Sandy Update: WTC PATH service to resume MondayBy
The video atop this post is a 35-second glimpse at the power of floodwaters. During Hurricane Sandy, the storm surge, as we know, knocked out many of the MTA’s services, but New York City’s Transit Authority got most of the subway up and running within a week. In New Jersey, PATH suffered more severe damage and has been slower to come back, but starting Monday morning, the World Trade Center link will reopen.
Over the weekend, Governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie announced the resumption of limited service between the World Trade Center stop, Exchange Place in Jersey City and points west. The WTC PATH line will run from Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. with stops at Newark, Harrison, Journal Square, Grove Street and Exchange Place and in New York at the World Trade Center. Hoboken, though, remains shuttered due to extensive damage.
The Port Authority, a two-state entity, has not been nearly as forthcoming with information about the damage its PATH system sustained or its efforts at repair as the MTA has been. We’ve seen limited images of the tunnels and little word of ongoing work. For thousands of riders who rely on the connection between Exchange Place and the World Trade Center, the restoration of even limited service is welcome news, and that workers put in the hours non-stop over the Thanksgiving weekend should not be overlooked.
The release from the two governors’ offices contained more information on the efforts to restore service. Right now, there is no weekend service so workers can continue to make “the remaining necessary repair work.” Additionally, when the WTC line reenters service on Monday morning, the 33rd St. line will resume trips between Journal Square and 33rd St. with all station stops in Manhattan. On weekends, the 33rd St. line will stop at Harrison and Newark as well.
As to Hoboken, the release sums it up: “Service at the Hoboken station, which saw unprecedented and widespread flooding remains suspended due to the fact vital switching equipment was destroyed and cannot be salvaged. Crews are working 24/7 to replace the signal equipment and restore communications in the tunnels, a process that is expected to take several weeks.”
For now, ferry service and shuttle buses will continue to offer additional transit options for riders from Hoboken who are left without their PATH service, and as repairs continue, it’s imperative to begin discussing ways to avoid these problems in the future. Whether the answer lies in tunnel plugs, flood doors or an as-yet-undiscussed solution, the region needs to begin planning for the next storm now. It’s only a matter of time before we get another.
Meanwhile, we should also remember not to take transit and its workers for granted. The storm hit four weeks ago, and only a few isolated trouble spots remain. Overall, the MTA and, to a similar extent, Port Authority have put in some diligent work restoring the system. We now know what these agencies can accomplish when faced with a crisis. Can they transport those experiences to day-to-day operations and long-term capital construction projects?