SUBWAY

Nova Iorque vem cada vez mais sendo associada a urbanidade e desenvolvimento, com suas luzes intensas e calçadas movimentadas. Em todas as estações do ano é inundada por visitantes ansiosos por passear na Quinta Avenida e reviver cenas históricas de Sex and the City, Gossip Girl ou identificar qual prédio se congelou no Dia Depois de Amanhã. Deixando de lado, neste post, todas as maravilhas já de conhecimento público, o metrô da Big Apple é provavelmente o aspecto menos glamouroso que um viajante encontrará na cidade.

O New York City Subway teve sua primeira estação inaugurada em 1904 sendo um dos sistemas de transporte público mais antigos do mundo e marcante no desenvolvimento urbano da cidade. Qualquer morador dos 5 distritos de Nova Iorque – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx e Staten Island – provavelmente utiliza a infraestrutura de transporte que é considerada a mais extensa dos Estados Unidos. O metrô é administrado pela MTA – Metropolitan Transportation Authority e apesar de ter passado por épocas de crise durante os anos 70 e 80 com o aumento da criminalidade, foi alvo de investimentos municipais e revitalizado. Esse processo foi acompanhado da alta dos preços da gasolina em 2007, o que consolidou o NYC Transit como o sétimo sistema ferroviário de trânsito mais movimentado do mundo (MTA, 2012).

Subway Map

Mapa ilustrando apenas uma parte das estações e linhas que conectam Manhattan ao Brooklyn. Fonte: MTA City Transit, 2012.

Toda essa infraestrutura não é vista por muitos turistas como um grande aspecto vencedor da cidade, já que suas surpreendentes 468 estações são em grande maioria sujas, escuras e apertadas (nycsubway.org). A maioria dos transeuntes ficarão no local apenas alguns dias e não se incomodam de pagar algo a mais por entrar em uns dos taxis amarelos (também parte da sessão reviver filmes famosos) e aguentar os motoristas mau humorados. A existência do transporte subterrâneo de Nova Iorque não justifica a primeira vista, nem a segunda, o apelo da City of Lights mas se analisado mais a fundo torna-se claro que essa presença é na realidade o grande carro chefe por trás do desenvolvimento.

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Estação Subterrânea na Union Square em NYC

Todo o movimento de pedestres que se evidencia nas calçadas e já entendido por muitos como o sustentáculo da segurança pública é amparado por um sistema de trânsito subterrâneo e não danoso aos seus arredores que funciona 24 horas por dia (!). Qualquer usuário tem o direito de comprar um passe mensal ilimitado por 120 dólares e a integração entre ônibus, trens e metrôs é plena. Se consideradas as duas viagens diárias aqui em Fortaleza (56 or mês) ao preço de 1,90R$ já se tem o valor de 106,40R$ – para se usufruir de uma infraestrutura ainda falha e que não atende amplamente a Região Metropolitana de Fortaleza.

Em muitas cidades no mundo e no Brasil o transporte público ainda é visto como um favor prestado a população. Há uma falha em perceber o quanto o sistema de mobilidade é responsável pelo enriquecimento da cidade, a valorização de imóveis e a aproximação de classes sociais. Não é raro se encontrar anúncios em Nova Iorque divulgando um apartamento “a uma parada de manhattan” ou “a 5 minutos da linha L”. O metrô se tornou o pilar de todo o desenvolvimento da vida urbana e não só é louvado mas visto como um bom negócio! Ainda que suas estações sejam sujas e velhas, o fato de a cobertura da linha férrea atender 373Km de linha e 5.5milhões de corridas durante a semana supera a pouca manutenção estética. (Wikipedia)

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Apartamentos de Luxo sendo vendidos ao lado da estação do Queens localizados a apenas uma estação de Manhattan

De tudo aquilo que mais sinto falta na minha estadia em Nova Iorque, o metrô certamente é o que me fica na memória. Entrar e sair em qualquer lugar da cidade com tamanha facilidade sem engarrafamentos ou stress é infelizmente um privilégio que poucos brasileiros tem em suas cidades.

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MTA. “NYC Facts and Figures”. Acessado em: 04/2014
In: http://web.mta.info/nyct/facts/ffsubway.htm

Nycsubway.org .”Subway FAQs: facts and figures”. Acessado em 04/2014. In: http://www.nycsubway.org/wiki/Subway_FAQ:_Facts_and_Figures

The New York Times. “Gas Prices Send Surge of Riders to Mass Transit.” 2008.IN: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/10/business/10transit.html?_r=0

Wikipedia. NYC Subway. Acessado em 04/2014.
In: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City_Subway

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New York has increasingly been associated with urbanity and development, with its bright lights and bustling sidewalks. Year round it becomes flooded by visitors eager to walk on Fifth Avenue and reviv historical scenes from Sex and the City , Gossip Girl or identify which building froze in The Day After Tomorrow . Leaving aside, in this post, all its wonders already publicly known, the subway of the Big Apple is probably the least glamorous aspect that a traveler will find in the city .

The New York City Subway had opened its first station in 1904 being one of the oldest public transportation system in the world and determining of the city’s urban development . Any resident of the 5 boroughs of New York – Manhattan , Brooklyn , Queens , Bronx and Staten Island – probably uses the transportation mode which is considered the most extensive of the United States. The metro is administered by the MTA – Metropolitan Transportation Authority ,and despite having gone through periods of crisis during the ’70s and ’80s with the rise in crime , it was the target of municipal investments and revitalized . This process was accompanied by high gasoline prices in 2007 , which consolidated the NYC Transit system as the seventh busiest  rail transit in the world( MTA , 2012) .

