City Promises ‘Broad-Based Outreach’ To Communities To Prepare For Future Storms

The city has decided to reconvene two community advisory task forces that weighed in on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s multi-billion dollar plan to protect the city from future extreme weather and the effects of climate change in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the city’s resiliency director told the Gotham Gazette/AdaptNY in an exclusive interview. The task forces will resume meeting this fall.

Daniel Zarrilli, the city’s director of resiliency, also said yesterday that there would be “broad-based outreach” to some of the city’s hardest-hit neighborhoods as part of a Department of City Planning study that will examine “how we can ultimately build more resilient communities.” The study will examine issues such as the city’s building codes and the new national flood insurance maps.

The announcements come as the city fields criticism about community involvement in its climate change planning process as detailed in an investigative report by Gotham Gazette and AdaptNY, a digital news platform.

[Read more at Gotham Gazette]

Preparing For Climate Change: What Community Boards Say

New York’s City Hall and some of its community boards show an at-times striking disconnect over ongoing preparations for the impacts of climate change, as revealed in board-by-board reporting conducted over the last two months by a team of reporters for Gotham Gazette and news partner AdaptNY, a digital news platform for the debate around climate resilience.

Five of the 18 most vulnerable community boards—the city’s front line of government—reported that they felt they were communicating effectively with City Hall about climate change preparations.

We reached eleven of the 18 boards hardest-hit by Sandy. Fully half of those that responded to an extensive survey or spoke with our reporters had serious concerns about their communications with the city. They expressed frustration and shared a sense that the city is not moving fast enough to rebuild or prepare in anticipation of more extreme weather to come.

[Read more at Gotham Gazette]

After Hurricane, Some Begin To Question Wisdom of Rockaway Pipeline Project

Now that the construction of a new chain of natural gas pipelines running from the Rockaway peninsula to Brooklyn has been delayed following Superstorm Sandy, residents and elected officials are beginning to question whether the project is safe to build at all.

The exceedingly complex project would be constructed in separate phases — under the regulation of federal, state and local authorities — adjacent to coastal communities that were among the hardest hit during the storm.

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke, who represents central Brooklyn, told Gotham Gazette in an emailed statement that the destruction caused by Sandy had raised concerns among residents who live near the proposed gas pipeline project.

“Our need for independent energy cannot precede the safety of our community and environment,” she said.

[Read more at Gotham Gazette]

Hurricane Sandy And Red Hook

On May 29, city officials and business leaders, including a representative of Fairway Market, kicked off National Hurricane Preparedness Week in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a neighborhood that had been inundated by storm surge flooding during Hurricane Irene the previous year. The goal was to “encourage city residents to take steps to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season.”

New Yorkers were urged to determine whether they lived in an evacuation zone; make preparations in case they had to evacuate; and sign-up with the city for emergency updates via email, text or phone.

“It is important to remember even one storm can make a difference,” said Joseph R. Bruno, the commissioner of the city’s Office of Emergency Management.

[Read more at Gotham Gazette]