Wednesday, January 26, 2005

MTA: "Okay, so we're only semi-fucked. Yay."

Previously on the subway fiasco: Perfect Storm of Suckasstitude

MTA says A and C lines will be back up and running in months, not years. Is it just me or did the MTA just give a "Holy fucking shit, we're doomed! Doomed!" initial estimate so any revised estimate would sound like great news?

The article is a good read though. It talks about how, because the MTA's signal system "remains a 19th-century technology operating in a 21st-century environment", even when the subway isn't totally fucked, it's still somewhat fucked. [click here for excerpts]

The agency estimates that it has made more than $40 billion worth of capital improvements since 1982, when the system began to reverse a decades-long decline. Many New Yorkers remember graffiti-scarred subway cars, decrepit stations, brittle track and frequent derailments that were emblematic of the subways at their nadir.

Most of the capital spending on the signaling system has gone toward equipment replacements rather than upgrades. Immediate safety needs like faulty tracks, and higher-profile projects like station rehabilitation took priority.

"Everything had been underinvested in, literally everything: the stations, the platforms, the track, the signals, the right-of-way and the tunnels and bridge structure, the rolling stock," Mr. Plavin recalled.

Reassuring right? Wait, there's more.
The computerization of the L line's signals will be only the start of a process that is expected to take decades.

"I can't resignal the system in a few years," Nabil N. Ghaly, the transit agency's chief signal engineer, said in an interview last year. "It's going to take a lifetime." David L. Gunn, who was the president of New York City Transit from 1984 to 1990, said that few advancements were made in signaling over the years compared with other areas.

"We were basically trying to bring all the systems to a state of good repair as quickly as possible," said Mr. Gunn, now the president of Amtrak. "But there was no great leap forward on signals. We weren't trying to revolutionize the system. We were trying to get reliability and modern equipment so we could get replacement parts easily."
Fantastic. Yet Gov Pataki continues to shaft us.

And as I said before, one good thing to come out of this is the extended V-train. It helps me because I have an extra train I can take to East Broadway when I come home from work, but it also relieves congestion along the 6th Ave line since all the Lower East Side and Brooklyn riders aren't packing the F-train while empty V-trains pass.

Maybe in the future, they can permanently extend the V. I wonder if they can use the unused platforms at Hoyt-Schermerhorn, fix up the destroyed lower level at Bergen, or share Smith-9th with the G. It would do a lot of good for F-train, which always seems to be packed.

<< Home