(see image 1: partial map of the stations that connect Manhattan and Brooklyn)

All this infrastructure is not seen by many tourists as a great aspect of the city, since its amazing 468 stations are mostly quite dirty, dark and tight (nycsubway.org). Most visitors will be in the place for only a few days and do not mind paying some more to get into some of the yellow taxis (also part of the “reviving famous films session”) and stand the grumpy drivers. The existence of the New York underground transport does not justify at first, nor at second sight, the appeal of the City of Lights but if examined closer it becomes clear that this presence is in fact the great flagship behind all the development.

(see image 2: dirty subway station at Union Square)

All the pedestrian activity evident on the sidewalks- and already understood by many to be imperative for public safety- is supported by a system of underground transit which is not harmful to its surroundings and operates 24 hours a day ( ! ) . Any user has the right to buy an unlimited monthly pass for $ 120 and the integration between buses, trains and subways is full. If we consider the two daily bus trips here in Fortaleza ( or 56 month) at a price of R$1.90 already has the value of R$106.40 – to make use an incomplete infrastructure that still does not widely serve the Metropolitan Region of Fortaleza.

In many cities of the world and of Brazil, public transportation is still seen by many as some kind of favor that is given to the population . There is failure to see how the mobility system is responsible for the city’s wealth, the valuation of real estate properties and the approximation of different social classes . It is not rare to find listings in New York selling an apartment as ” one stop away from manhattan ” or ” 5 minutes walking to the L train” . The subway became the pillar of the whole development of urban life and is not only praised but seen as a good deal! Although its stations are dirty and old , the fact that the coverage of the railway line extends to 373Km and serves 5.5 million rides weekly, overcomes the minimal maintenance of the overall aesthetics. ( Wikipedia )

(See Image 3: luxury condos being sold near a station in Queens only one stop away from Manhattan)

Of all that I miss most from my stay in New York, the subway is certainly what remains in my memory. The ability to come and go anywhere in a city with such ease without traffic jams or stress is unfortunately a privilege that few Brazilians have in their cities.

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2 comments

  1. Pois eh mesmo, acho que a questão da mobilidade urbana não perde pra criminalidade nos fatores que tornam o “morar” no Brasil algo tao estressante. Cheguei hoje de NY Lara, fui pegar o ônibus pra faculdade 30 min esperando na parada e mais 30 min pra chegar, numa avenida de 4 faixas não tem nenhuma exclusiva para ônibus, eh triste.

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  2. I agree that the NYC subway system is the best one (as much as I know)
    . As a comparison, I think that it is safer than the metro in Paris. The subway in paris is filled with narrow corridors that bring to different tracks, the long narrow path end with corners that are very scary because you can not see who is behind. Not to mention that the subway stops running in the middle of the night and all the vulnerable, broke and drunk teenagers come out of bars they end up having to stumble back home: easy prays for criminals. You might reduce crime in the subway but what you are really doing is push it somewhere else.
    As a comparison to the Underground in London, the subway there is much less accessible, the tracks are much deeper (or higher) and force you to take several stair cases before you reach them. The train cars are also much smaller. I can hardly imagine an elder person using the subway in London.
    The NYC subway might have some flaws (dirty, bad service sometimes) but it has a huge amount of tracks and connects most of the boroughs from underground (after a few connections). This enormous amount of tracks and a constantly running service makes it very hard to maintain the stations. You can only put so much rotencide and you can only repair patches of a station at a time to not close a station. We saw what happened during Sandy, when they had to stop the system for several days. It became very hard for people to reach home. Shops in Manhattan had to close early so that the workers could get home before the system stopped. Even though there are buses in NYC, no one uses it anymore. Buses are the exact same thing as subways, except that they are unreliable, slow, and small. People try to live close to subway lines that will bring them fast to their office. Those people end up going out to places that are also on that line. These past months were freezing in NYC and the only efficient way was to use the subway and to go to bars and restaurants around subway exits. Cabs and buses were very annoying to use because you had to wait outside, if you could ever have one since most of them were stuck on ice patches.
    Buses are an old generation of mass transport, developing countries need automated or semi automated transport, this is the only way to control a crowded city. A reliable, fast and safe transit system gives you people that are on time at work, can spend more hours at the office and arrive relaxed. How can a company run if its employees have to spend 2 hours in traffic, nervous to tell their boss that they missed their meeting because there was traffic jam and could not inform someone on time because they are scared of using their phone outside of their home.
    Even if you compare the NYC subway between the 5 boroughs you can already see differences. The tracks in queens run above ground on old bridges which create shadowed, scary and noisy streets. It is therefore already less likable to live around a subway station outside of manhattan. If the tracks would run underground, similar to Manhattan then Queens would not be “one stop” away from Manhattan but “one stop” away from an attraction in Manhattan and land in Queens would become as valuable as on the island.
    The MTA is constantly trying to be innovative and out perform its expectations. They have run several programs to try and have a cleaner and more reliable subway. They are trying to remove garbage cans in stations, in the hope to reduce trash and not attract rottens anymore, they currently have several pilot stations. The creation of subway tracking apps, free wireless, and cellphone coverage in stations has made this transit system more predictable and people are less nervous getting underground since they are still connected and can do work on their smartphone.
    To me, one of the best system, is The Path, that runs from NJ to NY. It is a small system but it connects major strategic places. The path has very strict rules (no food or drinks/bikes are allowed at certain times…) this has helped keep a safe and clean system. Path’s rottens are small mice, but NYC subway’s rottens are mutant rats!

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