Memo 2: 100 Years of MTA, Flooding and Platform Screen Doors

To: Samantha MacBride
From: Christopher Chang
Date: March 18th, 2013
Re: 100 Year Timeline – 100 Years of MTA, Flooding and Platform Screen Doors

1904 (October 27): New York City’s first official subway system opens. Operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit. It was a 9.1-mile long subway line that had 28 stations stretching from City Hall to 145th Street. (MTA 2013)

1938: A hurricane made direct impact with Providence, Rhode Island, submerging the downtown area under 12 feet of water. The Army Corp’s of Engineers projected that this could happen to New York City. (Britt 2005)

1955 (May 12): The Third Avenue El closes. It was the last elevated line in Manhattan. This is a cause of concern, especially after Sandy, because it means all subway lines in Manhattan are underground. (MTA 2013)

1955 (December 1): A track connection between Queens Boulevard line and 60th Street tunnel opens up. (MTA 2013)

1961: St. Petersburg, Russia opens station that has Platform STEEL Doors. Can be considered the beginning of a “revolution” of how platforms are created and managed. A total of 10 stations have these Platform Steel Doors. (Metrobits 2013)

1970: First phase of Seoul’s subway system was established. In order to take out water from tunnels, subway-pumping stations were formed. (Kim 2001)

1987: Singapore’s Subway system becomes the first to have Platform Screen Doors. (Metrobits 2013)

1994 (September 22): Construction begins on the connector between the Queens Boulevard line and the 63rd Street tunnel. (MTA 2013)

1999 (August 26): Quick and heavy rain fall, 2.5 – 4.0 inches over two hours, caused flooding in the subways of New York City. The MTA’s drainage system can handle 1.5 inches of rain per hour. (Chan 2007)

2000: Second phase of Seoul’s subway system is completed. Like the first phase, subway-pumping stations were utilized. (Kim 2001)

2001: The Houston Medical Center installs submarine type doors to prevent flooding. Earlier in the year, Tropical storm Allison had ravaged Houston leaving this hospital without power and flooded medical center streets with up to 9 feet of water. (Geller 2012)

2003 (November 3): The “redbird” subway cars are discontinued. Significant because there is no standard distance between train and platform edge where the doors would have to be installed. (MTA 2013)

2003 (December 17): The JFK AirTrain service begins. Significant because the JFK AirTrain stations all have a form of PSD’s. This may be because it is all elevated above ground. (MTA 2013)

2004 (September 8): Hurricane Francis accumulated more than two inches of rain per hour in New York City. It was the second major time that a storm paralyzed the subway system. (Chan 2007)

2005 (October 20): The Yongdu Station of Seoul Subway Line 2 is the first station in South Korea to have Platform Screen Doors. (Railway-Technology 2013)

2006 (December): Port Authority Board approves the project to build steel floodgates in PATH tunnels beneath the Hudson River. They have budgeted $181 million. Not expected to be operational until 2014. (Donohue 2012)

2007 (September 27): Patent for Platform Screen Doors by Ross Bradley and Derek Tate. (Bradley 2007)

2007: Installation of Platform Screen Doors starts on the SMRT portion of the Seoul Metro. (Kim 2012)

2007: MTA talks about the possibility of Platform Screen Doors for the Second Avenue line that is currently being constructed. (Neuman 2007)

2007 (August): Mike, Lombardi, the head of subway operations at NYC Transit, stated ”NYC Transit pumps 13 million gallons of water out of the system a day – even when it’s not raining – because of groundwater in the system.” (Donohue 2007)

2007 (August 8): Another flood cripples the New York City Subway System. (Chan 2007)

2008 (June): Attempt at solution to flooding in Queens used. Workers would take blue tarp and put 6 cement filled buckets on top of them to hold them in place. (Montefinise 2008)

2008 (September): New elevated grates replace old ground grates in certain areas of Queens. Certain grates are sealed completely to prevent flooding. (Dunlap 2008)

2008 (October): MTA unveils a prototype that acts as a 3 in 1: Flood protection, bench and bike parking. It was put in TriBeCa. (Lee 2008)

2008 (December 22): New R160 Subway cars begin to replace 45-year-old trains. Significant because installation of Platform Screen Door’s may call for restructuring of trains to fit in tunnels going into stations. (MTA 2013)

2009: Installation of Platform Screen Doors is finished on the SMRT portion of the Seoul Metro System. Seoul has 3 subway lines: Seoul Metro, SMRT, and Metro 9. SMRT had all 148 stations of over 152 km installed with PSD’s. (Chung 2010)

2009 December: ALL Stations in Seoul have been fitted with Platform Screen Doors becoming the first subway system in the world having Automatic Platform Doors (Park 2009)

2010: MTA releases a Request for Information for a pilot program for a barrier on platforms. (Kabak 2012)

2011 (July 28): South Korea has to deal with immense flooding (20 inches of rain). It shut down its subway system to cope with the flooding. (Usher 2011)

2011 (August 27): Hurricane Irene comes through New York City. It forces the city to shut its subway system down. Luckily, there was no flooding. (Feis 2011)

