Toothless agreement satisfies City Council Committee
The City Council Land Use Committee passed the flood control plan that will demolish East River Park. The plan goes before the full City Council Nov. 14. It is expected to pass, and bulldozing will begin next year.
Before the vote Nov. 12 (10 Yes, 1 abstention), City Council Member Carlina Rivera read a hearty endorsement of the deal she and fellow Council Members Margaret Chin and Keith Powers made with the city. (East River Park is in their districts.) There is little that’s reassuring in it.
For instance, the agreement includes a promise to study the feasibility of protected bike lanes to substitute for the greenway in the park. It will look into “future infrastructural reconstruction” surrounding the FDR Drive.” (Is that about covering the FDR with a park?) It “will conduct further feasibility evaluation to understand whether there is a potential for Interim Flood Protection Measures along the project area.” Once the City Council passes the flood control plan, the city has no obligation to do anything on any of those fronts.
There are many other gaps in the agreement—about timelines, on whether the new community advisory board will have teeth—or experts to consult—on critical timeline concerns. Read more in my op-ed in Gotham Gazette: “Local City Council Members Must Head Back to Drawing Board on East River Park Plan,” by Pat Arnow, Gotham Gazette, Nov. 13, 2019
Here’s NY1’s story on the Land Use Committee Vote:
The City published a good overview, “HOW LOWER EAST SIDE COASTAL PLAN BRACES FOR CLIMATE CHANGE,” by Rachel Holliday Smith in The City. One argument she mentions for having to raise the park eight feet–artificial turf fields can’t be flooded. So we have to spend $1.45 billion instead of installing and maintaining natural turf fields, which can be flooded. And that are better for playing sports and for the environment.
It is not the end. We are looking into legal options. We fight for the urban oasis that we use every day, all us non-rich non-tourists: