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Sandy

WNYC News

Six Months After Sandy: Sandy, You Were Delicious

Monday, April 29, 2013

Here’s the truth: I kinda sorta miss Sandy.  Not her destruction of beloved homes and property, no, of course not, nor the inconvenience of driving around an hour for a viable gas station.  And don’t get me wrong – I love hot showers.  And cable TV.  And the Internet.  Everything about the modern world, I love.

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WNYC News

Six Months After Sandy: Lessons from Red Hook

Monday, April 29, 2013

I was born and raised in the Red Hook projects and we’ve weathered a few storms. The last one — Sandy — has people pooling resources to brace us for future disasters.  I believe I know the biggest resource that should be in any storm-plans.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Sandy Six Month Later; Syria; Sequestration Backlash

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sandy hit six months ago today. We'll check in on how rebuilding is going for coastal communities in New York and New Jersey. Plus: Slate's Fred Kaplan on the decision President Obama faces on what to do about the civil war in Syria; the backlash over the consequences of the sequestration cuts; and author Susan Jacoby on the The Last Men on Top.

WNYC News

'Hacktivists' Work on Software for Sandy Recovery and Future Disasters

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Six months after Sandy struck much of the eastern Seaboard, a group of ‘hactktivists” are working out ways digital technology can improve the response to future disasters.

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WNYC News

Some Sandy Victims Still in Hotels Get Deadline Extended

Friday, April 26, 2013

The move-out deadline for households displaced by Sandy and living in hotels has been extended by one month for some families – but only if they are waiting for repairs on their homes or are in the process of applying for public or Section 8 housing.

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New Jersey News

NJ 'Storm Czar' Speaks Out on Sandy Recovery

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

With $37 billion at his fingertips, Marc Ferzan is managing a budget of federal aid money that’s more than the entire state of New Jersey spends in an average year. He's also been operating largely behind the scenes and out of the public eye.

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New Jersey News

Homeowners to see Sandy Relief Delay

Thursday, April 18, 2013

WNYC

Governor Christie says the $900 million dollars from HUD in Washington earmarked to help homeowners rebuild does have some strings attached which may mean work won't start until July.

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WNYC News

Cuomo Offers Sandy Homeowners Less Money in Buyout Program

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Cuomo administration is telling homeowners to expect to get a lot less money if they want their Sandy-damaged properties to be bought out by the state.

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WNYC News

Big Army Corps Study Looks at Depopulating Coast

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A $20 million study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on how to protect the Northeast from future hurricanes is going to look at a radical idea: relocating people who live too close to the water further inland.

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Transportation Nation

NJ Transit: We're Being More Transparent About Sandy Recovery

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

NJ Transit's board meetings will now be videotaped, and the agency is expanding the information on its Sandy recovery website.

It's part of an agency attempt to provide more transparency to the riding public -- many of whom have showed up at NJ Transit board meetings since Sandy to complain about confusing schedule changes, last-minute service outages, and a general lack of effective communication.

Jim Simpson, the state's transportation commissioner and NJ Transit chairman, said Wednesday at a board meeting that the videos of each board meeting will be available on the agency's website within 48 hours "to increase transparency on the board. We think it's really a good thing for everybody."

Executive director Jim Weinstein also said the NJ Transit website will now "include a listing of contracts associated with the Sandy recovery, as well as background on all projects." And the site now offers details on agency efforts to repair and replace trains damaged by Sandy.

NJ Transit has been under scrutiny for its decision to store rail stock in flood-prone areas during the storm, which caused nearly a quarter of its fleet to suffer damage.

The board also approved paying another $28.5 million to Canadian rail company Bombardier, which is repairing train cars damaged by Sandy. NJ Transit says it will reimbursed for storm expenses through a  combination of federal aid and insurance money.

Related: NJ Transit Chief: Our Trains, Equipment, Suffered $100 Million In Sandy Damage

Following the meeting, Weinstein less enthusiastic about a different subject: a recent study endorsing a proposal to extend the #7 subway to Secaucus. "It’s not a New Jersey project," he said. "It emanated from the mayor’s office in New York and it clearly has some different points of view in New York, from the MTA." Weinstein sounded lukewarm about the project.  "We'll see where it goes," he said.

