Your weekly guide to heroic and villainous actions in tri-state transportation and development.
Tri-state area governors—When Hurricane Sandy hit, our region’s executives made restoring transportation systems a priority. Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy helped get the state’s buses back on-line shortly after the storm, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has worked to get residents to their jobs by any means necessary, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo focused closely on the MTA.
MTA Chairman Joe Lhota—After Sandy (and, perhaps more importantly, before it), MTA Chairman Joe Lhota put the agency into action, getting some buses on the road the day after the storm made landfall, pumping the subway tunnels dry, and generally helping New Yorkers access essential services and their workplaces. While some service is still out, the MTA has done an admirable job restoring its system.
NYCDOT and Mayor Bloomberg—Apart from working with the MTA to set up ad-hoc bus lanes and placing HOV restrictions on the East River bridges during Sandy’s aftermath, the New York City Department of Transportation’s previous investments in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure helped New Yorkers get around after the storm.
SEPTA and USDOT—With NJ Transit’s rail infrastructure severely damaged by the hurricane and the organization running extra buses to help people reach their destinations, both SEPTA (a Philadelphia transit system) and the United States Department of Transportation have loaned buses to NJ Transit to help with its efforts to get people moving again.
Auto-dependent tri-state residents—After the hurricane, limited gas supplies, roads blocked by trees and flooding, and overall traffic congestion left those dependent on cars frustrated and sometimes stranded, highlighting how communities designed around the automobile are left without mobility options when car travel is paralyzed. Car-dependent residents need more and safer transit, cycling, and walking options to access essential resources and services throughout their communities.
United States Congress—Of a $10 million emergency transportation aid grant awarded to New Jersey last week, $0 will go to fixing NJ Transit’s infrastructure, while $10 million will go towards fixing roads. Across the region hit by Sandy, in fact, a bureaucratic hang-up means that emergency transit aid grants will come much more slowly than road aid. Especially in the tri-state region, where transit is so essential, public transportation infrastructure should get aid as promptly as roads.