Long Island City, NY November 1,2012 -
FROM Deputy Mayor Wolfson OFFICE 5:00 PM 10/31/2012
Today Mayor Bloomberg updated New Yorkers on the efforts to get our city up and running after Hurricane Sandy.
Our two biggest challenges remain getting the power grid and transportation systems fully operational again. However we are making progress and are working around the clock.
FDNY is still conducting search and recovery operations in the areas hardest hit by the storm, particularly in the Rockaways. The number of confirmed deaths from the storm is now at 26.
Here are the latest details on the response and recovery:
· Schools will be closed tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday.
· There is very heavy traffic on the roads today.
· To reduce the number of cars coming into lower Manhattan, the City has ordered that the four East River bridges be restricted to High Occupancy Vehicles only – meaning 3 or more people per vehicle. This restriction will be in effect for Thursday and Friday, 6AM to midnight each day. Exceptions to the HOV rules include commercial, emergency, and para-transit vehicles, as well as buses. These restrictions will also be in effect on the RFK Triborough Bridge, the Henry Hudson Bridge, and the Lincoln Tunnel.
· The Hugh Carey Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and the Holland Tunnel are both closed. The Lincoln Tunnel is open.
· We are establishing bus lanes on key corridors – including 3rd Avenue, Lexington Avenue, and Flatbush Avenue.
· People should be extremely cautious when driving, particularly at intersections where traffic lights have no power.
· We encourage people to stay off the roads if at all possible. If they have any other option to get to work, they should use it.
· The MTA has announced that:
o Parts of the subway system will be operational tomorrow. Manhattan below 34th Street where there is no power will not have any service, however. There are still substantial amounts of water in a number of the tunnels and stations.
o LIRR and Metro North are restoring limited service as of this afternoon.
o Bus service has been in effect since yesterday and continues to increase.
o Further detail can be found at mta.info
· The Staten Island Ferry and the East River Ferry are both still suspended:
o We are still assessing and fixing damage at the landings on both lines.
o We are coordinating with the Coast Guard about conditions in the water to ensure safe passage for the boats once they are reactivated.
· As of this afternoon, approximately 643,000 customers in the city do not have power. This includes 230,000 in Manhattan.
· Con Ed continues has been working around the clock to restore power. They have enlisted 1,400 external contractors from around the country to assist in this effort.
· The NYPD set up 80 light towers last night in areas without power. Our goal is to set up 100 more for tonight.
· AT&T and Verizon both sustained damage to critical infrastructure. This has resulted in service disruptions for both landline and cell service. We are assisting with pumping operations to help get these facilities up and running quickly.
· The Department of Buildings has begun inspecting buildings in hard-hit Zone A areas to assess their structural integrity. There are three areas where these inspections are happening: Staten Island, the Rockaways, and Lower Manhattan.
· Buildings will be tagged with one of three color placards to indicate their safety:
o Green: the building is safe to enter
o Red: the building is not safe and may not be entered
o Yellow: it can be occupied conditionally (i.e. one floor may be safe while another is not.) These conditions would be explained on the placard.
· Inspections of these Staten Island Zone A buildings will be complete by the end of the weekend.
· Rockaways and Lower Manhattan inspections began today.
· Building owners can also self-certify with the Department of Buildings.
Support to Businesses:
· We have put together a package of support for NYC businesses impacted by the storm:
o Emergency loans of up to $10,000 for small and mid-sized businesses that have been interrupted as a result of the storm.
o For larger businesses that were damaged, temporary City and State sales tax deferment on materials needed for rebuilding.
o For businesses displaced from their locations, we’re offering temporary office space free of charge at the Brooklyn Army Terminal for the next 30 days.
o EDC has about 40,000 square feet of space at the Terminal that is now available for this use.
o Loans up to $2 million are also available for business property losses not fully covered by insurance – and for businesses that have had cash flow problems caused by the storm and need funds to get back on their feet.
§ That applies to small businesses, agricultural co-ops, and most nonprofits, regardless of size.
· To get information contact NYC Business Solutions by calling 311 or going to nyc.gov.
Federal Disaster Assistance:
· Anyone affected by Sandy – homeowners, renters, and businesses – can apply for federal disaster assistance.
