A South Ferry reopening sooner or laterBy
It’s been three and a half months since Sandy stormed through the city, and the MTA is still hedging its bets on South Ferry. A month ago, I toured the destruction, and today, MTA interim Executive Director Tom Prendergast took questions from the City Council on the agency’s plans. The MTA wants to restore some service in the South Ferry vicinity within the next two or three months but feels a full station rebuild will take two or three years. And there’s still no set plan for what’s next.
The news coming out of the City Council hearing is vague, but that’s because Prendergast’s comments were vague. Downtown Express trumpets a grand reopening by the end of 2014 while both the Express and The Wall Street Journal talk about a staged opening. Here’s how, according to The Journal’s Ted Mann, it all went down today:
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority could begin a “staged reopening” of the South Ferry subway station in lower Manhattan as soon as two to three months from now, the agency’s transit chief said Tuesday. Full restoration of the station – the terminal of the No. 1 train, which was destroyed by flooding from superstorm Sandy – is still expected to take as long as three years, said Thomas Prendergast, the MTA’s acting executive director…But with commuters, particularly those coming off the Staten Island Ferry, still struggling with the loss of a major transit link, the agency cannot wait that long, Prendergast said.
One option the MTA is now considering: reopening the old loop-shaped South Ferry station to passengers…The agency is considering whether it could reopen that old platform to customers in order to provide limited service to South Ferry, Prendergast said. “In the next two to three months we want to get it up and running,” Prendergast said, saying it would be “unacceptable” to make commuters wait until the full station rebuilding is finished.
After his remarks, which came during an appearance at the City Council’s Transportation Committee, Prendergast backed off that timetable, saying he would offer no estimate of when service could be restored. But a firm plan was expected to be completed in the next several months, he said.
The MTA later stressed that the two-to-three month timetable was not really on the table, and even the reactivation of the old South Ferry loop station — if everything were to go according to plan — would take longer than that. Rather, they hope to have a plan for reactivation within the next two or three months. (For what it’s worth, there is another report on SubChat about some work quietly taking place at the old South Ferry loop, including some tiling and freshening up.)
So basically we know what we already know, and we don’t know much new. The MTA still doesn’t have a concrete idea of how to restore service to South Ferry any time soon; they could look at reactivating the loop despite some challenges there; and they want to harden the new station as they rebuild it. It might be mid-May before the public even sees a rebuilding plan or it may be just months until some service starts up again. Either way, Sandy hit in late October, the South Ferry has been without train service since then.