Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Raise - Don't Lower the Bar

While shutting down the subway for Hurricane Sandy was ground-breaking and smart, it was the first time in 108 year history that the subway ever closed.  I find it hard to justify shutting down the entire system only 3 years later for a projected - two foot snow storm.
I worked the Office of Emergency Management during the Blizzard of 1996 representing NYC Transit and most of the system was operating.  The operating personnel take great pride in preparing and implementing plans for these types of situations.  For a snow storm of this nature it would be usual to take as many trains as possible out of harms way and out of the train yards, and store them underground on express tracks throughout the city. This means many areas lose express service - but subway service continues.
In outdoor areas such as elevated structures - if wind or ice become an issue, service can - and is often suspended at the desecration of the operating department.  Areas like the Rockaways are use to this.
In the event that snow inhibits bus service because streets become difficult to navigate, the subway is the only logical option for New Yorkers to travel within the city.  It is what makes New York resilient and a special place. And one of the reasons why the city is known as "the city that never sleeps."
Hurricane Sandy - was for an excellent reason - time to pause from our 108 year old tradition, but this past storm, even if it was at its worst - was no reason to deviate from that history.