A 39-year paint program starts with six random stationsBy
That guy is waiting for a paint job — or a J train — that is destined never to arrive. (Photo by flickr user silsurf)
The MTA works in mysterious and oftentimes inexplicable ways. This paint fiasco simply symbolizes the whole bureaucratic mess that current CEO Lee Sander seems to want to dismantle. If I were a betting man, I’d say the 39-year paint job effort finishes up first.
Paint fiasco, you may ask? What paint fiasco? Well, think back to July when word leaked out that the MTA couldn’t use $50 million they had set aside in 2006 to paint stations because they couldn’t figure out how to pick which stations should go first.
Well, it took the MTA just seven more months to figure out which stations should go first, and nearly two years after receiving the funds, they plan to start painting in April. Feel free to insert some sarcastic applause here.
So then, how did the MTA pick the six stations that will kick off a mind-numbingly slow process in which 12 stations per year will get paint? Seemingly — as I suggested at the time — by drawing names out of a hat. According to the Daily News, the winning stations are “77th St. (R line), Brooklyn; Grand Army Plaza (2,3), Brooklyn; Canal St. (J,M,Z), Manhattan; Spring St. (C,E), Manhattan; 135th St. (A,C), Manhattan, and 163rd St. (A,C) Manhattan.”
Now, there’s a lot going on here. At the rate of 12 stations per year, it could take the MTA the better part of the next four decades to paint the whole system. What is wrong here? Matthew Lysiak and Pete Donohue explain:
Top transit officials in 2006 announced plans for a decade-long program, initially funded with $50 million in surplus money, to paint every station in the system. That would equal about 46 stations a year, including some being done as part of larger station rehabilitation projects.
Seaton said that schedule has gone “out the window” because the paint jobs are more involved and costly than planners of the program estimated. The early estimates didn’t fully calculate such problems as the extra requirements of removing and disposing of lead paint, Seaton said.
Now, the problem here is that, as KidTwist noted in July, every station needs a paint job, and yet, only two percent of the city’s stations will get what it needs each year.
Meanwhile, their choice of stations is hardly stellar. One of my closest subway stops is the Grand Army Plaza stop, and it’s looking pretty good right now. It was renovated within the past 15 years, and the paint — compared to, say, the 7th Ave. stop on the B and Q — doesn’t look bad at all. But beyond that better choice two blocks away are a multitude of stations that could use a paint job.
Imagine painting your apartment just once every forty years. Now imagine millions of people trampling through that very same apartment every day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It wouldn’t look pretty, and you can bet that the subways won’t look too good either if the MTA can’t pick up the pace on these paint jobs.