Monday, December 22, 2008

New York's MTA: An Environmentally Sound Resource

New York City's MTA or Metro Transportation Authority works contentiously towards a cleaner environment. The MTA believes that anytime a person steps onto a bus or train, they are contributing towards a cleaner environment, and the Authority takes its role as a resource for environmentally sound methods seriously.

According to the MTA, its transportation resources keep 700,000 cars from driving in the city, especially in the area of New York City's central business district. They estimate that their public transportation system keeps 400 million pounds of soot, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons out of the city's air. The MTA's resources transport an estimated seven million people around the city's five boroughs each day, but they do more than that as the MTA is behind many interesting developments and programs that help in improving the environment.

During the nineties, NYC Transit initiated the installation of resources that would harness solar power. The Stillwell Avenue-Coney Island stop in Brooklyn was the first subway station that used solar energy resources; its photovoltaic panels utilize sunlight to produce electricity. The system in place there features a 60,000 square foot photovoltaic roof canopy for the train station which produces up to 250 kilowatts of green energy resources. There is also a 300 kilowatt solar panel system on the roof of the Gun Hill Road Bus Depot in the Bronx. It's one of the largest facilities of its kind on the East Coast. In Queens, the New Corona Car Washer and Maintenance Factory uses a 100 kilowatt rooftop system in place to sustain some of its electricity. Finally, there is a 65 kilowatt system in place at Roosevelt Avenue-74th Street Station in Queens. The station has two different systems in place; a panel system on the rooftop, and a mount of thin-film solar panels attached to the elevated subway platform.

The MTA practices water conservation as far as subway car and bus washing are concerned. NYC Transit runs the Grand Avenue Bus Depot and Maintenance Facility, which has a water reclamation system. This system features a resource that stores 200,000 gallons of rainwater collected from the building's roof. This water is then used to wash the buses. Eighty percent of the wash water is recycled for non-potable uses. The Corona Car Washer has a similar system that collects rainwater, and drains it into a 40,000 gallon underground tank where it is used for washing subway cars.

Among the MTA's many environmental projects is its artificial reef project. Obsolete subway cars are strategically placed into the ocean in order to create habitats for marine creatures. These cars have been provided by NYC Transit to states like New Jersey, Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, and Delaware. More than 1,500 of New York's retired subway cars have been donated for this project. The cars are stripped of any parts that could float or that decompose, and then are steam cleaned. The cars are then loaded onto freighters, and in this way they arrive at their new underwater final destinations.

James Farkenfur writes for homeowners. Additional information available at:

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