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New York City’s Subway Stations Need $5 Billion In Repairs

In addition to being hellishly hot, smelly, and full of rats, New York City’s subway stations have structural flaws–a whole lot of them, according to a new report.

Of the city’s 468 stations, only 51 were free of structural and architectural defects, reveals the report, released Thursday by New York State comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. The other 417 need fixing in one way or another: new paint jobs, new tiles, new stairs, new lighting, or new platform edges. This wouldn’t be a quick and easy fixer-upper: the report said that repairing these subway stations would cost more than $5 billion over two decades. The report is based on data from 2012, collected over the course of a yearlong survey conducted every five years by New York Transit.

The report highlights one of the most intractable problems with aging infrastructure: the more we ignore it, the more expensive it gets. And as designers have been arguing for years, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Last year, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the U.S. a D+ on its Infrastructure Report Card, compiled to depict the condition and performance of infrastructure across the country. According to the report card, the U.S. would need a $3.6 trillion investment to treat its infrastructure ills by 2020. In 2009, the ASCE gave the U.S. a D and recommended a $2.2 trillion investment over the next five years.

Flickr user Vishpool

[h/t the Wall Street Journal]

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