No A Train To Mott Ave For Two Months

The only subway line connecting the Rockaway peninsula to New York City is the A train. Rockaway residents, especially those on the east end, rely on the A train as their only way of transportation to Manhattan and West Brooklyn. A proposed project, called the Hammels Wye Flood Mitigation Project, aims to create long-term protection measures for NYC transit support facilities - and shut down the A train for two months.

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The Hammels Wye is the area where the A train splits into two lines, one line going to the west end and the other to the east end of the peninsula. Located in the Hammels Wye are a collection of NYC transit support facilities, which, according to the MTA, contains equipment that is critical to rail operations for the Rockaway segment of the A line. The facilities sustained minimal damage from Hurricane Sandy, but the MTA maintains that a larger storm can result in damage that can disrupt the train for an extended period. The entire Rockaway peninsula is a flood zone, and susceptible to water surges. This project intends to lessen the effects a natural disaster would have on the transit system through construction of flood walls and a new compressor building.

The Hammels Wye Flood Mitigation Project has two phases. Phase One is a forty day shutdown of the A train service on the Rockaway Park Branch, the western end of the A line. Phase One begins on April 9th and ends on May 18th. Phase Two is a sixty day shutdown of the A train service on the Far Rockaway Branch, the eastern end of the A line. During these phases, there will be absolutely no A train service between the Rockaway peninsula and Broad Channel.

Few Rockaway residents are aware of this project, yet it will have a direct effect on their ability to efficiently travel. Even during times when the A train is functioning normally, residents often complain about its unreliability and delays. In a documentary by Yenniffer Martinez, City College student Tamera Jacobs states “I had one experience when I was taking a final exam, and the train suddenly stopped, and I was about an hour late to the exam.” Delays in the A train are already frequent, and a complete shutdown of the train will add agitation to Rockaway residents who completely rely on this train to travel to other parts of the city.

As the A train becomes more of a hassle for Rockaway residents, the Rockaway Ferry is likely to become more vital to their transportation. The Rockaway Ferry travels from Rockaway to lower Manhattan in a little under a hour, with one stop in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The Ferry departs at Beach 108th Street, in Rockaway Park.

Sixty percent of the A train stops are on the eastern side of the A line, yet the Ferry is not entirely accessible for residents who live along these stops. 108th Street is approximately thirty minutes from the first A train stop on the Far Rockaway Branch. Although a shuttle bus is available for residents on the eastern end of the Rockaway peninsula to commute to the ferry, the travel times are also extremely constricting, as both the Ferry and the shuttle bus come only once every hour. Without access to a reliable train or ferry a trip to other parts of the city becomes extremely arduous, discouraging Rockaway residents from going to work or school when transportation is nearly nonexistent.