2010-10-29 / Top Stories

Broad Channel Flooding Plan Put Off Until 2012

By Miriam Rosenberg

Following May’s announcement, Grace Arnemann, who lives in one of the homes closest to the water, shows Borough President Helen Marshall how high the floodwaters came outside her home during the Nor’easter in March. Inset, in May, Borough President Helen Marshall announced that a $24 million project to fix flooding problems in Broad Channel was to begin this summer. Joining her were Ed Coleman of the Department of Environmental Protection, Queens Commissioner for the DOT Maura McCarthy, State Senator Shirley Huntley, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, Councilman Eric Ulrich and Anthony Gulotta, a consulting engineer from Marshall’s office. Following May’s announcement, Grace Arnemann, who lives in one of the homes closest to the water, shows Borough President Helen Marshall how high the floodwaters came outside her home during the Nor’easter in March. Inset, in May, Borough President Helen Marshall announced that a $24 million project to fix flooding problems in Broad Channel was to begin this summer. Joining her were Ed Coleman of the Department of Environmental Protection, Queens Commissioner for the DOT Maura McCarthy, State Senator Shirley Huntley, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, Councilman Eric Ulrich and Anthony Gulotta, a consulting engineer from Marshall’s office. Just four months after being assured that $24 million would be allocated to the FY 2010 city budget (which began in July) to alleviate the flooding in Broad Channel, residents have learned that any construction to end the problem will not begin until 2012. The request for a ‘declaration of emergency,’ needed to begin the construction promptly on West 12 Road where flooding is especially bad, was recently denied.

In a letter to Mayor Bloomberg, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer asked the mayor to aid the Broad Channel residents.

“The flooding is so severe at times that fire, police, and emergency vehicles have been unable to access the homes on West 12 Road,” said Pheffer in the September 21 correspondence. “New York City DEP [Department of Environmental Protection], DOT [Department of Transportation], NYS DEC [Department of Environmental Conservation] and countless other agencies have all met to address this dangerous situation. Borough President Helen Marshall has secured over $24 million in funding to address the flooding conditions in the entire Broad Channel area. However, West 12 Road is an emergency situation and must be declared so.”

Dan Mundy, the president of the Broad Channel Civic Association, wrote to the deputy mayor of operations, Stephen Goldsmith, on September 24 about the West 12 Road problem.

“This block is prone to some flooding at virtually every high tide and can be under up to three feet of water if astronomical and wind conditions are right,” Mundy wrote. He added, “The nature of this problem and the safety concerns that this has created should mandate nothing less [than the declaration of an emergency situation].”

Marshall announced the funding during a tour of West 12 Road in May. Standing with representatives from the DEP and the DOT, Marshall said at the time, “The $24 million area-wide project will begin here on West 12 Road and will include additional streets that will be incorporated in order of severity of needs.” The Queens BP added that West 12 Road would be granted an emergency status and would be worked on first. ”

At that time, Maura McCarthy, the commissioner for the DOT, told The Wave that a bulkhead was to be constructed on West 12 Road this [past] summer to minimize flooding. The Broad Channel Civic Association is scheduled to discuss the Flood Mitigation Capital Project Initiative for West 12 Road and other streets in the community on October 28.

“The design phase of this project has already commenced and we are presently engaged with the city in an attempt to expedite this project to allow actual construction for this flood mitigation project to begin on West 12 Road during the Spring/Summer of 2011,” said Broad Channel resident Peter Mahon in an October 24 email. Mahon is leading the fight to alleviate the flooding. “We have been informed that preliminary design concepts for this project will be made available to us in December.

“Our strength in numbers, evidenced at the West 12 Road residents April 16, 2010 meeting with the Queens Borough President, proved invaluable in finally getting this project off the ground after years of inaction on the part of the city.”

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