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Hurricane Sandy

Transportation Nation

PATH Service Restored Between Hoboken-World Trade Center

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hoboken's PATH station (photo by Sean Marshall via flickr)

For the first time since Sandy struck the Northeast 13 weeks ago, PATH trains will roll once again between Hoboken and the World Trade Center.

Governors Christie and Cuomo announced service between the two hubs will be restored in time for the Wednesday morning commute.

This marks the first time PATH service will return to its normal weekday schedule since Sandy. The PATH system suffered $700 million worth of damage during the storm (PDF), and the Hoboken station was particularly hard hit. It took seven weeks just to open the station, and partial overnight service was restored on January 9th. Meanwhile, NJ Transit just reopened the Hoboken Terminal waiting room Monday.

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WNYC News

Now in a Flood Zone, Residents of Gerritsen Beach Struggle to Stay Afloat

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Residents of this Brooklyn neighborhood aren't happy that they're on the map. Gerritsen Beach, a working-class Brooklyn neighborhood of low-slung bungalows hard hit by Sandy, is among the communities included in FEMA's updated flood maps released this week.

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WNYC News

Disaster Inc: Some Companies Win Big Post-Sandy

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

WNYC

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Transportation Nation

NJ Rail Services Return Days Shy of Sandy's Three Month Anniversary

Monday, January 28, 2013

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamescastle/4451647796/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Historic Hoboken Terminal, pictured before Sandy. (Photo CC by Flickr user JamesCastle)

Two more links in the New Jersey commuter rail network will return to pre-Sandy levels today.

Hoboken terminal station will reopen and PATH service will run on pre-Sandy overnight levels with the restoration of Newark-World Trade Center service. The dual announcements from Northern New Jersey's two commuter rail agencies come after criticism of the slow pace of service restoration and just days before the three month anniversary of Sandy, which poured 10 million gallons of water into PATH train tunnels, and washed out dozens of miles of NJ Transit track among other damage.

 

Hoboken Terminal

NJ Transit trains have been running from Hoboken, but the station building has been closed, leaving passengers to wait in the cold without access to bathrooms. NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein is marking the occasion by greeting passengers at the Historic Hoboken Terminal, pictured here before and after the storm. "The waiting room, which is opening a day earlier than expected, will provide a heated shelter and temporary seating for customers as the agency continues with remediation work to address storm-related flood damage," an official statement says. 

The Hoboken Terminal had reopened in mid-November only to be shuttered less than a month later when mold was discovered. State Senator Paul Sarlo had been threatening to hold hearings on the delay last week.

 

PATH

Hoboken is served by both NJ Transit commuter rail and PATH. PATH tunnels under the Hudson to lower Manhattan were particularly hard hit. It took seven weeks to restore PATH service to Hoboken at all, and one line from the city is still out. Round the clock service has been offered since earlier in the month on some lines while repairs on others continued. 

Starting tonight, the agency announced, the route connecting Newark and World Trade Center will run 24-hours.

The statement reads:

"Service on the Newark-WTC line had only been running weekdays between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. since service resumed on the line after the storm. Return of the Newark-WTC PATH line overnight on weekdays, in addition to the ongoing overnight service from Journal Square to 33rd Street via Hoboken, means PATH’s overnight schedule during the week has returned to pre-Sandy status.

"Exchange Place and World Trade Center Stations remain closed weekends from 10 p.m. Fridays through 5 a.m. Mondays during the month of February to allow crews uninterrupted time to complete necessary repairs.

Crews continue to work around-the-clock to return weekday Hoboken to World Trade Center service and weekend service between Newark and the World Trade Center. Those are the final segments of service yet to be restored."

 

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WNYC News

Follow the #CoastCheck Roadtrip

Monday, January 28, 2013

As communities struggle with the question of whether to rebuild or retreat after Sandy, WNYC reporter Janet Babin and videographer Amy Pearl are touring coastal towns.

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WNYC News

As Cold Snap Hits, Some Sandy Victims Still Lack Heat

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

As temperatures dip many residents of the Rockaways, an area hard hit by Sandy, are among the 8,200 still without power in the aftermath of the powerful storm that tore through the seaside community.

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Transportation Nation

Governor Cuomo's Budget: $6 Billion for Sandy Recovery to MTA, Port Authority

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gov. Cuomo assessing flood damage after Sandy. (Image courtesy of the Office of the Governor)

Governor Andrew Cuomo is offering more details on how he'd like to spend federal Sandy recovery funds -- even though Congress hasn't yet passed the legislation. When he unveiled his $142 billion budget Tuesday, Cuomo laid out how the state will allocate a hoped-for $30 billion in aid, including:

  • $2 billion for replacement or mitigation of 2,000 miles of highway
  • $6 billion for mitigation for MTA and Port Authority, including vent covers, tunnel bladders and pumping capacity to protect transit tunnels.
  • $159 million for coastal mitigation – $34 million to repair Fire Island inlet and $125 for “soft barriers” like dunes on beaches
  • $2 billion to harden energy utilities

Read Anna Sale's story at WNYC.

