Executive Intelligence Review


Staring into ‘Gates of Hell,’ New Yorkers Trapped in Decrepit Transit System during Snowstorm

Nov. 17, 2018 (EIRNS)—The Eastern U.S. early season snowstorm Nov. 15-16 was no record-setter, but nevertheless wreaked havoc and injury throughout the Eastern Seaboard, due to lack of modern mass transit. There is no redundancy in case of a breakdown in one element of the transportation system, many of whose vital segments, bridges, tunnels, rail lines are over a century old.

In New York City there were mob scenes of stranded commuters, trapped for hours at transit terminals. “The Gates of Hell” is how the New Jersey Hackensack Daily Voice headlined the situation in its photo-report yesterday, referring to Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan.

Ground zero for the dislocation were the two long-outmoded commuter hubs in Manhattan, the Bus Terminal and the Pennsylvania Rail Station. Trains and buses couldn’t move on time because of the storm and accidents, due to the completely inadequate grid of rail lines and roads, thereby stranding thousands of commuters in place. The Bus Terminal was so overcrowded inside the building, on No. 15, that officials blocked the entrances at 5:15 p.m., to prevent more people trying to get in, with the lock-out remaining for hours. The crowd outside quickly grew to thousands, and stretched a city block. Security guards were posted at the doors, trying to maintain order, as screaming and fights broke out.

The upper level of the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River between Washington Heights in upper Manhattan and Fort Lee, New Jersey, turned into a parking lot, after icing caused a 20-vehicle crash. Several drivers abandoned their cars and fled on foot.