Home Asides This post is delayed by Super Bowl party clean-up ahead of it

This post is delayed by Super Bowl party clean-up ahead of it

by Benjamin Kabak

I’m too busy trying to figure out what the Seahawks’ coaches were doing on 2nd and goal with time running out and the Super Bowl trophy within their grasps to think of much else tonight. I also need to continue to clean up from the part the Future Mrs. Second Ave. Sagas and I hosted tonight so you’re stuck without much in the way of original content. If you’d like to read up on more about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s overreaction to last week’s snow forecast, check out Kate Hinds’ piece on how at least some subway service should run no matter the winter weather. According to the WNYC reporter’s interviews with MTA sources and other transit experts in the know, even with an historic blizzard bearing down on New York City, the MTA could run service through most of its system. For its part, the MTA is looking at “amending [winter] plans moving forward.” Clearly, this won’t be the last we hear of this story.

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42 comments

John-2 February 2, 2015 - 4:41 am

Since the governor neither wants to admit a mistake nor apologize, I’d assume he’s tasked the MTA to somehow rehash the agency’s snow emergency plans and package it as if it’s something new, so Andrew can peddle it to the public as some revolutionary new procedure he’s enacted for their benefit. And if the reports are anything like the one in the Daily News late last week, most of the media will simply parrot back whatever Cuomo’s saying.

That second down play will go down in history, like the Giants’ Pisarcek-to-Czonka handoff back in 1978 as one of the most legendary offensive play disasters in NFL history (and when they do the 50th anniversary review of the Super Bowl next year, it will be No. 1 on the list of all-time worst Super Bowl calls).

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SEAN February 2, 2015 - 10:26 am

As someone who is visually challenged, it blows my mind that even I could figure out what the correct play call should have been considering the time remaining & the defensive whole the patriots found them selves in.

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EN February 2, 2015 - 10:58 am

Simple. Instead of Plan I through V, it’ll be Plan A through E. New and improved!

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Spendmor Wastemor February 2, 2015 - 11:48 am

That puts Prendergast in a tough spot: He can
i) please the boss by falsely accusing himself of being unprepared, while he already had plan 5 in effect and ran the trains all night, both good calls. Plan 5 is more than enough operational re-juggling, though it should include plows on all trains running on vulnerable lines – like the A and perhaps B/Q.

ii) be less of a toady by not directly criticizing the gov and announcing that MTA will implement exactly the same plans they had already developed, with the change being that they will use the plans instead of a system wide shutdown.

Someone also needs to call AndyBoy on his hundreds of extra weather stations BS. We have enough weather stations, and more of them within the state only tells you what local conditions are after the weather has already arrived. Andy is attempting use the shocking fact that New England weather can’t be precisely predicted as an excuse for brain-dead ninny management.

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Jerrold February 2, 2015 - 10:14 am

Ben, WHEN IS your wedding day?

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Patrick O'Hara February 2, 2015 - 12:07 pm

Some brief food for thought on the snow plans: There are currently 5 (7) trains stuck between stations after third rail icing knocked out power to several sections of that line. One of the train’s is without heat. Third rail icing was a problem after the last storm too, so it’s not like snow is the one and only obstacle. (Third rail icing can even effect underground trains too, as long as it’s cold enough and damp enough underground; snow or water seeping through cracks or street grates can get onto the third rail and freeze as well).

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adirondacker12800 February 2, 2015 - 12:13 pm

No no no. All the solons commenting here insist underground trains are immune to things like drifing snow and icing. After all it’s never been a problem the 5 and half years they’ve been paying attention.

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Theorem Ox February 2, 2015 - 1:05 pm

Ad, that would have been a very good point to bring up… IF the problems reported were happening on subway lines that’s mostly underground.

The Flushing line is elevated for most of its length, except for 6 stations (Main Street station & stations near the Steinway Tunnels)

Don’t see much issues related to freezing for the lines running mostly underground.

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Patrick O'Hara February 2, 2015 - 1:33 pm

Freezing can occour anywhere there is both moisture and cold air. I have seen both moisture and cold air underground during the winter, so freezing can certainly be a concern there as well.

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Bolwerk February 2, 2015 - 1:55 pm

How often have you seen ambient temperatures below freezing in subways?

Even if it’s possible, the sort of cold that accompanies snow in this region probably isn’t cold enough.

Patrick O'Hara February 2, 2015 - 3:25 pm

I’ve been pretty cold at times underground, and with trains rushing past, they can often push along cold air in front of them. During winter, Amtrak routinely has trouble with giant icicles forming in the East River and North River tunnels, because trains and people bring cold air into them with them.

Bolwerk February 2, 2015 - 9:23 pm

I don’t mean to say no ice could ever form anywhere in the subway system. You expect it at points where cold outside air comes in contact with warmer, more humid tunnel air, such as near tunnel mouths. Still, the same movement of trains also pushing ambient heat around the system. And “pretty cold” to you is probably still well above freezing.