One recent bright spot for the agency: Weinstein said NJ Transit got a ridership boost during last week's Wrestlemania, when the agency provided more than 35,000 bus and rail trips to the Meadowlands.  The agency views the event as a dress rehearsal for next year's Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium, where the Jets and Giants play. Weinstein, who was on site for much of the event, described Wrestlemania as "quite an enlightening experience."

 

 

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WNYC News

New Locale for Mayoral Forum: A Boat

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Instead of sitting around behind lecterns arranged on a stage, several candidates in the New York City's mayor race boarded a boat Tuesday to discuss Sandy and other waterfront issues at a forum sponsored by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance.

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New Jersey News

For One Beach Block, Rebuild on Hold

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

WNYC

Fielder Avenue in Ortley Beach was one of the worst hit blocks at the shore. Sandy destroyed 10 homes, and badly damaged most others. WNYC has been visiting the block and collecting the stories of residents and their struggles to rebuild.

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WNYC News

Sandy Victims Here Illegally Struggle to Rebound

Monday, April 08, 2013

When Sandy hit, it exposed an underclass living marginal lives in basements and other rundown homes, many inhabited by people who entered the country illegally. And because many don’t qualify for federal aid, they’re at a greater disadvantage.

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New Jersey News

At Jersey Shore, Some Push for Buy Outs

Friday, April 05, 2013

While a strong contingent of people — from beach front homeowners to Governor Chris Christie — are all for rebuilding the New Jersey shore, some others are saying the properties should be bought out and restored as a natural habitat area.

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Transportation Nation

Feds Set Uniform Standards For Sandy Rebuilding

Thursday, April 04, 2013

U.S. Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood came to the Meadowlands of NJ to announce new post-Sandy rebuilding regulations. (photo by Jim O'Grady)

(New York, NY - WNYC) Build higher. That's what the federal government is saying to the owners of structures badly damaged by Sandy. Northeast flood zones now have tougher re-building requirements that apply across the board: to houses, businesses and government infrastructure.

Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stood in front of an Amtrak electrical station in a New Jersey swamp to make their point: any structure more than half destroyed by Sandy that is being rebuilt with federal funds, must be lifted higher than before. The new standards require a building owner to consult an updated FEMA flood map, find the new recommended height for his structure and then lift it a foot above that.

LaHood explained why: "So that people don't have to go through the same heartache and headache and backache that it's taken to rebuild."

LaHood says the Amtrak electrical plant, which was knocked out by Sandy, will be lifted several feet at a cost of $25 million. A statement from the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force has details on the new standards:

WASHINGTON – Today, the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force announced that all Sandy-related rebuilding projects funded by the supplemental spending bill must meet a single uniform flood risk reduction standard. The standard, which is informed by the best science and best practices including assessments taken following Hurricane Sandy and brings the federal standard into alignment with many state and local standards already in place, takes into account the increased risk the region is facing from extreme weather events, sea level rise and other impacts of climate change and applies to the rebuilding of structures that were substantially damaged and will be repaired or rebuilt with federal funding. As a result, the new standard will require residential, commercial, or infrastructure projects that are applying for federal dollars to account for increased flood risk resulting from a variety of factors by elevating or otherwise flood-proofing to one foot above the elevation recommended by the most recent available federal flood guidance.

 This is the same standard that many communities in the region, including the entire state of New Jersey, have already adopted – meaning federally funded rebuilding projects in the impacted region often already must comply with this standard.  In fact, some communities require rebuilding higher than this minimum standard and if they do so, that stricter standard would supersede this standard as the minimum requirement.

 “Communities across the region are taking steps to address the risks posed by climate change and the Federal Government needs to be a partner in that effort by setting a single clear standard for how federal funds will be used in rebuilding,” said Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, who also chairs the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. “Providing this guaranteed minimum level of protection will help us safeguard our investment and, more importantly, will help communities ensure they are better able to withstand future storms.”

 “President Obama has called on us to invest in our nation’s infrastructure—and that includes ensuring that our transit systems, roads, rails and bridges are built to last,” said Transportation Secretary LaHood, who joined Secretary Donovan in making the announcement in New Jersey today. “The flood risk reduction standard is a common sense guideline that will save money over the long-term and ensure that our transportation systems are more resilient for the future.”

