Paul L. Caron

Monday, January 15, 2018

NY Times: An Einstein For The Subway? A Lawyer — 'B' Student At BU Law School — Suggests A ‘Genius’ Fix

GeniusNew York Times, An Einstein for the Subways? A Lawyer Suggests a ‘Genius’ Fix:

It has been about a month since Craig Avedisian was declared an almost-genius, a finalist in a “genius challenge” contest with a $1 million prize. Whatever else is going on in the right and left hemispheres of his brain, the designation has not sunk in yet, he said.

“Here’s a guy, a solo lawyer, who thought he had an idea, and I got this far,” he said. “It was David versus Goliath, and David got heard. That’s the essence of it.”

Mr. Avedisian, 54, is not one of those a disheveled-looking Nobel Prize types who has tramped around an Ivy League campus the way Albert Einstein or John F. Nash Jr., of “A Beautiful Mind,” did. He is tallish and looks trim in a dark suit, a crisp white shirt and a carefully knotted tie. A commercial litigator, he lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. ...

Other measures of exceptionalness? He said he did not know his I.Q. He said he had a B average in law school.

But then, he is only an almost-genius. For now. Maybe he will win the contest and become a full-fledged genius.

He reached his current status because of an idea he submitted when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced the “genius challenge” last summer, a few days after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the city’s failing subway system. By the agency’s count, Mr. Avedisian’s was one of 438 entries from 23 countries. ...

Mr. Avedisian ... said his idea could expand capacity on subway trains by 40 percent on average and by 65 percent on some trains. He called it “simple” and “user-friendly.” ...

The slowest part of a conversation with Mr. Avedisian is the tell-us-all-about-it part, because he will not discuss details of his idea for the subway while the contest is still going on.

The transit agency said he was a finalist in a category called “Rapidly Deploy Modernized Subway Cars to the Subway System.” (The other categories involve modernizing the antiquated signal system and improving the communications infrastructure.)

The transit authority said Mr. Avedisian had proposed “adding up to four cars to trains currently in operation to increase both train capacity and passenger comfort.” The agency said Mr. Avedisian’s longer trains would stop at every station, but not every car would open. “Some cars at the front and back of a train will not platform at every station,” the authority said, “but generally will platform at alternating stations.”

In plainer terms, using an existing 10-car train as an example, the first four cars would open at one station, leaving the last four beyond the platform with the doors closed. At the next station, the train would in effect overshoot the platform, allowing the last four cars to reach the platform and open while the first four stayed shut. Six cars in the middle would open on the platform at every stop.

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Thinking outside the platform!

Posted by: AMTbuff | Jan 15, 2018 9:17:03 AM

Genius. Next, defund Prog (1984) Ed in K-12, university and grad schools... replacing it with Western (1776) Enlightenment and its love of Common Sense Philosophy, Natural Law, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Property & Happiness.

Whichever nation doesn't want 1984, simply do this and it fixes all things in time.

Posted by: Robert Winkler Burke | Jan 15, 2018 12:03:03 PM

Actually, it would increase capacity by 66.7% - I guess B-average Law School Students, don't need elementary school math, to be considered an "almost genius."

Posted by: Robert Yoder | Jan 15, 2018 12:19:25 PM

Sorry, I'm an idiot - read it as 6 car train adding 4 for a 10 car train.

Posted by: Robert Yoder | Jan 15, 2018 12:23:28 PM

Speaking as a former NYC cab driver, as your journey begins, if you are not seated in a mid-train car, remember to accurately count the stops to your station for exiting before choosing a car in the front or the back of the train!

Posted by: Joseph W. Mooney | Jan 15, 2018 12:47:24 PM

First cut administrative staff by 50%. No one will notice. Audit the MTA. Improve the overall subway infrastructure. Privatize.

Posted by: Yehiel Handlarz | Jan 15, 2018 1:00:10 PM

Sounds like a good idea—if the scheme could be arranged such that people know what car to get in without a lot of mental gymnastics.

And of course the "failing subway system" has a different problem. That's greedy unions who refuse to let it be modernized, lest the jobs of repairing the current, worn-out system go away.

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Jan 15, 2018 1:03:13 PM

And if you happen to be in the wrong car for your intended station?

Posted by: John | Jan 15, 2018 2:15:02 PM

They should just double the number of trains. Where do I collect the prize?

Posted by: CountryClubRepublican | Jan 15, 2018 3:18:52 PM

It is very simple to program an app which tells you which cars will be opening at your destination station. Then you'll know where to board and whether you should move towards the opposite edge cars, cars that should feature more open seats but didn't open at your boarding station.

Posted by: TMLutas | Jan 15, 2018 3:21:46 PM

A NYC subway has normally 8 cars. Adding just 2 cars would add 25% capacity. Stations could be identified as front or rear exit. Passengers can move between cars between stops.

Posted by: John L Dooley | Jan 15, 2018 3:35:57 PM

This is just the classic A/B station arrangement, with each train composed of A cars in the front, AB cars in the middle, and B cars in the back instead of having separate trains.

Posted by: silverpie | Jan 15, 2018 4:20:37 PM

Why alternate. Front Cars are for the A Half of the run, rear cars are for B half of the run. If you are going to A, get in A or AB, if you are going to B, get in AB or B. All you need it know is which half your station is in.

Posted by: Mark Baker | Jan 15, 2018 9:08:57 PM

As to what cars stop at what station, simple color coding will make that work. Front color stations/cars and rear color stations/cars and keep to the assignment. Transit maps will be color coded. Simple and straightforward.

Posted by: William Meisheid | Jan 16, 2018 1:06:07 PM