The New York City Council voted to approve the East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) Project yesterday, with little opposition from officials. Local councilwoman Margaret Chin, who represents the affected area, fell in favor of the $1.45 billion project, which will raise East River Park to 8- to-10 feet above sea level with landfill from Montgomery Street to 25th street to protect against future floods. Forty-six members voted in favor, with only one against and one abstention, and the plan now only has to cross Mayor de Blasio's desk, and he's indicated that he'll sign it. The project has experienced strong ongoing opposition from organized community groups, civic associations, and neighborhood parks advocates, who voiced opposition to the extended loss of play areas, removal of trees, and lack of consultation during the design process. A coalition of community groups had drafted an alternative People's Plan, which the final project considered as a part of its community engagement, along with the EDC's Waterfront Esplanade plan and WXY Studio's East River Blueway Plan. The city responded with a plan to phase work over a longer period to ensure the availability of parks during the construction. Others, like architect William Rockwell, who lives in an Amalgamated Dwellings Cooperative building and experienced severe flooding and loss of power during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, voiced support. Among the notable benefits of the design, apart from potentially live-saving flood protection, will be vastly improved pedestrian connections to the East River across on grade bridges spanning FDR Drive. The areas protected from flooding, according to the Scope of Work in the Environmental Impact Statement, fall within the 100-year flood zone and extend upland to meet the 90th percentile projection of sea-level rise to the 2050s. That includes large parts of the Lower East Side and East Village, Stuy Town, Peter Cooper Village, and Stuyvesant Cove Park, which was built on top of low-lying marshes. Originated in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy as part of the BIG U Rebuild by Design project—with Bjarke Ingels Group as the lead urban designer in collaboration with One Architecture, Starr Whitehouse, James Lima Planning + Development, Green Shield Ecology, AEA Consulting, Level Agency for Infrastructure, ARCADIS, and Buro Happold—the ESCR became the northern half of two separate projects, with the other part section, the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Project, extending below the Manhattan bridge. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development originally committed $511 million to the project during the Rebuild by Design phase, with New York promising an additional $305 million. The environmental impact statement (EIS), however, only cites the $1.45 billion cost and $335 million committed by HUD from a federal Community Development Block Grant. An October 2019 independent review of the ESCR by the U.S. arm of Dutch water research institute Deltares noted the lack of publicly available information on aspects of the project, making it impossible to review in its totality. The report argues that "transparency of the decision-making process by city agencies will help rebuild trust and gain [the] support of the community," and recommended establishing a community advisory group and keeping community representatives involved in the later, more detailed stages of project design. It also recommended adding two more feet of fill, coordinating with the green infrastructure program, and studying groundwater patterns in the East Village to evaluate the impact of rainfall on the neighborhood and basement flooding. The implementation is being led by the New York City Department of Design and Construction with AKRF/KSE Engineering as the lead consultant.
Posts tagged with "East Side Coastal Resiliency Project":
New York City's City Planning Commission met last Monday to vote on the future of the $1.45 billion resiliency plan to bolster flood protection in Lower Manhattan, a mammoth scheme designed and planned by One Architecture & Urbanism, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, AKRF, and Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). The approved East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) project will stretch from Montgomery Street to 25th Street and, controversially, rebuild the East River Park eight feet higher than it currently stands. That plan, which was first unveiled in January, was designed to withstand a 100-year coastal flood scenario through 2050. In addition to elevating the East River Park, the ESCR project will also replace several bridges and build new flood walls, flood gates, and underground flood protection. The ESCR is one of several projects initiated in the wake of Hurricane Sandy to prepare the city for the continued threats of sea-level rise. The complete 10-mile-long plan, initially envisioned by BIG as the "BIG U," will wrap around the southern tip of Manhattan from West 57th Street to East 42nd Street. As far back as 2015, the original design proposal for the ESCR was rejected by Community Boards 3 and 6. Three years later, the city released the current iteration of the project, shocking some residents with its huge price tag and new design. The current version of the project will cost $1.45 billion, up from the original $338 million, but will shorten construction time by 1.5 years compared to previous proposals. The new scheme would also allow equipment to be brought in via barge to avoid closing the neighboring FDR Drive. While the park and surrounding area were heavily flooded in 2012 by Sandy and fall well within FEMA’s 100-year flood zone, residents expressed outrage at the flood protection plan. Protestors were distrustful after previous plans were unexpectedly scrapped, and doubt the city's ability to meet the new 2023 deadline. Residents have expressed such intense opposition to the project that Manhattan Borough President, Gale Brewer, recently commissioned an independent review by the Dutch group Deltares to assess it. Despite weighing the pushback, the City Planning Commission ultimately voted to approve the project, citing the immediate threat that rising sea levels pose. The ESCR plan will next need to receive the City Council's blessing before it can be voted on by Mayor Bill de Blasio for final approval.
