New York City Office Of Emergency Management map showing hurricane evacuation zones
Flooding on Third Street near bridge over the Gowanus, September 23, 2011During most heavy rain events, Third Street near the Gowanus Canal has a tendency to flood, making it difficult or nearly impossible to drive over the 3rd Street Bridge, towards Park Slope. Yet, in case of a hurricane or flood, the New York City Office Of Emergency Management has designated Third Street as the Coastal Evacuation Route for the Carroll Gardens Community.
I first noticed the Coastal Evacuation sign on Third Street near Smith Street more than a year ago and was immediately struck by the fact that the indicated route directed people to one of the lowest points in the neighborhood. When flood warnings and evacuation orders were given prior to Hurricane Irene in September, I wrote about this badly thought out plan, which potentially could put local residents in harm's way.
Community Board 6 took note, and promised to follow up with the Office of Emergency Management. And just yesterday, State Senator Squadron's office forwarded me a letter sent to Commissioner Joseph Bruno on this matter, signed by the Senator, Councilman Lander, Assemblywoman Millman and Brooklyn Borough President Markowitz. It reads:
Dear Commissioner Bruno:The recent evacuation order issued by the City in preparation for Hurricane Irene caused residents across the City to consider their preparedness in the event of an emergency. Several of our constituents raised concerns regarding the current "Coastal Evacuation Route" (CER) out of Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
As indicated by the signs posted in the area, the CER is via the Zone A area of Third Street, over the Gowanus Canal. This is problematic because the low-lying streets surrounding the Gowanus Canal are prone to flooding, even during moderate rain storms.
Our top priority is getting people out of harm’s way as safely and efficiently as possible. To that end, we are writing to request that your office reevaluate the evacuation route for this area and provide information as to possible alternative routes.
We look forward to hearing from you and please let us know if we can be helpful in resolving this matter of concern to our constituents.
Sincerely, Daniel Squadron, State SenatorJoan Millman, Member of the AssemblyMarty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough PresidentBrad Lander, Member Of The City Council.
I am glad and relieved that our elected officials are helping to shine a light on this issue and are asking for a re-evaluation. As far as finding alternate routes, that may be a difficult task. Most of the local roads leading out of the neighborhood are congested on a regular day. In the case of a stronger hurricane with evacuation of Flood Zones A and B, traffic would probably come to a stand still.