Photo: Jim Edwards
Yesterday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his State of the State address.In the accompanying “NY Rising” book, he acknowledged the reality of climate change and the need to prepare New York’s infrastructure for stronger and more frequent storms.
Superstorm Sandy devastated New York City’s transportation network: Tunnels for subways and cars flooded, and full service still has not been completely restored.
To prevent future, costly flooding (the damage done to a single subway station will cost about $500 million to repair), Cuomo presented several measures. Here’s what he wants New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority and other State agencies and authorities to do, with federal assistance:
- Flood-proof subways and bus depots with vertical roll-down doors, vent closures, inflatable bladders, and upsized fixed pumps (with back-up power sources);
- Mitigate scour [swiftly flowing water] on road and rail bridges with strategically placed riprap [rubble] and other steps;
- Replace metal culverts [drains] with concrete on roads in flood-prone areas;
- Providing elevated or submersible pump control panels, pump feeders, and tide gates to address flood at vulnerable airports;
- Install reverse flow tide gates to prevent flooding of docks, berths, terminal facilities, and connecting road and rail freight systems, and harden or elevate communication and electrical power infrastructure that services port facilities; and
- Upgrade aged locks and movable dams to allow for reliable management of water levels and maintain embankments to protect surrounding communities from flooding.
To prevent the severe gasoline shortage caused by Sandy, Cuomo’s plan proposes requiring “gas stations in strategic locations” to have back-up power capacity, so they can distribute fuel during a power outage.
But some argue these plans, while practical and executable, do not go far enough.
Second Ave. Sagas, a blog about New York’s subway system, criticised Cuomo’s “lack of attention” to New York City’s transit needs, pointing out the 300 page plan mentions the MTA only once.
Transportation Nation notes Cuomo’s plan does not include the expansion of New York’s bus rapid transit system, called for in a draft report by the NYS 2100 Commission, created by Cuomo to improve New York’s emergency preparedness.
The argument for more buses is based on the idea that routes are flexible and do not rely on tunnels that can flood, so service can be restored quickly after a storm.
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