Manhattan's East River Park is expected to receive a massive facelift—and sooner than expected. Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration announced an update to nearly 70 percent of the design for the long-awaited East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR). The new $1.45-billion-plan will not only speed up the construction process and shift heavy construction work away from residential areas and closer to the waterline, it will also improve access to East River Park while transforming it into a world-class parkland. According to a press release, the purpose of the redesign is to allow flood protection to begin one year ahead of schedule. In addition, the entire project is now slated to be completed six months earlier than previously determined. By pushing back the flood walls from FDR Drive toward the East River along the water's edge, there will be fewer barriers between East River Park and the local community, giving the 40-acre green space a more open and welcoming appearance. The flood walls will be directly integrated with the bulkhead and esplanade. Plans are also underway to create a spacious entry plaza at Houston Street with a direct passageway to the water, where pedestrians can stumble upon views of the East River with ease. The new plan will also add 12 tennis courts, eight baseball fields, four basketball courts, three soccer fields, a multipurpose field, and a running track to Lower Manhattan’s largest park. The ESCR is a $335-million proposal to construct flood barriers along the coast of Manhattan, from Midtown East to the Lower East Side. Bjarke Ingels Group and One Architecture & Urbanism conceived the idea in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2013. ESCR is only the first of three stages of Ingels’ vision for the Big U, which in total comprises a 10-mile-long flood barrier that doubles as public space, extending from West 57th Street to East 43rd Street, curving around the southern tip of the Financial District and Battery Park. The radical plan for flood-prevention will protect the most vulnerable, low-lying areas of Manhattan, while also providing residents with public spaces to relax, socialize, and sightsee. Construction on ESCR is expected to begin in spring 2020.
Last night the design team behind the massive flood barrier park on the east side of Manhattan presented updated designs to the public at a meeting of Manhattan's Community Board 3 (CB3), whose board ultimately approved the designs. Representatives from One Architecture and Urbanism, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects (MNLA), and the Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resiliency discussed their proposal at P.S. 20 on the Lower East Side in front of an auditorium generously peppered with community members who would be some of the park's local users. The overall goal of the plans, which are officially known as the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR), are to prevent catastrophic flooding while improving the quality of and access to parkland along the East River from Montgomery Street on the Lower East Side to East 25th Street. East River Park already occupies most of that stretch, so plans will improve existing parkland but add roughly 11 linear blocks of green space. The preliminary designs (PDF), a collaboration between the city, One Architecture, MNLA, AKRF, and Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), were reviewed by CB3's parks committee on March 15 and presented to the full board yesterday. Readers can learn all about the proposal here. Mathew Staudt, senior designer at New York's One Architecture, told the assembly that the team hoped to rely on flood walls and traditional levees, plus earthen levees as space allows, to minimize the use of functional but not-too-pretty movable gates that can close to protect inland areas from rising waters. The flood protections are built to oppose a 100-year coastal storm in the 2050s, a model that assumes 2.5 feet of sea level rise over the next three-plus decades. Carrie Grassi, deputy director of planning at the Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resiliency, noted the ESCR is also shooting for Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) accreditation. Park access played a big role in last night's discussion. Per community feedback, the team adjusted the design of the Delancey Street pedestrian bridge, subbing a sloped walkway for a ramp-and-stair set and widening the path. On East 10th Street, the team is creating a new bridge with ramps and stairs. The adjacent playground will retain its equipment, but the firm is adding a grade change and new planting to help with flood control. Trees, explained MNLA Principal Molly Bourne, will be saved in large groves, and the firm is looking to create a new forest for the park. Although the project timeline stretches into 2024, stakeholders have until 2022 to spend $335 million in federal money, so the team hopes to move to final design stage soon. The project is also supported by over $400 million from the city. The audience mainly sought clarity on some of the finer points of the design, like the size and location of the ballfields (Bourne said there will be the same amount of active recreation space but MNLA has rotated the soccer field). Like any major public improvement, the proposal takes time to be critiqued and adjusted, but the ESCR is approaching some significant milestones. The draft of the project's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is due this July, and its lengthy public review (the ULURP, short for Uniform Land Use Review Process) begins the same month. Final design proposals should be ready by winter. If the ULURP goes smoothly, shovels are slated to hit the ground in spring 2019, and the project should wrap by the end of 2024.
