Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Two different takes on transit system disaster preparedness and planning

New Jersey Transit really blew it as far as preparing for Superstorm Sandy was concerned, according to "NJ Transit remains silent on how it prepared for superstorm Sandy" from the Bergen Record. From the article:

As superstorm Sandy barreled toward the tri-state area, two of the nation’s largest transportation agencies worked to safeguard their systems, moving buses and rail cars to areas they thought would be protected.

But NJ Transit and New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority had vastly different rates of success. Eleven MTA rail cars were damaged, compared with 342 pieces of NJ Transit equipment. ...

The MTA, which serves more than 11 million passengers on a typical weekday, moved its 6,200-plus subway cars to higher ground, along with more than 500 locomotives and work cars. The agency identified more than 20 areas at risk for flooding. It used wind speed as a gauge for when to shut down operations. Many other moves took place, all detailed in a hurricane plan released as a part of a request under New York’s Freedom of Information Law.

What NJ Transit did to prepare for Sandy remains largely secret. The agency that operates bus and light-rail and commuter rail services declined to release its strategy when requested under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act. When asked for communications regarding Sandy preparations, NJ Transit released a 3½-page “Rail Operations Hurricane Plan” that was stripped of all information except for the title.

And a few weeks back, the Boston Globe had a great story, "MBTA takes steps to boost safety, security throughout system," about how the MBTA in Greater Boston used post-9/11 homeland security grants to upgrade security preparedness for the transit system--when many jurisdictions didn't accomplish very much with the same funding source. This preparation was key to the system's quick response to the bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  A video with the story shows the system's Operations Control Center.

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