Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Reminders: City Council's oversight hearing on the revised East River Park stormproofing is tomorrow

Tomorrow afternoon at 1, City Council is holding a joint committee hearing with de Blasio administration officials and relevant agency commissioners about the updated East Side Coastal Resiliency Project. (Find the agenda item at this link.)

Council members — led by District 2's Carlina Rivera — hope to learn more about the city's new vision for the revamp to stormproof East River Park. The updated plan was released in the fall, in an L-train-ish fashion that caught many stakeholders by surprise after years of outreach and groundwork.

The updated plan — released without any community input — is radically different than what had been discussed, and its expected cost will increase from $760 million to $1.45 billion, while closing and burying the current East River Park for up to three-plus years. (The city's new design renderings are at this link.)

The Times caught up to the story in a piece headlined To Save East River Park, the City Intends to Bury It on Sunday.

An excerpt from the Times:

In a separate interview, the Parks Department commissioner, Mitchell J. Silver, said that unlike passive parks that double as floodplains, like those by Jamaica Bay, East River Park has structures, lights and synthetic turf, which “does not do well” in floods. And with the river projected to rise two and a half feet in 30 years, raising the park is the only way to save it.

By bringing in landfill and soil by barge, the new plan allows for daytime construction away from the highway, minimizing traffic disruptions. After its scheduled March 2020 launch, the new plan can thus be completed in three years rather than five, with flood protection in place by 2022.

Still, the park’s closing under either plan has left people like Joan Reinmuth, a retired nurse and 30-year East Village resident, doubtful. “This park is more than a recreation facility,” she said. “These kids in NYCHA houses don’t take vacation cruises. They don’t shop at Zabar’s for fish; they fish to eat. Early mornings, men are shaving in the fountains.”

Rivera, who called for Wednesday's oversight hearing, shared her thoughts on the project in series of tweets on Friday...

Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: The reality of storm-proofing East River Park in 2020

Storm center: Questions linger over updated plans for the East Side Coastal Resiliency project

Mayor's new East River Park flood plan faces City Council scrutiny


Choresh Wald said...

"minimizing traffic disruptions" - say it out loud. This is what all this terrible, horrendous plan is.
In their rendering they are showing the FDR drive in 2030, same as it is today size wise, with few vehicles scattered here and there. As if it is not choked with traffic today, as if with keeping incentivizing drivers to use it and with population growth it can accommodate more drivers.
Tear the FDR drive down, make it a city street open for public transportation, first responders and local deliveries. No private passenger cars. We, the people in this neighborhood, are dying every day because of the air pollution these vehicles cause. We are suffering the 24/7 noise pollution.
Come on Wednesday to demand the tear down of the FDR Drive, the best resiliency plan.

noble neolani said...

I have a friend who owns a ground level business in West Chelsea between 10-11th avenues. Her space was flooded by the Hudson about waist high during Sandy. Why is the Mayor only focused on protecting the shores of the East River while ignoring the west side?

Could it be because the west side has super luxury condos already and most residents would not tolerate a massive plan like this one blocking their river views as well as taking away that park area? Meanwhile the East river is lined with public housing which is mostly in need of repair and is no longer supported by Federal funds.

I still believe this is part of plan to create in De Blasio's own words "a world class park" for the future residents and not the current. These public lands will be sold off in some city government deal with big developers with a promise to build sub-par housing in the far outer boroughs to get their greedy hands on water edge land.

Anonymous said...

Have they said at all why they can't do this in stages?

This whole plan would be WAY easier to swallow if they closed smaller sections one at a time rather than the entire park for 3.5+ years.

JM said...

I thought Robert Moses was dead and buried. The line of thinking that puts FDR traffic ahead of a great and much-used park, and the people who use it, is practically straight out of his "cars first" philosophy, which was discredited decades ago.

DiBlasio and his minions have proven to be no improvement over Bloomberg, which is very disappointing.

