Subway Station Rehab: Taking it One Piece at a Time

New York City Transit is taking a new approach to renovating subway stations. Instead of doing a complete station rehabilitation, contractors will be doing "station renewal," replacing individual components in need of repair like lighting, stairs, or signage, while leaving other parts alone.

In the 1980s when they started to revamp stations the MTA aimed to do all 468 station in 35 years. It is now almost 30 years later and not quite half of the stations have been completed. It now costs almost $60 million to renovate a single subway station, but the new approach is expected to cost, on average, only $15 million.

Transit officials say they'll renew their first stations next year.

The "renewal" idea came about at the end of former MTA executive director Elliot Sander's tenure as a way to improve as many stations as possible with the least amount of money. The details of this plan were only presented, in detail, Monday.

The MTA has allocated about $650 million towards this new approach for the 2010-2014 capital program, drafted last summer. That should be enough to "renew" 25 stations and replace individual components at 130 more. Just for comparison's sake, it would cost almost as much money to do full top-to-bottom rehabs for just 14 stations. However, the capital plan has not been approved by state leaders yet, in part, because no one knows where the money will come from.