Mayor Announces $20 Billion Storm Plan

Yesterday Mayor Bloomberg outlined an ambitious $20 billion plan to protect the waterfront from future storms like Hurricane Sandy. He spoke at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which was flooded with four-and-a-half feet of water during the storm. The Times broke down Bloomberg’s 438-page report on the proposals, which would not be implemented until well after the mayor leaves office later this year. The plan calls for a system of barriers, permanent levees, dunes, portable flood walls, bulkheads, tide gates, and offshore breakwaters all around New York City. Portable flood walls and offshore breakwaters made of rocks would protect Red Hook. Movable gates would be installed in Gowanus. In the Bay Ridge flats and other shore areas in southern Brooklyn, the city would foster wetlands. Bloomberg emphasized that these changes must be enacted sooner, rather than later — waterfront development is showing no signs of slowing, although sea levels are expected to rise 12 to 29 inches higher by 2050. This $20 billion price tag, a price likely to grow, will come from federal and city money already allocated, aid from Congress, and an additional $5 billion from the City itself. Do you think this is a wise way to spend taxpayer money? And will it work?
Bloomberg Outlines $20 Billion Storm Protection Plan [NY Times]
Photo by lazzo51

7 Comment

  • Considering the tens of billions Hurricane Sandy *alone* cost NYC, NYS, and the federal government, I’d say a $20 billion plan to shore up the coastline from *all* future hurricanes is a great investment.

    Honestly this is just the start, but prevention is almost always better than reaction.

  • I have no doubt that once Bloomberg is gone and the traditional (short-term thinking) pols return, this type of long-term investment strategy will wither and die

  • Some aspects of this plan make a lot of sense and should be built. But I doubt very much that the next administration will spend anywhere near 20 billion to protect the city from future floods.

    I have seen two major floods in lower Manhattan. The 1989 nor’easter and Sandy. Sandy was much worse because the water was high enough to get into the subway and car tunnels. That was scary. Those tunnels need to be protected from high water more effectively especially as everyone is saying that these storms are the new normal.

  • there are easy first steps like lifting electrical generating systems so as to avoid huge blackouts like the one that affected a big part of Manhattan during Sandy. Buildings that had their basements flooded during Sandy need to relocate as much of their mechanical systems to a higher level as possible. Electric and gas service should be shut off to communities like Breezy Point to avoid the electrical fires caused by high water. Flood prone office buildings need to harden a portion of their basements to resist flood waters and need to have pumps installed that are powered by generators placed high in the building. Protecting the underground transit tunnels is a bigger problem that I hope engineers will tackle.

  • There was a great exhibit at MoMa and the City Museum of New York a couple of years ago on architect-designed solutions:

  • This sounds like a good and practical plan. Much better than the crazy, pie-in-the-sky floodgate proposals that would skirt the entire NY harbor. Plans like this make you appreciate Mike Bloomberg’s kind of long term thinking. I doubt that any future politicians who will take the Mayor’s place would be willing to stick their necks out to develop a plan like this. People may complain about Bloomberg, but we will miss his practicality, effectiveness and chutzpah, when he’s gone.

    • So where was this much-vaunted long term thinking when Bloomberg got his hands on Obama’s stimulus money for “shovel-ready” projects???

      Bike lanes and “refuge islands” and corner bump-outs in the middle of already narrow streets did nothing to prepare NYC for Sandy – and this is what Bloomie and his idiot transportation commissioner spent the stimulus money on.

      Next time Bloomie “sticks his head out.” it should be on a chopping block. One of the worst mayors we could ever have. His administration has been plagued with money-wasting scandals (remember the $780 million CityTime? or our most recent one: the new, ridiculously expensive 911 system revamp). He’s leaving the next mayor to sign new contracts with every city union. A school system that has been destroyed under his “leadership.”

      A true visionary!