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HomeTravelMTA floods NYC subway entrance because ‘climate change is real’

MTA floods NYC subway entrance because ‘climate change is real’

It was a test of equipment to safeguard the subway from superstorms

A submerged subway entrance blocked Brooklyn commuters from the tracks last night. On Wednesday afternoon, the stairs that led into Broadway Station in Williamsburg was closed from view and submerged for nearly four days. The scene was more bizarre because it had not rained in New York City that day.

“IT JUST LOOKED VERY SURREAL AND WEIRD”

It was later discovered that the flood was planned, and The city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority was testing one of the equipment they had put in place to shield trains from the massive storm. If there is an actual disaster, the “flex gate” seals off the station’s entrance and can hold as much as 14 feet of floodwater. The MTA claims it was conducting tests to ensure that the new gate in Broadway Station was installed correctly. It did so.

Kaye Blegvad stumbled across the sight while she tweeted a photo she contacted the MTA to explain what it was on her commute. “Initially, I was thinking that the entire subway could be inundated however, everyone was pretty calm in the typical NYer way,” Blegvad wrote to The Verge in an email. “It was just bizarre and strange.” However, Blegvad quickly discovered that other stations were unlocked and dry, and she was able to get onto an express train.

In reaction to Blegvad in response to Blegvad, the MTA said, “We’re pivoting to submarines.” In a subsequent tweet, the MTA explained its motives behind”test floods “test flood,” adding, “We’re doing this because climate change is real.”

Climate change is likely to increase the frequency of rainfall and higher sea levels, and more frequent and powerful hurricanes that will hit New York City. When Hurricane Sandy devastated New York City in 2012, flooding slammed many stations, from tracks to ceilings, with salty water that was corrosive. Two Long Island Rail Road tubes between Manhattan and Queens were submerged. Tunnels, bridges yards, bus depots and bus yards were damaged.

RETROFITTING NEW YORK’S SUBWAYS FOR A CHANGING CLIMATE

Following Sandy was over, The Big Apple launched an initiative to make public transportation more durable. In the last seven years, it’s introduced improvements to its tunnels and stations to avoid any future flooding from causing the same damage. This includes the flexible stairwell cover, tested on yesterday, and 64* similar ones throughout the city. “The “flex gate” is made of Kevlar, which a single person can install within minutes. The device was created in the same factory that designed astronaut suits for NASA’s Apollo astronauts, ILC Dover.

In all in all, the MTA has placed equipment and other devices such as submarine-like doors weighing 3,000 pounds and portable vent cover covers located at around 3,500 places where water could enter through the subway network.

The process of retrofitting the subways of New York to accommodate an increasingly harsh climate is still in progress as well as the MTA informs the Verge it will conduct more “flood tests” like the one yesterday. In a report on the resilience initiative, which was that was released on the 7th anniversary of Sandy’s destruction Sandy on the 29th of October, MTA chairman and CEO Patrick Foye said in a statement, “We have a responsibility to the entire region to make sure we finish the job, and we will do so.”

*Correction 11/21: A prior version of this article said 67 more “flex gates” throughout the city, excluding the gate located at Broadway Station. If The Verge asked the MTA what number of gates it had been installed throughout the city, The MTA initially stated via email they had 68 gates. However, the MTA later clarified that they have established so far 65 gates and is planning to add three more.

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