Take action on the flooding
With the “flooding” posts starting to accumulate, wasn’t sure where to plop this reader submission, so I picked this one since it was “geographically” relevant.
A Hoboken411 reader sent this in today:
“Looked out my window to see a team of people with measuring instruments. I asked them what they were doing. They said they are from Stevens, and the city asked them to take flooding measurements of different intersections. He said it was also required for a class but that the city wants the information. I said I hoped they were being paid for doing the work. They just laughed and said they wished too, but no they aren’t being paid. The North Hudson Sewage Authority already has citywide sea level measurements documented, and it seems like this is information the city should already have. What are plausible reasons for:
- The city not already having this information,
- Not paying experts to take the measurements; and
- Taking the information gratis from students?
Respectfully to the students, they are only learning, as it’s for a class. Seems to me, something of this importance and magnitude, which is information the city should already have, would need to be collected by experts.”
North Hudson Sewerage Board of Commissioners Meeting Tonight at 6:30
Meeting open to public. It represents a chance for the public to voice their concerns about the flooding, and ask about the different alternatives for solving the flooding problem.
1600 Adams Street (at 16th Street)
Sign in at front desk, and go to conference room on the first floor.
8/20/2007 Update 2:
Reader Jason wrote in:
“Its 2:00 PM and the North Hudson Sewer Authority is currently cleaning the storm sewers at the corner of Newark and Garden. I’ve seen them do this before and Legal Beans keeps flooding.”
After speaking with Mayor Roberts this morning, he indicated that North Hudson Sewage Authority will be near the intersection of Legal Beans today to attempt to fix the catch basins. He believes that the flooding that happens on Newark St. near Garden and Park is not completely related to the other, more prevalent problem on the western, more low-lying area of the city. This area is on higher ground, and NHSA is optimistic that there may be an immediate solution.
I stopped by an hour ago, and NHSA was nowhere to be found. We’ll see what happens with this. While I have my doubts, there’s nothing wrong with trying at least.
8/14/2007 2:40pm Update:
A couple updates to this:
– Councilwoman Dawn Zimmer’s message about the meeting and what actions should be taken going forward. She says:
Who is going to make all of this happen, who is going to follow up on this? I want to make it clear that I will follow up on this, and I hope to work with members of the City Council, Mayor Roberts, the Police, as well as the public to get it done. As a City Council person it is part of the job that I was elected to do.
Download the whole PDF file here.
– And a very long video of most of the meeting before the camera memory ran out. Check that out here: http://www.veoh.com/videos/v966944rGN8mDMW
8/14/2007 2:20am Update:
A lot of content for this “meeting of the minds” at Legal Beans. Recap, Part 1 of the video (preview and interviews), and photos (thank you Halley Wolowiec!) below.
Part 2 of the video (40 min. – almost the whole meeting) coming later.
“Fed Up” Meeting Summary:
Fed up with the flooding and lack of a comprehensive and timely plan to fix it, a standing room only crowd of nearly 50 people packed the Legal Beans coffee shop at Garden & Newark Monday night. This First Ward neighborhood is being hit hard by flooding caused by clogged sewers and waves of water forced into basements and apartments by traffic traveling through the lakes formed in the intersections along Newark. Dozens of cars have been ruined, and the floodwaters leave the rotting stench of sewage in the streets. The owner of Legal Beans says his shop has been forced to close 4 times in less than two years due to flood.
More Development? No problem. No, wait, maybe a problem.
Mayor David Roberts addressed the crowd for over 45 minutes. Members of the public wanted to know why not have a moratorium on new development until the infrastructure is fixed? Roberts says new development has not added to the problem. He blames the tide gates closing and millions of gallons of water building up in the collection system. He also blames “climate change.”
Roberts spent most of the meeting trying to sell his only solution—the storm water ejector system. He says it is time to hold the North Hudson Sewer Authority’s feet to the fire and get them to fund the project. Roberts says 18 million dollars have been spent on the collection system in the past ten years and that improvements have been made to the trunk lines but the expensive “ejector system” is the only solution.
Roberts claims the engineering has already begun, the 2 pumps have been designed but not fabricated, and that the entire project can be started and completed within 2 years. (That promise drew groans, laughter and “bull$hit!” coughs from the crowd.) Dawn Zimmer also challenged Roberts by asking him to back up his words of (potentially) “stopping development”, but he dodged his way out of it with an indirect response citing “emotions”.
“When people started to ask questions, and in particular when the host constituent Robert expressed his frustration with the flooding and his personal economic loss, the Mayor marginalized his feelings by referring to the constituent’s “subjective” perspective.”– An attending constituent
Roberts also contradicted his “development doesn’t contribute to flooding” theory by telling the crowd “Does new development exacerbate the problem? It doesn’t help.” He also repeated several times about Hoboken’s great economic strength and how that will help us solve this problem. Roberts said Hoboken doesn’t have any voting power in the county but the $35 million we send in taxes gives us “great economic strength.” He didn’t seem to explain why the county– which hasn’t done anything to date– would suddenly feel the “economic power of Hoboken” and pay for a solution. He added, “What we can do is no new development plans get approved unless the new water ejector is committed to with real dollars. We’re in no big hurry to go forward with some projects.”
An expert begs to differ.
A civil engineering professor from world renowned and Hoboken’s own Stevens Institute of Technology, politely told the Mayor the ejector solution might be a solution in the long term, but what the city really needs is a short term solution “to see if there is a way to mitigate & buy time to a long term fix.” His realistic assessment drew applause.
Can’t we all just get along?
Mayor Roberts repeated a simple refrain throughout the meeting: “we all need to work together.” The Mayor went further with his pledge saying “I’m going to stand shoulder to shoulder with you. What more I can do; tell me and I will do it.”
Roberts said he would hold monthly meetings until the problem is solved.
No date was set for the next meeting.
Video Part 1 – The Mayor, Councilwoman Zimmer and a couple area residents make their statements:
Online Videos by Veoh.com
This Monday, August 13th at 7pm, area residents have arranged to meet at Legal Beans, a typical flooding location.
This wasn’t arranged by the owner of Legal beans, but rather a nearby condo owner approached him and asked if a meeting could be held with the community there. Many business and condo owners are growing financially and emotionally weary of the damaging effects of the consistent flooding. The city can’t turn a blind eye to this growing problem. The sewers have to be updated to accommodate the growing population of all the new homes being built by this administration. A petition’s going around. The meeting is to talk about the issue, gather ideas, and form a voice of the people.
So especially if you live in one of the affected areas, you might want to attend!