East River Park project gets independent review

The East River park flood protection plan is getting a much-needed independent review by Hans Gehrels of the Dutch environmental group Deltares.

Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilmember Carlina Rivera announced this week that they had secured funding for the review and that Gehrels’ report would be ready by September 23, when the City Planning Commission is scheduled to vote on the City’s plan to raise the park 8-9 feet for flood protection.

This is a huge win for community groups that have been pressing for third party expert review, including Grand Street Democrats. Brewer and Rivera deserve thanks for following through on this request.

With so much skepticism about the City’s plan to destroy the park in order to save it, as well as the optimistic 3-1/2 year timeline the City has attached to its proposal, this independent review should help settle some fundamental questions and guide Rivera and her colleagues on the City Council when the plan reaches them for final approval this fall.

Gehrels is accepting comments from the community and I encourage you to send him your questions and opinions so he has a full understanding of the project’s scope and human impact in the short time he has available: ESCR@manhattanbp.nyc.gov.