New York Commission Calls For Infrastructure Upgrades to Prepare for Future Storms
A commission formed to examine ways to guard against damage from future storms is calling for major upgrades. A number of ideas from the NYS 2100 commission have already been raised including flood walls in subways, water pumps at airports, floodgates for tunnels and sea barriers along the coast. The 205-page report also suggests a rapid bus network to relieve congestion in lower Manhattan and allow exits to other boroughs without subways.
On November 15, 2012, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo convened the NYS 2100 Commission in response to the recent severe weather events such as Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee. Rockefeller Foundation president Judith Rodin co-chairs the commission which was asked to recommend actions to be taken to prepare New York to more effectively respond to, and bounce back from, future storms and other shocks.
In the report, Dr. Rodin notes: “Building back better demands a focus on increased resilience: the ability of individuals, organizations, systems, and communities to bounce back more strongly from stresses and shocks. Resilience means creating diversity and redundancy in our systems and rewiring their interconnections, which enables their functioning even when individual parts fail.”
The recommendations are categorized by transportation, energy, land use, insurance, and infrastructure finance. Additionally, the report highlights nine major cross-cutting recommendations that are relevant to multiple sectors and systems:
- Protect, upgrade, and strengthen existing systems
- Rebuild smarter: ensure replacement with better options and alternatives
- Encourage the use of green and natural infrastructure
- Create shared equipment and resource reserves
- Promote integrated planning and develop criteria for integrated decision-making for capital investments
- Enhance institutional coordination
- Improve data, mapping, visualization, communication systems
- Create new incentive programs to encourage resilient behaviors and reduce vulnerabilities
- Expand education, job training and workforce development opportunities
The report emphasizes the importance of taking proactive action immediately, positioning New York State as a model for resilience across the United States and around the world: “Many recommendations are intended for the short term; others will be realized over much longer periods. Our infrastructure was not built or financed in a day. Making it more resilient will take longer than a day, or a year, or even a decade. But the time to start is now.”