Related:
NY’s South Ferry Station Closed for Foreseeable Future (link)
As PATH Resumes after Sandy, Questions Remain about Agency, Flood Plans (link)
Totaling Sandy Losses: How New York’s MTA Got to $5 Billion (link)
Transit in NYC Suffers “Worst Devastation Ever” (link)

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WNYC News

Some NY State Contractors Win Big With Sandy

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WNYC

The New York state comptroller's office on Wednesday released a list of contracts and payments the state made in the two months after Sandy hit.

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WNYC News

State Registries Saved Lives During Sandy, But Not in NYC

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a registry that would allow disaster responders to know where to find people most urgently in need of aid. But he does not appear to have followed through.

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WNYC News

Congressman Pascrell on How the Sandy Aid Sausage Was Made

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"This is getting more absurd by the moment."

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WNYC News

As the Sandy Debris Accumulates, Some Question How Best to Handle It

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The destruction from Sandy is expected to leave more than 12 million cubic yards of debris in New York state and New Jersey. The vast majority of it will be taken to landfills.

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WNYC News

Seaside Heights Rebuilds After Sandy

Monday, January 14, 2013

WNYC

Even after Sandy destroyed the boardwalk and flooded dozens of local businesses, the borough of Seaside Heights, NJ is determined to open its summer season by May 10.

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WNYC News

Ellis Island Museum Collection Making Temporary Move to Maryland

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Liberty and Ellis Islands hold a special place in the life and history of New York City.

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WNYC News

Cuomo Panel Says 'Maybe' to Massive Hurricane Barrier

Friday, January 11, 2013

An expert panel's preliminary report does not make New York’s solution to climate change look easy.

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Transportation Nation

NYS2100 Full Report: Start an Infrastructure Bank, Build BRT, and More Transit

Friday, January 11, 2013

Establish an infrastructure bank, expanded rail access, build a bus rapid transit system, and redesign the electric grid. Those are some of the suggestions in the NYS2100 commission's full report on preparing New York state to withstand the next 100 year storm released Friday afternoon.

The commission was convened to suggest a plan for making New York state more resilient in the face increasingly severe weather and future storms like Sandy, which knocked most of New York City's transportation out of service for days. Several transit routes are still not back to normal two months later.

The full report is below. We've pulled out the bits from the executive summary most related to transportation and infrastructure.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State agenda also included much of these kinds of proposals. We posted that earlier in the week here, and reported on the bus rapid transit proposal specifically if you want more detail on that.

 

From the NYS2100 official report:


 

Develop a risk assessment of the State’s transportation infrastructure
Identify those assets that are vulnerable to extreme weather events, storm surge, sea level rise and seismic events, and to prioritize future investment through the use of a lifeline network that defines
critical facilities, corridors, systems, or routes that must remain functional during a crisis or be restored most rapidly.
Strengthen existing transportation networks
Improve the State’s existing infrastructure with an emphasis on key bridges, roads, tunnels, transit, rail, airports, marine facilities, and transportation communication infrastructure. Focus on improved repair, as well as protecting against multiple hazards including flooding, seismic impact and extreme weather.
• Protect transit systems and tunnels against severe flooding
• Invest in upgrades to bridges, tunnels, roads, transit and
railroads for all hazards
• Strengthen vulnerable highway and rail bridges
• Protect waterway movements
• Safeguard airport operations
Strategically expand transportation networks in order to create redundancies
Make the system more flexible and adaptive. Encourage alternate modes of transportation.
• Modernize signal and communications systems
• Build a bus rapid transit network
• Expand rail access to/from Manhattan
• Create new trans-Hudson tunnel connection
• Expand rail Access to/from Manhattan with Metro-North Penn Station access
• Expand capacity on the LIRR’s Main Line
• Develop alternative modes of transportation Build for a resilient future with enhanced guidelines,
standards, policies, and procedures
Change the way we plan, design, build, manage, maintain and pay for our transportation network in light of increased occurrences of severe events.
• Review design guidelines
• Improve long-term planning and fund allocation
• Improve interagency and interstate planning
• Seek expedited environmental review and permitting on major mitigation investments

 

 

 

Strengthen critical energy infrastructure

Securing critical infrastructure should be a primary focus. Strategies of protection, include among other things, selective undergrounding of electric lines, elevating susceptible infrastructure such as substations, securing locations of future power plants, hardening key fuel distribution terminals, and reexamination of critical

component locations to identify those most prone to damage by shocks or stresses. Creating a long-term capital stock of critical equipment throughout the region provides an efficient system of distribution to streamline the delivery and recovery processes.