2011 (November 11): Line 1 of Paris Metro unveils Platform Screen Doors. Line 1 is 111-year-old subway line. (Zara 2012)

2012 (March): A report comes out about particulate matters (PM) levels inside and outside the PSD’s in Seoul. There is a significant reduction in the mean concentration of both PM10 and PM2.5. PM10 decreased by 16% and PM2.5 decreased by 12%. (Kim 2012)

2012 (October 29): Super Storm Sandy cripples the nation’s largest subway system. It was one of the worst storms this city has seen. It takes days to recover the system and weeks to recover certain lines. (NY Times 2012)

2012 (October 30): Pumping begins at stations in Manhattan. Takes days to revive the system. Certain flaws are revealed about the subway system that may have been ignored before. (NY Times 2012)

2012 (November): MTA explores the possibility of using “tunnel plugs” when and if intense weather conditions arise. A team of engineers at West Virginia University have been developing this new technology for 5 years. (Donohue 2012)

2012 (December): There are multiple cases of people being pushed into tracks and killed. Begins to raise questions about the necessity of Platform Screen Doors in New York City. (Zara 2012)

2013 (January): NYC Storm Commission calls for “floodgates” at tunnels, subways and airports. (Gormley 2013)

2013 (January): MTA explores possibility of installing sliding doors in L Train stations. The L line has only one train, the L train. So, it is often used as a “test rat” for many different changes the MTA wants to make to its system. (Yakas 2013)

2013 (March): South Ferry station will be reopening due to intense flooding of the South-Ferry Whitehall Subway Station. It will take 2 years to repair the latter station. (Davies 2013)

2013 (March): states that Platform Screen Doors are not meant to prevent flooding. They have many other benefits to subway stations such as decreased track fires, less injuries and better air quality in stations. (Metrobits 2013)

2018: All stations in South Korea are expected to have operating Platform Screen Doors (Kim 2013)

Works Cited

Bradley, R., & Tate, D. (2007, September 28). Platform Screen Doors. Retrieved from

Britt, R. R. (2005, January 14). Subway Flooding: A Hidden and Neglected Risk. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

Chan, S. (2007, August 8). Why the Subways Flood. City Room. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

Chung, Hang Jae. (2013, March 18). SMRT’s Platform Screen Door & IT Technology. Retrieved from

Davies, A. (2013, March 11). It Will Take 2 Years To Repair A Subway Station Hurricane Sandy Destroyed. Yahoo! Finance. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

Donohue, P. (2007, August 9). It’s transit hell from heavens. NY Daily News. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

Donohue, P. (2012, November 26). MTA exploring using inflatable and expandable devices to seal subway tunnels and prevent type of flooding that crippled system during Sandy. NY Daily News. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

Dunlap, D. (2008, September 19). New Subway Grates Add Aesthetics to Flood Protection. City Room. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

Feis, A., Ford, S., & Fermino, J. (2011, August 27). Hurricane Irene halts NY, NJ mass transit. New York Post. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

Geller, A. (2012, November 27). New York City flood protection won’t be easy. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

Gormley, M. (2013, January 12). NY Storm Commission Urges Flood Walls for Subways. Retrieved from

Kabak, B. (2012, December 31). “A screen door on a submarine…” Second Ave. Sagas. Retrieved March 17, 2013, from

Kim, J. W. (2013, January 14). With a series of investments … National Railways screen door installation “slows down”. Korea Times. Retrieved from

Kim, K.-H., Ho, D. X., Jeon, J.-S., & Kim, J.-C. (2012). A noticeable shift in particulate matter levels after platform screen door installation in a Korean subway station. Atmospheric Environment, 49, 219–223. doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.11.058

Kim, Y.-Y., Lee, K.-K., & Sung, I. (2001). Urbanization and the groundwater budget, metropolitan Seoul area, Korea. Hydrogeology Journal, 9(4), 401–412. doi:10.1007/s100400100139

Lee, J. 8. (2008, October 1). Three in One — Flood Protection, Benches and Bike Parking. City Room. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

Metrobits. (2013, March 18). Platform Screen Doors – Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

Montefinise, A. (2008, June 29). GRATE! MTA’S LAME SUBWAY FLOOD FIGHT. New York Post. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

MTA. (2013, March 7). New York City Transit – History and Chronology. New York City Transit – History and Chronology. Retrieved from

Neuman, W. (2007, April 5). 2nd Ave. Subway Platforms May Get Glass Walls and Sliding Doors. The New York Times. Retrieved from

New York Times. (2012, October 29). Assessing Damage From Hurricane Sandy. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

Park, S. S. (2009, May 5). All Metro Stations in Seoul to Have Screen Doors This Year. The Korea Times. Retrieved from

Railway-Technology. (2013, March 17). Seoul Metropolitan Subway. Retrieved from

Usher, C. (2011, July 28). South Korea mobilizes to cope with flooding, landslides. Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved from

Yakas, B. (2013, January 13). MTA Exploring Installing Sliding Doors At L Train Stations. Gothamist. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from

Zara, C. (2012, December 6). After New York Post Subway Death Story, A Safety Question Remains: Why No Platform Barriers? International Business Times. Retrieved March 17, 2013, from

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