A Win For The Waterfront

An upgrade to Queens’ waterfronts is long overdue—and this week, news broke that projects are underway in the borough to prevent flooding during storms, revitalize waterfronts in several communities and protect our waterways from contamination.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that an expedited timeline on the Rockaway Reformulation Study has been secured and, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, a draft report will be issued this summer and followed by a final report in the fall. Construction in the Rockaways could start in 2019—a year ahead of schedule—on the Atlantic side and Jamaica Bay. The resiliency project is aimed at better protecting the Rockaway peninsula from storms and floods.

Elsewhere in Queens, advocacy group Riverkeeper, the Newtown Creek Alliance, Guardians of Flushing Bay and architecture and design firm Perkins+Will’s New York Studio announced plans to restore and revitalize the waterfront at two Queens spots: Newtown Creek—which is the site of one of the largest oil spills in U.S. history—and Flushing Waterways, which spans 600 acres between LaGuardia Airport, Downtown Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park and Willets Point, and were historically salt marshes, but are now overflowing with pollutants.

We applaud the plan unveiled by Schumer and the mayor to protect our communities from flooding as well as the initiatives by advocacy groups and Perkins+Will’s that aims to halt contamination in our waterways, restore salt marshes and transform Queens’ waterfronts into cleaner shorelines that could yield economic, environmental and social benefits for generations to come.

We think it is important to continue to hold meetings in all of the various communities where waterfronts are being revitalized to allow residents to add their input. To quote a famous movie, we’re glad to see Queens’ waterfront once again becoming a contender.

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