Tuesday, July 30, 2019

City Planning Commission will hold its hearing on the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project tomorrow

[Photo by Stacie Joy]

The next public meeting on the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR) takes place tomorrow (July 31) morning at 10.

The City Planning Commission along with the Office of Management and Budget and the Parks & Recreation Department are next the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) public review tour. The meeting is at 120 Broadway, Concourse Level. Page 42 (!) of this document has more details.

By now you likely now the story behind the ESCR project, a coastal protection initiative jointly funded by the City of New York and the federal government, aimed at reducing flood risk due to coastal storms and sea-level rise. ESCR is the first element of the city’s "Big U" plan to protect Lower Manhattan from surges like those seen during Superstorm Sandy.

As part of the project, city officials, starting next spring, plan to close East River Park for three-plus years, elevating it with 8- to 10-feet of soil and chopping down trees, etc., from Montgomery Street to East 13th Street.

Some residents, referring to it as the Kill Our Park Plan, have asked for the demolition and reconstruction of East River Park to take part in phases so that they continue to enjoy some of the amenities that the public space provides. (The revised plan, unveiled last fall, dramatically changed course over what had been discussed the previous four years.)

For more background:

• The official East Side Coastal Resiliency Project page is at this link.

• "A Beginner’s Guide to the NYC Environmental Impact Statement for the East River Park" via East River Park Action is here.

• A primer on the East River Park's past and future by the Village Preservation is at Off the Grid.

Also, this Gothamist piece has a nice background of what has transpired to date.

The city is now accepting public comments through Aug. 30. This link has details on how — and where — to comment.

You may also breeze through the mostly unreadable Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project here. There are hundreds and hundreds of pages of documents with footnotes and collateral materials (the table of contents alone is a unwieldy 32 pages).

The final vote via City Council is expected in late September.

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

At East River Park


Mike G said...

Not sure if this has been shared yet, but there was an interesting PBS program recently, Sinking Cities: New York, which explored other potential solutions to protecting the shoreline which didn't involve "The Big U" .. It's definitely worth a look.


But which way are the bike lanes? Oh that's right, they're everywhere just like Jesus and Santa. Speaking of which, keep those two on speed dial. You'll need them for prayers and new legs.

Giovanni said...

@Mike G I’ve been telling people to watch that same program for months. It’s one of the best overviews about how to approach this problem. Many of the experts say that building a wall, aka “The Big U” ( a most terrible name if there ever was one) is at best a temporary solution. It ultimately will not be enough to keep the rising waters out.

The bottom line is that the Big U solution is too one dimensional and unimaginative. If any single part of it is breached or fails, massive amounts of water will pour in, the entire structure will become useless, and lower Manhattan will flood. It will also make Manhattan feel more like a prison as it cuts off sight lines to the rivers. If you look at the project renderings, from all you see on the other side of those beautiful looking parks, on the side we all live on, is giant ugly walls. And as we have seen in recent storms in Louisiana and elsewhere, a levy or wall cannot keep out the water that falls from the sky.

The scariest part is when one expert talks about how people will ultimately need to migrate north and let nature take back lower Manhattan. So say goodbye to Wall Street, the World Trade Center, Battery Park, TriBeCa. Chinatown, Soho, NYU, Washington Square, Union Square and Tompkins square Park, the Two Towers project, the East and West Villages, and Peter Cooper and StuyTown, which until the big flood happens still holds the record the biggest real estate failure in the US.

Other cities have adapted their buildings and infrastructure to be flood proof, much like NYU, the VA and Bellevue hospitals did after Sandy. Now when it floods, their power, heat, AC and water will stay on, and they can just wait for the water to recede without having to evacuate. Some other cities have built underground garages which collect tend store water during major storms. The PBS experts say the water has to go somewhere, and in the end the Big U may just make problems in other areas worse.

Anonymous said...

I have commented many a time regarding this very issue on EV Grieve. Thank you for the opportunity to lament my disgust. Again, I am saddened no real imminent change can be implemented moving forward even though residents such as myself who attend these meetings want this upcoming renovation to come to a screeching halt. I've lost hope in our leaders and city officials. Clearly, they don't care about our needs and concerns nor have they completed their homework or compiled adequate research to support this demolition all in the name of global warming. This is purely a spearheaded measure for those with deep pockets and blind vision who seemingly wish to radicalize this beloved part of the LES into a haven for high end real estate and retail. What happens when those idiots that were voted in and who were behind this leave office? Do they truly think this will improve this area of Manhattan? Talk about an eyesore. Those selfish decisions will impact generations and communities for decades while our island supposedly falls prey to biblical flooding and disaster. Only this area? Why not other areas? What a waste and misuse of tax payer dollars. But what the hell do I know? I am just a hard working, educated professional in his early forties who has witnessed and heard enough to know the true meaning of corruption and malice. Welcome to de Blasios's twisted, self-serving version of city government. If I could only just kick myself in the ass in voting for this pathetic twit.