A portion of the ceiling crumbled onto the 18th Avenue N train platform this morning. Repairs for the station are not scheduled until October 2014. (Photo by Brian Hedden)
THE COMMUTE: I’m not talking about crime, but rather the other type of safety. Will the subway derail? Will a chunk of the ceiling fall on your head? Will the train fall off of an elevated bridge? Will the platform crumble because of inadequate supports? That type of safety.
If your first reaction is that the chance of something like that happening is slim to none, think again. After all, we rely on government to make sure the food and water we drink is safe and that the subways are safe, too. We do that through periodic inspections of infrastructure and equipment. But are these performed in an adequate and timely manner to ensure we are protected and problems fixed before they become life threatening?
We would like to think so.
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The D train rumbles over the Manhattan Bridge. Source: Wikipedia
THE COMMUTE: English is a funny language. If we don’t like someone we might say we don’t like them because they are “stubborn” and that’s bad. If we like them, we say that same person is “persistent” and that’s a good quality, when it’s really the same thing. Similarly, the MTA may want to get rid of a bus route because it’s “duplicative,” meaning a nearby route serves the same function and it is not necessary. If they want to retain two duplicative routes, then the routes are no longer considered “duplicative.” Then they are called “parallel.” In essence we still are talking about the same thing.
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Thomas F. Prendergast, new MTA chairman and former president of MTA New York City Transit (center) speaks to the press. Source: Patrick Cashin for the MTA / Flickr
THE COMMUTE: It was announced on Friday that, after 100 days without a permanent chairman, the former head of New York City Transit, Thomas Prendergast, who had been sharing the responsibilities with Fernando Ferrer, has been named the sole MTA Chairman and CEO. That is good news. We finally have someone who knows the system. We don’t have to give on-the-job training to a real estate mogul, someone whose primary credentials are finances (i.e. the past two chairmen), or a former transit head from another city. We all know that New York is not like any other major city and its transportation system and needs are unique. Continue Reading »
Damage wrought to Manhattan’s South Ferry train station, which was completely submerged from the storm surge. Source: Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin
THE COMMUTE: It is not too often that I compliment the MTA for a job well done. Regular readers of this column know most of my commentary toward the MTA usually is negative, but not this time. First, they did a tremendous job protecting the equipment from flooding by moving subways and buses to higher ground before the storm, as well as other protective measures to prevent damage to rolling stock and equipment. Then they worked ‘round the clock to remove standing water, clear debris, and check every foot of the system to ensure it was safe for service to return. That certainly was a monumental task. I just hope everyone doesn’t forget the storm in six months when elected officials start crying about MTA overtime. Overtime is not a bad thing in times such as these.
I spent nearly 25 years working for the MTA and saw firsthand what many of the problems were. However, this is not the time to discuss them. Suffice it to say that my co-workers would often compare the MTA, specifically New York City Transit, to a dysfunctional family. Squabbling between departments hinder many tasks from being completed efficiently. Those are during normal times, but not when there is a crisis. During those times, the MTA usually excels.
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THE COMMUTE: Ned heard my name for the first time when I emailed him in March 2010 with my testimony opposing the Brooklyn bus service cuts at the public hearing held in the Brooklyn Museum of Art. That was shortly after I discovered Sheepshead Bites. He quoted a significant portion of my testimony for a story and ultimately asked me to become a regular contributor. At that hearing, I was the only person who spoke out against the B4’s proposed elimination, at all times, east of Coney Island Hospital.
Find out what we can learn from our fight for the B4.
It's (going to be) back! Victory! (Photo by Allan Rosen)
YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: After petitions, public workshops and letters from local officials, the MTA will announce today that the B4 bus line will be fully restored by January 2013.
The fate of the line, which had weekend and off-peak service axed in 2010 east of Ocean Parkway, was unclear earlier this week, when Sheepshead Bites reported that the agency was considering major improvements across the borough. But local leaders told Sheepshead Bites that MTA officials informed them this morning that the agencies plan to announce that the B4, as well as other diminished lines across Southern Brooklyn, will see full or partial restorations.
The B4′s restoration already has locals elated, including members of the Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association, which collected more than 2,000 signatures to a petition demanding the agency bring back the line to Emmons Avenue, Shore Parkway and Knapp Street.
“I am just so glad. Everybody is going to be so thrilled,” said Kathy Flynn, president of the SBPB Civic, upon hearing the news. “This is going to help everyone who has to go to the hospital, the clinic, the businesses, anyone who has to visit, as well as the disabled in the area. People who commute to Manhattan every day, they only have to take one bus to the station. It’s going to save a lot of people a lot of time and a lot of stress.”
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