New York City

$27B transformation of MTA to begin with 3 Brooklyn stations

Cuomo: 1,025 new subway cars, 31 rebuilt stations

July 18, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a $27 billion transformation of the New York City’s mass transit system Monday morning at the Transit Museum in Downtown Brooklyn. Shown from left: President of NYC Transit Veronique Hakim, MTA Chair and CEO Thomas Prendergast and Cuomo. Photo by Mary Frost
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a $27 billion transformation of New York City’s mass transit system Monday morning at the Transit Museum in Downtown Brooklyn.

“It’s the recreation of the MTA,” Cuomo told reporters and others at the press conference.

He was joined by MTA Chair and CEO Thomas Prendergast, President of NYC Transit Veronique Hakim, and elected officials, including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon. Mayor Bill de Blasio is out of town on a family trip to Italy.

Cuomo said the five-year-capital plan would rebuild 31 subway stations across the city and outfit the system with 1,025 new subway cars. The state is providing more than $8 billion towards the plan.

The MTA will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the first three stations located in Brooklyn later this week. These are the Prospect Avenue Station, 53rd Street Station and Bay Ridge Avenue Station. The stations will be closed during the work, which is expected to last no more than six months per station.

‘Not a patch job’

The station transformations will include enhanced lighting, improved signage, countdown clocks, improved cellular connectivity, Wi-Fi and contemporary art, Cuomo said. The design will include glass or mesh barriers instead of iron bars in some stations.

“It’s not a patch job,” Cuomo said. “We’ll be closing the stations, stripping them down and building whole new stations.”

The stations’ above-ground surroundings will have increased visibility as well, with new canopies, street-level service announcements and neighborhood maps.

Modern subway cars

Up to 750 of the new subway cars will feature an “open car end” design, which replaces the door between cars with an accordion-like connector, much like the articulated buses now in service on some routes.  Cuomo said these will allow for greater passenger flow movement and increased capacity. These cars are already in use in London, Paris and Toronto.

The new cars will have wider doors, flip seats, and new amenities including WiFi, USB chargers and digital customer information displays. They will also include digital ads and security cameras.

“It’s a different world,” Cuomo said. “There will be security cameras on the cars and in the stations, yes.”

Later this week, the MTA will issue an RFP for the construction of the 1,025 new cars. The timeline of design and production, as well as cost-effectiveness, will be central factors in awarding the contract, according to the MTA.

Jobs to be contracted out

The 31 subway station transformations are going to be “design-build” projects, Cuomo said, which means they will be contracted to a private developer which will be responsible for the design and construction of an entire project.

Cuomo said that developers will receive incentives to complete the job quickly, and penalties if the job is late.

“These endless construction projects have to stop,” he said.

“The challenge now is to get it done,” he said. “The world is moving faster. Technology is moving faster. Government’s challenge is to move as fast as technology moves. The old rhythm of government — talking for six months, holding meetings — doesn’t work anymore.”

The MTA worked with Antenna Design and engineering consultant CH2M on the new subway car design. Grimshaw Architects and Arup spearheaded the station redesign.

Improved subway stations will feature new signage, countdown clocks and better cellular connectivity, among other improvements. The first three stations to be rebuilt are in Brooklyn. Rendering courtesy of the MTA

The new 1,025 subway cars, including 750 open-end cars, feature wider doors, new security features and Wi-Fi. Rendering courtesy of the MTA

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