Why Does the New York Subway Have a Water Problem?


Interim subway superintendent Sarah Feinberg said subway service remained uninterrupted for most of the system, despite the difficulties caused by the flash flooding. Even at stations where one entrance was submerged, other entrances were available and trains continued to run.

“We continued to serve throughout the storm,” he said in an interview Friday.

But the social media posts caught the wet mess, drawing the ire of many drivers and city officials. In one video, a woman plunges waist-deep into dark, swirling waters at the entrance to the 157th Street station in northern Manhattan. In another, men tried to jump on the turnstiles like a sack of potatoes by pressing on garbage bags.

“This can’t be New York,” wrote Eric Adams, Brooklyn borough president and Democratic mayoral candidate. a tweet“This is what happens when the MTA makes bad spending decisions for decades.”

Mr. Adams believes that a state-approved congestion pricing scheme, which he supports and will help pay for critical subway repairs by charging fees to go to certain areas of Manhattan, as soon as possible “raise entrances to protect stations from street flooding, and add green infrastructure to absorb sudden storm runoff. ”

Ms. Feinberg said she spoke to Mr. Adams on Friday and had a productive conversation. Mr. Adams’ spokesman, Evan Thies, said Mr. Adams “looks forward to working with Ms. Feinberg on public transport issues”.

Despite the many updates the MTA has put in place since Sandy, some resilience experts, such as Klaus Jacob, a geophysicist at Columbia University, Earth Institute, say system still sensitiveand in the long run it will need a much more substantial overhaul.

Before Sandy shoots, Dr. Jacob’s research into the subway system predicted much of the flooding that has occurred since then. His work, modeling future floods, has found that the upgrades are effective, but need more backup measures, because breaches in just a few weak spots can lead to widespread flooding and failures, he says.


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