Glass platforms may calm sweaty New York subway riders

New York City's latest subway line may include sliding glass doors set into glass barriers at the platform's edge. At least, officials are thinking about it.

When completed in 2013, the Second Avenue subway will be the city's first new line since the mid-1930s, when transportation despot Robert Moses diverted all new transportation funds into roads and bridges, effectively cutting off development of the subway system. Tunnels for the new line were dug in the 1970s only to be halted by the fiscal crisis. The project finally resumed with much fanfare just this week. Now folks at the Metropolitan Transit Authority are thinking big.

The glass wall would make platforms safer in a system where rush-hour commuters often stand within inches of rocketing trains. It would also prevent suicides and litter-fueled track fires. Best of all, walling off the baking platforms would allow them to be air conditioned using a new kind of water-cooled system, preventing summer heatstrokes and the fouling of fine silk shirts.

More after the jump below.

How likely is it to happen? A former president of NYC Transit was down on the idea, but he's gone now, and his successors are open to new ideas if they can find the money. Glass-walled airport shuttles already operate at airports all over the world including New York's own JFK. They're also used in Hong Kong's system, pictured above.

Really, why should rail-travel innovation be left entirely to the French?

ABC Eyewitness News — New York and Gothamist