Everybody's got an opinion on "The Walls," also known as the Rebuild-by-Design Concept Plans; a pop-up group called "Save Our Streets (SOS)" has declared war on "the Wall," alarmed residents have packed recent Rebuild-by-Design meetings.
GA has a unique perspective having lived both sides of the controversy. (1) My first home purchase was in 1996 on the Hoboken waterfront (1st and River); the panoramic view of NYC from the roof (deeded exclusive roof rights) and windows on 1st Street were a major selling point for the 4th floor, walk-up. In 2002 the 14-story Hoboken Waterfront Corporate Center (Wiley & Sons building) was built blocking GA's gorgeous waterfront view, and sunlight. (2) In 2012, GA's home on Willow Terrace flooded, with massive property damage and property loss.
So... GA can relate to the feelings of concerned residents living on the waterfront AND the reality that climate change and rising sea levels cannot be avoided. Did you hear, it may hit 70 degrees on Christmas. When (not if) we get flooded again, no one will want to buy in Hoboken; your property will be worthless.
Okay, to the plans.
I need clarification on the elevation markers. It seems the "above ground elevation" is the height as it would appear at ground-level, and not the actual built height (including structure below ground and/or below water line). That is a BIG 'marketing' point. Because the "ground elevation" heights are much lower than the heights noted: take a look:
Well, here goes:
Concept A sucks.
Concept B "no"- doesn't protect Hoboken Terminal, seems to protect the northern part of Hoboken, so the rest of us can float away?
Concept C- GA's choice. This one has "in water revetments." The revetments appear to be below ground height so should not impact views from the waters' edge. Protects "99%" of the population, and protects Hoboken Terminal. It's designed for a "500 year flood event and rising sea levels." NO direct access to the waterfront, but that can be addressed with pedestrian overpasses. Perhaps "walls" can be landscaped (maybe the ground can slope with grass infill, or otherwise built with walkway, benches.) This option has a "Lincoln tunnel tie-in."
Concept D- Similar to C. Differences include no "in-water revetments".
Concept E- "no." We either protect our city with respect to climate change or we do not. This proposal does not protect Hoboken from rising sea levels. It does not protect Hoboken Terminal. It is a "90%" solution,
GA imagines residents of 'cities on the edge' around the world resisted engineering solutions to flash flooding and rising sea level. Hoboken is no different, and it is understandable.
|Amsterdam, another city on the edge|
GA believes the more creatively we can integrate engineering solutions with public use, the "rebuild by design" can bring activity to water's edge, and make our city even better.
|Bikes on dykes, Netherlands|
GA wants to learn more about these proposed concepts.
I think we all need to understand the proposed elevations better. If the 'ground elevation" is above-ground height, GA believes that sight-line studies will show the heights of the walls will barely impact light and views from waterfront residences.
Developments like Maxwell Place, the Hoboken Waterfront Corporate Center, W Hotel, and Shipyard has literally walled off the rest of the city from waterfront views (ones we had when GA moved here) so it seems the 'sacrifice' of a low wall at the waters edge to protect ALL of us is not asking 'too much.'
What everyone needs to do is calm down. Make yourself heard. Voice your concerns.
But at the same time, this $230M grant is a historic opportunity to help Hoboken engineer its way out of the next disaster which will be a loser for ALL of us.
Here are the CONCEPT PLANS: