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Full City Council vote on resiliency plan for East River Park happens today


City Council is expected to approve the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR), the $1.45 billion proposal to protect the East Side from future storms and rising sea levels, with a vote this afternoon.

On Tuesday, the City Council Committee on Land Use signed off on the controversial plan that will bury/elevate East River Park by eight feet.

Also on Tuesday, City Councilmembers Carlina Rivera, Margaret Chin and Keith Powers announced an agreement with the city. You can read the lengthy City Council release here.

The activists behind East River Action were not impressed. They write:

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.

In other headlines about the plan in the last day or two…

• $1.45 Billion Plan To Elevate East River Park Advances, Despite Some Local Opposition (Gothamist)

• How Lower East Side Coastal Plan Braces for Climate Change (The City)

• Opinion: Local City Council Members Must Head Back to Drawing Board on East River Park Plan (Gotham Gazette)

• Opinion: East Side Coastal Resiliency Plan Must Move Forward (CityLimits)

As for what’s next, here’s The City:

Thursday’s vote only approves land use changes necessary to begin construction on the plan. The final design — which will include specifics about what the new flood walls, park reconstructions and gate system will look like — is expected to go before the Public Design Commission in December, those with knowledge of the plan said.

If all goes as expected, work will commence in East River Park later in 2020.

Previously on EV Grieve:
• Dutch consultant files report on the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (Oct. 11)

• More details on the city’s new plan to keep East River park partially open during flood protection construction (Oct. 3)

• At the march and rally to save East River Park (Sept. 21)

• An annual reunion in East River Park (Aug. 4)

• A visit to East River Park (July 10)

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