Superstorm Sandy Forces 'Transportation Emergency' In NYC; Death Toll Rises
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a "transportation emergency" and authorized the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to waive fares through the end of the week.
Cuomo said the move was meant "as a further encouragement to have people take mass transit."
On its website, the MTA said the free service "will take effect Thursday at 12:01 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, and will allow for free rides on the NYC Subway and Bus network, Long Island Rail Road, and Metro-North Railroad. Free travel will also be available on Access-a-Ride."
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However, with no electricity to power the third rail or operate signals in Manhattan south of 36th Street, there will be no subway service between 34th Street and Downtown Brooklyn.
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Some more important information to keep in mind: Service will operate from the Bronx, Queens and Upper Manhattan to Midtown and from Queens and parts of Brooklyn to Downtown Brooklyn.
The 7, B, C, E, G and Q trains remain suspended, CBS 2's Marcia Kramer reported.
Also, Shuttle Buses will operate from Jay Street-MetroTech, Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn and Hewes Street in Williamsburg to 57th Street & Lexington Avenue via 3rd Avenue, according to the MTA.
Limited Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road service resumed at 2 p.m. Wednesday and limited subway service is set to resume Thursday for the morning rush.
LaGuardia Airport was to reopen Thursday at 7 a.m., but air carriers will be operating limited flight schedules, the Port Authority announced Wednesday evening.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg imposed passenger car restrictions into Manhattan starting Thursday.
From 6 a.m. to midnight on Thursday and Friday, all passenger cars coming into Manhattan via the East River bridges, the Henry Hudson Bridge, the Triborough Bridge and the Lincoln Tunnel must have three or more passengers, Bloomberg said Wednesday.
Exception to high-occupancy vehicle rules include commercial, emergency and paratransit vehicles and buses. Taxis will be exempt from 4 p.m. to midnight on both days.
"Traffic in Manhattan was very, very high and the gridlock was dangerous, frankly. The HOV restrictions that have been put in place will make a difference," Cuomo said.
The governor also discussed some of the other issues plaguing New York in the aftermath of Sandy, including a scarcity of food for some.
"Senior citizens, some people in public housing, are running out of food and are in high-rise buildings and can't get out of the building because, in some cases, the elevator is not operational. We've requested 1 million meals and 1 million gallons of water. FEMA will start that delivery [Thursday] morning," Cuomo said.
Meanwhile, Superstorm Sandy's deadly impact grew Wednesday. The NYPD confirmed to 1010 WINS that the death toll in the city had grown to 32, including two people who drowned in a home and one who was in bed when a tree fell on his apartment building.
Anthony Laino, 30, was pinned underneath a tree that crashed through his house in the 47-00 block of 166th Street in Flushing, Queens, around 7:02 p.m. Monday. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
John Filipowicz Sr., 51, and his son, John Filipowicz Jr., 20, were found buried under debris in the basement of their home in the 0-99 block of Fox Beach Avenue in Staten Island around noon Tuesday. They were pronounced dead at the scene.
Also among those killed was a New York City police officer, who drowned while saving his family. Artur Kasprzak, 28, managed to get six adults and a baby to the attic of his Staten Island home before flood waters rushed inside.
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Some signs of things returning to normal could be seen in parts of the city Wednesday.
Hundreds of people stood along Fifth Avenue and around the corner on West 34th Street for tickets to the Empire State Building's observation deck. It was the first day it was open since the storm.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art reopened at noon. The Cloisters, the Met-run branch in Fort Tryon Park, remained closed on Wednesday.
Mayor Bloomberg rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange after a rare two-day closure.
"Clearly, the challenges our city faces in the coming days are enormous," Bloomberg said Tuesday as officials warned that power might not be back until the weekend for hundreds of thousands of people accustomed to their cosmopolitan lives.
1010 WINS Stan Brooks reports
Con Edison estimated it would be three days before customers in Manhattan and Brooklyn have electricity again. For the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island it could take a week.
"There's lots of equipment that got hit by saltwater that's got to be cleaned up, cleaned out," Con Ed spokesman Chris Olert said.
The utility was also forced to cut power to additional customers in Brooklyn and Staten Island Tuesday night because of problems with high-voltage systems.
Garbage and recycling collections were suspended Wednesday so crews could work on the massive, city-wide clean up. Officials said customers whose pick up is scheduled for Wednesday should store their trash and recycling until further notice.
New York City public schools will remain closed Thursday and Friday, Bloomberg said. He said staff should report to work on Friday.
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