Having it interrupt service is unlikely, and Adirondack’s idea about significant snow drifting in the subway through grates is rather absurd.

adirondacker12800 February 3, 2015 - 12:13 am

It gets below zero in New York City now and then. All sorts of odd and peculiar things happen when it gets that cold.

Bolwerk February 4, 2015 - 4:15 pm

If you mean 0C, sure. Happens all the time. 0F (~-18C) is more rare. It happens, but AFAIK usually not with snow. Snow likes “warm” (relatively speaking) moist air, so our snowstorms will tend to see temperatures -7C (~20F) and above.

Spendmor Wastemor February 2, 2015 - 2:00 pm

Within the confines of the subway tunnels, 650 volts x billyuns of amps kicks the isht out of any ice foolish enough to venture there.

adirondacker12800 February 2, 2015 - 2:24 pm

Ice is a pretty good insulator. Not great but compared to liquid water pretty good at insulating things. Which is why the trains get very very sad and stop running when there is ice on the third rail. Which is why Metro North is bit more successful running when the temperature is hovering around freezing. They use the underside of the third rail to collect the current and it’s less likely to have ice stuck to it. Trains with two pantographs will run with the leading one up and disconnected, to scrape off the ice, so that the trailing one is more likely to make contact. At 12,500 volts in the case of Metro North and Amtrak’s older parts of the Northeast Corridor. or 25,000 volts on almost everything else.

adirondacker12800 February 2, 2015 - 2:15 pm

How useful is it to run the Flushing line as a shuttle between Times Square and Hunterspoint Avenue. Or worse between Times Square and Grand Central. When almost no one is traveling because they rubbed two brain cells together and decided it’s not a good idea to be wandering around when there is going to be 30 inches of snow.

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Theorem Ox February 2, 2015 - 4:00 pm

“How useful is it to run the Flushing line as a shuttle between Times Square and Hunterspoint Avenue. Or worse between Times Square and Grand Central.”

Better than nothing at all.

I’ve had to walk home from school / work when transit services were unexpectedly suspended in large scale due to multiple equipment breakdowns, sudden inclement weather, acts of terrorism, etc.

Any operating service that helps reduce walking distance is always appreciated (and in terrible weather like today moreso). I’m sure that I’m not the only one thinking this way.

“When almost no one is traveling because they rubbed two brain cells together and decided it’s not a good idea to be wandering around when there is going to be 30 inches of snow.”

I agree in principle, but that’s not how real life in the city works.

City residents have come to expect certain services and even conveniences to be available at virtually all times – come heaven or high hell. People manning the services have to be there either as a condition of employment (sometimes involving the force of law) or as a matter of necessity (Many independently owned and operated stores don’t have as much slack to stay afloat as in the decades past with higher costs to do business, thinner margins and less reserve money. It can be profitable to be one of the open stores where others are closed).

Everybody do not have the luxury to take the day off at what would otherwise be a very prudent time.

adirondacker12800 February 2, 2015 - 6:40 pm

You had hours and hours and hours of time to get onto the subway before it stopped running unlike during a blackout.
Adults can cope with having to change their plans because the weather is going to be especially lousy. They cope with things like blackouts and hurricanes and blizzards. Or all the other things that happen in a big city to disrupt their plans.

Bolwerk February 2, 2015 - 8:27 pm

Usually adults can cope with being wrong too. Why can’t you?

adirondacker12800 February 2, 2015 - 8:44 pm

why can’t you? I’m old enough to remember the Blackout of 1965 and all the other times the subway was crippled or out of service since then. The planet didn’t implode. If there was going to be 30 inches of snow the responsible response is to close the system down so it can be back in service as soon as possible and do it in way that allows people to alter their plans and shelter somewhere. Whether at that is at home or someplace their employer arranged.

Bolwerk February 2, 2015 - 9:27 pm

Yes, yes, you’re old. We get it. How does it make you any less wrong?

power outages != snow storms != hurricanes

And the MTA itself said shutting the system down would have made it harder to get it back online. So make something else up already.

adirondacker12800 February 3, 2015 - 12:16 am

And you refuse to recognize that the governor and the mayor were not closing down the system for the snow that fell. They were closing down the system for the snow that was expected to fall which hadn’t happened since 1947. So once in your working life one of the many times the system gets closed for one reason or another was because the people responsible for making those kinds of decisions made the responsible one.

Bolwerk February 3, 2015 - 11:44 am

Stop. Until you can keep your facts straight, don’t tell people what they recognize and don’t recognize and don’t superciliously hector people about what “responsibility” is.

I know what the governor said his excuse was. I also know the system didn’t shut down in 1947, and I know the mayor was kept out of the loop. Reality just doesn’t agree with you on this. Sorry.

sonicboy678 February 3, 2015 - 11:47 am

Two things:

1. The system was not being shut down by the mayor.

2. Cuomo was reacting as if we were to be buried in 7 feet of snow like Buffalo, a vastly different kind of city, was last year.

adirondacker12800 February 3, 2015 - 4:05 pm

Many of us have a different perspective than you. The Governor and the Mayor made the right choice.

sonicboy678 February 3, 2015 - 9:53 pm

Define “many of us.”

adirondacker12800 February 3, 2015 - 11:45 pm

The vast majority of people who stayed home because there was gonna be 30 inches of snow?

sonicboy678 February 4, 2015 - 1:27 am

You mean the people who chose to bury their heads in the sand or the people who ended up having little choice simply because most places were closed during that time? By your claim, it’s the former whereas I’m banking on the circumstances favoring the latter.

