Brooklyn Borough Releases Stormwater Plan for Waterfront Greenway

The Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway is a 22-km (14-mi) landscaped trail, begun by Brooklyn Greenway Initiative and to be implemented by New York City Department of Transportation (DOT). The trail will incorporate green infrastructure elements and function as a commuting and recreation route. The greenway, expected to cost more than $100 million, will connect neighborhood parks and open spaces from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge and will comprise 23 individual capital projects implemented segment by segment.

“Because 14 miles of streets will be reconstructed as the greenway is built, this is an opportune time to install stormwater infrastructure on the most economical basis for the city,” said Milton Puryear, cofounder of Brooklyn Greenway Initiative.

On January 13, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams announced the release of a plan titled The Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway: An Agent for Green Infrastructure, Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience. It details how the implementation of stormwater infrastructure during the construction of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway could prevent 1.9 million m3 (half a billion gallons) of stormwater from entering the borough’s combined sewer system. The study completed by Brooklyn Greenway Initiative was sponsored by the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office with funding from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund.

In addition to preventing combined sewer overflow (CSO) events, the plan suggests how the greenway can be built as part of an integrated flood protection system for areas that experienced major losses during Hurricane Sandy.

The plan recommends a watershed-based approach that will capture and retain at least the first 25 mm (1 in) of rain that falls on the greenway, adjoining public right-of-way and impervious surfaces for one block upslope of the greenway. “With the greenway situated at the lowest contours of Brooklyn’s East River watersheds, it is ideally situated to play a major role in stormwater management.”

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