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Ex-Translink chief performs magic in New York

November 9, 2012

New York Times: New York Subway Repairs Border ‘on the Edge of Magic’

The damage was the worst that the system had ever seen. And yet, the subways have come back — quicker than almost anyone could have imagined.

Less than three days after the storm hit, partial subway service was restored. Most major lines were back within a week. Repairs came so quickly in some cases that the authority was ready before Consolidated Edison had restored power. …

Thomas F. Prendergast, the president of New York City Transit, had already dispatched workers to cover vents and place sandbags at stations, and by Friday, the agency had begun coordinating with the Police Department and union leadership for the possibility of a shutdown. Barriers were placed at station entrances, including at South Ferry, near the tip of Lower Manhattan.

With a forecast for a storm surge of over 11 feet, Mr. Prendergast knew that flooding was possible. He predicted that three tunnels might have some flooding, which would equal the most in his career.   …

Continued here.

Prendergast was our guy, president of TransLink in 2008-09, before being recruited by New York City’s transit agency.  No doubt the opportunity to return to New York was something he couldn’t turn down, but at the time TransLink was in another funding stand-off with the Province and it was unlikely that its growth plans would be funded.

My comment at the time:

Price predicts the province will push the Evergreen Line construction through, but without sufficient funding, forcing other transit cutbacks coupled with steep property tax hikes.

Other proposed rapid transit extensions will likely falter.

“Prendergast is the best judge of this,” Price said. “He looked at the situation, saw this wasn’t going anywhere and said ‘What am I doing here?’”

So we lost him – and the momentum to create one of the best transportation agencies in the world.

UPDATE: The Ruined Stations of NYC’s subway.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 9, 2012 12:09 pm

    Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to take New York over Vancouver, with or without transit funding? However, with a provincial government structure that allows the Premier to be the all-powerful Mayor of Everytown, being stuck in the 1950s transportation-wise was no doubt a huge disincentive to staying.

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