ESCR recognized by Waterfront Alliance for resiliece, sustainability

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New York Construction Report staff writer

The East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) project has been recognized by the Waterfront Alliance for being resilient, sustainable and accessible, NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley announced.

WEDG Verification is awarded to projects that successfully pass a technical review of the project’s design against the WEDG standards. Each project is assessed by engineers, landscape architects, and other professionals coordinated by Waterfront Alliance.

ESCR is a $1.45 billion climate resiliency project to create flood protection and improve open spaces that were severely impacted by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Managed by DDC, the project involves significant upgrades to public open spaces and five parks, including improved waterfront access through reconstructed bridges and entry points. It will also upgrade existing sewer systems to capture and manage precipitation during storms.

Construction began near Stuyvesant Cove Park in November 2020. In July, a new 45-ton sliding floodgate opened and the entire project, which is being done in phases to keep park areas open for use by area residents during construction, will be completed in 2026.

The project uses a series of berms, flood walls, flood gates and raised parklands to create a continuous 2.4-mile barrier to protect 110,000 residents of the Lower East Side in Manhattan from future coastal and tidal flooding

“The East Side Coastal Resiliency project is recognized all over the world and DDC is honored that the project has received “Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines” Verification,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley. “The City is building for the future and incorporates designs that will account for climate change and works with sponsor agencies to improve infrastructure for vulnerable communities.

“Thank you to the Waterfront Alliance for recognizing this project’s design and its’ role in providing flood protection and recreational areas for 110,000 New Yorkers in the Lower East Side.”

The Waterfront Alliance became an independent organization in 2007 when a group of leading activists, businesses, foundations, and civic organizations came together with the goal of making the New York and New Jersey harbor a shared, resilient, and accessible resource for all. The Waterfront Alliance has grown into a coalition of more than 1,100 organizations working together to bring about real change to the region’s waterways and 700 miles of shoreline.

The WEDG® rating system recognizes developers and landowners for resilient, sustainable, and accessible waterfront projects and establishes design standards across six categories: site assessment and planning, responsible siting and costal risk reduction, community access and connections, edge resilience, natural resources, and innovation.

“We congratulate the City of New York in achieving WEDG Verification for its East Side Coastal Resiliency Project,” said Waterfront Alliance President and CEO Cortney Koenig Worrall. “The rigor and transparency of the WEDG process means that the highest standards of resilience, access and ecologically sound waterfront design have been applied to this consequential project. WEDG inspires innovation and recognizes projects that go beyond what is minimally required.”

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