MTA Looks to City; City Could Look Better
September 21st, 2007
Many of the solutions offered by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority yesterday to keep storm water out of the subways follows the lead of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC. The city dumps about 27 billion gallons worth of sewage and waste into its waters because the sewers get overwhelmed by heavy rainstorms. To address that problem, the plan calls for piloting a series of projects to test ways to avoid the overflows and creates a mayoral task force to make the issue a priority for all city agencies.
These programs are what the transit authority is looking to (other than the raised subway entrances and sidewalk vents that act as street furniture), and has said it would work with the city on its diversion projects. But many environmental organizations think the city could do more.
The NRDC, the Riverkeeper, and a few other groups have been in administrative proceedings since 2003 trying to get the state to force the city to make storm water management part of the planning process. They want the city’s Department of Environmental Protection to work on the issue with other agencies, making development occur in ways that keeps water out in the first place. While the task force would seem to do that, NRDC’s Larry Levine says it “is a product of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and once he’s out of office,” his predecessor could let it fall apart if they like.
Although the plan addresses the overflows, a coalition of environmental groups called SWIM says the environmental department is about to drop over $2 billion on obsolete infrastructure on the sewers because it is taking a go it alone approach.
And while they laud PlaNYC like everyone else, they also say, “parts of the plan arenít quite expansive enough .e.g., planting only five storm water capture street trees and studying only those while tens of thousands of others are being planted, potentially missing broad opportunities for storm water capture.”By Mike Muller on September 21, 2007, 12:25 pm
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