Not More Emissions from the FDR
In 2019, when the City Council approved the East Side Coastal Resiliency project that would create a levee alongside the East River, the city promised to study the viability of covering the six-lane FDR Drive. It would add parkland and additional flood control and also stem emissions and noise from the highway. Now, the city has undertaken the study. Howard Brandstein, who has forcefully advocated the decking and creating a public transit corridor, sent in these comments to the Department of Transportation after the first meeting. If you would like to be involved in the planning or for more information, here is the website: https://nycdotprojects.info/EV-LES-waterfront-access-study
Kate Scherer, Dept of Transportation
Michael Haggerty, Starr Whitehouse
Dear Kate and Michael,
Thank you for the opportunity to share our perspectives and feedback on the DOT East Village/Lower East Side Waterfront Access Study at the May 4th workshop.
I was pleased to learn that Sam Schwartz will be assisting with the study. You may be familiar with his 2015 book Street Smart where he makes a compelling argument for reducing the profound impact of the private automobile on our cities by designing more alternative transportation systems around walking, biking and most significantly, mass transit.
In this same spirit and as regards the Waterfront Access Study, I believe we have to give far more attention to the impact of the 130,000+ cars that travel the FDR Drive every day. Any serious proposal to explore potential improvements along and across the FDR Drive corridor cannot ignore the huge damage to the environment and our community’s health from this highway. More bike lanes are of course welcome along the corridor, but alone are hardly sufficient.
In my comments at the workshop, I stressed the need for a visionary plan that will have a real impact on the quality of life in our community. At the same time I believe we need to be a model for other shoreline communities as we confront the challenges of the climate crisis not by simply becoming more “resilient” but by actually mitigating greenhouse emissions. With this in mind I wanted to share with you our proposal for a mass transit corridor and support for decking over the Drive from our Save East River Park video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCgtYogI5WY
While the city has proceeded with the ESCR plan to bulldoze the existing park, that part of our video addressing greenhouse emissions from the Drive and our proposals for mass transit and decking still remain relevant. The risk of catastrophic climate change will only be alleviated by drastically reducing emissions and expanding green space. The task before us is to do everything possible to achieve this outcome.
I appreciate your inclusion of my comments herein in the Waterfront Access Study and look forward to further discussion.
Executive DirectorSixth Street Community Center
East River Park Action and many allies and many who advocated hard for the East Side Coastal Resiliency project that we opposed, all of us have been calling for decking over the FDR. Here is our 2021 report with renderings included. https://eastriverparkaction.org/2021/11/11/cover-the-fdr/