Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Last week to comment on the city's plans to close East River Park

[East River Park photo from Saturday]

Friday (Aug. 30!) is the deadline for public comments on the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR).

This link has details on how — and where — to comment.

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. Community stakeholders said they felt blindsided by the changes.)

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.

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.

And tonight (Aug. 27), the East River Park Action group is hosting a meeting at the Sixth Street Community Center between Avenue B and Avenue C (more details here) ...

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


Anonymous said...

Article from January https://gothamist.com/news/les-east-village-residents-feel-duped-by-citys-surprise-plan-to-bury-east-river-park
excerpt -"Among the benefits of the new proposal, according to officials, is the fact that the landfill approach will allow the city to avoid constructing a floodgate along the FDR Drive, which would have resulted in the closure of one lane of the highway for several years. The consideration has led some to accuse the city of appeasing drivers at the expense of local residents. By using barges to carry the landfill by day, rather than closing down part of the highway for overnight work, the new plan can be completed about two years ahead of schedule, according to Grillo."

Anonymous said...

barges - who owns those contracts? - they appear to already be in place or can we all compete for the contracts?

Anonymous said...

We're being told the project can be done sooner, at an increased cost of $1.45b, but no one is certain. Of more concern is the growing tendency of the city government to ignore the will of the people and push through projects that affected residents are clearly against. This happened with the big construction project in Inwood, where rezoning was pushed through, and residents, particularly low-income residents, are likely to be permanently displaced. With this East River project, the plan that was developed over the course of five years, in agreement with affected communities, was scrapped in favor of this surprise project that most residents are against.

james said...

Time to go back to the drawing board and consult the Ouija board as well. Please consult the Dutch about flood control they know a thing or two because they saw a thing or two. This is a poor solution on so many grounds just like the shut down the L train for 18 months was like the L a better solution can be found. Rushing a solution to grab the 1.2 Billion in Federal Sandy funds by a deadline only enriches a few.

Anonymous said...

Why can't they do half at a time?

Anonymous said...

Here is my comment on the closing of ERP. It sucks ass.

Choresh Wald said...

I just submitted my request for the city to change the plan and go back to the former plan and also use the opportunity and dismantle the FDR drive just like it was done on the west side highway.
Vast majority of people living in Manhattan do not own vehicles and city planning and priorities need to reflect that.
Hurricane Sandy came because of climate change and maintaining the level of service for motor vehicles is climate change denialism.

Anonymous said...

If this happens and is approved, I feel like having a memorial or a funeral to commentate what a beloved stretch of land of this was.

Anonymous said...

Big problem here : you can't fight city hall and you can't fight mother nature.

Anonymous said...

fait accompli people, bohica!

Anonymous said...

The City has already decided to foward with this plan so what is the point of arguing anymore? The NYC real estate developers have to protect their assets and they got the NYC politicians to spend a ton of tax payer money to do so.

Anonymous said...

Crooked Carlina again in cahoots with the Mayor, sad! Our Council Member could stop this instead of angling to be the crumb dispenser for some "conservancy" and some late infrastructure to NYCHA that should happen no matter what happens to the park.

Giovanni said...

Meanwhile, Indonesia is moving its capital city of Jakarta to another island because the city is sinking into the Java Sea. Also sinking are the cities of Houston, New Orleans, and Washington DC, which is sinking in more ways than one. Perhaps we should follow Jakarta’s lead and start moving to higher ground.

Anonymous said...

@Choresh Wald: The vast majority of people living in NYC are not sick right now, but at any moment one/many of them could need emergency medical care.By your reasoning, we should get rid of emergency rooms or ambulances, b/c "the vast majority" don't need them, and "city planning & priorities need to reflect that".

Anonymous said...

@4:02 PM

Well that makes no sense. And emergency services prefer the avenues as the FDR is problematic. Car culture is passing. Save yourself some time and money and use ride-shares and maybe join the evil bicycle hordes.

The "great" thing about the current proposal is it's not a good idea but there aren't any good ideas. If it does work for downtown that water goes somewhere.

I maintain hardening the existing infrastructure against floods - ConEd etc - would be a better spend for billions. But it all depends on who got DeBlasio that brown paper bag.

Anonymous said...

This is so fucked up. I love East Side River Park. It will take more than three years to undo what they are planning. I have lost all faith in our city government and the cronies who lie to us in seeking reelection. No more voting for me again. Done. It doesn't matter.

Anonymous said...

