Most people who use the New York City subway on a daily basis probably don't need a study to confirm the fact that many of the MTA's 467 stations are in bad shape. But thanks to the Citizens Budget Commission, such a study now exists, and the news is even worse than we'd have guessed: In the report, titled "Sisyphus and Subway Stations" (uh oh), the CBC puts the MTA on blast for failing to get many of the system's crumbling subway stations into a "state of good repair" (SGR), going so far as to say that, "At this pace of progress SGR for all station components would not be achieved until 2067"—i.e., 52 years from now. Yikes.
In the CBC's report, the organization outlines three ways the MTA could improve the number of stations that are in SGR thusly:
A revamped strategy should contain three critical actions: (1) reallocate funds from system expansions to SGR work; (2) improve the management of projects so that more can be achieved with available funds; and (3) develop new public-private partnerships to make available private capital investment in the stations and lower rehabilitation costs. So, basically: stop focusing on big expansion plans (e.g. the Second Avenue Subway or Penn Station Access) at the expense of SGR work; implement better project-management strategies; and look into public or private financing for subway stations, using things like parks conservancies as the model.
The CBC also looked at the stations that are currently in the worst shape, and of the top ten, a whopping six are in Queens. Another set of data drills down further, showing the stations in the direst need of repairs in each borough; unsurprisingly, busy stations like Times Sq-42nd St and Borough Hall (in Brooklyn) made the list, as did older stations in the further-out reaches of the Bronx and Manhattan. And according to the organization, the prospect of having all the stations reach SGR at any point is "dismal," and the MTA's current strategy of fixing issues by component, rather by station, means the transit authority "will still never be able to bring all stations to a SGR."
The report concludes: "Instead of continuing to imitate Sisyphus, the agency's leaders should set new goals and adopt new practices." Burn.
· Sisyphus and Subway Stations [CBC]
· Top Ten Subway Stations With Highest Share of Structural Components Not In State of Good Repair By Borough [CBC]
· New Yorkers Only Need to Wait a Half-Century for Subway Stations to Be in Great Shape [NY Mag]