· They can register at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling the Federal Emergency Management agency at 1-800-621-3362.
Volunteers and Donations:
· Many New Yorkers have expressed their desire to help by volunteering or donating. More information can be found at: nyc.gov/service
· 17 chronic care facilities in Zone A have been evacuated, with 4 of those evacuations still under way. Most of these patients were moved to other chronic care facilities, and some were moved to the 7 city shelters for those with special medical needs. These shelters are short-term facilities, and so we are arranging for these patients to be transferred to long-term facilities by this Saturday. All the patients from the 17 evacuated facilities are safe and being cared for. There were no deaths from any of the evacuated facilities.
· Bellevue Hospital is currently being evacuated.
· Previously New York Downtown, Manhattan VA, NYU Langone, and Coney Island Hospital were evacuated.
· We currently have approximately 6,300 people in our 76 evacuation shelters.
· In the days ahead we will begin consolidating the number of shelters.
· Our shelter system will remain open until evacuees can return to their homes or find short-term housing.
· All parks and playgrounds are closed today for safety reasons. There is still a serious threat from falling branches.
· We expect a majority will be open by this weekend.
· Details on park closures can be found here: nyc.gov/parks
· The Department of Sanitation is collecting garbage
· They are not collecting recycling.
· In addition from their normal pickups they are also removing thousands of tons of debris left by the storm.
· 66 of the 253 senior centers in the city are open today.
· We expect that 125 of the 253 will be open tomorrow (Thursday).
57th Street Crane:
· Engineers have been in the building since yesterday and have determined that the ties from the building to the crane are secure.
· This will allow them to begin determining next steps and to begin shrinking the frozen zone around the crane.
· However the street will not be fully reopened until sometime this weekend at the earliest.
· JFK and Newark are open.
· LaGuardia is closed.
Reporting and Handling Conditions:
· 911 should only be used in case of emergencies.
· To report other conditions such as fallen trees and sewer backups, please use 311 Online, text 311 at 311-692, or call 311.
o Fallen trees are incredibly dangerous. Anyone who sees one should report it immediately. No one should try to cut down or move damaged trees themselves.
· Power outages and live wires should be directly reported to Con Ed (1-800-75-CON-ED) or LIPA (1-800-490-0075).
o Live wires are also extremely dangerous. No one should touch them or be near them.
Advice to Share with Your Constituents:
· Any food – including packaged food – that was touched by flood water should be thrown away. The flood water may contain sewage or other contamination.
· Other items that have been touched by flood water should be cleaned and disinfected. This should be done as soon as possible to prevent mold growth.
· Tap water is safe to drink.
· Do not use generators or grills indoors. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious threat when these devices are used indoors. The should only be used outside and kept away from windows and vents.
· Everyone should have and use battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms. They should test the batteries if possible.
· If someone experiences sleepiness, dizziness, headaches, confusion, weakness or the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, they should immediately seek fresh air and call the poison control center at 212–POISONS (212-764-7667.) They can also call 911, since poisoning is life threatening.
· Important guides on carbon monoxide poisoning and food safety can be found at nyc.gov/health.
Status of Major Public Events:
· The Greenwich Village Halloween Parade has been postponed to a later date, to be determined.
· Tonight’s Nets-Knicks game has been postponed by the NBA.
· The NYC Marathon on Sunday will go ahead as scheduled.
Elected Officials Hotline:
· This line will be open 24 hours/day until further notice
· Please do not use this line to report issues that can be entered through 311. If your team calls to report a downed tree, for example, we will ask them to enter it into 311 themselves. By keeping these requests off the hotline, our team will have more capacity to address the rest of your questions.
· The number is 718-422-8775.
· For the latest updates, New Yorkers can:
o Visit NYC.gov
o Follow @nycmayorsoffice Twitter
o Sign up for notifications from Notify NYC
We are on the road to recovery together, and we will continue to keep you informed throughout this process.
Chief of Staff to Deputy Mayor Wolfson
FROM GOVERNOR CUOMO 11:00 PM 10/31/2012
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo tonight declared a transportation emergency for the storm affected region. In addition, the Governor, joined by MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota, announced that fares on all mass transit, including buses, subways, Metro North and Long Island railroads and Access-A-Ride, will be suspended for Thursday, November 1 and Friday, November 2. In addition announced that the MTA has restored limited Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) service between Jamaica and Penn Station tonight and Metro-North Railroad will restore additional service from Grand Central Terminal to Stamford and Mount Kisco on Thursday.
“The gridlock we experienced today shows that the New York metropolitan region is in a transportation emergency,” Governor Cuomo said.
New York City buses ran normal service all day, Metro-North and LIRR ran limited service in the afternoon, and the New York City subway will begin offering limited service at 6 a.m. Thursday.
“We want to get people back to work, but we are asking our customers for patience and understanding as they confront crowding and long lines as we repair our system,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota. “Be flexible about your travel times. We have come a long way in a short time to repair the damage from the most devastating event to strike our transportation system.”
LIMITED LIRR SERVICE RESTORED
The LIRR has implemented hourly service between Jamaica Station and Penn Station. The LIRR expects to restore limited hourly service on Ronkonkonma Branch and on the Port Washington Branch from Great Neck for Thursday’s morning rush. There will be no stops during peak periods at Kew Gardens and Forest Hills – these stops will only be made during the off-peak. At 6:45 PM tonight, Penn Station opened to customers.
Earlier today, the LIRR restored limited, hourly service between Jamaica and Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn. In conjunction with the restored Jamaica-Brooklyn service, beginning tomorrow, customers will be able to connect to shuttle buses from Barclays Center (adjacent to the LIRR’s Atlantic Terminal) to Manhattan. Customers heading to downtown Manhattan should travel to Penn. The special buses running from Barclays Center in Brooklyn are dropping customers off in midtown, not downtown.
All trains leaving Jamaica to Atlantic Terminal and Penn Station tonight will follow the same times, which is at 10 minutes after the hour until 11:10 PM. After that time, all trains to Atlantic and Penn Station will leave at 45 minutes after the hour.
Schedules for the Service Restorations are below:
LIRR employees have been working around the clock to restore as much service as possible on the LIRR’s four main branches – Port Washington, Ronkonkoma, Babylon, and Huntington. The LIRR’s primary obstacle to restoring service is restoration of power at its substations along its branches that feed the third rail. More than 20 substations remain without power. The LIRR has been in close contact with LIPA to coordinate work crews on this priority.
Two of four East River tunnels remain flooded and cannot be used at this time. In restoring the limited LIRR service to Penn Station, the LIRR will only be able to use two of four tunnels, which they share with Amtrak and NJ Transit.
Ronkonkoma Branch: Limited Hourly Service to be Restored for AM Rush Thursday
The LIRR will be restoring limited, hourly train service from Ronkonkoma to Penn Station for tomorrow morning's rush hour (Thursday, 11/1) starting at 5:37 AM. The restored Ronkonkoma Branch trains will not be stopping at Merillon Avenue, New Hyde Park, Westbury, and Carle Place.
Port Washington Branch: Limited Hourly Service from Great Neck to be Restored for AM Rush Thursday
Limited, hourly shuttle train service from Great Neck to Penn Station will be restored on the Port Washington Branch for tomorrow morning's rush hour (Thursday, 11/1) starting at 5:45 AM. Customers advised to be dropped off at the Great Neck Station, as limited parking is available.
LIRR Customers Should Anticipate Crowding
Because service will be limited, waits will be longer and trains will be more crowded. Customers are advised to consider changing their normal routines to travel later in the morning or later in the evening. Customers should anticipate crowded conditions on all LIRR trains that run until more service is restored. For safety reasons, some trains may be required to skip stations if they become overcrowded. Customers may have to wait for the next train. The LIRR will make every effort to add additional trains whenever possible.
LIRR Fare Policy During Hurricane Sandy Recovery Period
Off Peak fares will be in effect on all LIRR trains until full service is restored. No onboard penalty fares will be charged. All LIRR customers are advised to hold onto their current monthly and weekly tickets; they will remain valid for travel through Monday, November 5.
For More Information
The LIRR will provide Service Advisories around the clock, as required. Customers should monitor news reports, the MTA website, www.mta.info, and sign up for free E-Alerts for updates on LIRR service. Customers can also contact the LIRR's Travel Information Center by calling 511, the New York State Travel Information Line, and say: Long Island Rail Road. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, use your preferred relay service provider for the free 711 relay to reach LIRR at 511.
METRO-NORTH LIMITED SERVICE RESTORED
Starting Thursday, November 1, close to regularly scheduled service will be provided on the Harlem Line between Mount Kisco and Grand Central Terminal and on the New Haven Line between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal. This will provide service to about half the customers usually served on a weekday.
Hudson Line service will remain suspended due to extensive storm damage. Service on the Port Jervis and Pascack Valley Lines, which are operated by NJ TRANSIT, remains suspended. NJT continues to work toward service restoration. See www.njtransit.com for updates. Hudson and West-of-Hudson tickets will be honored on Harlem Line trains. Customers should expect crowded trains. Parking will be limited. Because not all tracks have been returned to service, bridgeplates may be used to board trains at some New Haven Line stations. Customers should use caution getting on and off trains. In addition, power has not been restored to all station platforms. Generators are in place to provide lighting. Not all ticket vending machines will be operational. In addition, customers should be aware that there is no subway service south of 42nd Street. Customers can take the following buses downtown: M5 at Fifth Ave. and West 42nd Street; M15 at Second Ave. and E. 42nd Street; and the M103 at Lexington Avenue and E. 42nd St. See http://www.mta.info/status/1 for more information on subway and bus service.
All Metro-North customers should hold onto their October monthly and weekly tickets; they will be valid for travel through Monday, November 5.
Before service can be restored to other areas of the railroad, there are a number of challenges that must be addressed.
The right-of-way on the Upper Harlem Line to Wassaic has been cleared of trees but two critical substations near Bedford Hills and Katonah were flooded and are not operating. We are working with the power supplier, New York State Electric and Gas Company, to get these critical substations on line as soon as possible.
Damage on the New Haven Line between Stamford and New Haven remains significant. Numerous trees have to be removed and catenary and signal wire has to be rehung in numerous sections along the route. All the controls for moveable bridges were submerged during the storm; they must be fully inspected and repairs made. Additionally, there is significant catenary damage at a critical switching location in the area of Fairfield. Service also remains suspended on all three branch lines, New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury. Work crews still have a tremendous amount of work to do removing trees and restoring power in those areas as well.
The Hudson Line has also been hard hit. It will remain out of service Thursday due to extensive storm-related damage from flooding, fallen trees and power outages.
Major issues include:
There are several water-damaged substations on the Hudson Line.
Washouts that have undermined the track structure so greatly it is unsafe to operate trains across those sections; One section alone between Croton-Harmon and Cortlandt will require up to 8 rail cars of ballast stone to repair;
Third rail damage in several areas caused by fallen trees;
Debris along the right of way still needs to be cleared.
The railroad’s employees will continue to work hard to restore service for all customers as quickly and safely as possible.
Until full service is restored to all lines, customers should expect some delays and crowding on trains and should stagger their travel times.
Continue to check www.mta.info, listen to news media reports and listen for announcements at stations and onboard trains.
Metro-North employees have been working around the clock to remove fallen trees, repair damaged overhead catenary wires, broken third rail and damaged electrical components, including substations and the signal system. BUS BRIDGE ESTABLISHED FROM BROOKLYN
The MTA and the New York City Department of Transportation have established routes for a bus bridge service and dedicated bus priority lanes from three Brooklyn locations to Midtown Manhattan.
Starting Thursday, Nov. 1 at 6 a.m., MTA/NYCT shuttle buses will travel to and from subway stations at Atlantic Avenue, Jay Street and Hewes Street.
The Atlantic Avenue and Jay Street routes will operate via a new, two-way bus lane across the Manhattan Bridge and into Manhattan via bus-priority lanes on Bowery and 3rd Avenue, making stops at major cross streets all the way up to 55th Street in the inbound direction, and via bus-priority lanes on Lexington Avenue, 23rd Street, and 3rd Avenue and Bowery in the outbound direction.
The shuttle bus from Hewes Street will operate over the Williamsburg Bridge and Delancey Street, then via Bowery and 3rd Avenue up to 55th Street before returning downtown via Lexington Avenue, 23rd Street, 3rd Avenue and Bowery.
NYPD will provide enforcement along the bus route and keep the lanes clear for buses.
The bus service will operate 24 hours until further notice.