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Hurricane Sandy

New Jersey News

PATH Officials: Several More Weeks Before Hoboken Service Is Back

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Path train service in and out of Hoboken, New Jersey, remains suspended leaving commuters with options like pricier ferry trips or longer bus rides to get into Manhattan. Nearly a month after Sandy, Port Authority officials who operate the PATH Train system brought reporters down into a tunnel below Hoboken on Tuesday to see just why the repairs are taking so long.

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WNYC News

To Stay or Go? The Dilemma Facing Those Left Homeless by Sandy

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Many people displaced by Sandy have been staying with family and friends, but a month after the storm they're finding their housing situation — or lack thereof — to be increasingly difficult.

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WNYC News

Cuomo, Christie Work Together to Secure Federal Funding for Sandy Recovery

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New York's Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo said he’s working with New Jersey's Republican Governor Chris Christie to make the case for federal aid to the region.

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WNYC News

Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty to Remain Closed Until 2013

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will remain closed for the rest of the year, according to the U.S. National Park Service, as it continues to assess the damage from after Sandy. 

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WNYC News

Should Gov. Cuomo Compare Hurricane Sandy to Katrina?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo has come under fire in recent days for comparing the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy as being "more impactful" than Hurricane Katrina. What do you think?

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Transportation Nation

NY Gov. Cuomo: It's Going to Cost $5 Billion To Repair the MTA, Post-Sandy

Monday, November 26, 2012

On Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo huddled with the state's congressional delegation to go over his federal disaster aid request. "This state has suffered mightily," he said. (Watch the press conference, above.)

As in $42 billion worth of mightily.

Howard Glaser, a senior policy advisor to the governor, broke that figure down at a press conference. The number to restore transit, roads, and bridges, was "very big," he said, and "the big piece there is the MTA."

Glaser said the damage to the transit agency totalled $4.8 billion. "That's damage to the tunnels, to the rail system, to the subway system. This amount of money, the 4.8 (billion), would just restore it to where it was before the storm," he said, adding that "the signal systems in many of the tunnels have to be completely replaced, for example, and that's a lot of money."

(To put that number in perspective, that's about a year's worth of the agency's capital budget.)

At a committee meeting earlier Monday, the MTA tallied up what it said was a "not exhaustive" list of damages -- including flooding to under-river tunnels, subway stations, and track washouts, but didn't include a cost breakdown.

Read New York State's breakdown of Hurricane Sandy recovery needs here.

 

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Transportation Nation

Restoring Last Parts Of NYC Subway Is The Hardest

Monday, November 26, 2012

Salt-encrusted circuit board from a New York City subway tunnel. (Photo by Jim O'Grady.)

(New York, NY - WNYC) Seven of the eight subway tunnels flooded by Sandy are back in service. But New York City Transit president Tom Prendergast said it will probably be months before the authority finishes fixing the eighth tunnel, which carries the R train under the harbor between Brooklyn and Manhattan. He said the problem is with the tunnel's electrical systems, such as the switches that keep track of train locations.

"Electrical equipment doesn't like water for obvious reasons -- water is conductive," he told reporters at the Midtown headquarters of the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority. "But salt water is very conductive and when salt water dries, it leaves salt, which is also conductive when it gets re-wet."

Prendergast said the authority does expect to get the R train running between 34th and Rector Streets--a normally busy stretch in Manhattan--within two weeks.

But he said the South Ferry subway station is also months away from re-opening. Sandy flooded that station to the ceiling, leaving little inside it untouched.

"You've got wall tiles that are down, you've got railings that are damaged," Prendergast said. "You've got possible damage behind wall surfaces, you've got electrical equipment in the form of elevators and escalators." (See a pic of drowning subway escalators here.) And as with the R train tunnel under the harbor, the station's electrical switches are coated in salt water and must be replaced.

The R train tunnel is one of the longest under-river crossings in the system and took more time to dry out, leaving more equipment damaged than in other tunnels.

