Features, Finance, Health and Safety, Law and Politics, New York

NYC Planning Climate Protection Strategy

March 18, 2019

By Neal Tepel

New York, NY —  On March 15th, New York City issued its comprehensive recommendations for the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency (LMCR) project.

The study identified a set of strategies to build resilience in Lower Manhattan. Recommendations include extending the Manhattan shoreline into the East River. This will protect the low-lying and highly constrained Seaport and Financial District area. The city plans to spend $500 million for four capital projects that will reinforce Lower Manhattan’s coastal areas and provide interim flood protections for the Seaport, parts of the Financial District and Two Bridges neighborhoods. Construction will begin  2019.

“Hurricane Sandy showed us how vulnerable areas like Lower Manhattan are to climate change,” said Mayor de Blasio. “That’s why we not only have to reduce emissions to prevent the most cataclysmic potential effects of global warming, we have to prepare for the ones that are already inevitable. Our actions will protect Lower Manhattan into the next century. We need the federal government to stand behind cities like New York to meet this crisis head on.”

Since Hurricane Sandy, the City has worked to assess the impacts and risks of climate change and analyze coastal protection options along the 3.3 miles of shoreline comprising Lower Manhattan. The Resilience Study has determined that by the 2050s, 37 percent of properties in Lower Manhattan will be at risk from storm surge. By 2100, with over 6 feet of projected sea level rise, almost 50 percent of properties will be at risk from surge, and 20 percent of Lower Manhattan streets will be exposed to daily tidal inundation. Groundwater table rise is projected to put 7 percent of buildings at risk of destabilization and expose 39 percent of streets with underground utilities to corrosion and water infiltration.

The Seaport and the Financial District present unique challenges. These include low-lying topography, a lack of available space, dense infrastructure above and below ground, and an active waterfront. The proximity of the FDR, Battery Tunnel and A/C subway tunnels further constrain the sites. The Study found that extending the shoreline into the East River is the only feasible way to protect these vulnerable and vital parts of the city.

The shoreline may be extended by a maximum of 500 feet, or two full city blocks. This will create a new piece of land with high points at or above 20 feet from current sea-level. The new shoreline will act as a flood barrier during storms and protect the neighborhoods against projected sea-level rise.
Over the next two years, a Financial District and Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan will be developed.

“Protecting New York City from the threat of climate change requires big ideas,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “The plan for land expansion in Lower Manhattan is a big idea, and kicking off a robust community engagement plan is critical to the success of this or any other idea that moves forward. I look forward to working with the administration along with the community to fully explore how this plan will both protect and be an asset for New Yorkers every day.”

March 18, 2019

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