Home Manhattan Rumor: Transit crews surveying the old South Ferry

Rumor: Transit crews surveying the old South Ferry

by Benjamin Kabak

No matter what, all of the equipment in the South Ferry control room will have to be replaced. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak)

Despite our dalliances with the question, the MTA has spent the better part of the last few months vowing to rebuild the new South Ferry terminal despite the damage is sustained during Sandy. With aid money flowing and Staten Island officials griping, the MTA has vowed to speed up the job, but how?

Tonight, an interesting service alert popped up on the MTA’s website. There is no 1 train service south of Chambers St. tonight. Why? A post on SubChat may have an answer:

For what it’s worth, we have an emergency G/O out of nowhere taking place Tuesday night and Wednesday, shutting down the (1) line below Chambers Street for a “survey of old South Ferry Station”.

A friend of mine who works on the (1) line also reports that crews have been stripping tiles and cleaning up on the platform, as well as doing some sort of work on the gap fillers.

Due diligence or something more? I’ll let you decide. Keep in mind, though, that anything that happens at the old South Ferry would be but a temporary measure that’s far from seeing the light of day. The station, as I noted a few days ago, has been taken over by NYC DOT and is being used for both crew quarters and storage. Gap filters need to be replaced, and the station complex itself has to be cleaned up. It also suffered water damage.

Even if something happens at the old South Ferry loop, though, that will not preclude the MTA from restoring the new terminal. First, the agency will still have to address the signal equipment and control tower destroyed by Sandy, and rebuilding that infrastructure is very costly. Second, the MTA has received the promise of funds to rebuild the station, and as with any earmarked federal expenditure, it can’t shift those dollars elsewhere. For what it’s worth, though, it sounds as though the MTA is leaning toward gutting the new South Ferry and essentially rebuilding it due to the infiltration of corrosive salt water.

I’ll try to find out more tomorrow, but here’s what I think is happening: The MTA is doing what it must to assess the station and determine if it’s possible to restore some temporary service to the loop station. That doesn’t mean service will return there; it just means that it could if everything aligns properly. Maybe it would be rush hour-only service; maybe it will be nothing. But any rigorous assessment of the area should include a South Ferry survey, and one seems to be happening tonight.

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Berk32 February 6, 2013 - 12:47 am

stupid government officials…. stop wasting time and money!

D in B February 6, 2013 - 12:44 pm

The repairs and rebuilding of the Louisiana Superdome after Katrina cost around $350 million.
To repair this existing station, $600 million.
Does this make ANY sense?!

Mike G. February 6, 2013 - 1:19 pm

Maybe they should have spent the extra $250 million in New Orleans…I could have gone to sleep 40 minutes earlier on Sunday.

Brian February 7, 2013 - 3:00 am

Easy, The superdome didnt expierence that much damage it lost a couple sections of roof which relatively speaking was an easy fix. South Ferry was destroyed

John-2 February 6, 2013 - 1:34 am

Even if the answer ends up being ‘No’, it should at least be a “No — and here’s why,” as opposed to simply “No, just trust us. It can’t be done,” especially since upper SF drained, just the way Whitehall drained. One’s reopened, the other’s not, and most people using the station on a regular basis don’t follow the intricate details of platform extenders, crew rooms and ADA comparability waivers. At best they know the R’s running and the 1’s looping through their old station, but not stopping.

Shooting down reopening the old station as something in no need of explanation just invites people to get angry. If you detail the work. time and the cost involved, if reopening upper SF is not feasible, at least those using the station will understand the process the MTA went through to reach the decision.

Ron Aryel February 6, 2013 - 6:39 am

Setting up temporary loop service and restoring the free transfer to the R train via MetroCard would be acceptable while the terminal is rebuilt would be better than no service at all.

Someone February 6, 2013 - 8:02 am

The old station won’t be able to be reopened in time, because of all the waivers that the MTA has to file. Besides, the old station was closed for a reason, anyway. The newer station will probably reopen way before that. Instead, there should be a free transfer between the R and the 1 at Rector Street.

VLM February 6, 2013 - 9:45 am

Do you actually know anything about the waiver process or are you just parroting what other people here have said? If the MTA decided to go ahead with reopening the loop, the waivers could all be processed well before the station is ready for revenue service. This is not the insurmountable obstacle you make it out to be.

Someone February 6, 2013 - 11:37 am

I know a lot about the waiver process, trust me. Stop suspecting me of parroting, please.

Besides, the gap fillers would have to be reinstalled, and I think that the parts for those gap fillers are custom made.

VLM February 6, 2013 - 11:43 am

You’ll have to pardon me if I’m skeptical but your recent comments have shown bad or just wrong information regarding a lot of transit operations and happenings in the city. What exactly are your qualifications for taking about this vaunted waiver process you think would hold up a temporary re-opening of South Ferry?

Someone February 7, 2013 - 11:13 am

FBI (which isn’t really a qualification, but still…)

SEAN February 6, 2013 - 11:48 am

I could be wrong on this, but like a no build option in new transit starts, an option to reopen the loop needs to be explored even if nothing becomes of it. Truthfully it sounds rediculous, but I cant think of another explamation that’s plausable.

Berk32 February 6, 2013 - 2:48 pm

I’m sure the MTA knows exactly what the status is of the South Ferry Loops.

In this case it sounds more like they’re prettying it up for some government officials to take a look at it.

D.R. Graham February 6, 2013 - 7:58 pm

It is currently being explored much to my surprise. The political pressure is reaching all of the right people right now especially with some vying for the Chairperson/CEO position currently vacated by Lhota.

Avi February 7, 2013 - 9:28 am

Well you clearly don’t know everything, because the gap fillers are still there and functioning. Stop repeating the speculation you’ve read as facts.

Someone February 7, 2013 - 11:12 am

Speculation? I’ve been there. I’ve seen the gap fillers. They are currently in no condition to be reactivated, as the motors are defective or missing.

Phantom February 6, 2013 - 7:55 pm

If it takes more than an hour to get a temporary ADA waiver in this situation, the system is even more broken than we think. Do something.


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