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Sandy

WNYC News

Areas of Staten Island Hard Hit by Sandy Mull Buyout Option

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Staten Island neighborhood where three people died during Sandy will be the first to get state-sponsored home buyouts. Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined the planned program during a visit to the borough on Monday.

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WNYC News

Deadly Topography: The Staten Island Neighborhood Where 11 Died During Sandy

Monday, February 25, 2013

When Sandy hit, one section of Staten Island's Eastern Shore was particularly vulnerable: it sits in a bowl, several feet below a road that usually protects it from storm surges. See where 11 people died when the storm surged.

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WNYC News

Remember Sandy's Long Gas Lines? It Could Happen Again

Monday, February 25, 2013

For 12 days after Sandy slammed into the Mid-Atlantic coast on October 29, Tim Arata sat in the dark at his family-owned gas station in suburban Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, waiting for the lights to come back on.

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WNYC News

Automatic Federal Cuts Would Hit Sandy Aid

Sunday, February 24, 2013

WNYC

The cuts in federal spending called for by the debt ceiling deal between the Republican-controlled Congress and President Obama in 2011 are set to take effect Friday and without some last minute reprieve, the cuts will have an impact on Sandy reconstruction efforts. 

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WNYC News

Parks Department Proposals for Beach Roil Rockaway Residents

Friday, February 22, 2013

Will the beaches in the Rockaways, badly damaged by Sandy, be ready for the summer? 

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WNYC News

Calls for Better Evacuation Plans for the Infirm

Friday, February 22, 2013

As state panels prepare final recommendations for improving disaster preparedness, advocates and experts point to a series of failures in evacuating and housing some of society’s most vulnerable citizens.

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Transportation Nation

Former MTA Chief Offers Fresh Details on Sandy Prep

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Former MTA chief Joe Lhota, currently a GOP candidate for mayor in New York City, offered fresh details on how the nation's largest transit authority prepared for the state's most destructive storm.

Speaking on the Brian Lehrer Show, Lhota said there were "numerous different planning events, tabletop exercises, including management as well as labor.  That's a very important part of why the system came back as quickly as possible."

Lhota said that as soon as the extent of the storm surge became apparent, the MTA removed electronic relay boxes in the subway tracks.  "By virtue of taking them out they weren't affected by the salt water. It made all the difference in the world."

Lhota resigned as MTA chief December 31 to run in the 2013 mayoral election as a Republican. He said Wednesday that he was in discussions as early as last June about running, but that he didn't make up his mind until after Sandy.

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Transportation Nation

NJ Gov Christie: "Chewed Away" Shore Road Will Be Rebuilt

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A coastal Jersey roadway ravaged by Sandy will take two years and over $215 million to repair.

Aerial photographs of the Mantoloking Bridge and Route 35, before and after Sandy (image by NASA Goddard Photo and Video via flickr)

Speaking Tuesday in the shore town of Lavalette, Governor Chris Christie said the state has received federal funding to rehabilitate a 12.5 mile stretch of Route 35 running from Point Pleasant Beach to Island Beach State Park.  The road, which is a block from the Atlantic Ocean, "sustained some of the most severe damage in the state," said Christie. "Thousands of truckloads of debris and sand" were removed in the days after the storm, he said, and the road was "chewed away" in places. In Mantoloking (see above), the storm cut a new inlet between the ocean and the bay.

Christie said the scope of the damage left him with a decision: "Build back to where we were, or rebuild better and stronger." He added: "our decision is to rebuild better and rebuild now."

The new roadbed will be 24 inches thick instead of the current eight -- incorporating both an asphalt pavement top and sub-base materials to act as drainage and stabilization. There will also be a new drainage system and pump stations. "The new system will be built to handle 25-year storms, which is the maximum attainable given the peninsula's geology," reads the press release.

That's reasonable, says Dr. Tom Bennert, pavement expert at Rutgers' Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation. He said  the force of the water generated by Sandy was tremendous.

"It would be very difficult for any structure, even pavement, to withstand that," he said. "A 25-year flood, based on the geology, based on the fact that there is quite a high water table in that area, you’re only going to be able to drain so much, is a very realistic target."

Bennert said he was glad to see the state pay attention to the drainage system, which he said is critical. "It’s kind of hard to visualize," Bennert says, "because when we’re driving on the road we just see the top. But really there’s six to 12 inches of asphalt below that, then granular material used as a foundation to support the asphalt."  That granular material provides drainage to make sure if water gets in, it doesn’t stay there.

Bennert also said Route 35 needed work even before Sandy hit. "A lot of our pavements in this state have lived past their design life," he said, and that includes Route 35.  "It was a pavement that was built quite a while ago and honestly...really needed to be reconstructed to begin with."

The project is being divided into three phases. The first section of the road to be repaired will be the northernmost stretch, which currently has just one travel lane open in each direction. Work will begin this summer.

According to New Jersey Department of Transportation spokesman Tim Greeley, "the Complete Streets model has been incorporated into our design for all three contracts." He says the state will be installing new sidewalks, as well as upgrading many existing intersections with ADA-compliant curb ramps, high visibility crosswalks and some pedestrian signal heads at certain locations.