On Friday, Rebuild By Design (RBD) hosted a conference at NYU to check in on the progress on the region's ten coastal resiliency projects. Landscape architects, engineers, architects, and government officials representing the six initial winners and four finalists spoke on behalf of their team's ideas. Although each project is different in scale and scope (factors which correlate, not surprisingly, to the level of funding that each received), and all are at different phases of implementation, projects from Bridgeport, CT to Hoboken, NJ reflect a desire to build back, but better: Plans enhanced oceanfronts, baysides, riverbeds, and low-lying areas with graywater remediation, waterside parks, berms with bicycle paths, and oyster beds, and other amenities to enhance both resiliency and waterside quality of life. Consistent challenges emerged, too. Foremost was the challenge of implementing projects that require input and approval from multiple government agencies with varying jurisdictions and priorities. Community engagement is key to each project, with many teams noting that initial designs were modified in accordance with the input of property owners, business leaders, and residents. Construction on the first phase of the projects is expected to be complete by 2022. Although each project will undoubtedly make its area more resistant against 100-year floods, the most ambitious projects were the buffer of berms and floodwalls on Manhattan's shoreline that stretches from East 25th Street around the southern tip of the island, and Living Breakwaters, a series of wave-breaking rock-and-oyster-colony formations placed off the south shore of Staten Island. Carrie Grassi, deputy director for planning at the NYC Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resiliency spoke first about the Manhattan-based project. (formerly known as the BIG U). The project has two phases: Firstly, the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR), whose team is led by AKRF with design and planning input from ONE, (RBD competition winners) BIG, and Mathews Nielsen. Secondly, the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Project, or Two Bridges, led by AECOM and Dewberry, with design and planning by ONE and BIG. Grassi noted that the team wanted to make phase one, 2.5 miles of waterfront, and waterfront-adjacent space, primarily for people to enjoy: "We want to create something that we can live with for the 99 percent of the time that we aren’t flooding." One of the challenges of implementing the ESCR was establishing an unprecedented joint task force between Community Boards 3 and 6. At public input sessions, residents asked that designs focus incorporating the berms into bridges, like at the Delancy Street pedestrian bridge, near where the Williamsburg Bridge touches down in Manhattan. Plans also called for kiosks and vendors under the FDR Drive overpass near Stuyvesant Cove; residents were worried that the darkened area would be uninviting during the winter months, so the design was modified. “All of these conversations were about tradeoffs," Grassi explained. "[We considered] the community's priorities and what was needed to advance the project and make decisions.” The draft scope of work is out, and a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is being developed. Next steps include "drilling down on the design," and the environmental and land use review, although the design leaves the opportunity for additional bridges to be constructed at a later date. $335 million of the project's funding comes from HUD's Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program and $170 million in capital funds from the city. Construction is expected to begin in June 2017. The Two Bridges portion is being financed with an additional $176 million (CDBG-NDR) and $27 million from the city. Alex Zablocki, a senior program manager at the NYS Governor's Office of Storm Recovery and Pippa Brashear, director of planning and resilience at SCAPE/Landscape Architecture, closed the presentations with updates on Living Breakwaters, a stormproofing plan for the South Shore of Staten Island. SCAPE's design calls for network of submerged and partially-submerged concrete-and-recycled-glass breakwaters that will be planted with oysters. Living Breakwaters, Brashear explained, creates double resiliency by both mitigating the impact of shore-bound waves and "enhancing ecology" through natural water filtration (the project is partnering with the Billion Oyster Project, an initiative to re-seed oyster beds in the New York Harbor). To SCAPE, the strategy was not about keeping water out through walls and barriers, but about reducing the impact of flooding in the vulnerable Tottenville neighborhood. https://vimeo.com/91648619 Plans call for a rocky habitat shoreside with semi-enclosures for kayaking. The video above, from 2014, explains the coastal interventions in-depth. Between winning the RBD competition in 2014 and now, SCAPE has surveyed the coastline—above and underwater—extensively, and construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2017.
The City of New York has selected AECOM to lead the design and build of coastal resiliency measures for Manhattan, formerly known as the Dryline (and before that, BIG U). The project team includes Dewberry, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and ONE Architecture. BIG and ONE provided the original vision for the 10-mile-long project, and are working on the project's Lower East Side component (Phase 1). That phase, which should be complete by 2017, runs from Montgomery Street to East 23rd Street. That (fully funded) $335 million initiative incorporates parkland and recreational space into and over berms and heavy-duty flood barriers in the East River. Starr Whitehouse collaborated with the firms on the landscape design. AECOM and Dewberry New York–based firms responded to a request for proposals issued by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). The duo's design will encircle the lower Manhattan waterfront for around 3.5 miles, from Montgomery Street on the Lower East Side, around the island's southern tip, to Harrison Street in Tribeca. The project is expected to cost more than $1 billion, Crain's reports. New York State Senator Chuck Schumer secured $176 million in federal funds for the project, while the City has set aside $100 million in capital funds last year, on top of an earlier $15 million contribution. There's no renderings yet available of AECOM and Dewberry's design, but AN will keep you updated as the project progresses.
New York City will receive $176 million in federal funding for disaster recovery. The funding would be put towards a section of the project extending from the northern portion of Battery Park City to Montgomery Street on the Lower East Side. The money is part of $181 million in funding for recovery projects in New York and New Jersey. The funds came from the National Disaster Resilience Competition, a U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development–sponsored competition to rebuild communities affected by natural disasters, The New York Times reports. The BIG–designed East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (scaled down, but known in former incarnations as the DryLine or the BIG U) calls for sea walls, retractable flood barriers, and grass berms that would double as riverside recreation areas, opening up the waterfront to create a shoreline comparable to the recreation-rich shores of Manhattan's West Side. The East Side Coastal Resiliency Project arose from Rebuild by Design, a 2014 competition to solicit ideas for six large-scale flood protection and resiliency measures in the tristate area. Rebuild by Design awarded New York City $335 million in federal funds for the East 23rd Street to Montgomery Street section. Mayor de Blasio has committed $100 million in capital funding to the project already.