Safer and More Resilient: Mayor de Blasio Announces Substantial Progress on City's $20 Billion Climate Resiliency Plan

October 28, 2016

Projects include dunes to protect the coast; storm water management, green infrastructure and bluebelts to lessen storms' impact; more precise flood maps; and restoration of Sandy-impacted public housing developments

NEW YORK––With the Sandy anniversary a day away, the de Blasio Administration today announced continued progress on the City's OneNYC resiliency program which prepares our neighborhoods, economy and public services to withstand and emerge stronger from the impacts of climate change and other 21st century threats. In the four years since the storm hit, New York City has become a stronger and more resilient city, making significant progress on coastal defense and climate resiliency measures in some of the most vulnerable communities across the city. Some projects include dunes to protect coasts; storm water management and bluebelt projects to lessen flooding impacts and protect water quality; more precise flood maps; and more than $3 billion for reconstruction and resiliency projects across New York City Housing Authority developments impacted by the storm, including elevation of key infrastructure above flood lines and flood-proofing of ground-floor facilities.

The pace of our progress is stronger than ever over the past 12 months. With resiliency measures already in place and many more underway in every borough, the city today is getting safer every day. Major coastal protection projects, like those being advanced in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Staten Island and Jamaica Bay (encompassing the Rockaway peninsula, South Queens and Southern Brooklyn), and others such as the East Side Coastal Resiliency project, the Red Hook Integrated Flood Protection System and the Hunts Point Resiliency Project, have met critical milestones in their planning and design process.

Several key recent milestones include:

  • Agreement with FEMA to launch a partnership to draft new, more precise flood insurance maps that are saving 35,000 homeowners tens of millions of dollars in flood insurance premiums already. These new flood maps will reflect both current flood risk and future climate conditions, including sea level rise.
  • Completion of a $28 million T-Groin project in Sea Gate to reduce coastal storm risk to residents and businesses on Coney Island, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
  • Reopening of the entire length of the Rockaway Boardwalk, setting a global standard for resilient shoreline design. The rebuilt five-and-a-half-mile stretch now extends from Beach 19th Street all the way to Beach 126th Street and will be fully complete by this summer.
  • Launching an extensive community design process for a $45 million investment in flood risk reduction and resilient energy in Hunts Point, including a resilient energy pilot project.
  • Created over 9,000 jobs since Sandy through the City's resiliency program and successfully completed the Hurricane Sandy Business Loan and Grant Program, awarding over $54 million in support to nearly 350 businesses citywide. Through our BusinessPREP and RISE:NYC initiatives, we continue support small business resiliency with grants and innovative technologies.
  • Improved infrastructure citywide through partnerships with regional infrastructure providers, including working successfully with Con Edison to invest over $1 billion in investments to harden their steam, electric and natural gas distribution infrastructure.
  • Secured nearly $10 billion from FEMA for recovery and resiliency upgrades for our critical facilities. This includes over $3 billion for New York City Housing Authority projects with shovels in the ground on three major recovery projects totaling nearly $200 million and a fourth major project nearly completed; $1.7 billion for the Health and Hospitals Corporation (Coler, Bellevue, Metropolitan, Coney Island); and billions more for parks, water and wastewater projects, transportation, civic infrastructure projects and schools all across the city.
  • Construction is underway on a $22 million Bluebelt project in Midland Beach to reduce local flooding and that also supports the implementation of the USACE armored levee project for integrated water management on the East Shore of Staten Island.

On top of those, buildings and homes are being upgraded; investment in infrastructure is reducing long-term threats; and the neighborhoods where New Yorkers live, work and play are becoming stronger. Our progress this year has reaffirmed the value of engaging all New Yorkers in the process. From Lower Manhattan to Hunts Point, in Red Hook and Edgemere, and on the East Shore of Staten Island, we have worked together with community leaders and residents to ensure that we are putting our values to work as we strengthen the city.

"Four years ago, Sandy lifted the veil on many of the City's vulnerabilities," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "Since then, we have put a tremendous amount of effort into defending our coastal communities and ensuring that our buildings and infrastructure are prepared to tackle 21st century threats. Our city is safer, more resilient and more sustainable today than ever before, and I thank our federal partners who have helped us along the way. Whether we're talking about updated and more precise flood maps, or the reconstruction of the Rockaway Boardwalk, our city is continuing to make strides to strengthen the city's resiliency."

"Across the five boroughs, the City is delivering on its commitment to build a stronger, more resilient New York," said Daniel Zarrilli, Senior Director for Climate Policy and Programs and the Chief Resilience Officer in the NYC Mayor's Office. "As we mark the 4th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy knowing that the city is safer and better prepared for the risks of a changing climate, and we are moving with urgency to do even more. Flood maps are being updated to reflect sea level rise; vital coastal defense projects are meeting major milestones; critical infrastructure is being upgraded; communities and small businesses are being strengthened. These actions, and many more, are just a part of the City's $20 billion OneNYC resiliency program to adapt our city to be ready for the risks of climate change and other 21st century threats as we build a more equitable, more sustainable, and more resilient city."

