Survey Finds Subway Platforms Are Graffiti-Covered, Rat-Infested Messes

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Today in "Thank you, Captain Obvious," a transit advocacy group has found that many subway platforms are unsightly, unsanitary, rat-infested blights. You don't say!

The Straphangers Campaign released the results of its first ever "State of the Station Platforms" survey today, and the news is (mostly) ugly.

In one bright spot, the Straphangers Campaign found that all of the 250 randomly-selected station platforms they checked had trash cans, which appeared to be emptied regularly so they weren't overflowing.

But! SC workers also observed rats, staircases in disrepair, substantial graffiti at 1/5 of all platforms, and:

  • broken lighting fixtures at 50% of underground platforms surveyed
  • substantial water damage at 53% of underground platforms
  • substantial peeling paint at 79% of underground platforms

Well, an ugly platform is one thing, but an unsafe one is entirely another. The Straphangers Campaign also found:

  • exposed wiring at 28% of all the platforms surveyed
  • substantial floor cracks at 33% of all the platforms surveyed

MTA currently has its hands full dealing with union negotiations, bad publicity, and simply making sure people can get to work on time -- so maybe platform blight is the least of its worries. However, a city of New York's caliber should be able to have a clean transit system as well as one that works. MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota has said in the past that he would like to make beautifying subway stations a higher priority. When asked about the survey results, MTA spokesman Charles Seaton told DNAinfo, "Improving the appearance and cleanliness of the system's 468 stations is among our top priorities," and pointed to the new FASTRACK maintenance program as evidence of MTA's commitment to the issue.

[keyana.stevens@keyanastevens]

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Safety is one thing, but appearance? Spend the money on adding more train routes, and construction to make trains work consistently well. Not on getting rid of rats and graffiti. I can deal with a rat if it means my train comes sooner.

Also, sorry if this is dumb sentimentalism, but isn't it abstract trash collages on the tracks (and the rats picking at them) that makes the New York subway system kind of what it is? What are we turning into? Boston?

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