City, MTA Update …
Community Board 14 hosted its first meeting this week since Superstorm Sandy hit Rockaway. Representatives from the city and the MTA addressed some of the questions concerning recovery.
Brad Gair, director of housing recovery operations, addressed the housing problems.
With temperatures dropping the city is worried about those who have not yet obtained a place to stay if they were displaced by Sandy or who are living in homes with no heat.
There are two programs, both free, to help residents with housing. One is run by FEMA and the other is run by the city. To find out more about the city program Gair urged people to come to a local recovery center or to call 311.
“We have an inventory of hotel rooms,” said Gair. “He added that there are about 2,000 families in such housing [at this time].”
Gair and Kathryn Mallon, who heads Rapid Repairs, spoke about the repair program.
The program is a short term-fix to help people stay in their homes until long-term repairs can be made. It’s goal is to help people get back heat, power and hot water and being able to shelter in place. It is not a mold abate- ment program.
Rapid Repairs is open to multi dwellings. For example, in a three family home, where all the units are rented and a landlord lives offsite, that landlord can apply to Rapid Repairs. They will come out and do a cost analysis to decide if a new boiler is needed or one needs to be rented for 90 days. This is all at no cost to the landlord. It is up to the landlord to make permanent repairs to the building.
The status of transportation in the area is not good and it was addressed by Joseph Raskin of the MTA.
“In the 108 years the subway has been in operation [the storm] was completely without precedent,” said Raskin. He added, “We never had a storm of this consequence that has had this impact on the subway system before.”
Raskin said that, “The ‘H’ train will be operating for a while. We cannot go further than Beach 90 Street. We sustained very, very sufficient damage to the signal system and the electrical system between here and Beach 116 Street.”
The MTA is still in the process of identifying all the needed repairs and in Raskin’s words, “We have to fix and rebuild.”
They are currently working to ex-tend the H train to Beach 105 Street.
“We want to do this as quickly as possible,” said Raskin.
On the ‘A’, there was very “profound damage that was done along the entire length of Broad Channel and the marshes and the bridges. There are parts of the line where, basically, all the land under the tracks was washed away.”
Some repairs have been made to get the work trains to the areas, but the signal and electrical systems are still damaged.
“That’s the challenge to get the electrical systems back to a point where we can run passenger service again,” said Raskin.
Because of the extreme damage there is currently no timeline for getting service back on the ‘A’ train.
For people to better understand some of the damage that was brought unto the Rockaway lines, Raskin recommended residents going to the MTA website and viewing photos from right after the storm. The URL is mta.info/nyct/service/TheDam agefromHurricanSandy_ 11_ 08_ 12.htm.