@6:38pm: It makes plenty of sense. On 9/11, how do you think all the emergency vehicles got to the site? IIRC, via the FDR and West Side Highway.

BTW, car culture is not passing, but you can amuse yourself with that thought if it pleases you.

Ride-shares: not a chance in hell; yellow medallion taxis only!

As for joining the ranks of bike riders, I won't be on a bike ever again in my life for reasons that are none of anyone's business. (Unless, of course, the car culture utterly dies out and they have to send a bicycle-ambulance to very slowly transport me to the hospital in an emergency.)

Pat Arnow said...

Protest the closing and bulldozing of East River Park at a Bury the Plan, Not the Park! rally in the park Saturday afternoon, Sept. 21,(before the City Planning Commission votes to approve the misguided flood control plan). Details soon--email ourpark@eastriverparkaction.org for updates.

Meantime, do send in your comments on the Environmental Impact Statement. Here's help wading through the Environmental Impact Statement by Aug. 30. See "A Beginners Guide to the NYC Environmental Impact Statement" http://eastriverparkaction.org/2019/07/21/a-beginners-guide-to-the-nyc-environmental-impact-statement-for-the-east-river-park/

We can get flood control without demolishing our entire park, but we need everyone who needs the park to tell the city!

Choresh Wald said...

@anon 9:20PM : sure, keep it a two way one lane open road for emergency and utility vehicles but enough with passenger car only highways near peoples homes.

DrGecko said...

@Giovanni - Indonesia is moving the seat of government but not the rest of Jakarta. The plans are to relocate some hundreds of thousands of people, but not all 20 million Jakartans. When Brazil Brasilia, they didn't move Rio.

Don't know what the equivalent for NY would be - maybe move the HQs of all the financial firms, in which case I'm all in favor of moving them to the Hamptons, waiting a couple of decades, and being done with them.

Anonymous said...

The current plan is completely awful. The air quality of and environmental stress on this area during construction is going to be unthinkable--what with all the mature trees that are going to be cut down (along with so many mature trees being cut down in nearby NYCHA housing simultaneously), the razing of all greenery, the dust, construction emissions, barge pollution, traffic, noise. Basically, in order to "protect" against climate change, we're adding *to* climate change, and giving black lung to every resident in the area. It's disgusting. I will never vote for any politician who is facilitating this plan ever again.

Anonymous said...

Has there been any projection of how long raising the park 10 feet is supposed to storm proof the area for? Just long enough for the next big one to hit and repeat this over again?

Giovanni said...

@Sophocles. Of course the government is going to take care of itself before it takes care of the other 20 million people, but eventually most if not all of the residents will be flooded out. Jakarta recently had their own version of Sandy ad the streets turned into rivers. They have the additional problem of too many developers building wells which is making the city sink. Combine that with rising oceans and they will soon be underwater. via the Ny Times”

“Hydrologists say the city has only a decade to halt its sinking. If it can’t, northern Jakarta, with its millions of residents, will end up underwater, along with much of the nation’s economy. Eventually, barring wholesale change and an infrastructural revolution, Jakarta won’t be able to build walls high enough to hold back the rivers, canals and the rising Java Sea.”

As for Wall Street they will probably take over Harlem or move to White Plans or Connecticut, anywhere near a Metro North line will do

Laurany25 said...

I ride the citi bike home from work everyday and don’t feel safe riding in the street. I use the bike path and walk the street sections. I wont be able to ride home, it’s the best 30 mins of my day the park provides a safe route for the commute.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the Lorax would say about this.
For years, we've been hearing about deforestation and I can't help but wonder if we're not treating the symptom here (flood water) rather than the cause (cutting down trees to build houses and cities.)

The solution would seem to be to increase the trees and decrease the humans. Because clearly, no City Plan can actually defeat nature and the oceans of the planet.

Every population prediction we hear suggests that humans are going to continue to reproduce like the stupid species we apparently are.

Apparently one plan was approved and then a plan with a bigger budget was approved and that's what people are fighting.

I don't think destroying the park is going to save us from ourselves. In the "humans v. Nature" battle, we're likely to lose.

We have a bunch of business/money types telling us how to save New York from natural phenomena?

We should get rid of cars (HA!), plant trees and individually choose to decrease our population.

We can't fix the world as long as money people are in charge and money people are ALWAYS in charge.

We're screwed but destroying the east side park won't fix anything. It's an uncertain "solution" for a problem that hasn't clarified itself.