A spokesman for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the MTA's price tag for damage caused by Sandy tops $5 billion.

(Click here to see what parts of the NYC subway system are still down.)

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Transportation Nation

Sandy Data Shows NYC Commuters Are Transpo-Adaptable: Report

Monday, November 26, 2012

In the days following Hurricane Sandy, when New York's regional transit systems were either completely shut down or barely limping along, commuters still found a way to work -- by biking more, embracing ferries, temporary "bus bridges" and HOV lanes, even leveraging social media to find rides or temporary office space.

According to a new report from New York University's Rudin Center, the storm's aftermath brought out a uniquely New York commuting creativity.

"In many U.S. cities, which are limited to cars, buses or other singular transportation modes," the report states, "the disruption caused by Hurricane Sandy would have, at least temporarily, crippled the economy." Not so in New York, where residents "displayed impressive inventiveness to maintain their mobility. Individuals created new routes and combinations of modes to get to work, using a variety of systems."

The report surveyed 315 commuters about modes of transport and commute times. That's a small sample considering the millions of people affected. And asking a commuter to estimate how long they took to get to work can invite exaggeration, the Rudin report is an impressive attempt to quantify the chaos of ad-hoc mobility choices during the storm.

While almost everyone saw their commutes increase, Staten Islanders fared the worst. For residents of that hard-hit borough, commute times in the days following Sandy nearly tripled.

It was no picnic on the roads, either: "Commute times by private car for survey respondents nearly tripled, from an average of 47 minutes pre-Sandy to an average of 115 minutes post-Sandy."

The report also praises New York's MTA for keeping the public updated about service changes, and recommends the agency maintain its adaptable subway map. But other transit providers don't come off as well: "During the Hurricane, the Port Authority [which operates the PATH train system] and NJ Transit provided remarkably limited information throughout and following the storm about their service."

Read the full report here. See an impressive interactive timeline of Sandy's impact on transportation.

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Schoolbook

In Stormy Times, Schools Don't Close

Monday, November 26, 2012

During times of tragedy, a school can become a neighborhood’s community hub, one of the few structures open to all. A teacher recounts how his school stayed in touch with students in the aftermath of Sandy, helped its staff rebound and now seeks to comfort the community with the quiet ritual of routine.

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WNYC News

Group Warns of Possible Insurance Problem Post-Sandy

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A consumer group is warning that some people whose homes were damaged or destroyed as a result of Sandy may be denied coverage.

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New Jersey News

NJ Sandy Cleanup to Cost About $29.4 Billion

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cleaning up the damage caused by Sandy will cost New Jersey about $29.4 billion.

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New Jersey News

Hurricane Sandy Relief Funds: Following the Money

Friday, November 23, 2012

First there was New Jersey legend Bruce Springsteen headlining a star-studded telethon to benefit the American Red Cross. Then there was Oscar de la Hoya and his Los Angeles-based Golden Boy Productions donating the proceeds from a night of boxing to the decimated Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City.

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WNYC News

Sandy Friday Aims to Raise Money on Black Friday

Thursday, November 22, 2012

As shoppers are out in full force on Black Friday, one group has a message for retailers and their patrons: donate!

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Schoolbook

Rockaways Teen Documents Life Post-Sandy for School

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It was a frustrating and cold November in the Rockways, one of the areas of New York City hit hardest by Sandy's storm surge. Thousands of residents in this coastal community were left without power or heat -- and some are still waiting for service. One local teenager borrowed a camera from his high school and took on the assignment of documenting what life is really like on the peninsula post-Sandy.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

After Sandy: Long Beach, LI

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Jack Schnirman, City Manager, Long Beach LI, and Dr. Herb R. Brown, Superintendent of the Oceanside School District, discuss the ongoing Sandy recovery efforts in Nassau County’s south shore.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

History Lessons for the President

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University and author of Cronkite, explains what the historical precedent is for Obama's second term and for storm response.