Greeley adds: "While there are no dedicated bike lanes planned, the reconstructed roadway shoulders will be built to the same strength as the travel-lanes and will therefore provide a safer and smoother ride for cyclists."

The New Jersey Department of Transportation says that while it tries to limit summer construction along shore highways, work on Route 35 will be ongoing throughout 2013. At least one lane of traffic will be open in each direction at all times.

To watch Governor Christie make the funding announcement, see the video below.

For more, check out the WNYC series Life After Sandy.

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WNYC News

Long Beach Gathers Opinions from Residents, Visitors on Boardwalk Rebuilding

Monday, February 18, 2013

The city of Long Beach, Long Island is collecting opinions from residents and visitors, as it moves forward with plans to rebuild its boardwalk. Officials say they’re hoping to replace at least part of the more than two-mile boardwalk, which was heavily damaged by Sandy, in time for the summer season.

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WNYC News

Exiles Return: Months after Sandy, Adult Home Residents Go Back to the Rockaways

Saturday, February 16, 2013

More than three months after Sandy forced them to evacuate, the residents of Belle Harbor Manor in the Rockaways returned to their home on Thursday. It's the last of 22 evacuated adult residences to get its occupants back home.

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Transportation Nation

Steel Gates, Raised Roadbeds & Dunes: NYC Transpo After Sandy

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sandy flooded the Battery Park Underpass with 15 million gallons of water.

(New York, NY - WYNC) Now that post-Sandy repairs to New York's transportation infrastructure are in full swing, attention is shifting toward hardening the city's bridges, tunnels and roads against future storm surges.

U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood came to Manhattan to hand over $250 million to reimburse the city Department of Transportation for repairs it's making to its storm-damaged facilities. LaHood also said $5 billion is on the way to make those same facilities resilient in the face of future storms.

It's unclear how much of that money could come to New York City. But U.S. Senator Charles Schumer gave examples of how it could be spent locally.

"Once they repair the inside of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, they can put, if they choose, steel gates, to prevent another flood," he said. He also talked about raising coastal roads and building dunes to shelter highways from the ocean.

New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who joined LaHood and Schumer, said Sandy caused the city "$900 million worth of  damage to city roads, bridges, our ferry system, signals, signs--an extraordinary amount of damage."

By way of example, she said The Battery Park Underpass at the tip of Lower Manhattan was filled with 15 million gallons of water (see photo). When it comes to reducing that kind of vulnerability to storm damage, Sadik-Khan said her department "has a long way to go."

Schumer praised LaHood for delivering the $250 million in repair money less than a month after it's authorization by Congress, which he called "a world record" in the realm of post-disaster relief. He explained that the funds will be used in part to reimburse the city for repairs it has already undertaken.

"The mayor couldn't sit there and wait and say, 'We'll fix the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel when the federal money comes,'" he said. "The city had to lay out enormous sums of money."

Some of the money has been spent on repairing the vents and electrical system of the Battery Park Underpass , fixing flood-damaged parts of the Staten Island Ferry terminals, shoring up bridges, and replacing highway lights and guardrails.

Sadik-Khan said the mayor's office will release a report in May about how to harden the city's infrastructure against future storms, including roads and bridges .

 

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WNYC News

Hoboken Mayor Wants to Wall In Her City

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

For people who thought barriers around cities became unfashionable when the Berlin Wall fell two decades ago, consider this: The mayor of Hoboken, N.J., thinks walls may be the best way to protect this compact city of 50,000 from future storms like Sandy.

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Transportation Nation

Sandy's Cost to NJ Transit: One Year, $450 Million

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Post-Sandy debris (photo by NJ Transit via flickr)

New Jersey Transit says it could be next fall before service is restored to pre-Sandy levels. And the cost of its damage is now pegged at $450 million -- a $50 million increase over previous estimates.

Speaking Wednesday at a board meeting, NJ Transit executive director Jim Weinstein said the agency was still assessing the damage and putting together its request for federal aid. The $450 million figure includes approximately $100 million in damage to rail cars and locomotives, as well as approximately $20 million in lost revenue. Weinstein said insurance will be covering the damage to rail cars and locomotives, and the agency is also submitting a request to the Federal Transit Administration for funding.

But full recovery will take more than money. During the storm surge, replacement parts for rail cars and locomotives were damaged. And these are not off-the-shelf items. So Weinstein says bringing service back to pre-Sandy levels will take some more time. “All of the equipment back? I mean we're talking the better part of a year,” he said.

Right now, service is at about 94% of pre-Sandy levels. Weinstein said that number will increase further in March, when repairs are complete at Hoboken’s electrical substation, allowing the electric trains that ply the Gladstone and Morris & Essex Lines to operate again. Right now those lines must use diesel locomotives, which are slower than electric.

