Redbird reefs of the coast of Delaware
August 30, 2001 3:36 AM   Subscribe

Redbird reefs of the coast of Delaware (NYTimes). When I came back from vacation, I was surprised to find that using old NYC subway cars as artificial reefs was being put into action (with a great pic of the cars being pushed off barges). NYC gets creative in getting rid of its trash, but this is the most creative way I've heard of yet.
posted by meep (3 comments total)
At first this little smidge in the article concerned me: "Even after the reef idea was broached, finding a nice stretch of ocean floor for the cars was not easy. In April, New Jersey officials rejected the idea for their waters, citing uncertainty about how quickly the cars would deteriorate under the water and possibly allow the asbestos to contaminate sea life."

However, knowing that the EPA gave its stamp of approval that the asbestos and rust will not affect marine life (but how do they know really???), makes me support this idea at least in theory alone. In Cleveland, they did a similar thing with the old municipal stadium; hauling massive chunks of the walls and seats out to sites in Lake Erie, they constructed new reefs and shored up two reefs destroyed by passing ships. Local residents accepted the new reefs well and in some places you cannot even tell (beyond the glimmer of the occasional orange letter) that it was a stadium wall once.

While I am not sure you could necessarily call this "getting rid of trash" as trash generally connotes all sorts of bad rubbish (pun intended please), I certainly support any ideas, creative or not, that contribute to maintaining the environment as opposed to clogging up yet another local landfill.

Hey, what can I say? I even recycle! :P
posted by gloege at 6:03 AM on August 30, 2001

Asbestos in place is often stable and safe, especially after mitigation. It's only when it's airborne that it's dangerous, and then mainly because of repeated exposure, which is why we no longer want it in buildings. People tend to spend a lot of time in the same building, whether they live or work or school there.

Some railfans were pretty upset about this, asking e.g. why they couldn't just "give them away" to railway museums around the country. Alas, the NYCTA had already determined that would be prohibitively expensive. They would let you have one, if you would pay the $18000 haulage fee. (Some are being saved, but only a very few.)

I remember riding these mainly on the Grand Central crosstown shuttle. When I visited New York some years later I was a bit surprised to find they'd been replaced by newer, longer cars -- partly because the west terminal at Broadway has a curved platform and the new ones just barely fit, leaving gaps you had to practically leap across. The Redbirds were shorter, and hadn't had this problem.
posted by dhartung at 7:02 AM on August 30, 2001

Like this is unusual? British and US Navy have been doing this for years. Besides, sinking the cars for artificial reefs is probably cheaper than hauling them off for scrapping (given asbestos removal, haulage, etc.)
posted by PeteyStock at 10:23 AM on August 30, 2001

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