Tucked away on the west side of the small town of Broad Channel in the middle of Jamiaca Bay is a narrow, dead end, street that goes by the name of West 12th Road. Those of us who live there know that the nice part about living in a small town is that when you are not quite sure what is going on, someone else always does!
[Peter J. Mahon West 12th Road, Broad Channel]
Photo by Dan GuarinoFrom east to west, Rockaway woke up on Jan. 8 to flooded streets; making for a soggy commute. Many reports from Broad Channel to Neponsit included cars being ruined and many couldn’t get even out of their houses for hours because of the rising water.
It seemed to get worse on Tuesday, creating even more issues.
Mayor de Blasio said city workers were cleaning storm drainage basins to help water recede more quickly and salted wet roads to prevent icy conditions.
The Wave used its social media platforms to ask residents for evidence of these crews from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and contacted the agency as well, but we didn’t get a single report of crews working anywhere.
“I shoveled sand left on our sidewalks after the water receded,” Kim Mannino said. “DEP never showed even though 311 was notified, so now what? [I] don’t remember the last time I saw the catch basins being cleaned.”
The myriad of vehicles which were totaled as a result of Monday morning’s unexpected coastal flooding remain parked on West 12th Road awaiting tow.Photo by Pete Mahon, used with permissionMannino joined thousands of locals wondering what could have been done to prevent the flooding, but few had answers.
The consensus was a way higher than normal high tide, combined with a new moon, an offshore storm in the Atlantic and a northeast wind, flooded the area more than usual.
Or as Cliff Dary put it “Rockaway is surrounded by water. The bay is on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Expect it.”
Another problem noted by many calls to The Wave was the amount of garbage floating out of storm drains.
“People need to stop throwing bags with their dog’s feces in the sewer,” said one caller to The Wave. “It is disgusting! This flooding is bad enough!”
As the weather turned colder and the waters receded, many have been discussing ways to avoid this kind of flooding in the future.
At Tuesday’s Community Board 14 meeting, residents called for jetties and sewer repairs. CB14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska explained that the majority of the flooding came from “backflow from storm-water outflows,” and “faulty infrastructure.”
He also indicated unless something is done, this will be a regular occurrence when the water table rises.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder isn’t sure if there is anything that can be done.
“I’ve been speaking with the president of every major civic association in the area,” Goldfeder said. “The truth is this is happening because we are surrounded by water. I don’t think there is anything we can do or build that can prevent it from happening. We just have to be vigilant to be prepared for when it happens again.”