Shift in Direction of New York Resiliency Project Raises Questions
Danielle Muoio reports on the current status of the East Side Coastal Resiliency project, part of a larger plan called the Big U and funded by Rebuild by Design, a competition sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development:
The intention was to add 2.2 miles of coastline that could absorb flooding in the event of a storm surge, but act as a park with jogging trails and other recreational activities on a day-to-day basis. It was expected to cost $760 million in total funding, with the city providing the additional $425 million.
The funds were awarded in 2014, and the project was scheduled to start in 2017. However, the de Blasio administration recently released a new plan that would cost significantly more, $1.45 billion, and change the design.
The new park would be raised, with a flood wall, and instead of extending to East 25th Street, it would end at East 13th Street. The administration says that under the revised plan’s schedule, the park would be finished 18 months sooner and construction could be shifted away from FDR Drive.
However, the plan raised questions about whether the new design would block East River views and about why the design is changing so late in the process. In addition, construction would not start until 2020, and concern has emerged about the future of other Big U projects.