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Protecting our shores: Mayor unveils master plan for future storms

Rendering of Coney Island Creek wetlands, tidal barrier,

Rendering of Coney Island Creek wetlands, tidal barrier, which would fight erosion, rising sea levels. Photo Credit: Rendering of Coney Island Creek wetlands, tidal barrier, which would fight erosion,rising sea levels

COSTAL PROTECTION

Floodwalls: Mayor Bloomberg proposed installing protective walls around key areas of the five boroughs. Hunts Point, close to the city’s food distribution center, the East Harlem waterfront along the FDR East River Drive, Hospital Row north of 23rd Street, the Lower East Side, Chinatown, the Financial District and Red Hook are some of the targeted spots.

Levees: The mayor pushed for the creation of levees along the East Shore of Staten Island. The future levees would protect neighborhoods, which have seen a rise in flooding over the years, with 15-to-25 foot structures.

Storm surge barriers: The city would work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deal with the flooding in Greenpoint and Long Island City. A proposed surge barrier at Newtown Creek would have gates and levees. The city proposes a tidal barrier in Coney Island Creek and surge barriers at Jamaica Bay as well.

Bulkheads: Bloomberg said the city would install new concrete or stone bulkheads and raise existing ones to keep the shoreline in place at locations such as Howard Beach, Midtown West, Locust Point and the Belt Parkway.

BUILDING PROTECTION

Update zoning: As part of the post-Sandy plan, the mayor pushed for an amendment to building rules that raises the height for properties in high flood risk zones. The codes would also be updated to include protection for fire and utilities.

Money for flood resistance measures: The city would make more than a billion dollars available through grants and loans to owners for the completion of construction changes to their properties. Changes include several flood resiliency measures such as new heating equipment, upgraded foundations and reinforced exterior walls.

Retrofitting public housing: The city would use $108 million of the federal Sandy aid money to improve the power resiliency and install generators in NYCHA buildings.

Insurance: The city would reduce insurance rates for property owners in flood-prone zones who elevate their structures, and create flexible pricing options for people to purchase flood insurance.

HEALTH CARE

Nursing homes: The city would make $50 million available to nursing home facilities to retrofit their buildings to survive a major storm and power outage.

Hospital design: Bloomberg said building codes would be amended so that future hospitals can be built to meet the new FEMA 500-year flood elevation standards. Existing hospitals would be retrofitted to meet the standards as well, with new electrical equipment and water pumps.

UTILITIES

Power restoration: The mayor said the utilities aren’t held to the same standards during severe weather when it comes to service restoration. The mayor said the city, state, Con Ed and LIPA would create standards for the utilities when it comes to assessing power conditions in real time and restoring service rapidly.

Develop fuel security strategy: The city and federal government will work to harden fuel pipelines, refiners and other terminals. They will also explore other fuel sources that could provide the city with energy during down times.
 

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