AP, via the AJC of all places, ‘What am I going to do?’ NYC subways ordered shut. The subways are shutting down??? This has never happened before. (For a storm, that is. The subway system did shut down after 9/11 and for a 2005 strike.)
But that’s not all. John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia airports are shutting down and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the first ever mandatory evacuation of low-lying waterfront areas of the city. All Broadway performances have been canceled for the weekend and the New York Mets canceled its games, the Jets and Giants postponed theirs.
This is unprecedented. (And comes eight months after the mayor’s under-reaction to the December blizzard.)
AP doesn’t like to be quoted by blogs (still, I linked) so let’s go to the WSJ:
New York City readied its vast mass-transit system for Hurricane Irene’s impact Friday, putting in motion a plan to stop running buses and trains Saturday afternoon in a city where more than half of households don’t own a car.
Bridges, tunnels and the Staten Island Ferry could be shut Sunday, too. Utilities also prepared for widespread power outages that could last for days. …
The plan to shut down mass transit was designed to protect a transportation infrastructure that’s more than a century old in some places. Much of it is ill-designed to withstand a large storm surge such as the one that Irene could bring.
New York City, after all, is an archipelago with only one borough—the Bronx—on the North American mainland. The yards where many subway and commuter trains are stored sit in low-lying areas like Coney Island and Far Rockaway that could end up under water.
The shutdown includes subways, buses, the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and Access-A-Ride. PATH and NJTransit will also be shutting down.
Before it shuts down, the city will lean on the MTA to evacuate people from areas at risk of flooding. The agency won’t charge bus fares citywide or subway and rail fares in evacuation zones. It’s also suspending tolls on bridges to the Rockaways and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
Daily Intel remembers the Hurricane that hit NY in 1821, which saw flooding and destruction in the growing metropolis. In less than an hour a thirteen-foot storm surge deluged the city, swallowing everything below Canal Street.