Woodside – Assemblywoman Margaret Markey joined US Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-Queens & the Bronx), City Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Sunnyside) and Joseph Conley of Community Board 2 in hosting a town hall meeting with Woodside residents to hear from city and state officials on flooding issues and concerns at St. Mary’s Church here last night.
Woodside was among the worst hit communities in the Aug. 8th storm that pounded New York City and officials came to the community at the invitation of local officials to discuss specific proposals to prevent future flooding in Woodside and Queens. They included Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd, and representatives from the City and State Departments of Transportation and New York City’s Comptroller’s Office.
Assemblywoman Markey said, “This meeting was a good start in understanding some of the causes of the flooding Queens suffered in August. I am pleased that the City has frankly recognized the need to address some of the long-standing inadequacies in infrastructure that may have contributed to this disaster and the periodic flooding that has afflicted our communities over many years. I look forward to working with my colleagues in government, Community Board 2 and City and State agencies to follow up and implement the plans outlined by the Department of Environmental Protection last night, particularly the re-installation of tidal gates at Bowery Bay to prevent similar catastrophes in the future.”
“This meeting with Woodside residents and city and state officials was an important first step in establishing specific ways the City can prevent longstanding flooding problems in this area,” Crowley said. “I was encouraged to hear that the Department of Environmental Protection is considering improvements of key City infrastructure in the efforts to protect homes and businesses from damage. As the City considers these proposals, I look forward to working with Assemblywoman Markey, Councilman Eric Gioia and the community in making sure that these improvements are made and that the concerns of residents are heeded.”
Councilman Gioia said, “This summer wasn't the first time this neighborhood has been severely flooded. The stories of damage that residents told are a wake up call for the DEP that more must be done to prevent flooding, and I'm glad they're taking a hard look at this area. I know that I, Congressman Crowley and Assemblywoman Markey will be vigilant in working with the City to ensure the improvements discussed at the town hall meeting become a reality. We need to make sure that when it rains in Queens, it doesn't pour.”
Specifically, the DEP officials said they are considering four proposals to mitigate flooding in Queens. These are:
- putting tidal bay gates back in place in Bowery Bay;
- adding a sewer line on Calamus Avenue to create an additional drainage avenue for water runoff from storms and heavy rains;
- replacing old pumps with new ones in the area pumping station that would release water gradually as opposed to in a sudden rush to prevent sewers from backing up; and
- installing “duckbill” rubber valves in sewers drainage lines to alleviate water back flow.
Residents from Queens suffered some of the worst damage from the unprecedented might of the summer storm that ravaged New York. In response, Congressman Crowley helped secure the issuance of a federal disaster declaration, which provided resources to homeowners, residents and businesses in the form of grant money for temporary housing expenses, household repairs, the replacement of personal property and essential household items, in addition to low-interest loans. The Federal government, through FEMA, has approved more than $7.2M in grants and loans to residents affected by the storm that swept Queens on August 8.
As requested by Rep. Crowley, Assemblywoman Markey and Councilman Gioia, the city and state officials plan to have a follow up meeting with Woodside and Queens residents to discuss the status of these proposals being considered by the City.