The Mayor's Office and the MTA formed a task force to address the nuisances created by building the Second Avenue Subway.  For example, getting trucks in to pick up the 9 tons of garbage and recyclables produced every day on Second Avenue between 92nd to 97th Street.

What if we could use the open street and the subway tunnel as opportunities to take trucks off the road, garbage bags off the sidewalk, and rats out of the subway station?

ClosedLoops, 2012 (click to enlarge)

ClosedLoops, 2014 (click to enlarge)

ClosedLoops, 2014  (click to enlarge)

On behalf of CUNY's University Transportation Research Center, Region 2 (UTRC), we modeled a Second Avenue network that would collect refuse, metal/glass/plastic and paper streams from residents, businesses, and pedestrians via a tube strapped beneath the temporary deck covering construction of the 96th St Station.  Waste materials produced by subway riders would be collected in a parallel tube running through the subway tunnel. The proposed network would also serve the 1500-unit public housing complex and a community hospital just north of the Station, supporting recycling efforts and eliminating the need for compactor yards and garbage truck access.

Map of proposed network, ClosedLoops, 2014 based on NYCityMap

Map of proposed network, ClosedLoops, 2014 based on NYCityMap

As in the case of sewers, initial capital costs are relatively high compared to truck-only collection, but lower operating costs provide long-term financial benefits.  After the capital bonds for the pneumatic facility are retired, since the costs of ongoing component replacement over an indefinite facility lifetime are included in operating expenses, there would be net annual savings.

ClosedLoops, 2013 (click to enlarge)

ClosedLoops, 2013 (click to enlarge)

ClosedLoops, 2013 (click to enlarge)

The UTRC study was funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) through a program that explores innovative techniques to reduce transportation-related fossil fuel use and greenhouse-gas emissions.


A Study of the Feasibility of Pneumatic Transport of Municipal Solid Waste and Recyclables in Manhattan Using Existing Transportation Infrastructure

Press Release

High Line / Chelsea Market Study