Mark Groce: I'm Mark Groce and you're listening to an “Improving, non-stop” podcast on TransitTrax, New York City Transit's podcast service.
Now that the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan is well under way, the MTA's contribution to the revitalization is to improve the commute to downtown Manhattan. One of the ways the MTA will do that is with a completely new transit center.
The Fulton St complex is downtown's largest transit hub serving over 275,000 customers a day with links to several regional rail systems like Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal, and others.
Uday Durg, Senior Vice President and Program Executive for Lower Manhattan Projects, MTA Capital Construction: The biggest challenge after September 11 was connectivity. People were not able to move back and forth. What this Fulton St does is...it's a complex, not a station. It's a complex that connects all these lines. It connects the E line, the R line, the 4 and 5, the J and Z, the A/C and the 2 and 3. It's a river to river connection. The people can walk from the west side to the east side without having to come on the street.
Mark Groce: However, with a complex made up of six different stations built by different private companies between 1905 and 1933, the old Fulton St hub suffered from overcrowded platforms and complicated transfers.
Uday Durg: There are a lot of deficiencies with this complex because there are 300,000 people who transfer, on a daily basis between the 4 and 5 and the A/C. And all the transfers take place at the northern most corner of the 4 and 5 station. So people get stuck on the first three cars. So everybody wants to get in on the first three cars and they hold the doors. And because they hold the doors the train sits in the station.
Mark Groce: The idea behind the new complex was to eliminate these issues.
Uday Durg: The way we did this is that, instead of loading the people in the front of the car, we bring the people to the center of the station. We opened the entire platform wall, so what happens when the people come in, they come in and move toward the station so they can load through all the cars in the station, rather than only the first three cars. This way now you can get on to the cars much faster, much quicker, and the train leaves the station properly loaded.
Mark Groce: The final piece to the new Transit Center was to make it fully ADA compliant so that all passengers can travel in and out of downtown Manhattan with ease.
Uday Durg: There were all these switch back ramps, up and down ramps that didn't allow the people to move effectively. So what we've done is we have removed all of those ramps...all the ramps are gone the entire mezzanine is ADA compliant. That means a person on a wheelchair can travel from the west side to the east side without having to get on the street. For a wheelchair person to go from river to river, is, I think, a great accomplishment for Transit.
Mark Groce: With new way-finding signs and a wide open complex that allows you to board your train easier, shops and restaurants that make your wait easier, your commute through the new Fulton Street Transit Center will be much improved, because the MTA is improving non-stop.
For TransitTrax I'm Mark Groce thanks for listening, and thanks for riding with New York City Transit.