The worlds most
comprehensive subway system, New York Citys 722 miles
of track and 468 stations, has made it through 100 years. Operating
24 hours a day, 365 days a year and carrying five million daily
riders, the transit net has survived largely due to rehabilitation
efforts of engineers.
Existing station renovation and improvements lie at heart
of capital program. (Photo courtesy of MTA New York City
Now, New York City Transit Authority
officials hope to build extensions that will define the idea
of subways for the next 100 yearsquieter, greener, safer,
more reliable and efficient. In the next five years, NYCTA
plans to spend $4 billion on new design and construction,
including $2.75 billion for the first segment of a new 8.5-mile
Second Avenue line traversing Manhattans east side.
At the same time, the current system
needs constant attention. Keeping it running for another 100
years is vital to New York Citys economic survival and
transit officials emphasize that it will be the priority recipient
of capital funding.
Both expansion and maintenance
hinge upon the $17-billion capital plan presented by the Metropolitan
Transportation Authority, the parent agency of NYCTA. It hopes
federal and state lawmakers will help fund the program, but
hikes to the $2 fare may be needed as well. "The last
capital program was paid for by the MTA," says Peter
Kalikow, MTA chairman. "This one needs the state to pay
for it. We dont think funding $17 billion is a luxuryits
MTAs 2005-2009 proposed program
includes $500 million for 20 out of 59 projects aimed at hardening
the system against acts of terrorism, $2 billion to extend
an existing subway line west from Times Square to the Jacob
K. Javits Convention Center near the Hudson River and $4 billion
to extend Long Island Rail Road commuter service to Grand
Central Terminal. MTA created a new division called the Capital
Construction Co. for these expansion projects, which account
for $4 billion of the program.
But the programs mainstay
is the core system of subways, buses and commuter rail. MTA
plans $12 billion to continue progress made in the previous
five-year cycle. Subway-wise, that includes upgrades to 59
stations, new communications technology, 50 miles of tunnel
lighting and overhaul of maintenance shops.
Almost 40% of core subway work
is focused on bringing about a "state of good repair,"
of aging facilities, ideally by 2025, says Cosema Crawford,
the transit authoritys chief engineer. But "we
really needed $16 billion" in this capital plan to achieve
that plus normal replacement and system improvements, she
adds. The goal is now 2028 or later.
The agency is nearing its goal
of making 100 of its stations compliant with the Americans
With Disabilities Act. Seventeen of 37 remaining stations
would undergo rehabilitation in the next five years as part
of the $2-billion allocation for station work. In the same
period, a maintenance shop would get a $200-million overhaul
and excavations, on average 30 ft deep, would begin for 76
fan plants. Also, 240 of 721 track miles of old signals and
cables must be upgraded. The cables and signals are so old
that when "we take them out of service, we send some
components to the Smithsonian Museum," says Crawford.
Technology that includes solar
panels and fuel cells, tested on various stations in the previous
capital plan, will be incorporated into agency design guidelines
and used "where it makes sense," says Crawford (ENR
4/12 p. 26). Subway contractors are expected to comply with
Construction for the Environment rules, including use of ultra
low-sulfer diesel equipment, recycling of demolition materials
and other measures.
Some $500 million would fund installation
of communications-based train control equipment on two lines,
following an ongoing pilot project that uses computers, lasers
and radio frequencies to track and control train speeds, locations
and proximity to other trains in real time. Crawford says
the technology will increase capacity up to 20% on each line.
That technology will be incorporated into the new Second
Avenue Subway line from the beginning. The $17-billion, 8.5-mile
line, if built, should embody the principals of a 21st-century
subway. The opportunity comes with lessons learned in green
design, circulation, acoustics and structural methods from
new subway construction...