Dec. 18, 2023 By Christian Murray
New York City is set to receive a boost in its efforts to address and mitigate flooding along Brookville Boulevard between 149th Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard, which straddles the Queens/Nassau border.
The city has been awarded a $3.1 million federal grant from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study and analysis for the flood-prone area.
The 0.8 mile stretch, which locals call Snake Road, has long suffered from flooding due to high tides and coastal storms, with the situation expected to worsen as sea levels rise due to climate change. The roadway was constructed inside wetlands with no turnoffs and is often at a similar level to the tides, leaving Snake Road highly vulnerable to disruptive flooding and tides.
The roadway is crucial for southeast Queens, connecting the Rockaway Peninsula and Nassau County’s Five Towns to major arterials such as the Cross Island Parkway and the Belt Parkway.
The announcement was made Friday by a coalition of city officials, including DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez along with representatives of the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice (MOCEJ), the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) and the NYC Department of Emergency Management (NYCEM).
Rodriguez expressed gratitude for the FEMA funds and emphasized the importance of studying and analyzing the roadway in order to develop plans for mitigating chronic flooding on the roadway.
The analysis, which is being called the Brookville Boulevard Flood Mitigation Study, is expected to take 30 months.
The study will explore various mitigation options to improve traffic safety and protect the ecological health of the surrounding wetlands. These options include raising the existing roadway to different elevations; re-routing the roadway for a more direct path between 149th Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard; and implementing measures such as installing strategically placed signs and warning devices to improve safety.
Community engagement will be a significant part of the study, involving city agencies, state partners, community boards, civic organizations, and elected officials. The study is expected to launch in the coming year.
U.S. Rep. Gregory W. Meeks and Senator Charles Schumer also expressed their support for the study.
“This federal funding will finally be able to address a long-time issue for residents of Rosedale and our Queens and Nassau communities at large,” Meeks said. “Flooding of Brookville Boulevard disrupts New Yorkers’ commutes and everyday travel. It causes vehicles to get stuck, forces key MTA bus lines to be re-routed, and overall creates more traffic between 149th Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard. This grant, which will enable the city to explore ways to mitigate the impacts of this flooding, is vital to my mission of keeping our communities connected.”
Schumer, meanwhile, said the funding will “help prevent flooding, improve traffic safety along a crucial stretch of road in southeast Queens and improve the health of Idlewild and Hook Creek Park’s wetlands.”