Douglas John Bowen | Railway Age

Mike MichaelsIn the city that never sleeps, rail transit developments nevertheless remain largely unnoticed, mostly because so much of it is underground. So the opening last November of lower Manhattan’s Fulton Center was critical progress on several levels, including a physical presence that, at least in part, was visible for New Yorkers to actually see at street level.

Fulton Center (seen above) also doubles almost as a talisman, a psychological lift and sign that New York, after pausing for nearly a half century, is once again addressing and growing its vital subway system—not anywhere near rivaling Beijing or other Chinese cities, and not expanding with the robust visibility of cross-continental rival Los Angeles, but growing all the same, and with growing ridership as well, on some days now exceeding 6 million subway passengers.

The impetus for such rail progress is at least threefold: a civic-pride need for Manhattan to retain its “world-class” status in the 21st century; a civic yearning, bolstered by federal funding, to recover from the scars visited by 9/11; and a coldly analytical reaction to the looming threat of climate change and its potential impact on New York Harbor, highlighted by the very real damage visited upon the Northeast by SuperStorm Sandy in October 2012. Read more