Storm + Rush Hour = Transit Chaos

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Lee Sander, CEO and Executive Director of the MTA, talks about yesterday's transportation crisis.


Lee Sander

Comments [13]


Great to have these issues discussed! New Yorkers need to know what is going on with our sewer system that seems to work well when we flush our toilets (out-of-sight, out-of-mind).

It also great, that the nature of the discussion on how to redress CSO problems has changed to embrace additional methods. One not discussed during the show was Urban Wetlands Restoration. The Army Corp has done extensive research and initial design for just such work in, and along the Gowanus, in Brooklyn. (We have learned from New Orleans, that wetlands are a key element in adding a landscapes ability to deal with fluctuations in rain volume along with sea raises. But right now, our community eyes are closed to these very real means in addressing urban rainfall in our coastal city. Our waterfronts are viewed as just to valuable for development, even when those sites, like the inland Gowanus estuary, are plagued with rain water and sewage overflow problems that the city doesn't have a handle on how to address these problems.

I hope to here more on this topic with a focus on actual local problems (such as the how the construction of the Whole Foods, below grade, retail store in the Gowanus wetlands will effect storm drainage in the area.)

Aug. 19 2007 01:30 PM
David Linker from Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Lee Sander mentioned that the sewer system was unable to handle the qualtity of water.

DOT road paving crews resurfacing Brooklyn streets are additionally destroying the city’s sewer drains

On July 3 they began work on India St. I saw the paver dump asphalt into the street sewer drains, simply because they neglected to cover the drains before the machine lays down the asphalt. I have since looked at many sewers in the area and they all contain large quantities of hardened asphalt.

I had spoken to the supervisor when they were paving India St. I was baffled when he told me the DEP would clean out the asphalt. A supervisor who is unable to comprehend the quantity and cost of wasted asphalt, as well as the manpower required to dig it out, is not qualified. Any professional supervisor would have had standard covers on hand initially to avoid the problem. This supervisor and his crew should be ordered to clean out the tons of dried asphalt from all the sewers they damaged with no pay or lose their jobs. There is a source of flooding in this city, and this is probably one of them.

I stopped to see a sewer at Bedford Ave. and Keap St., Brooklyn last Sunday, since they began resurfaced that avenue. Now a month later, and again the same scenario was taking place. This is after I had written, on July 13, certified letters to the following:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; NYC Council Member David Yassky; Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz; Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol; Janette Sadik-Khan Commissioner DOT; Emily Lloyd Commissioner NYC DEP.

Aug. 09 2007 11:24 AM
paola pedraza from NY

I believe trash on the tracks might have played a major factor in yesterday’s floods. To my astonishment, I have seen many times MTA workers sweeping trash INTO THE TRACKS. Not that I excuse the users by being so dirty ... but if employees do not do their work and do not enforce rules what else can we expect.

Aug. 09 2007 10:22 AM
Daphne Marie from midtown

Yes Brian, it is accurate. I called this number yesterday (718-330-3322) before 9AM and after having to listen to two or three PSAs (see something, say something, etc.) another recording announced the operating hours. Also, on many occasions I have called this number after 5PM and was received by a recording announcing that the the customer service line was closed. It is definitely NOT a 24hr operation.

Aug. 09 2007 10:20 AM
charlie from battery park city

My biggest complaint is that even the MTA employees and police directing traffic in the subway didn't know which lines were running. If they don't know - what chance do we have?

And track/train status updates on screens would be nice - like the arrival/departure boards at train stations

Aug. 09 2007 10:19 AM
Leandra from staten island

Would it be more expensive to update sewer system or find a way to collect rain water in New York City?

Aug. 09 2007 10:18 AM
RC from Sweage systems


Can you do a show on NYC sewers? Here in Rego Park queens we had flooding/water in our basements because our sewers were not able to handle the rain. This has happened twice this summer.

I want to know if the sewers can handle the flow of water and what impact does littering have on the sewers. People like to litter in the sewers and I am wondering if that is clogging them.

Aug. 09 2007 10:16 AM
Logan from Manhattan

Don't let the MTA chief give you this global warming excuse or the sewer excuse or any other of this responsibility avoidance.

NYT reports today that the record rainfall for yesterday was 2.60 inches of rain in 1927. (Yesterday's total was 2.50 inches.) Same sewer system. Same subway system. Same city. I bet the system functioned just fine on August 8, 1927.

Aug. 09 2007 10:16 AM
Jeffrey S. from East Elmhurst

I realize that this might be provocative but I can't begin to count the amount of times when subway announcements will come on just when a train is coming into or leaving the station, in other words, just when there is all this other noise happening. It almost seemed deliberate...

Aug. 09 2007 10:16 AM
Daphne Marie from midtown

Question for the MTA.... How come the "customer service line" only works btw the hours of 9am-5pm? Pretty useless to daily commuters.

Aug. 09 2007 10:12 AM
Daniel Bavolack from Manhattan

What with climate change and possible rise in sea level are there plans to build new subways?

How about new elevated monorails linking tall buildings and traffic points, like the futuristic pictures we've seen? This would be a chance to improve east-west pedestrian travel and reduce ground-level congestion.

Aug. 09 2007 10:10 AM
Betty Welker from Upper West Side, Manhattan

Is one of the causes of the overburdened sewage and drainage system, the seemingly unrestricted development of high-rise offices and condominiums, complete with flush toilets and other plumbing requirements?

Aug. 09 2007 09:46 AM
L. Leonardo from Rego Park, Queens

Two questions:
(1) If one of the causes of the Mass Transit collapse in the region is due to garbage pile up in the drainage, why isn't there regular cleaning of the tracks and also garbage pickup on weekends? - A couple of months ago I took the subway on a Sunday and was dismayed piles of garbage next to overflowing garbage cans on the platforms of several stations. My first impression was that we were driving tourists and families from taking the subway again.
(2) Why after 9/11 and after Pataki announced millions of dollars in upgrade of the evacuation and communication system at the MTA in 2001-2002 we do not have an announcement/communication/evacuation system and plan for the subway system? I would settle for a mediocre Third-World system like that in Mexico City? - One of the most corrupt, undemocratic governments in the World. Is New York public government that corrupt and inept?

Thank you in advance for answering these questions.
BTW- I'm only a low 6-figure income earner who happens to be a Federal, State & Local tax and 'fee' payer who also pays a full fare.

Aug. 09 2007 09:09 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.