Transit geeks and disaster preparedness experts, unite: NYU Wagner’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management today released a report documenting the preparation and response of New York City transit providers to Hurricane Sandy.
With the post-Sandy restoration of New York’s subway service now practically the stuff of legend, the Rudin Center report fills in some of the remaining gaps, detailing what was done in anticipation of the storm and suggesting what could be done better next time disaster hits.
These recommendations range from the obvious (change building codes to move generators from basements and bottom floors to higher floors) to the why-didn’t-they-think-of-this-before (install backup power for subway pump systems) to the moderately progressive (increase bus rapid transit when subways have service issues). Given the widespread flooding in Lower Manhattan and much of the outer boroughs, the report recommends installing porous pavement to drain floodwaters back to the sea. And as a frequent refugee up on the traffic-clogged wasteland of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, I’d personally be partial to opening the suspension bridge up to pedestrian and bike traffic.
The report also details how New Yorkers dealt with a largely paralyzed transit system immediately following the storm. Note the changes in travel habits in the pie charts above, and the varying commute times for residents of different boroughs below. As a bonus, the report concludes with accounts from two regional commuters on how they personally managed to get around in Sandy’s aftermath.
Even niftier than the report, however, is an accompanying interactive timeline that shows the changing status of transportation in the city leading up to and following the storm. Complete with YouTube videos and maps, the timeline chronicles the shutdown and gradual restoration of New York’s transit system from October 26, when Mayor Michael Bloomberg activated the city’s coastal storm plan, to November 15, when ferry service began running between the Rockaways and Manhattan.
There will likely be much more about transit planning and Hurricane Sandy published in the near and far future alike. But here’s an early resource for those of us who want to
procrastinate at work do initial research into the topic.