Friday, November 28, 2014

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Great Obstacles Accompany Travel Within Rockaways

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TWC News: Great Obstacles Accompany Travel Within Rockaways
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There are shuttle buses running from one end of Queens' Rockaway peninsula to a subway station on the mainland and temporary ferry service has linked the area with Manhattan, but getting around the peninsula itself is still a problem. NY1's Transit reporter Tina Redwine filed the following report.

As if storm-devastated Rockaways residents did not have enough to deal with, now they face gridlock on many roads that criss-cross their peninsula.

The few local buses often fight emergency vehicles for space. Residents say they are grateful for 24/7 bus shuttle service to Howard Beach subway station that started on Sunday, and ferry service to Manhattan that began Monday, but getting around on the peninsula itself is still unbearable.

One man who waited for two hours to get on a shuttle bus said, "People aren't moving because the traffic lights aren't working."

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has to stop all local buses in the Rockaways at dusk.

"I work in Manhattan and for me to come home is impossible," said a commuter.

MTA officials say they are working on a temporary solution. Since the trains cannot currently cross Jamaica Bay to Queens, the plan is to connect two sections of the A out on the peninsula.

The A would go from one end of the peninsula at Mott Avenue, where the shuttle buses drop off riders, down to Beach 67th Street and connect to the rest of the A stations in the Rockaways, along an existing but typically unused section of track.

That would also bring passengers close to the temporary ferry slip at Beach 108th Street

"It would help you get out of this area," said a local.

Crews trucked the last of 20 subway cars to the Rockaways on Sunday. But MTA officials said they are waiting for the Long Island Power Authority to turn on electricity before they can even assess damage and begin repairing signals.

Meanwhile, the even bigger problems are the sections of the A train's bridge that washed away between the mainland and the Rockaways. Crews working on the bridge have begun to cart away debris and deliver the stones to rebuild.

The process will not be quick. MTA officials said it will take months to rebuild and restore full A train service to the Rockaways.

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