Bolwerk February 4, 2015 - 3:58 pm

Everyone is the same and should just do what adirondacker tells ’em. If they don’t, they’re stupid and irresponsible and deserve whatever bad things happen to them.

adirondacker12800 February 2, 2015 - 6:23 pm

You had hours and hours and hours, before service shut down, to get yourself home.

sonicboy678 February 3, 2015 - 11:59 am

This is assuming that one could afford to drop everything early and leave wherever to get home.

adirondacker12800 February 4, 2015 - 12:32 pm

Yes you can afford to drop everything and head home early when the prediction is for 30 inches of snow. Or not even leave for work. Just like you do when there is a hurricane coming. People who didn’t leave home when Sandy came through because they were going to leave when it got bad, got to stay home until emergency services removed their body.
Sometimes your very very important life gets discombobulated for a few hours.

Bolwerk February 4, 2015 - 4:14 pm

It’s rather amazing just how out of touch you are with the types of demands work put on everyday people. Not very many of us have your luxury to laze around a Florida condo condescending about how everyone else lives.

High winds and especially floods made Sandy an imminent threat to safety. 30 or 40 or even 50 inches of snow simply does not qualify as such. If a little white on the ground makes your pants run brown, stay in if you want. But leave the rest of us alone.

al February 2, 2015 - 5:18 pm

Apparently, there was an electrical short due to a dropped umbrella. That caused a breaker somewhere to trip. Which in turn caused the 3rd rail to de-energize. That in turn caused the heater strip and 3rd rail electric current to cease generating heat. Combine less heat in freezing temperatures with moisture on the 3rd rail and it caused this mess.

As long as the umbrella was still there, they can’t safely re-energize the 3rd rail.

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Spendmor Wastemor February 2, 2015 - 4:05 pm

“Which is why Metro North is bit more successful running when the temperature is hovering around freezing. They use the underside of the third rail to collect the current..”

Obviously MNR is smarter. It also makes it at least conceivable to insulate the top and sides of the rail to reduce the number of people cooked by 700 volts… but imho there should never be a 3rd rail at ground level outside a train yard. That was outlawed in places, should be outlawed everywhere.

Ice does insulate much better than water, true that. But within a tunnel I’d think the rate of ice building up can’t match the wearing action of the metal contact shoes.

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adirondacker12800 February 2, 2015 - 6:29 pm

Depends on how cold the rail is, what temperature the water is at went it hits the rail and how much of it there is.

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John S February 2, 2015 - 7:33 pm

I should know better, but oh…give it a rest. You seem to be trying to pick fights with people. Common sense dictates that ice is far less likely to happen in the underground tunnels. You’re splitting hairs and what you describe /could/ happen, but it’s quite unlikely.

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adirondacker12800 February 2, 2015 - 7:38 pm

Less likely. Not impossible.

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JJJJ February 2, 2015 - 7:34 pm

Something to consider:

Looks like the storm today killed the entire MBTA system. Official tweet:
“Please seek alternate transportation”

Green line, red line, blue line, orange line and commuter rail all suffering major delays and stranded trains

Blue Line experiencing severe delays due to a switch problem at Orient Heights

Green Line experiencing moderate delays

Shuttle buses replacing Green Line B branch service between Packards Corner & Boston College due to disabled train

Green Line B branch experiencing moderate delays due to disabled train at Warren Street

Buses replacing Mattapan Trolley service between Ashmont and Mattapan Stations on Monday, February 2, from start to end of service due to severe weather.

Orange Line experiencing moderate delays due to a disabled train at Forest Hills

Red Line experiencing severe delays. Buses replacing Braintree branch service JFK-Braintree. Use alternate Commuter Rail service where available

Fitchburg/South Acton Line Train 423 (5:50 pm from North Station) delayed today due to switch problem. Is operating approximately 15-20 minutes late.

Fitchburg/South Acton Line Trains 425 (6:20 pm from North Station) and 430 (8:25 pm from Fitchburg) cancelled today.

Framingham/Worcester Line Train 531 (5:35 pm from South Station) and 3 other trains delayed today due to snow. 40-60 min delay

Lowell Line Train 339 (7:30 pm from North Station) cancelled today

etc etc etc

….Silver Line BRT, on the other hand, zero reported issues.

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johndmuller February 2, 2015 - 8:35 pm

Cuomo ought to just man up and admit that he made a mistake – a small excess of concern for all of our well-beings, blah, blah, blah. It’s not like his call lost the Super-Bowl or anything. Maybe the respect he could gain would help his credibility deficit.

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sonicboy678 February 3, 2015 - 11:50 am

For comparing NYC to Buffalo? Yeah, I don’t see that happening.

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