 

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New Jersey News

Sandy Spurs New Look at Underground Power Lines, Grid Upgrade

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hurricane Sandy has prompted utility regulators to take a new look at measures New Jersey has shied away from in the past – including replacing some above-ground power lines with underground systems -- largely because of the huge price tag that likely would jack up electric rates for consumers.

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The Takeaway

Today's Takeaway | November 21, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister on the Israel—Hamas Conflict | John O. Brennan for CIA Director? | The One World Futbol: A Durable Ball that Can Last for Decades | As Thanksgiving Approaches Sandy's Aftermath Still Looms Over the Northeast | New Movies: 'Rise of the Guardians,' 'Silver Linings Playbook,' 'Life of Pi,' 'Red Dawn' | Ken Burns on "The Central Park Five"

Transportation Nation

Rental Cars Moved to New York Post Sandy -- But It's Not Enough

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cars stuck in Sandy's flood waters, in Oyster Bay, New York. (Photo CC by Flickr user CasualCapture)

Rental car companies are driving in tens of thousands of extra vehicles to help avert a holiday shortage in the New York City region.  But it's not enough to ease the post-Sandy crush during an already almost impossible time to find a car in the area.

Sandy destroyed or damaged between 100,000 and 250,00 cars, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association and one rental car company estimate provided to TN. At the same time, the storm closed, hampered, or damaged rental car branches and vehicles throughout the New York area. The final blow is transit: Sandy injected enough uncertainty into regional rail and bus service schedules that many would-be riders booked rental cars. All just in time for the biggest travel weekend of the year.

"Tight availability is typical of any holiday weekend," explained Paula Rivera, a spokesperson for Hertz. "For those who haven't made reservations, the availability is extremely tight at this point in time. So the probability of securing a car for travel over Thanksgiving weekend is slim," she said.

Travel websites had scant options Tuesday afternoon. Travelocity returned no available rental cars at all. Orbitz had 18 cars in total for all of New York City. Other sites delivered more results, at higher than average prices, and often suggested cargo or moving vans as the cheaper options.

"We're suggesting for people who have not made a reservation at this juncture to maybe look outside of New York City... where it might be a little bit better," Rivera said.

Enterprise, which owns several rental car companies, said some neighborhood branches remained closed because they just didn't have cars. “Although we are working hard to increase our local fleet as quickly as possible, there are still significant waiting lists in some communities where residents are requesting replacements for their damaged vehicles,” said Matt Darrah and executive vice president at Enterprise Holdings. "Despite our best efforts to be prepared, the magnitude of the storm has simply outstripped our resources and manpower in some locations."

Car rental companies don't stockpile cars for disaster. That wouldn't make financial sense. An idle and unrented automobile on a company lot is losing money. So to adapt to spikes in demand, rental companies use sophisticated demand management systems that move cars from region to region.
Hertz said it is relocated "thousands" of cars to the New York City area in the days just following Sandy. Enterprise issued a detailed statement that said 12 thousand cars had been moved in from as far off as Colorado with another 5,000 on the way. An additional 10,000 new cars slated for other regions were being diverted to New York and New Jersey.
Philadelphia rental branches experienced shortages last week as business travelers turned to cars as a substitute for inconsistent rail service.

"These rental fleets, whether it's Enterprise or Hertz or Budget, they only carry so many excess vehicles because every vehicle sitting on the lot is something that they are paying for," said Paul Eisenstein of the Detroit Bureau, an auto industry expert.

Rental car companies he said, "are not in business to keep vehicles around for an emergency ... They are not going to be keeping tens or hundreds of thousands of extra vehicles around in case there is a hurricane. That's just bad business."

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New Jersey News

Sandy's Toll on Public Health

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Health officials are starting to see health effects from Sandy-damaged zones, including rashes, coughs and other respiratory ailments.

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