Despite record storm surges, Mayor Michael Bloomberg vowed to rebuild along the shore, but said it must be “smarter, stronger and more sustainable.”
Bloomberg made the remarks at the New York Marriott Downtown to an audience that included former Vice President Al Gore.
“Let me be clear: We are not going to abandon the waterfront,” Bloomberg said. “We are not going to leave the Rockaways or Coney Island or Staten Island’s South Shore. But we can’t just rebuild what was there and hope for the best.”
The city’s more than 500 miles of shoreline include some of the most desirable places to live, but also the most vulnerable.
Bloomberg announced the launch of an engineering analysis of coastal protection strategies to understand the best options to help protect the city.
An expansion of Zone A will be considered, he said, as well as new structural requirements to ensure that buildings can withstand intense winds and waves. While sea walls are not a likely option, dunes, jetties and levees must be considered to protect the city from rising storm surges, he said.
“We may or may not see another storm like Sandy in our lifetimes, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that we should leave it to our children to prepare for the possibility,” said Bloomberg. “And sea levels are expected to rise by another two and a half feet by the time a child born today reaches 40 years old, and that’s going to make surges even more powerful and dangerous.”
“No matter how much we do to make homes and businesses more resilient, the fact of the matter is we live next to the ocean, and the ocean comes with risks that we just cannot eliminate,” Bloomberg said.