 Today’s announcement does not retroactively affect federal aid that has previously been given to property owners and communities in the Sandy-impacted areas.  It also does not impact insurance rates under the National Flood Insurance Program, which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Moving forward the federal standard applies to substantial rebuilding projects (i.e. when damage exceeds 50 percent of the value of the structure) that will rely on federal funding.

 The specific steps that these types of structures will need to take include:

  • Elevating – the standard would require structures to elevate their bottom floor one foot higher than the most recent flood risk guidance provided by FEMA; and/or
  • Flood-proofing – in situations where elevation is not possible, the standard will require structures to prepare for flooding a foot higher than the most recent flood risk guidance provided by FEMA – for example, by relocating or sealing boilers or other utilities located below the standard elevation

These additional steps are intended to protect communities from future risk and to protect taxpayer investments over the long term. 

The programs which received funding in the supplemental bill and will be impacted by this standard include:

-          HUD: Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program

-          HHS: Construction and reconstruction projects funded by Social Services Block Grants and Head Start

-          FEMA: Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and the Public Assistance Program

-          EPA: The State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs

-          DOT: Federal Transit Administration's Emergency Relief Program, as well as some Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Highway Administration projects

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WNYC News

"Submarine Walls" May Be Added At Trade Center, Post-Sandy

Thursday, April 04, 2013

The Port Authority confirms it's considering adding so-called "submarine walls" to the World Trade Center site, as a result of Sandy.

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Transportation Nation

Subway Service Returns to South Ferry

Wednesday, April 03, 2013


On Thursday, New Yorkers will ride the subway like it's 1999.

Or really 2009, because that's the last time the old South Ferry station saw action.

The formerly decommissioned station is being pressed back into service while the newer station -- heavily damaged by Superstorm Sandy -- undergoes extensive repairs that could take several years. The old station is built around a tight curve in the tracks at the Lower Manhattan terminus of the 1 line that subway trains sometimes use to turn around. And the platform is shorter than the length of a train: passengers using the retro station will need to sit in the first five cars to exit.
Related: Old South Ferry Station, Replaced At a Cost of $530 Million, Pressed Back Into Service

South Ferry is used by tens of thousands of Staten Island Ferry riders. Their convenient connection to the 1 train was lost when Sandy flooded the new South Ferry station. Since then, the 1 line has been starting and ending at Rector Street, which inserts a ten minute walk into Staten Islanders' already long commutes.

Related: Video: South Ferry Subway Station, Post-Sandy

The MTA estimated several weeks ago that returning service to the decommissioned station would cost about $2 million. (Read about the scope of the work here.) Meanwhile, restoring service to the three-year old station destroyed by Sandy will cost about 300 times more.

Workers restoring the old South Ferry station (photo courtesy of NY MTA)

Related: To Replace One Station After Sandy, A Cost of $600 Million

The MTA is still working on restoring another post-Sandy subway service gap: A train service to the Rockaways.

The South Ferry subway station, flooded during Sandy, will take years to replace. (Photo by Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin)

 

 

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WNYC News

More Dunes for Staten Island, but Not for One Hard-Hit Neighborhood

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The New York City Parks Department will begin building dunes and berms next month in several places along the East Shore of Staten Island, but it is not reinforcing one of the hardest hit areas: Midland Beach.

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WNYC News

Lessons of Flood Buyouts from Around the Country

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

A couple dozen homeowners on Staten Island’s South Shore registered Tuesday to have their Sandy-damaged homes bought by New York state. They are the first of potentially hundreds of Sandy victims in both New York and New Jersey who may choose to sell their homes rather than repair them.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

NY Corruption; N. Korea Threat; Digestion; Gun Rules

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Following corruption charges against New York State Senator Malcolm Smith and New York City Councilman Dan Halloran, two good government advocates discuss just how deep corruption runs in New York State politics. Plus: whether North Korea's threats are just bluster; author Mary Roach on everything you need to know about digestion; changing gun rules; rebuilding resources post-Sandy; and the New Museum's 1993 exhibit.