Home Asides Twenty minutes after opening, South Ferry stop shuttered by Canal St. water main

Twenty minutes after opening, South Ferry stop shuttered by Canal St. water main

by Benjamin Kabak

It was the best of times and the worst of times for the MTA this afternoon. After fifteen months of delays and cost overruns, the new South Ferry terminal on the 1 line opened shortly after noon today. Twenty minutes later, a 140-year-old watermain near the Holland Tunnel broke, halting service south along the IRT to the new station. If that’s not a metaphor for this project, I don’t know what is.

Update 6:20 p.m.: This sad parable just got more depressing. The MTA’s website reports “ongoing signal problems” at South Ferry. The MTA had months to test the operational signals at South Ferry, and yet, on day one, there are problems. MTA fail indeed.

Update 11:30 p.m.: For the official word on the first new station to open in the subway system, check out the MTA press release. While we half-jokingly mock the transit authority about the delays and the unrelated water main break, opening up a new station and attempting to expand the system while combating other financial difficulties are laudable goals. At present, the MTA’s operating finances are in a sorry state, but those will improve in the future. When they do, the system should be a robust, far-reaching and modern one.

The station is also the first post-9/11 Lower Manhattan project to open, and the politicians speaking earlier today were quick to praise. “This station represents not only our joint city, state and federal commitment to rebuilding Lower Manhattan, but also our commitment to mass transit in New York State,” Gov. David Paterson said. “This station is vital to the residents, commuters and tourists who pass through it each day, by allowing for increased subway service, better connections and spurring economic growth in Lower Manhattan. I thank our Congressional delegation for pushing for this funding in Washington. Projects like the South Ferry Station keep New York’s mass transit system among the best in the world.”

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Josh Karpoff March 16, 2009 - 4:01 pm

It’s events like this that make me glad most of the public never gets to see the government construction projects I work on. Cause at least then the only people who notice are the client agency, folks from my agency and the contractors. Having the public looking over our shoulder on everything would be such a hassle.

MTA Capital Construction seems to be the “Battlestar Galactica” of public works projects. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any darker or more depressing – they do, in a way no one could even imagine.

Adam G March 16, 2009 - 4:46 pm

Charlie Brown and the football, man.

kvnbklyn March 16, 2009 - 5:12 pm

Now (at 5:00pm) the MTA’s website says that there are delays on the 1 train due to signal problems at South Ferry station. Signal problems? With the brand new signals they’ve had plenty of time to test?

Michael March 16, 2009 - 6:40 pm

I was so excited, I became a Subway Geek today


An MTA mea culpa on the South Ferry project :: Second Ave. Sagas | A New York City Subway Blog March 19, 2009 - 12:30 pm

[…] the South Ferry station finally opened on Monday, it did so following a two-month delay due to an engineering error. MTA engineers, not accounting […]

New South Ferry Station - Seattle Transit Blog March 23, 2009 - 8:43 am

[…] gap between trains and the platforms to be up to four inches. Even after opening, the station had a couple of glitches: a water main broke and there were signal […]


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