With but a day left in 2010, this year cannot end soon enough for the MTA. Its own headlines were dominated by massive service cuts and a steep fare hike, and while 2011 brings more unknown, we have to hope it won’t be worse for public transportation in New York.
As I do every year, I’d like to run down the list of the ten most popular posts here on Second Ave. Sagas. Thanks to everyone who read, shared and commenting on my work this year. I certainly appreciate it all.
1. A subway art project in the abandoned Underbelly
The most popular post of the year was, of course, about the underground street art project that took the city by storm in late October. Few have seen the Underbelly Project’s output, but the street art installation, which began in 2009, will be featured in a documentary and perhaps a book as well. The story is quite the tale of urban adventure.
2. MTA Board approves 2011 fare hike
A fare hike for 2011, which went into effect yesterday, was inevitable. The MTA had gotten permission from Albany in 2009 to raise fares every two years, but when when it become official, New York commuter sighed. For the third time in three years, the MTA had to raise fares, and we would all pay more for less this time around.
3. Debating subway map form and function
Massimo Vignelli, John Tauranac, Eddie Jabbour and Paul Shaw gathered at the Museum of the City of New York earlier this month to discuss their varied approaches to the subway map. As the MTA’s map is an ever-changing, quasi-geographic, quasi schematic representation of the system, everyone has an idea of how it should appear, and few people are ever satisfied with the current cluttered iteration of The Map.
4. The history of a subway shell at South 4th Street
A day after the Underbelly Project story broke, I went figurative underground to highlight just where this street art installation was. After some simple recon and analysis, the online community deduced that the Underbelly Project had gone up in the unfinished shell of a station at South 4th Street in Brooklyn. This post explored the original proposals for the subway expansion plans that would have brought service through that ghost station.
5. New raised storm grates earn architectural praise
Nearly three years after a summer storm and resulting flood knocked out nearly all subway service across the city, the MTA’s new storm grates garnered recognition from the architectural community. New York residents though resent the intrusion into their precious sidewalk space. You can’t please all of the people all the time.
6. With service changes, MTA refreshes its map
When the MTA cut service in June, it also introduced a new version of the map. With stronger route lines, a fatter Manhattan and parks that were shaded a dull khaki green, the new map did away with some of the bus boxes and tried to simplify the presentation of information. The cover is nicer than the map inside.
7. Fire suspends all Metro-North service to GCT
A fire on the Harlem River bridge knocked out Metro-North service for a few hours on a Monday in late September. As breaking news went, this was a fairly tame story with some very impressive plumes of smoke.
8. Service changes could lead to Chrystie St. Cut use
As word of impending service cuts reached the public, the MTA announced plans to reactivate the Chrystie St. Cut. Unused since the K train made its last ride in the 1980s, the Cut allows trains coming off of the Williamsburg Bridge to travel north up Sixth Ave. instead of south along Nassau st. Many believe this was a service change the MTA should have made years ago to meet demand from a growing Brooklyn neighborhood.
9. The shape of Tunnel Boring Machines to come
This was some good old fashioned subway construction porn. A few weeks before launching the tunnel boring machine beneath Second Ave., the MTA introduced it to the world.
10. A launch box and art for a subway in progress
Shortly before I had a chance to tour the Second Ave. Subway launch box, the MTA’s own photograph published photos of the construction site. I explored the work in progress and highlighted the planning for future Second Ave. Subway stations. As 2011 dawns, we have to wait just six more years until the new subway opens