Yesterday, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Carter Strickland, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, representatives from the Wynwood Gardens Civic Association, and concerned residents toured flood-prone areas of Woodside as part of ongoing efforts between the community and DEP to find ways to mitigate flooding problems in the area.
"For too long, residents here have had to deal with flooding caused by storms and heavy rains. It's important we do everything possible to help prevent flooding and eliminate any structural vulnerabilities that exist in the community and are contributing to these problems," said Rep. Joe Crowley. "I appreciate Commissioner Strickland for taking the time to join me, Councilman Van Bramer and community advocates to get a first-hand look at the area and reaffirm his commitment to work with us to make sure all the necessary steps are taken to alleviate the risk of flooding and better protect homes in this neighborhood."
"I thank Congressman Crowley for putting this tour together with the Department of Environmental Protection," said Council Member Van Bramer who has worked in conjunction with Congressman Crowley and DEP to develop engineering studies to find a solution to the flooding issue in Woodside. "By inviting the DEP into Woodside, we are able give local residents a first-hand overview of what the underlying issues are. We will continue to work with homeowners to remediate the impact of current flooding as long term solutions are developed and implemented."
In January, Rep. Crowley, DEP officials and local elected officials discussed flooding concerns with residents during a town hall meeting. Yesterday's tour resulted in additional commitments from DEP on steps that will be taken to reduce flooding in the area. Specifically, the NYC DEP announced:
The Calamus Avenue project will begin in 2014 and City funds are available to ensure completion of this project. This initiative includes replacing and upgrading sewers at 69th -- 74th Streets and Calamus Avenue; and 69th between Calamus Avenue and 48th Avenue. The Calamus Avenue project has been on the City's list of projects dating back to before the 2007 flooding and is now budgeted for about $20 million in the City's budget. It should help mitigate flooding in the community.
Flood-prone areas in Woodside have been added to the NYC Office of Emergency Management's (OEM) "hot spot" rankings, which will ensure when storms occur OEM will activate teams within 12 hours to investigate and clean catch basins in the area. These areas are: 67th St & 50th Ave; 65th Place & 50th Ave; and BQE & 65th Street. (Please note a request was made by the community to add 65th Place and 48th Avenue and DEP is currently reviewing this location).
DEP will implement updated building codes that were issued by the Dept. of Buildings to ensure new buildings meet the highest stormwater performance standard guidelines so water overflow is discharged into a sewer and, in turn, absorbed appropriately.
Congressman Crowley is a seven-term representative from the 7th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He serves as chief deputy whip in the Democratic leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives and is a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.