Health warning issued for NYC warehouse fire

New York City health officials are advising people who are downwind of a massive warehouse fire to stay inside. Hundreds of firefighters are battling the 7-alarm fire that started Saturday morning in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn…Health officials say air quality has been affected and people with respiratory ailments may have difficulty breathing. [Fairfield Citizen]

Editorial: Skimping on oversight

The state’s funding for DEC [Department of Environmental Conservation] is far below pre-Great Recession levels…With less funding have come significant staff cuts in programs such as enforcement, air and water quality management, and solid and hazardous waste management…The Cuomo administration asserts that this is all about streamlining and modernization, and making the state more business-friendly. One example of this is the dubious, fox-watching-the-henhouse policy whereby private companies monitor and self-report their compliance with pollution regulations. [Albany Times Union]

Andrew Cuomo talks creation of high-tech, state-run weather system following winter storm

The state is using $24 million in federal Hurricane Sandy relief funds to install 125 advanced weather detection stations around the state…The system is designed to provide a broader picture of current weather conditions by collecting real-time localized data on wind, rain, snow, icing, and flood risks every 1 to 15 minutes. [Daily News]

Federal Construction Projects Must Plan for Flood Risks From Climate Change 

Planners of federally funded buildings, roads and other infrastructure will be required to account for the impact of possible flooding from rising sea levels or more extreme precipitation, effects that scientists say will result from a warming planet…The standard would also make significant swaths of low-lying land ineligible for construction with federal funds. [The New York Times]

New Ferries Coming to Rockaway, Astoria, The Bronx, the LES and Brooklyn

The new ferry routes are expected to include Astoria, southern Brooklyn, the Lower East Side, Soundview in The Bronx and Rockaway Beach — and will cost the same amount as a subway ride…The ferries will be run and funded by the city, and are expected to begin in 2017, a source said…Some of the planned routes have run before, including the Rockaway ferry, which was controversially cut in October. [DNA Info]

Cuomo’s Transpo Vision: Huge Garages, Cheap Roads, Lots More MTA Debt

Surprising no one, Cuomo promised subsidies to keep highway tolls cheap, train stations with tons of parking, and economic development centered around airports. The speech did not even mention the most pressing transportation issue in New York right now: the $15 billion gap in the MTA’s five-year capital program. [StreetsBlog NYC]

A Promising Garbage Workaround

The road to the bridge to the [E. 91st Street Marine Transfer] station, over the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive, cuts right through the middle of an athletic center called Asphalt Green, which is used by many schoolchildren…Asphalt Green hired Samuel Schwartz, an engineer and a former city traffic commissioner, to come up with something better, which he did: a plan to shift the access to the station a block north, using a service road of the F.D.R. Drive, so that garbage trucks go around and behind — instead of through — Asphalt Green. [The New York Times]

Army Corps Finds Fault with Massive Storm Barriers

Immediately after Sandy two years ago, newspapers and elected officials suggested that the region should build a massive barrier across New York Harbor to prevent the next big storm from causing havoc…Now comes the U.S. Army Corps long-awaited $19.5 million comprehensive study of the Northeast Coast, first commissioned in the federal Sandy aid bill. It did not address the harbor-wide, storm-surge barrier explicitly, but in a matrix it gave gates low marks for their ability to adapt to sea level change (e.g. to grow higher over time). [WNYC]