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To: The City of New York & Allies for Environmental Justice
The Need For the Life Saving ESCR Flood Protection on NYC’s LES Waterfront
The East Side Coastal Resiliency Plan, (ESCR), is one of many critical life-saving infrastructure projects needed to protect the lower east side, including New York City’s Housing Authority (NYCHA) and low-income affordable housing residents, vulnerable populations along the waterfront. The City of New York has begun implementing ESCR earlier this year beginning at Stuytown Cove (Project Area 2**), but recent lawsuits to stop flood protection for NYCHA and adjacent affordable housing developments in Project Area 1* have slowed the process of raising East River park, which would make way for a resilient new park expected in 2026. This leaves the future and livelihoods of over 28,000 Lower East Side NYCHA and area residents unprotected.
Frontline, resident leaders have been critical in the public design process. These negotiations ensured: phased construction, open space and park mitigation throughout the greater neighborhood, the preservation of the Lower East Side Ecology Center, and a total of 1,800 new trees planted in the community.
The Lower East Side’s NYCHA and affordable housing residents are still grappling with the consequences of Hurricane Sandy, and the recent Hurricane Ida demonstrates that climate change is our greatest threat, especially to low-income communities of color. Therefore, and as a matter of environmental justice, the immediate continuation of ESCR’s flood protection in Project Area 1 to protect NYCHA and affordable housing’s Lower East Side Waterfront is the only acceptable option.
*Project Area 1- is located in Manhattan's Lower East Side between Montgomery Street and East 15th Street, including the East River Park.
**Project Area 2- encompasses work between East 15th St. and East 25th St. including Asser Levy Playground, Stuyvesant Cove Park, Murphy Brothers Playground, as well as local streets around the Con Edison facility.
Why is this important?
Our families deserve flood protection now.