Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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New Shuttle To Help Fill Transit Void In Rockaways

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TWC News: New Shuttle To Help Fill Transit Void In Rockaways
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Residents living in the Rockaways are getting around a little easier Tuesday as the new H train shuttle is now up and running.

It is the first time trains have run in the Rockaways since Sandy hit three weeks ago.

The free shuttle service will run every 15 minutes between 4 a.m. and 1 a.m. making all stops between the Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue station and the Beach-90th Street-Holland station.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority dubbed it the H train because it travels on an unused connection known as Hammels Wye.

Shuttle buses will keep running between Far Rockaway and Howard Beach.

Rockaways residents who spoke with NY1 say it's a welcome addition.

"The train is not so claustrophobic, you'll be able to go further," said one resident.

"Now that the train works everything running good, it;s way much easier," said another resident.

The MTA is working to expand the shuttle all the way to Beach 116th Street.

Service between Howard Beach and the Rockaway Peninsula will not be restored for several months.

The MTA created the H shuttle by putting 20 subway cars from Ozone Park onto flatbeds and putting them back on the rails at the Rockaway Park-Beach 116 station.

A second ferry service could be coming to Staten Island, bringing relief to commuters on the borough's southern end.

The city is accepting bids from ferry operators to run a new, temporary service from Great Kills.

Similar to this Rockaways ferry service, the express ferry would take passengers to Manhattan's Pier 11 before continuing on to 35th Street.

Though the original Staten Island Ferry is up and running, limited subway service has made it hard to get to the landing in St. George.

The Department of Transportation says it expects the new ferry to start operating by Monday.

A one-way ticket would cost $2.

The ferry would make six trips from Great Kills between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., and six return trips between noon and 6:15 p.m.


More NYCHA Tenants Warm Up

The New York City Housing Authority announced Monday evening that heat and hot water has been restored to all public housing buildings affected by Hurricane Sandy, three weeks after the storm swept through the city.

Thousands of public housing residents remained without heat or hot water over the weekend, as the authority worked to restore heat and hot water to the remaining 4 percent of the 386 buildings affected by the storm.

NYCHA officials also say as of Tuesday that 98 percent of the 699 elevators impacted by the storm are back up, compared to 95 percent on Friday.

They also say that some residents could "occasionally experience service disruptions as generators are disconnected" and roughly 24 temporary boilers in affected buildings are being serviced.

Public housing residents who still lack heat and hot water are asked to call the NYCHA Customer Contact Center at 1-718-707-7771.

Nearly all city public housing residents who have been without electricity since the storm hit are back on the grid.

Last week, the city announced all 402 NYCHA properties that lost power during Sandy had electricity restored, but some residents are still dealing with spotty electrical service.

The housing authority said this is because there is a delay between power restoration and its actual return due to damaged circuits.

They say in some cases walls need to be demolished before everything can be fixed, slowing down the work.

Also, they say power will be intermittent while that work is ongoing.


More Schools Reopen Doors

Another group of city students displaced by Sandy returned to their regular schools Monday morning.

The Department of Education says 12 damaged schools in Brooklyn and Queens were ready for students on Monday.

Two of those schools reopened ahead of schedule.

The buildings have all had their power restored, but many will still be using temporary boilers for heat.

However, some other schools were so damaged their opening days will have to be pushed back.

City officials say that leaves 18 schools and about 8,000 students that are still being housed in different buildings.

Students at P.S. 15 in Red Hook who spoke with NY1 Monday morning said they were glad things are getting back to normal.

"I'm happy to come back to my school because I want to be in my own classroom and not mixed up together," said one student.

"I'm happy because I get to do work now and I get to play around," said another student.

DOE officials say it could take until January to get all remaining schools open.

Meantime, students impacted by the hurricane have a new way to hit the books.

The DOE is offering online courses for kids in grades 6 through 12.

Students who are eligible include those who have been displaced from their homes, or reassigned to other schools.

If they don't have access to the internet, they can take the online courses at participating libraries.

For more information, visit ILearnNYC.net.


Department Of Buildings To Demolish Hundreds Of Damaged Homes

Officials at the city Department of Buildings say they will demolish hundreds of homes damaged beyond repair by Hurricane Sandy.

About 200 homes in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island will be bulldozed in the coming months, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday that only buildings in danger of imminent collapse will be torn down.

He also said that DOB officials will work with homeowners to try to salvage structures or to schedule demolitions.

DOB officials say they are doing their best to track down homeowners, but there may be cases where a home will be demolished because of safety concerns before its owner can be notified.


Response and Relief

As Governor Andrew Cuomo has called for $30 billion in federal aid to help the state's recovery, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended a program providing temporary housing to New Yorkers displaced by Hurricane Sandy.

The program, which offers hotel or motel rooms to FEMA applicants whose homes were damaged by the storm, is being extended to December 14.

It began November 3 and was originally scheduled to require checkouts Saturday.

