PATH Catches a Rising Star

By Scott Ladd, Media Relations Staff

 PATH’s Winnie Chang was recognized recently by the editors of Progressive Railroading magazine as one of the railroad industry’s “20 Rising Stars.” It’s a prestigious honor, but no surprise to her PATH colleagues who’ve witnessed the strides she’s made during her first year and a half on the job.

A project manager in PATH’s rail logistics and planning division, Chang studies the impact of development on the PATH system. Residential growth that directly affects PATH stations, customer safety and convenience, and passenger volume is exploding. Chang’s role — working with planning representatives of host cities to devise a strategy effectively serving surrounding municipalities and PATH — is becoming more pivotal.

”We’re figuring out how development affects us, and what we can do to advance PATH,” she said. “We’ve made a lot of progress.”

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Winnie Chang at PATH headquarters in Jersey City (photo by Mike Dombrowski)

Working for the railroad wasn’t originally in the cards. Raised in Edison, N.J., Chang majored in Fine Arts at New York University. But she developed a strong interest in environmental issues and transportation, and interned with the U.S. Green Building Council shortly before making a detour — to Alaska.

Chang joined an environmental non-profit organization in Anchorage, the Alaska Transportation Priorities Project, that got involved in legislation to improve transportation. Eventually her path returned her to the East Coast, to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she earned a dual Master’s degree in Transportation and City Planning before moving south to the Port Authority.

PATH was a natural fit for Chang. As a member of the Port Authority’s Leadership Fellows program starting in 2014, she was exposed to a range of the agency’s businesses and practices, from planning to technology. But her rotation with PATH left the deepest impression. In April 2016, she came on board full-time.

“PATH was a good fit for my drive, and my values,” she said.

Joy Chiu, Chang’s former supervisor, concurred. “Winnie strives to maintain the balance between PATH being a good neighbor to new developers, and protecting PATH and the welfare of our existing patrons and stakeholders,” she said.

Chang describes her engagement with municipal leadership as a work in progress. The one constant, she said, is that it’s always challenging. The increase in residential population, not surprisingly, is matched by an increase in ridership. And PATH weekday ridership has been growing sharply, recently reaching record numbers of daily passengers.

“If you care about the public good, are driven by big, complex challenges, and are willing to work through all manner of obstacles, you should work for a public transit agency or passenger railroad,” she said.

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Port Authority Shines its Lights on Breast Cancer Awareness

By Lenis Rodrigues and Rudy King, Media Relations Staff

The Port Authority has gone pink for October, from the concourse of the world’s busiest bus terminal and the elevated cables of the world’s busiest bridge to lighting displays across the region’s major airports.

As part of its annual program to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the agency has installed new lighting and ceremonial displays at the Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) and, for the ninth consecutive year, strung a necklace of 156 LED lights along the cables of the George Washington Bridge.

The campaign is to raise awareness about the scourge of breast cancer in the United States. It’s the second-leading killer of women, after lung cancer, with more than 250,000 cases of invasive breast cancer expected to be diagnosed in U.S. women this year, according to the American Cancer Society.

This year, the main concourse of the PABT’s South Wing is being illuminated with pink-wrapped gels, the thin transparent covering that fits over regular lights. It’s the same gel-lighting system in use at the GWB, a project initiated by Port Authority electrician Chris Bonanno as a tribute to his sister who contracted the disease. The gels are inscribed with the name of a survivor, a patient, or someone who has died.

At the bus terminal, a pink ribbon decal on the main floor anchors the interior display, along with special pink lighting at its Performing Arts Stage during select performances. External presentations also will be appearing on the PABT’s Mediamesh, the enormous video display that wraps around the terminal at Eighth Avenue and 42nd Street. It will go pink periodically with programmed messaging throughout the month.

In addition to the PABT and GWB displays, Breast Cancer Awareness Month events and lighting programs are taking place at the FAA control tower at John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport’s East Garage and East substation, and at Newark Liberty International Airport.

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Port Authority Lending Helping Hand to Hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico

By Alana Calmi and Scott Ladd, Media Relations Staff

Nearly a week into their deployment to Puerto Rico, more than 70 Port Authority staffers with expertise in transportation, engineering and security are working diligently to help an island still reeling from the devastation of Hurricane Maria get back on its feet.

The deployment includes members of the agency’s Aviation, Port and Engineering departments, as well as the Port Authority Police Department. This group traveled to Puerto Rico September 28-29, and most are scheduled to stay until October 13. As part of a mutual aid network responding to natural disasters, Port Authority officials were asked to share manpower and technical skills after the storm left Puerto Rico in ruins.

“You can’t help but be moved by the devastation the people of Puerto Rico have suffered,” said Steven Pawlak of the Office of Emergency Management, part of the Port Authority’s response team. “We’re doing everything we can, using whatever it takes to help our friends here restore some semblance of normalcy to their lives.”

Port Authority staffers are providing a range of hurricane repair support to airports and ports, including infrastructure condition assessments, restoration of building systems, site work and security. The teams have been instrumental in rebuilding and replacing damaged structures, electrical equipment and information systems.

For a visual account of the Port Authority’s efforts in Puerto Rico, follow this slideshow: 

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“Our team is completely committed to helping repair the airports and other facilities so heavily damaged by the hurricane,” said John Selden, Deputy General Manager of John F. Kennedy International Airport, from San Juan.

The extreme challenges confronting Port Authority volunteers mirrored those for residents and businesses across the island — severe shortages of water, food and fuel, power outages that continue to afflict most of the country, mobility issues and , insufficient housing. Morale has remained high, energized by productive collaboration with local officials Puerto Rican officials and the response from the Puerto Rican people.

“We hope that whatever assistance we are providing will get essential transportation facilities back up and running on a regular basis as soon as possible,” Selden said.

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