It gave us flood protection and didn’t kill our park
The Big U was part of a larger plan to protect Lower Manhattan, and our community helped develop it over four years. The city trashed it in late 2018. Now the city is going to trash our entire park and close it for years. Here was the plan the community approved for our park:
“In East River Park, an undulating berm at the location of the service road to the FDR Drive provides flood protection. The berm is shaped so that the existing sports fields can be maintained. Generous landscaped bridges will connect the East River Park to the community. The flood protection continues to Montgomery Street by fortifying the new Pier 42 Park, where a deployable will help maintain the on-ramp to the FDR Drive.”
“The flood protection in East River Park protects $780,000,000 in potential damages (NPV). With a design height of 15ft, the system has a benefit-cost ratio of 2.08.”
“Green infrastructure in all three compartments contributes to both flood protection and social amenities in the Big U. Climate-change models predict more frequent heavy-precipitation events, leading to even more street flooding and combined sewer overflows (CSO) than we have already experienced in our largely water- impervious city. The urban heat island effect will be exacerbated by longer heat waves. The Big U’s native species bio-swales, rain gardens, and street plantings will absorb and clean stormwater, cool the city, reduce air pollution, store carbon, buffer noise, enhance recreational activities, improve mental health, and provide green jobs. As a by-product of these benefits, they will also save the City and its residents money, for example in healthcare.”
The city says the new plan that will demolish the park is better because it will take 3 1/2 years rather than the five years for the Big U plan. No one believes that the park can be demolished and rebuilt eight feet higher in 3 1/2 years. The city is going to spend $1.45 billion on the new plan.
The old plan should be resurrected and revised as needed.
For the Summary of the Big U in pdf format, click the link here.