Also on the agency’s agenda: finding a more flood-proof rail yard. During Sandy, trains and equipment were stored in low-lying rail yards. Officials have maintained there was no need to move them because the areas had never flooded before. But now, the agency is looking to expand a rail yard south of New Brunswick to provide a safe harbor for trains and equipment during future storms. When asked if the new storage facility would be in place in time for hurricane season, Weinstein answered tersely.

"No, I don't want it to be in place by the next hurricane season," he said. "It will be in place by the next hurricane season."

 

 

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Transportation Nation

Port Authority Denies Sandy Damage Will Delay Completion Of World Trade Center Transpo Hub

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Part of the transportation hub under construction at The World Trade Center. (photo courtesy of NY-NJ Port Authority)

(New York, NY - WNYC) Pulses were sent racing today when it was apparently revealed that the World Trade Center transportation hub, already years behind schedule, had suffered another setback because of Sandy.

Cheryl McKissack Daniel, a consultant for the $3.8 billion project, told the New York Times that water damage had significantly pushed back the hub's completion date of 2015.

"And now, after Sandy, that added another year and a half to the whole project," she said. "Everything was flooded — everything was new and flooded. And all of that had to be replaced because it’s all electrical work."

Not so, say spokesmen for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Tishman Construction Corporation, which has a major hand in building the hub. It was designed by star architect Santiago Calatrava.

"The anticipated completion date for the World Trade Center transportation hub remains 2015," said the Port Authority's Anthony Hayes. Tishman spokesman Brendan Ranson-Walsh echoed the sentiment in an emailed statement:

"Ms. McKissack Daniel incorrectly informed The NY Times about the completion date of the WTC Transportation Hub. Per the Port Authority of NY and NJ, which is overseeing the project, the anticipated completion date of the Hub is 2015. No change in date has been announced by the Port Authority."

Hayes said further that no part of construction at the World Trade Center has been delayed by Sandy, even though the site was inundated with millions of gallons of water. "There has been no impact because of Sandy in terms of completion times at the World Trade Center," he said.

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WNYC News

Rockaway Beaches Won't Be Back to Normal for Summer: Army Corps

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Beaches in the Rockaways may not be back to pre-Sandy conditions by the start of summer, according to an official at the Army Corps of Engineers who updated residents of the hard-hit neighborhood during a community board meeting Tuesday night.

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Transportation Nation

NY MTA Might Re-Open The Old South Ferry Station, Just Don't Ask When

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

NY MTA shows Sandy damage to a control room at South Ferry Station at the southern tip of Manhattan. (photo courtesy of NY MTA)

(New York, NY – WNYC) The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority says it’ll take two to three years and $600 million dollars to completely repair the South Ferry subway station, shuttered since storm Sandy. In the meantime, the authority is looking for ways to partially re-open the station and restore 1 train service to the tip of Manhattan.

 “We can’t have the impacts that people are experiencing today” go on much longer, said MTA executive director Tom Prendergast.

He was referring to the thousands of riders who pour off the Staten Island Ferry each weekday and must now walk several blocks to connect to the 1 train. Before Sandy inundated South Ferry, those riders could catch the 1 train quickly and easily by entering the spacious station and walking down a flight of stairs.

The MTA won’t give a timeline for the station's partial re-opening. That led City Councilman David Greenfield to ask whether Prendergast could provide “a timeline on when you would have a firm timeline?”

Prendergast answered, “No.” But he later said the authority could offer a timeline in "two or three months." Prendergast said he’s ruled out shuttle buses to replace the missing train service because the buses can’t carry enough riders, even when "swinging low," which is transit-speak for full-to-bursting.

He added that the NY MYA is thinking about re-activating the old South Ferry station, a landmark that  was mothballed when the new station got a top-to-bottom rehab and expansion thanks to $545 million in post-9/11 recovery funds. (The new station opened in 2009.) But the old station, with its tightly curved tracks, would need platform extenders and new entrances.

"There's also some equipment that’s now mounted on the platform," said MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg.

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WNYC News

Causes of Sandy Flooding Rooted in Over Development

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

WNYC

New Jersey officials, led by Governor Chris Christie, have repeatedly cited the state's "Blue Acres" program  as a viable option for dealing with neighborhoods that were badly flooded in storms Sandy and Irene. The program buys property from homeowners and converts the area to a park. But for the thousands of New Jersey residents looking for a buyout, Blue Acres might as well be a unicorn.

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WNYC News

Many Sandy Families Stay Put and Brave Blizzard

Sunday, February 10, 2013

New York City officials say this weekend's snowstorm prompted 19 families, who had been toughing it out in their Sandy-damaged housing, to take the government up on its offer to provide hotel rooms. But non-profits groups say thousands more continue to make do in substandard housing.

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WNYC News

As Blizzard Looms, Officials on Edge About Some Sandy-Hit Residents

Friday, February 08, 2013

More than 100 days after Sandy struck the region, the impending blizzard has officials and social service non-profits worried about the thousands who maybe living in substandard housing damaged by the October storm.

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WNYC News

City Rats Displaced by Sandy Moved Inland, Residents Say

Thursday, February 07, 2013

If there's no such thing as bad press, it's a good week for rats in New York City.

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