• Facilitate process of securing critical systems
• Protect and selectively underground key electrical transmission and distribution lines
• Strengthen marine terminals and relocate key fuel-related infrastructure to higher elevations
• Reinforce pipelines and electrical supply to critical fuel infrastructure
• Waterproof and improve pump-out ability of steam tunnels
• Create a long-term capital stock of critical utility equipment

Accelerate the modernization of the electrical system and improve flexibility
As utilities replace aging parts of the power system, the State should ensure new technologies are deployed. It is important to immediately invest in new construction, replacement, and upgrades to transition the grid to a flexible system that can respond to future technologies, support clean energy integration, and minimize outages during major storms and events. The grid for the 21st century should seamlessly incorporate distributed generation, microgrids, and plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs).

• Re-design electric grid to be more flexible, dynamic and
responsive
• Increase distributed generation statewide
• Make the grid electric vehicle ready
Design rate structures and create incentives to encourage distributed generation and smart grid investments
The State should implement new technologies and system
improvements to provide effective backup power, flexibility,
distributed generation, and solutions for “islanding” vulnerable
parts of the system. In addition to improving the resilience and
stability of energy, electricity, and fuel supply systems, these
solutions promote energy conservation, efficiency, and consumer
demand response.
Diversify fuel supply, reduce demand for energy, and create redundancies
Lowering GHG emissions in the power sector through the Regional
Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) will contribute to reducing
the impacts of climate change over the very long term. To build
on the success of RGGI, the State should encourage alternative
fuel sources such as biogas, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and
solar heating in transportation and other sectors. PEVs, energy
storage systems, and on-site fuel storage where feasible, should
also be used to provide new energy storage mechanisms. Incentive
programs to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy
deployment should be strengthened to increase the level of private
sector investment in this space.
• Facilitate greater investments in energy efficiency and
renewable energy
• Diversify fuels in the transportation sector
• Support alternative fuels across all sectors
• Lower the greenhouse gas emissions cap through RGGI

Develop long-term career training and a skilled energy workforce

The utility workforce is aging and tremendous expertise will be lost
in the next several years. Workforce development strategies should
ensure the availability of skilled professionals to maintain a state
of good repair, effectively prepare for and respond to emergencies,
and deploy and maintain advanced technologies.
• Create a workforce development center
• Expand career training and placement programs
• Build awareness of the need for skilled workers
• Coordinate workforce development among all stakeholders
within the energy sector

 

 

 

 

Establish an “Infrastructure Bank” to coordinate, allocate, and maximize investment

The Commission recommends the establishment of a new Infrastructure Bank with a broad mandate to coordinate financing
and directly finance the construction, rehabilitation, replacement, and expansion of infrastructure.
• Assist the State in making more efficient and effective use of public infrastructure funding
• Mobilize private sector

 

Full report here.

 

 

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Schoolbook

Scholars' Makes Long Anticipated Return Home

Friday, January 11, 2013

It's like the first day of school all over again for the staff and students of Scholars Academy. The school returns to its Rockaway Park building Friday for the first time since Hurricane Sandy hit the area.

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WNYC News

Four Storms in Quick Succession Expose the Flaws in New York City’s Electrical System

Friday, January 11, 2013

One of the less visible affects of Hurricane Sandy was the mostly-below ground electric system that supplies the stock exchange, the subways, and countless businesses with power.

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Transportation Nation

Some 24/7 PATH Train Service To Resume

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

(photo by Kate Hinds)

For the first time in the 70-plus days since Hurricane Sandy, some PATH lines are resuming partial around-the-clock operations.

Governors Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo say starting Wednesday, trains will run 24-7, from Newark to 33rd Street, via Hoboken.

PATH has operated on a 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. schedule – with the exception of New Year’s Eve – since the storm.  The system suffered catastrophic damage from an estimated 10 million gallons of water that flooded the tunnels.

PATH trains will still run from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the week on the Hoboken to 33rd Street, Journal Square to 33rd Street and Newark to World Trade Center lines.

Port Authority officials say it could be late February before they receive a shipment of replacement parts necessary to restoring service on the line between Hoboken and the World Trade Center, which is still not operational.

 

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WNYC News

Fiscal Cliff, Sandy Buffeted Office Market at Year's End

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

In the last quarter of 2012, two contrary forces played on Manhattan's commercial real estate market. The threat of the "fiscal cliff" caused a spike in sales of office buildings, while Sandy's floodwaters put dozens of downtown office buildings out of commission, raising questions about the neighborhood's future.

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WNYC News

NYC Considers Turning Empty Public Housing Apartments into Boiler Rooms

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

As the New York City Housing Authority recovers from Sandy, it has been considering moving the boilers that heat its buildings out of basements and into vacant apartments where they will face less risk of flooding, according to people involved in discussions with officials. 

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