The new raised storm grates have earned aesthetic praise while keeping the subways flood-free. (Photo courtesy of the MTA on Facebook)
When an August 2007 rain storm completely flooded the New York City subway system, the MTA recognized a problem at street level. Because ventilation grates were flush with the sidewalk and fed directly into subway stations that weren’t very deep underground, numerous stations – particularly in Queens – were completely overrun with water.
To solve this problem, the authority proposed in late 2008 a reconceptualized subway grate that would also double as street furniture. By July of 2009, the $31 million flood-prevention plan was fully in place with grates along Sutphin and Queens Boulevards among other areas susceptible to flooding.
This week, the city’s Center for Architecture awarded Rogers Marvel Architects and di Domenico + Partners an Urban Design Merit Award for their work with the MTA’s flood mitigation streetscape plans. This award came as part of the juried prizes handed out each year at the American Institute of Architecture’s design awards luncheon. The flood mitigation pieces wil also be a part of an exhibit at the Center for Architecture (536 LaGuardia Place) now on display through July 3, 2010.
This project showed tremendous innovation and thought on behalf the MTA and then-CEO and Executive Director Elliot Sander. I’m glad to see it earning some recognition from the design community. For more pictures of the raised grates, check out this Facebook album.