Project will mitigate serious effects of climate change in low-lying South Street Seaport area and is supported by $110 million
Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Mayor's Office of Climate Resiliency (MOCR) are taking action against the serious effects of climate change, announcing today that the City will allocate $110 million to a new capital project to help address sea-level rise and storm surge that together pose a serious threat to Lower Manhattan.
“As we approach the nine year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy we must ensure that families, businesses, and communities in Lower Manhattan, one of the most densely populated parts of our city, are protected from the accelerating effects of climate change,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This project does just that, guaranteeing that some of the most vulnerable areas can continue to thrive for generations to come.”
“Changing weather patterns and sea levels have made protecting the South Street Seaport a near-term and non-negotiable necessity,” said Deputy Mayor of Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “Together with the Mayor’s Office, EDC & MOEC, we are responding with significant investments in the future of Lower Manhattan.”
“Climate Change is causing stronger and more devastating storms, and we must take action to protect our coastline and lessen severe impact,” said NYCEDC President & CEO Rachel Loeb. “This project to safeguard one of the most low-lying, vulnerable areas, the Seaport District, is a first step in better protecting residents, business owners, and infrastructure from flooding. NYCEDC is focused on this work with MOCR, and we thank the Mayor for his support of this critical project and our efforts to unlock federal funding to support our long-term coastal resiliency efforts.”
“This critical project will protect the lowest lying neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, the Seaport District, from tidal flooding caused by rising sea levels,” said Jainey Bavishi, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency. “It is a crucial first step in implementing the soon-to-be-released Financial District and Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan. Lower Manhattan is a critical economic hub for New York City, providing 10% of the city’s total jobs. Without investments like this, the impacts of climate change in Lower Manhattan will be felt far beyond New York City.”
According to the New York City Panel on Climate Change, without action, the Seaport waterfront could be flooded monthly within the next 25 years due to sea-level rise. Sea level is expected to rise approximately 2.5 feet by the 2050s, resulting in regular and repeated inundations during high tides. In response, the City plans to use the $110 million to begin coastal resiliency work in the historic Seaport District, which is especially vulnerable due to its low elevation. The proposed project, which will be subject to appropriate review, will rebuild and raise the existing bulkhead and improve drainage in the area from approximately the Brooklyn Bridge to Pier 17. These efforts will protect about 15 acres of historic Lower Manhattan and will prevent up to $400 million dollars in damages and the long-term erosion of the district anticipated as a result of chronic flooding. Additionally, the project will continue to help improve access to the waterfront for New Yorkers and will help position the City to apply for federal funding needed to safeguard all of Lower Manhattan.
“Manhattan Community Board 1 is pleased by the City's commitment of $110 million in new funding for resiliency infrastructure in the Seaport Historic District,” said Chair of Manhattan CB1 Tammy Meltzer. “This is the result of years of collaborative planning towards how to protect the Financial District/Seaport areas from future climate change and extreme weather events, and we are encouraged by this definitive step in securing the future of the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency project.”
This critical project in the Seaport District is a standalone component of a broader strategy to be described in NYCEDC’s and MOCR’s forthcoming Financial District and Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan, which will identify feasible solutions to safeguard one mile of unprotected coastline in one of the most complex areas of the city. The full plan is expected to be released by the end of the year. The master plan is part of the larger Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency (LMCR) initiative, backed by $800 million in City investments to protect Lower Manhattan and New Yorkers from the threats of climate change.
Protecting Lower Manhattan is imperative to the city’s overall coastal resiliency strategy because it’s home to one of the nation’s largest business districts, and flooding will put transit, serving millions, along with critical infrastructure and jobs at risk. With 75% of our subway lines and the most popular ferry lines in the country, millions of people from across the five boroughs and tri-state travel through Lower Manhattan every day. The area holds a diversity of jobs, including small business owners, construction workers, building services providers, and those who work in healthcare, technology, and financial industries. A protected Lower Manhattan coastline protects jobs and critical infrastructure serving all New Yorkers.