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NJ Sierra Club Says Hoboken Flood Wall Proposal 'Won't Work'

Mayor Dawn Zimmer responded by saying that the Sierra Club's press release was based on "inaccurate assumptions" about the proposal.

The New Jersey Sierra Club heavily criticized Mayor Dawn Zimmer's proposal to build flood walls on the north and south side of Hoboken in a press release on Wednesday afternoon, alleging that only developers benefit from flood walls.

"Main purpose of building the flood wall is so developers can build more high rises along the water front and rail yards," Tittel said. Tittel's statement went on to say that flood walls would result in a "rationalization for more development."

"Nothing could be further from the truth," countered Zimmer, who is known to be wary about big development. The mayor continued to say that Tittel's opinion was based on "inaccurate assumptions about our proposal."

"The wall would raise the water level with the water going around the walls or being pushed into neighboring communities like Jersey City and Weehawken," said Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel. "In order for this to have a chance of working you would have to put a wall around the entire city with gates at every street in and out of the city. This will cost hundreds of millions of dollars and most likely not work anyway."

Tittel also said that walls would impact public access and views and take up open space that could be used for flood storage.

Zimmer said she doesn't propose walling off the waterfront, because the Sandy's storm surge caused water to come in from the north and the south.

"Our proposal bears little resemblance to the plans described in the release," Zimmer said.

The Sierra Club and Zimmer do see eye to eye when it comes to many green initiatives.

Zimmer said that, as stated during her State of the City address, "promoting the use of rain barrels, requiring green roofs in redevelopment projects, installing rain gardens, and working to acquire open space to help address our historic flooding problem ... (are) key component(s) of my proposal."

Ways to battle flooding in Hoboken, according to the Sierra Club, include the installment of more green roofs, less development in flood prone areas and combatting climate change by building sustainable buildings and implementing new policies.

cassandra February 24, 2013 at 06:35 PM
If you want to see how the mayor is "restraining development" look at the city's plan for the NJ transit development along Observer Highway. Only 2 million square feet of development. The most development for any our mayors -ever. The NJ Transit plan is for 3 million square feet of development. Guess they will .compromise at 2.5 million and call it a big win. NJ Transit is preaching flood control as is the Rockerfeller group for the northwest area development. Wonder how many million square feet the Rockerfellers are proposing. Might as well be annexed to Manhatten. At least they have a St. patrick's day Parade. So much for the "charming" city of Hoboken.
KenOn10 February 25, 2013 at 05:27 PM
"a few million or so" is equally laughable when you consider other recent costs, such as the Sinatra Park repairs will far exceed the original estimate of $7.7 million. Heck, a single traffic light cost $90k. Whether it works or not is subject to debate, but let's not kid ourselves about the cost.
Ojo Rojo February 25, 2013 at 08:57 PM
Walls don't cost much when built on land. Parks don't even cost much. Building a pier out on the water and putting a park on top of that costs a fortune especially when you have to rip out the old pier and rebuild a new one from scratch. Washington DC just built a rather large floodwall that is far bigger than anything we would need, it is temporary and can be installed and taken down as needed and they spent under $10mm to do it. And just a word to the wise. We don't even need to really build a wall to begin with. We have a big old park about to be built along a good chunk of the waterfront. You raise the height of that park another 6 feet and there is your wall for a good part of the north side of town. Slap in a wall and a few gates to cover a few areas and require developers to raise whatever they build on the north end of town and all of a sudden you have built quite a bit of that proposed flood barrier just by changing the topography of North Hoboken. Stop being such a hater Ken. I get you hate Zimmer but she has the right idea on this one and there are ways to help prevent flooding in this town that don't require spending vast sums of money.
KenOn10 February 26, 2013 at 12:27 AM
From a Washington Post graphic, it looks like their $10 million flood wall has 2 berms of about 150 feet and a 150 foot pop-up portion, crossing a single road. It's a very narrow choke point. Take a look at //voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang/images/FEMA_flood_map.png Hoboken needs TWO walls and they need to cross a number of roads. It's NOT a narrow choke point. I've not seen the Hoboken plans, but suspect land would need to be acquired, too. You still sticking with the "few million or so"? Why? Funny you should "get" that I'm a zimmer hater, since I've voted for her every election and helped with the campaign once, too. That sort of reflexive bad judgement doesn't do you any favors. We ought to be able to discuss these things without name calling.
TONY NEKOBOH March 28, 2013 at 01:28 AM
THE ANSWER IS...old hoboken never had these problems like today, if we can get all these yuppie liberals to leave & give back full control to the native residence the city would be in a much better state @ every level...liberals never solved anything in HISTORY!

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