As I sit here in Florida, visiting for the weekend, in the outer bands of rain that form a part of Hurricane Sandy, the storm itself is taking aim at the East Coast. It’s unclear where exactly it will hit, but New York is likely to get slammed with high winds and a lot of rain. When Irene arrived last year, the MTA shut down the subways, and this year’s storm could be worse. So what do you need to know?
Well, for starters, most weekend work has been canceled. Only the work on the 7 and J trains will continue, and that lasts only through Saturday. The advisories are at the end of this post. For now, the MTA is planning on running normal service through at least Saturday, but storm preparations are in place. Crews have tarped and sandbagged flood-prone areas, and according to Mayor Bloomberg’s Friday press conference, if wind speeds, rainfall and storm surges dictate, the MTA could begin shutting down the system as Sandy approaches.
Officially, the MTA hasn’t determined its course of action. As Kevin Ortiz, agency spokesman, said via his Twitter account, “No decision has been made whether to suspend some/all service in advance of the storm, but ample notice will be provided of any suspension.” I’ll update the site as news breaks.
The MTA, meanwhile, has taken an all-hands-on-deck approach with customer service areas coming online and officials keeping abreast of the situation. “Our first priority is always safety, and the MTA is taking no chances with the safety of our customers, our employees and our equipment,” MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota said. “We are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. Whatever happens, we’ll be ready.”
Stay tuned for more. Here are the current and only changes this weekend:
From 11:45 p.m. Friday, October 26 to 1 a.m., Sunday, October 28, there are no 7 trains between Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza due to work on Flushing CBTC signal system. E N Q S and free shuttle buses provide alternate service.
- Use E N Q trains between Manhattan and Queens. (Q service is extended to Ditmars Blvd.)
- Free shuttle buses run between Vernon Blvd-Jackson Avenue and Queensboro Plaza.
- In Manhattan, 42nd Street S shuttle operates overnight.
From 5:45 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, October 27, there are no J trains between Brooklyn and Manhattan due to the bi-annual inspection of the Williamsburg Bridge. Free shuttle buses make J station stops at Hewes Street, Marcy Avenue and Essex Street. J trains operate in two sections:
- Between Jamaica Center and Hewes Street
- Between Essex Street and Chambers Street, every 15 minutes.
Transfer between trains and shuttle buses at Hewes Street or Essex Street.