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Opinion: A different vision for flood protection on the West Side

BY TOM FOX | The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently released a preliminary flood control plan for Manhattan’s West Side waterfront in Hudson River Park between Battery Park City and W. 34th Street. Their simplistic approach to resiliency is to build a 12-foot-high concrete wall along 3 miles of the waterfront — in the Hudson River Park.

The proposed wall would displace the busiest bike path in America, diminish public use and enjoyment of a $1 billion public park visited by 17 million people a year, impede public access to the river, increase air and noise pollution and block views of the river. It would significantly impact the desirability of the park, undermine the quality of life in adjacent neighborhoods, and erode the value of adjacent real estate and the city’s tax base
Let’s take a look back at another West Side waterfront project. In 1985, after an 11-year legal battle forced the withdrawal of a U.S. Army Corps Westway permit for an interstate highway buried under 236 acres of landfill in the Hudson River, the governor and mayor established a unique city/state task force. That body brought together agency commissioners and local elected officials, along with community, environmental, business and civic stakeholders to craft a new vision for the West Side waterfront.

Read the full article in The Village Sun, March 2024

Fox was a Westway opponent and the first president of the Hudson River Park Conservancy, which completed the final plan and environmental approval of the park, and represents the City Club of New York on the Hudson River Park Advisory Council. His first-person history of the creation of the park will be published by Rutgers University Press in spring 2024.


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