Bloomberg: NYC's coastal communities can now withstand strong storms
Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday toured the city's recovering oceanfront communities that took some of the hardest blows dealt by Sandy a year ago and said the coastal neighborhoods are fortified to withstand strong storms to come.
"If another storm like Sandy ever approaches our shores it will find a far different city than the one Sandy left behind," Bloomberg said during his afternoon trip to battered sites in the Rockaways, Staten Island and Coney Island.
Bloomberg was in those areas to see some of the finished projects that were part of a plan he released in June to stormproof the city.
The 257-point storm-proofing plan is ongoing, and of the 59 short-term projects designed to fortify the vulnerable areas he toured Tuesday, 73 percent are completed, Bloomberg said.
Whoever his successor is at City Hall, Bloomberg said he is confident the new mayor will continue to push for those projects, although he won't get involved if they take a different approach.
Flooding from Sandy devastated the city's coastal communities and caused widespread damage. The repair projects are focused on finding ways to guard the shorelines from rising tides like those that sent seawater into beachside streets during Sandy.
In Jamaica Bay, work has started on tidal gates to protect Staten Island. Sand dunes have been replaced in many areas on hard-hit beaches where the shoreline was washed out to sea in the storm.
On Coney Island, a feasibility study is underway to look into building levees to protect the historical attractions and the surrounding residential neighborhoods.
Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said the projects were funded partially by some of the $1.77 billion federal aid the city received. Holloway predicted the pace of the projects will pick up as additional funding arrives.
"The response and results we see one year later have been unprecedented," Holloway said.