If you can’t beat them, give up and lock everyone else out.
We have all seen/felt the horrors of subway congestion. That time around 5 or 6pm, when it seems like everyone in the world wants to go exactly where you’re going, and every crevice at said station is packed beyond despair. And that moment when a subway door opens and throngs of people, moving in one single step, push in and out of the train. Yeah, that time.
Well, last October, MTA officials raised an interesting proposal at a CB5 meeting: when the events listed in the above paragraph happen, why don’t we just shut the stations? This was a measure taken at Penn Station this past Thanksgiving Eve – the Midtown hub was literally walled off because overcapacity became a reality.
Except the agency’s eyes are more focused on Grand Central (no mention of Union Square? Really?) and its consistently clogged rush hour commute. Although there is “zero risk” that a station will be closed tomorrow, the only solution to avoid closure is to widen the access points (stairways, corridors, etc.) for straphangers. And, even if that’s started now, the project wouldn’t be finished until 2030.
Prepare to travel lightly.