2011-03-18 / Top Stories

City Addresses Rockaway In New Waterfront Plan

By Miriam Rosenberg

City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden and various city and state officials join Mayor Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn at Brooklyn Bridge Park on March 14 to announce the Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan. City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden and various city and state officials join Mayor Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn at Brooklyn Bridge Park on March 14 to announce the Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan. After months of meetings last year with residents all across the city, the Department of City Planning has released a 10-year vision for the future of the city’s shoreline.

Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan offers recommendations for the 520 miles of waterways in New York.

It is an outgrowth of a similar 1992 plan for the city’s shoreline. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced the new plan on March 14.

“Our waterfront and waterways – what we are calling New York City’s sixth borough – are invaluable assets, and when our work is complete, New York will again be known as one of the world’s premier waterfront cities,” said Bloomberg.

Some of the neighborhood strategies are for the area designated as Reach 17, which includes parts of Brooklyn, Jamaica Bay and Rockaway. Strategies include the exploration of options for boat access to Jamaica Bay near Jacob Riis Park; securing funding for seawall repair from the Cross Bay Bridge to Beach 156 Street and improvement of public access along the bay by enhancing walkway connections between Tribute Park at Beach 116 Street and Beach 130 Street. The city will examine options for the reuse of the LIPA site [at Beach 108 Street] once remediation is complete, as well as the vacant cityowned waterfront lots on the bay for waterfront recreation and transportation opportunities. Improvement of Beach Channel Drive near Beach 88 Street to include waterfront public access with walkways and seating, and support proposed commercial and marina development at Beach 80 Street, which will restore the wetlands located on the site, provide public access on designated walkways, and provide a human powered boat launch. In the Arverne Renewal Area the plan calls for completion of the Arverne by the Sea project (including the Dunes, and a new YMCA recreation center) and ensure implementation of all five oceanfront public access paths – Beach 67 Street to the elevated transit station, improved signage along Beach 59 Street to connect waterfront resources on the ocean and bay as well as the elevated transit station, and the planned Rockaway Institute for Sustainable Environment and Support educational center and nature preserve. The plan further calls for maintaining the habitat between Beach 44 Street and Beach 56 Street in Edgemere, and continuing the construction of the Edgemere Urban Renewal Area with housing, parks, and additional open spaces. In addition, it will examine possible future uses for remediated landfill in conjunction with a master plan for Rockaway Community Park that improves pedestrian access and includes opportunities for a boat launch based on the criteria in the Citywide Strategy. It will address the mosquito issue and restore shoreline and habitats.

In addition, goals for the peninsula include: conduct an eel-grass pilot study at Breezy Point Tip; explore providing human powered boat access to the Atlantic Ocean; coordinate any additional community suggestions for improving waterfront access with current set of recommendations; support the implementation of the National Park Service’s Jamaica Bay Greenway Missing Links Study and the Department of City Planning’s Bike Lanes Under Elevated Rail Lines report; and complete improvements to Rockaway Beach Park, including recreational areas and amenities.

“We are now planning for our waterfront and waterways with the same intensity and passion that we have traditionally planned our land …,” said City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden. “We can achieve [these goals] through new city policies for the use of our Blue Network of waterways for transportation, recreation and education, for improving water quality, and for the first time addressing the challenges of global warming and sea-rise level.”

The 130 action agenda projects in the plan are expected to create 13,000 construction jobs and at least 3,400 permanent maritime and industrial jobs.

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It's about time that the city

It's about time that the city stopped viewing the Rockaways as the city's dumping ground, an orphan of poor planning or no planning. These initial baby steps seem to be headed in a more positive direction. May the successful implications and guidelines for a new vision, serve as a catalyst for other new and socially positive programs.

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