Anonymous said...

The FDR, from 14 Street down, where the raising will take place, is the highway to nowhere. It stops, as most things down at that end do, at the Battery. It's already limited to only cars, so why is this so precious????

And why are we calling it a highway?

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Amsterdam is below sea level and they have yet to do this. And that very city has been around for centuries. I am calling bullshit. This is a ploy to undermine our residents and to spend useless amounts of money. Its downright appaling what they will do to this precious stretch of land.

Anonymous said...

FDR Drive = How De Blasio gets driven to his gym every day. Does that answer anyone's question?

Anonymous said...

Eh just leave it. If and when a flood happens, then we'll all roll up our pant legs and figure out how to get through it.

cmarrtyy said...

This isa dog 'n pony show. It's all abouthighrise development. I said it before w should have called the Dutch. But the Dutch saved their country with lots of science and fee dollars. Not very American. And not good for developers.

Giovanni said...

The year is 2029. A fisherman casts his line out onto the choppy waters of the East River. A big storm is coming, but the fisherman knows this might be his last chance to catch a few more fish before heading home to ride out.

A few days of high winds and heavy rain are predicted, but now the authorites have told everyone to shelter in place. Unfortunately, the fisherman hasn’t heard the latest news reports, and even though the water is rising, he feels safe. This new park was built to withstand these new superstorms, which seem to be happening more frequently now.

Suddenly, a giant wave crashes against the sea wall and soaks him with icy cold water. He starts to think that maybe it’s time to go home when another wave comes and lifts him off his feet, throwing him backwards and onto the park benches, which are now covered with rushing water. He looks around and realizes the park is flooding. He waits a minute while the water rushes back into the river, then he begins running towards the nearest foot bridge,

More waves quickly rise up behind him, knocking him over, and by the time he reaches the footbridge he is bloodied and bruised, He scrambles up the walkway and makes his way to the top of the footbridge. He looks down to see that the water has washed away the soil in the park and breached the protective wall, spilling onto the FDR drive, which is now completely underwater, with cars floating in all directions, and passengers still inside of them, screaming for help that will not come. The fisherman runs to the other side of the bridge, but the water is already rising quickly.

He wades into the rushing water, dodging floating debris and cars that are floating away. He finally makes his way inside a building, where the lobby is flooded. He climbs the darkened stairwell up to the roof, and looks out at the city which is eerily quiet and dark, except for a few helicopters overhead, as waves crash around Manhattan on all sides. All power has been lost. The city is in a total blackout.

“I thought the Mayor said this seawall would save us from these floods?” The fishermen says to himself. It took them 10 years to build it, and now it’s completely gone.

noble neolani said...

Hollywood needs that script.

Anonymous said...

"Currently, there is approximately $511 million in federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding allocated to the Big U, of which $335 million is designated for the first phase, the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR), with the caveat that such funds must be spent by the end of 2022 or the grant will expire.1 Since the initial federal allocation in 2014, the City has supplemented the $335 million with additional capital funding, bringing the total budget for the ESCR project to $760 million"
So this 'plan' is little more than a money grab, both of recovery funding money and throw in an equal part of city tax funds that have to be spent by 2022. The original plan called for the entire bottom of Manhattan to be secured (the BIG U), but 65% of the money is being used on one of the three sections of the plan. The plan only works if the flood wall goes all the way around, to make only part of the plan is shortsighted, but at least someone is getting the money, right?

Giovanni said...

@Noble Neolani. Thanks. Here's another idea for a TV series:

A gang of tiny mutants and outcasts who are oppressed and hunted for sport by the humans roam the gutters of the East Village and crawl spaces of the tenement buidlings, looking for a world to call their own. After a war that has lasted a hundred years, and after being nearly wiped out by rival mutants and unruly hordes of humans called The Crusties who despise them, the gang discovers a secret cavern left behind by an alien race with a secret that could help them rise up and conquer the world.