Hurricane Sandy struck New York City in October 2012, taking the lives of New Yorkers and causing $19 billion in damages and lost economic activity. It also laid bare pre-existing challenges in the City's waterfront communities and highlighted our vulnerabilities to coastal storms and rising seas. The City's climate vulnerabilities, which also include increases in heat and precipitation, are also exacerbated by other challenges, including an increasing population, aging infrastructure and rising inequality.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, it was imperative that New York City emerge a stronger and more resilient city – one that did not just prepare for the next storm, but one that invested against a wider range of threats. In March 2014, Mayor de Blasio created the Office of Recovery and Resiliency (ORR) to implement the City's comprehensive OneNYC climate resiliency program. Since Sandy struck, considerable progress has been made to recover from the storm and make the city ready for the future impacts of climate change.

To see the full list of the City's progress on its OneNYC $20 billion multi-layered resiliency program, please visit our citywide resiliency map here.

"Through ambitious and well-designed projects such as East Side Coastal Resiliency, the administration is enhancing communities, strengthening the City, and encouraging investment in areas that might otherwise be highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change," said New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. "Following Sandy, DDC established resiliency as a guiding principle for all of its public projects. We're proud to stand with the Mayor to build smarter and stronger for all of our neighborhoods and communities."

"Our changing climate poses a number of threats to the City's critical drinking water and wastewater systems," said Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. "From the construction of new Bluebelts on Staten Island, to sewers in southeast Queens, to the activation of the Croton Filtration Plant, our city is stronger and more resilient than we were four years ago."

"On the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, we are proud to announce NYCHA has made major progress in the recovery effort – moving large-scale, multi-million dollar projects forward with shovels in the ground and connecting residents to economic opportunities in the process," said Shola Olatoye, NYCHA Chair and CEO. "As NYCHA builds back stronger and more resilient than ever before, we are committed to seeing the recovery effort through, improving residents' quality of life and ensuring our developments are protected for this generation and the next."

"Hurricane Sandy changed the way that we see and build our waterfront parks," said Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. "We now know that in addition to recreational and ecological amenities, these open spaces are the first line of defense in protecting our city from severe coastal storms. Projects like the Rockaway Boardwalk reconstruction and the East Side Coastal Resiliency plan showcase the progress we've made in the past four years to build smarter and stronger, and to plan for the long-term resiliency of our parkland."

"The Business PREP program launched by the New York City Department of Small Business Services is a proactive way to help small businesses prepare for future emergencies. By offering risk assessments, grants, and training tools today, small businesses will be more resilient if and when disaster strikes. Small businesses anchor our neighborhoods and employ millions of New Yorkers and we want to connect them with the tools they need to succeed," said Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop.

"As we approach the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, we see a city that is getting more resilient, neighborhood by neighborhood," said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. "From investing in flood protection in Hunts Point to rebuilding the iconic Rockaway boardwalk to improving the infrastructure of health facilities and implementing resiliency technologies in small businesses, the de Blasio Administration continues to work with communities in all five boroughs to ensure they are stronger than ever and ready for future storms."

"The anniversary of Hurricane Sandy reminds us every year that New York City and its neighboring regions are vulnerable to coastal floods exacerbated by sea level rise. And it reminds us as well that New York is a leader in responding to both current and future risks due to climate change through its resiliency programs," said Cynthia Rosenzweig, co-Chair of the New York City Panel on Climate Change.

"The agreement the City achieved with FEMA to draft new flood maps will save single-family homeowners thousands of dollars in flood insurance," said Christie Peale, Executive Director of the Center for NYC Neighborhoods. "We congratulate the City on achieving that milestone, and for its success in making our waterfront communities more resilient through the OneNYC plan. We also want to thank the Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resiliency for being a steadfast partner on FloodHelpNY.org, our web platform for engaging homeowners on flooding and flood insurance."

"Long Island City businesses were deeply impacted by Hurricane Sandy and other weather events. The BusinessPREP and RISE:NYC programs will help our small businesses better prepare for the next storm, operate with minimal disruption and, most importantly, avoid revenue loss. We applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio, SBS Commissioner Gregg Bishop, and NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer for making these resources available," said Elizabeth Lusskin, President of the LIC Partnership.

Despite the incredible setbacks to businesses from Hurricane Sandy and as many continue to recover, the businesses here in Southwest Brooklyn are determined to continue their operations and remain assets to these neighborhoods, providing vital amenities and good-quality jobs and helping stabilize and grow their local economy. As businesses look ahead and recognize the challenges of climate change and the likelihood of future disasters, the City's new programs such as Business PREP, RISE:NYC, and the Resilient Retail and Resilient Industry Studies, will not only be a boon to their efforts to become more resilient but also strengthen these businesses and their neighborhoods overall. The Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation (SBIDC) supports Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration's dedication to resiliency and will ensure the myriad local waterfront businesses will take advantage and stand to benefit from these resilient efforts and OneNYC's Resiliency Program as it continues to be implemented," said Andrea Devening, Director of Economic Development at the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation (SBIDC).

"OneNYC is the world's first holistic resilience strategy and is already making the city better for all New York's residents. By implementing their resilience strategy – improving the housing stock, strengthening the transportation system, preparing for rising seas and more – New York City will be better able to face both the known threats like another hurricane, but also unforeseen challenges. Resilient cities are stronger cities, and we're proud to be supporting New York in this process," said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities

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