The Rockaways Gets Its Subway Back

Seven months to the day after Superstorm Sandy ravaged Rockaway, Queens and took out most of the A-line, the subway opened after a round-the-clock, $75 million restoration of much of the line from Howard Beach south. But locals may prefer the ferry!

Clare Trapasso writes that the train's return on May 30 should ease the commutes of 30,000 residents who rely on subway service to leave the peninsula for work.

I’m excited to have the A train back because it is a symbol of our resiliency and recovery,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Beach). “But the ferry increases tourism, it eases commute time and will ultimately lead to a successful Sandy recovery.”

After Sandy hit on Oct. 29, knocking on the A-line into the Queens mainland and on the peninsula, The Rockaways were set up with two ferry services: Seastreak for daily service to and from Manhattan, and New York Beach Ferry service on weekends and holidays.

The boat service is currently slated to end in July, but Mayor Bloomberg said it would be extended to Labor Day if ridership stays high. [See related story and "latest news" from Mike Bloomberg.com].

The $2 a ride boat service cuts the more than an hour commute to the city by train to about 35 minutes.

And such a bargain! Cheaper than a $2.50 subway ride. A petition effort has been launched to make the service permanent - which would no doubt mean a fare increase as the route has been subsidized with part of the $22 million in Sandy relief funds earmarked for ferry services. 

According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority service update, "MTA has performed more than $75 million worth of work to restore subway service to the Rockaways, and has spent an additional $9 million to operate replacement bus and subway shuttle service."

Work remains to fully restore service to pre-Sandy conditions. The service update provides a history of the line and its relationship with then NYC parks commissioner, Robert Moses. (Hint, he wasn't all that bad).

In a related Daily News story, Pete Donohue reports that "MTA's flood-prevention defense at the start of this hurricane season will for the most part be just as rudimentary as last year: sandbag-and-plywood barricades."

Full Story: A train service returns to Sandy-battered Rockaways

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