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Mr. Linsky
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Joined: 16 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 2:54 am    Post subject: 'MTA's GREEN ESCALATORS' Reply with quote

As seen in today's New York Times

M.T.A. Rolls Out Escalators With Conservation Features

Published: August 5, 2008

The 169 escalators throughout New York City’s subway system are not known for running smoothly — each averaged 68 breakdowns or repair calls last year — and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority now says it has a partial solution.

Starting on Monday, 35 recently installed escalators at four stations will begin operating at variable speeds as part of a pilot program. The escalators, which use infrared motion sensors, will slow to just 15 feet per minute when no one is on them, compared with the normal full speed of 100 feet per minute. The escalators will gradually accelerate to the full speed, over a few seconds, once a rider steps on.

“Like humans, machines benefit from a little rest from time to time, and the escalators that provide service to subway customers are no exception,” said Paul J. Fleuranges, a spokesman for New York City Transit, the arm of the authority that runs the subways and buses.

By replacing old escalators with new ones that use a variable-frequency drive and numerous sensors, positioned near the escalators, officials hope to save on energy costs, and, just as important, reduce the wear and tear on the many mechanical parts in the heavily used machines.

“It’s not an idea we invented,” Thomas Kenny, principal mechanical engineer in the department of capital program management at New York City Transit, said in a phone interview. “We call it sleep mode. Others call it intermittent operation. It’s been used widely across the world, particularly in Europe and Asia.”

Airports in Canada, Germany and Israel also use variable-speed escalators, officials said.

But such escalators are rarely used in the United States, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, which sets code standards for escalators, has not approved the devices yet. So New York City Transit sought and obtained permission from the code enforcement division at the New York State Departmenton Authority install the new escalators, and also subjected the escalators to rigorous tests in its internal system safety division, Mr. Kenny said.

The 35 escalators that are part of the experiment include 12 escalators at the 34th Street-Herald Square station on the B, D, F, V, N, R, Q and W lines in Manhattan; 8 escalators (4 of which have been installed) at the Roosevelt Island station on the F line; 5 escalators (2 of which have been installed) at the Jamaica-Van Wyck station on the E line in Queens; and 10 escalators (6 of which have been installed) at the Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer terminus on the E line in Queens.

By not running the escalators at a high constant speed, the authority estimates it will save at least $1,800 per escalator each year.

“These escalators are a very visible example of our commitment to contributing to a greener, more sustainable environment,” said Howard H. Roberts Jr., the president of New York City Transit. “While at rest, these green escalators consume less energy, and are therefore more cost-effective.”

The officials also hope that the reduced wear and tear could extend the useful life of certain escalator components by 11 to 33 percent.

To explain how the new escalators work, officials are placing posters and brochures at the four subway stations.

If the escalators work as intended, the variable-mode option will be used on more escalators at several more stations in the coming months, including the Bleecker Street station on the No. 6 line and the South Ferry terminus on the No. 1 line, both in Manhattan.

The subway system’s 169 escalators are never all replaced at once, and the life cycle of an escalator can be as long as 35 years, so it will be years before all the escalators in the system operate at variable speeds, officials said.

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, NY
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