re not worth the inevitable nightmare scenario of malfunctioning sliding doors…

Reply
mg September 11, 2007 - 4:30 pm

If a door did malfunction, people would have to use another door and I don’t see why the station manager wouldn’t eventually just manually open the malfunctioning leaf and leave it opened until it was repaired. Track fires cause far more nightmarish delays than any sliding door would… the safety and suicide prevention aspects are pretty strong as well.

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mg September 11, 2007 - 4:32 pm

Plus, the subway cars’ doors open and close constantly and very rarely malfunction. Why would a similar door on a platform suddenly have dramatic, debilitating problems? It’s not as if sliding doors are new technology.

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Jimmy Ching Chang October 17, 2007 - 2:06 am

you guys also forget
slide door also can prevent the suicide attempt or accidental issue as people who falling to the track. This is one of main reason sliding door become much more safer than old fashion NYC platform.

More garbage on platform is always better than more garbage on tracks.
Simply, platform is easier to clean up compare to track.

So waste more money ?
i don’t think so
i don’t think by continue spending tons of money to repair/clean up the track will be any where cheaper than cleaning the platform. (and the damage people can create to the track is way more harder to repair)

Reply
Jimmy Ching Chang October 17, 2007 - 2:14 am

Also,
by clean up the garbages on tracks,
MTA simply has to block the all track (which means , block the traffic)
This will toward the problems of many subway lines not working properly (which what MTA does very often now).

on the other hand, clean up garbage on platform will not required the traffic block.

Reply

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