For more information, call 1-866-863-8673. Phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

Residents can also register for FEMA assistance online at disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.

Senator Charles Schumer said he's counting on FEMA to house New Yorkers who have been displaced as the temperatures continue to drop, but he said there have been some issues in getting temporary mobile housing units in place.

The mayor's office says about 4,000 people have signed up for the city's "Rapid Repairs" program and the first inspection teams have gone out.

The Rapid Repairs program assigns contractors to areas hit hard by the storm and those contractors are then responsible for bringing in electricians, plumbers and other subcontractors.

Homes with green stickers from the Department of Buildings, meaning the house is structurally sound, get priority.

To take part in the program, residents must have a FEMA ID number.

To get one, go to one of the city's restoration centers, visit disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-3362.

The FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers are meant to be a one-stop centers of disaster relief for those hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.

FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers

Bronx:

12th Judicial District, 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10451
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mon-Fri

Brooklyn:

Ikea, 1 Beard Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Holy Family R.C. Church, 9719 Flatlands Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11236
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Coffey Park, 85 Richards Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Gerritsen Little League Field, 2671 Gerritsen Avenue, Gerritsen Beach, NY
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Social Security Building, Gravesend, 10 Bouck Court, Brooklyn, NY 11223
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Queens:

Duane Reade (Waldbaums Supermarket parking lot), 115-12 Beach Channel Drive, Far Rockaway, NY 11694
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Community Church of the Nazarene, 1414 Central Avenue, Far Rockaway, NY 11691
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Fort Tilden Park (Building 415), 1-199 Rockaway Point Boulevard, Breezy Point, NY 11697
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

American Legion, 209 Cross Bay Boulevard, Broad Channel, NY 11693
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Storefront, 1001 Beach 20th Street, Far Rockaway, NY 11691
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Staten Island:

Miller Field, 600 New Dorp Lane, Staten Island, NY 10306
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mon-Sun

Corner of Father Capodanno Boulevard and Hunter Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10305
Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mon-Sun

Mount Loretto CYO, 6581 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10309
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Mount Manresa Jesuit House, 239 Fingerboard Road, Staten Island, NY 10305
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Borough Hall, 10 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Kia in Staten Island, 1976 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10306
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun


Mayor Extends Gas Rationing

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Sunday that he is extending the city's gas rationing to cars based on odd or even license plate numbers through Friday.

The rationing system took effect on November 9 after Hurricane Sandy disrupted the area's fuel distribution network.

Vehicles with license plates that end in an odd number or vanity plates can only get gas at the pump on odd-numbered days, and vehicles with plates that end in an even number and zero can only get gas on even-numbered days.

Certain vehicles are exempt from the rationing, including vehicles with licenses from the Taxi and Limousine Commission, cars with medical doctor plates, commercial vehicles, emergency vehicles and buses.

According to the mayor, 30 percent of the city's gas stations are still closed.

He says as Thanksgiving week is typically one of the heaviest travel weeks of the year, keeping rationing in place will help keep lines under control.

New Jersey, which began a similar system nearly a week before the city, ended its rationing on November 13.

Nassau and Suffolk Counties, which began its rationing on the same day as New York City, lifted its odd/even restrictions at midnight Saturday.

Meanwhile, the New York State Attorney General's office is following up on hundreds of complaints about price gouging following Hurricane Sandy.

Eric Schneiderman said he has taken action against 13 gas stations that were charging too much for fuel.

But it's not just gas that's been a problem.

Schneiderman's office has been getting complaints involving generators, batteries, and even dry ice.

"New York has a price-gouging statue. It goes into effect when there's an emergency," Schneiderman said. "There is an emergency here. Our office has jurisdiction to impose significant fines and penalties."

To report price gouging, call 800-771-7755 or go to the Attorney General's website at ag.ny.gov.

Alternate-Side Parking Suspended In Certain Neighborhoods

Alternate-side parking resumed in most parts of the city last week, but the city Departments of Transportation and Sanitation say it is suspended indefinitely in parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

On Thursday, DOT officials announced that alternate-side parking regulations are reinstated immediately in parts of Brooklyn Community Board 6 east of Hamilton Avenue, which includes the neighborhoods of Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, Park Slope, Gowanus and Cobble Hill.

DOT officials said Thursday that alternate-side parking regulations remain suspended indefinitely in areas of Brooklyn Community Board 6 west of and including Hamilton Avenue, which includes the neighborhood of Red Hook.

Other areas where alternate-side parking remains suspended include Brooklyn Community Board 18, which covers Canarsie, Bergen Beach, Mill Basin, Flatlands, Marine Park, Georgetown and Mill Island; Brooklyn Community Board 13, which represents Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Bensonhurst, Gravesend and Sea Gate; Brooklyn Community Board 15, which includes Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach and Gerritsen Beach and Homecrest; and Queens Community Board 14, which covers the Rockaways.

Staten Island does not normally have alternate-side parking.

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