MTA Wants To Upgrade Communications At 44 Subway Stations

Lately the MTA has had one piece of negative publicity after another. However Pete Donohue of the New York Daily News has a positive piece about the MTA’s plan to upgrade communications in 44 subway stations. Here is his report:

Despite the dark clouds hanging over the MTA, there’s some good news for straphangers – including public address systems coming to dozens of subway stations that, incredibly, don’t have them.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s draft amendment to its current five-year capital program includes funds to upgrade communications in 44 subway stations, repair some of the worst station stairwells and platforms, and seal up the most flood-prone subway tunnels.

The new projects and benefits to riders were overshadowed last week by the announcement that the MTA is proposing to slash $2.7 billion worth of projects, including 19 complete station rehabilitations, because of budget shortfalls.

“Normally, in a situation where we’re having to take projects out of the five-year-capital program, we would not propose additional projects unless they were absolutely vital,” NYC Transit President Howard Roberts told the Daily News. “Flood mitigation, station public address systems and the stations’ component program all qualify.”

The capital program amendment, which needs to be approved by the MTA board and an Albany oversight panel, allocates $47 million to install public address systems in about half of the 87 stations that lack such basic communications systems.

The MTA has been blasted in the past for failing to give good information to riders during emergencies. NYC Transit spokesman Paul Fleuranges said the agency has not yet decided which of the 87 stations will be wired first, and which will be tackled during the capital program that starts in 2010.

After the August 2007 flood that crippled most of the subway system, transit managers identified the most flood-prone locations. The capital plan amendment allocates $90 million for projects that include altering sidewalk vents and stairways to prevent water from cascading into the system below.

Nearly 30 trouble spots are being targeted, including the Borough Hall area and Eastern Parkway, and the hubs at Hoyt-Schemerhorn, Fulton St., Pacific St., Union St. and Nevins St..

I am curious to see the list of stations that will receive the communication upgrades. Knowing the MTA like I do, most of the stations will be in Manhattan/stronger economic areas. I will even venture that none of the stations on the G Train will be receiving any of the upgrades.

As far as the flood spots being targeted, I must say I am a little shocked at the choices. I am not saying those locations don’t need work but I can think of some other spots which need it. I know the area in & around the Central Park North-110th Street station on the 2 Train & 3 Train have received work but flooding is still an issue there when it rains. I also feel they need to do major work along the whole Queens Boulevard corridor as when a storm hits, those lines are usually the first to fall into total chaos.

I wonder how straphangers feel about these projects being considered vital while others were the victim of recent cuts. I would feel offended if I was a regular user of one of the stations that had their scheduled rehabilitation cut. In the end lets hope the MTA Board & oversight panel in Albany approve the amendment.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Speaking Of Subway Floods…

Within the last hour, I just wrote an entry about an amendment that the MTA drafted which would include projects aimed at stopping floods in & around subway stations. One of my complaints was not seeing any mention of this work being done along th…

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