From the Star Ledger:
Our governor was off on an African safari for the holidays. Meanwhile New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was doing some pretty impressive legwork in the area of transportation.
“His panel of experts had been working for weeks behind the scenes, even on Christmas and New Year’s Day,” the New York Times reported.
That was in an article last week reporting that Andrew Cuomo shocked the entire “transportation-industrial complex” by doing something unheard of in this part of the world: He chose a practical solution over an expensive one that promised what New Yorkers were calling the “L-pocalypse.”
That’s the name that was given to the planned 18-month closure of two Sandy-damaged tunnels used by subway riders from Brooklyn to get to their jobs in Manhattan.
Cuomo canceled the closure after he did something that our governor ought to do when it comes to the two tunnels under the Hudson River that send our commuters to Manhattan:
He took a tour of the problem areas with some experts who don’t have their palms out looking for pork.
Those experts were from the engineering schools at Columbia and Cornell universities. When they looked at the damage caused to those two tunnels by Hurricane Sandy, they concluded that there was a more efficient way to address the two problem areas than shutting the tunnels down.
One problem was the wiring, which is at the bottom of the tube and got soaked in sections. Instead of repairing it in place, they suggested running new wiring at the top of the tunnels. Problem solved.
The other was damage to the “bench walls,” the concrete paths running alongside the train. The prior plan had been to replace the entire bench wall. The profs suggested fixing only the problem areas, which are relatively small.
Cuomo took their advice and on Friday he announced that the shutdown will be canceled. Those repairs can be done on weekends and at night.
This being New York, there was a lot of grumbling from various entrenched interests. But a headline from a real-estate news website cited the consensus among those who would have been directly affected: “Real estate community and hipsters rejoice over canceled L Train shutdown.”
Cuomo’s plan will save them all a lot of grief. And according to one former transit executive, it would also work for those tunnels under the Hudson that are central to the proposed Gateway Development Project that includes representatives from both states as well as Amtrak.
Former Long Island Rail Road executive Joe Clift said the damage caused by Sandy to those subway tunnels was actually much worse than the damage to the tunnels that carry NJ Transit and Amtrak.
“If you can do it for the tunnel with the most damage, you can do it for the tunnel with the least damage,” Clift said.