2006_04_floodedsubway.jpgOoh, now all of a sudden, Gothamist would like to be an inspector general for the MTA, because that means you get to investigate various incidents and determine who was at fault. The way the inspector general decided that the MTA was at fault for the severe flooding from Hurricane Frances that halted service on September 8, 2004 (remember that day? you were probably very waterlogged when you tried to get to work). How at fault? Well, according to the Daily News which somehow obtained the report, the problem is that the MTA didn't "carry out routine maintenance" - instead, the MTA blamed the problems with 18 subway lines on "an act of God." But, here's the MTA could have done to prevent the mess:

- There was "historic neglect" of valves that are supposed to prevent city sewers from backing up into subway tunnels. There are 33 spots where the subway drainage system connects directly to the sewer system, but no record of the valves being inspected or maintained - for decades.
- Trash and muck clogged subway drains, and portable subway pumps were too unwieldy to be quickly deployed. Subway pumping rooms, however, functioned - contradicting TA claims at the time of the flood.
- Some TA "first responders" to flooding locations took more than an hour to arrive, and in some cases didn't make it. Some had to rely on the subways - which were a mess.
- TA divisions didn't set up command centers to aid communications with crews, to track problems and to monitor progress.

Our favorite is how Transit Authority first responders are supposed to use the subway - classic!

The article also has a great timeline of how the different lines essentially broke down temporarily. And not to be alarmist or anything, but subways can pose a "hidden risk" in cases of storms and flooding, which means we're going to find very compact scuba gear.