What to Know
The Regional Plan Association revealed that busy subway platforms reached an excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit
According to RPA, on Aug. 9, the organization sent out staff and interns to measure the temperature at the top 10 busiest subway stations
The RPA issued a report to address the different ways the MTA can use new technology to cool subways
It goes without saying that many straphangers feel a distinctive mugginess when they descend into subway stations, but a recent study by a local think tank reveals how hot subway platforms actually are.
And how hot are they? Hotter than it is outside on most summer days.
The Regional Plan Association revealed that busy subway platforms clocked in at more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
According to RPA, on Aug. 9, the organization sent out staff and interns to measure the temperature at the top 10 busiest subway stations.
That day, the temperature above ground was 86 degrees. However, the team recorded a temperature of 104 degrees — the highest they recorded — at the 14 Street-Union Square 4/5/6 downtown platform at 1 p.m.
The second hottest subway station platform was the 59 St-Columbus Circle 1 Uptown platform, which came in at 101 degrees at 10:55 a.m.
The subway station with the third highest temperature reading was the 34 St- Herald Square R/W Platform, which came in shy of three digits with 99 degrees at 9:10 a.m.
Of the 10 busiest stations, the one with the “coolest” platform was 34 St-Penn Station’s A/C/E platform. This location had a temperature of 86 degrees, according to the study.
The think tank points out that not only is the level of heat a nuisance for travelers, but also poses a health risk for both riders and those who work in the subways, noting that the NYC Health Department says “a heat index above 95°F is especially dangerous for older adults and other vulnerable individuals.”
According to the RPA report “Save Our Subways: A Plan to Transform New York City’s Rapid Transit System,” during warm months, temperatures in underground stations across the system can routinely exceed 80 degrees and during heat waves rise much higher. RPA says that on a 96-degree day in July 2015, temperatures reached as high as 107 degrees at the Brooklyn Bridge — City Hall 4/5/6 platform, while the E train platform at the World Trade Center station reached 101 degrees.
The RPA-issued report also addresses the different ways the MTA can use new technology to cool subways.
Suggestions found in the report “Save Our Subways: A Plan to Transform New York City’s Rapid Transit System” include regenerative braking and Communications-based train control (CBTC) to reduce the heat generated by trains — which the MTA is already in the process of installing.
The organization suggests in its report improving ventilation plants and designing future subway lines to generate less heat and be more energy efficient.
In a statement to NBC 4 New York, Shams Tarek, spokesperson for the MTA, said: “Climate control didn’t exist when the subway system was built more than a century ago, and the air conditioning units on trains discharge a lot of heat into tunnels and stations. We’re working hard to reduce delays so we can get our customers off the platforms and on their way in an air conditioned car.”