It’s a big week for subway news, folks: After three years of noise (jackhammers at dawn, anyone?) piles of concrete, traffic snarls and pedestrian snafus, a new subway station opened on New York’s Upper West Side at Broadway and 96th Street this morning. In addition to the inside renovations, a curved steel and glass dome was added to the outside of the station.
The station services the 1, 2 and 3 lines and is used daily by about 67,000 people.
In the old station, riders had to go down two floors–and then up one, in order to get to the subway platform. In the new station, commuters can go directly to either the uptown or downtown platforms. The renovation cost about $98 million.
An elevator and small park (Really? It will have to be very, very small…) should be finished by the fall. Other work is still to be completed as well, including a new public address system, better ventilation, and new signage.
New York City Transit says 134,000 trips either begin or end at the 96th Street Station.
Caveat: While the station may be open, it’s certainly not finished. Viewed from outside, the interior still resembles a big mass of wood and cement debris interspersed with harried-looking commuters.
The station, by the way, was part of the original IRT subway system and originally opened in 1904.
Still, it has to be an improvement over the old station—or the mess and disruptions caused by the renovation over the last few years.
It will probably come as no surprise to most mass transit riders in New York City that most subway announcements are often hard, if not downright impossible, to hear.
A study by the Straphangers Campaign states that in the case of a subway delay or disruption, information was either not sufficient, was never conveyed to passengers, or was not able to be understood. The group found that announcements were not able to be heard in such cases in less than 50 percent of the time.
If you’re wondering just how this survey was done, 6,600 observations (is there such a thing as an auditory observation?) were made on 22 subway lines. They were done at times when announcements should have been made.
However, in the case of basic announcements (the name of the line; the station and any transfer options) 80 percent were clear.
Riders of the 4, 5, 6, L, M and N lines, rejoice—announcements were said to be clearest on those lines.
As for your folks on the D, G and 7 lines–not to make your commute any rougher than it already is, but the worst announcements (or the lack of announcements) are on those lines. But you probably knew that.
The last time the group released such a survey was back in 2006, and they credit the MTA with making improvements since then.
However, there’s still a long way to go in terms of upping the quality of the announcements when they’re needed most, such as during a delay.
So for a disruption, forget it. But if for some reason you don’t know what subway station you’re in (and really, shouldn’t you have checked?), well, at last you can be assured that someone will tell you—clearly–where you are.
When your apartment looks dowdy, do you change the entire space, or make small fixes? (Assuming you’re on a budget like the rest of us, that is.)
If you said “small fixes,” then bingo! You’re taking the same approach as New York City Transit with the subway stations.
Instead of overhauling each New York subway station whole hog; “station renewal” is now the name of the game.
What’s the difference? Instead of completing revamping a station, smaller changes will be made: individual items that need to be upgraded or fixed will be taken care of (stairs, lighting, signage), while everything else will be left alone. (Um, shouldn’t they have been doing that already??)
Work is slated to begin in the first targeted stations next year.
It costs approximately $60 million to completely renovate one station, as opposed to $15 million for a partial fix. The budget that has been allocated for this program should allow 130 subway stations to be spruced up, in addition to overhauling 25 others. (For the same price, about 14 stations could be completely overhauled.)
In the 1980s, the MTA had the lofty goal of completely revamping all 468 stations in 35 years. Thirty years have passed–and not quite half of them have been done.
One teensy weensy problem exists, however: The plan hasn’t been approved by state leaders yet—because—wait for it–no one seems to know just where the money is actually coming from.
Forget that unwieldy, old-fashioned street map–a new phone app can help you find the nearest New York City subway station just by glancing around you.
Wayfinder NYC gives walking directions to subway and PATH stations that are calculated by GPS. The directions are superimposed over the phone’s camera.
The program won big last night (Thursday, Feb. 4) for having the best new use of city data online.
Wayfinder, which works on Android mobile phones, was designed in response to the city’s “NYC BigApps” competition, which gave programmers 170 sets of city data and the mandate to find new ways to use them online. Data provided included everything from restaurant inspection results to taxi info to library catalogues and traffic updates.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg presented the awards last night to Victor Sima and Steven Lao at the IAC building in Chelsea. More than 110 applications were submitted in this inaugural competition.
The point of the challenge? To give a nod to New York’s high-tech and media industries–and also to give New Yorkers much-needed improved services in certain areas. It was also designed to make New York City government more accessible to New Yorkers. The competition was part of Mayor Bloomberg’s initiative to make city government more transparent to the public.
Mayor Bloomberg, of course, made his sizeable fortune in information technology himself, so although the designers won about $7500 in prizes, who knows what’s next?
Of all the urban legends about New York, one of the greatest and most prevalent has to be what prowls under the city streets. Well, now is your chance to find out, sort of. The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel tours are running this weekend, as well as on Saturday, January 30, and many folk will get the chance to hop on board. Or, rather, to descend under the yawning bowels of the city and see what lurks beneath.
The tours are part of openhousenewyork, an organization that take visitors behind the scenes to see some of the inner working of the design and architecture of the city. In October, for instance, free tours that showcase some of New York’s startling design innovations are offered. (ohny.org for information).
This time around, the organization, along with the Brooklyn Historical Railway Association, offers a guided tour of the world’s oldest subway system. It was constructed, amazingly, using only basic hand tools—in just seven months. Bob Diamond, who rediscovered the tunnels in 1980, leads the tours. He will set off twice each day though the half-mile space. (Tours fill up very quickly.) It works sort of like a secret society–meeting times and so forth are given to you after you’ve purchased your tickets; go to the website for info.
All sorts of caveats exist, apart from the obvious (no high heels, duh.)
The tunnel entrance is a manhole cover in the middle of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. (How Secret Agent!)
Even if you don’t go, isn’t it kind of cool to know that such a thing exists?