NEW YORK (WABC) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered New York City’s transit service to suspend bus, subway, and commuter rail service in advance of Hurricane Sandy.
The last New York City buses will run at 9 p.m., while the last train and subway lines will run at 7 p.m.
When the MTA halted service during Hurricane Irene in August 2011 it was the first such weather-related shutdown in the agency’s history.
Amtrak has begun to announce cancellations in service, starting on Sunday. Amtrak encouraged passengers to travel on earlier available trains on Sunday. They also announced that dditional cancelations might be necessary in the coming days as Sandy moves north.
All customers leaving Sunday’s Jets game in New Jersey would be accommodated. But a special train from New Haven, Conn. to the Meadowlands has been canceled.
New York City agencies have experts huddled in an Office of Emergency Management situation room as they prepare for the storm.
Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said Friday on WOR Radio that Consolidated Edison and transit officials are also among those monitoring forecasts and fine-tuning plans.
Holloway says he’s confident the city is prepared for any possibility.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said there were no evacuation orders in effect for the city. But he said shelters will be opened in 65 public schools on Sunday for residents of low-lying areas who are concerned that their homes may be affected by flooding or power outages.
Bloomberg said a decision on whether to close schools Monday would be made on Sunday.
Because of the high winds that will accompany Sandy, all city parks will be closed as of 2 p.m. Sunday.
The New York City Buildings Department says all exterior work at construction sites will be suspended at 5 p.m. Saturday.
It’s part of the city’s preparations for next week’s predicted “super storm.”
The department is also reminding contractors and property owners to secure their construction sites and buildings.
A spokesman for Consolidated Edison said the utility was monitoring forecasts to determine what steps would be needed to protect its underground system in the city and overhead lines in Staten Island and the suburbs.
In Queens, concerns arose over the vulnerable Rockaway Peninsula, a spit of land that was evacuated for Irene and saw significant flooding. Its 100,000 residents were urged Friday to prepare their homes for an onslaught, said Dan Andrews, a spokesman for Queens Borough President Helen Marshall.
“Right now, caution is key,” he said.
Meanwhile, many New Yorkers went about their daily routines.
Kerri Courtney, who lives in lower Manhattan that was subject in parts to evacuation orders during Irene, had no immediate plans to leave. The neighborhood also was at the heart of the 9/11 attack, and Courtney said, “After that, nothing seems as dark.”
Click here to see the Hurricane Evacuation zones in New York City: http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/downloads/pdf/hurricane_map_english.pdf