MTA says it is improving on storm preparedness

Thursday, October 1, 2015
MTA talks about storm preparedness
N.J. Burkett has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City's transit system was not prepared for Superstorm Sandy three years ago.

The subways were flooded and shutdown.

Three years later, the New York City transit system is still vulnerable to a major, coastal storm.

It's something riders can't help but think about.

"I suspect everybody is rolling the dice a little too much and we should do more to get prepared for these storms," said Daniel Sanchez, a subway rider.

For generations, New Yorkers took the subways and took them for granted, underground and under-appreciated, until the superstorm put much of the system underwater.

The suburban commuter rail lines were littered with downed trees, and even boats.

"We learned a lot about how vulnerable the subway system is to flooding," said Adam Lisberg, the MTA Chief Spokesman.

Lisberg says repairs are still being made, three years later, along with a series of upgrades.

New steel storm doors are intended to prevent flooding in extreme low-lying stations, while giant, inflatable berms have been tested to protect vulnerable subway tunnels.

But nothing is foolproof or waterproof.

"In Lower Manhattan alone there are 540 locations where water could potentially get into the subway system," Lisberg said. "Staircases, vent shafts, manhole covers. It's going to be a lot stronger than it was three years ago. We've been doing a lot of work to figure out how to better protect the system right now."

"They have the constant shutdowns, so I have to assume that's what they're doing," said Riva Brandt, a subway rider.

Despite the upgrades, some riders Eyewitness News spoke with were skeptical.

"I think they haven't done enough, and if those hurricanes happen to come into this area again it would be another disaster, yes," said Prince Tah, a subway rider.