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December 15, 2023
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New York City Department of Transportation, Partner Agencies, and Local Elected Officials Announce Federal Funding for Brookville Boulevard Flood Mitigation Study

$3.1M hazard mitigation grant award allows NYC DOT to find ways to mitigate chronic flooding between 149th Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard in Rosedale, Queens known as Snake Road

A united front of local elected officials wrote letters in support to help this flood plagued area

NEW YORK – New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, the Mayor's Office of Climate & Environmental Justice (MOCEJ), NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks), and the NYC Department of Emergency Management (NYCEM) today joined elected leaders to announce that the City of New York was awarded $3.1 million in federal grant money, via FEMA and the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES), to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study and alternative analysis to address and mitigate flooding along Brookville Boulevard between 149th Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard, along the Queens/Nassau border.

"Many thanks to the Biden administration for its vision in helping New York get ready for a changing climate," said Deputy Mayor of Operations Meera Joshi. "Preparedness for rising sea levels is a macro effort, but it's also a battle fought street by street and throughway by throughway. A crucial connection point between the Rockaway Peninsula and the broader region, Brookville Boulevard must be shored up, and will require partners at every level of government. We are grateful to our partners at both Federal and City level for providing us the tools to dig in deeper on finding solutions."

"Brookville Boulevard's Snake Road section has been long plagued by flooding from high tides and coastal storms, and the situation is expected to worsen as sea levels rise further due to climate change," said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "These FEMA funds, an application championed by the City and the area's elected officials, allows NYC DOT to study and analyze the situation in order develop plans to mitigate the chronic flooding on this roadway."

Snake Road extends for approximately .8 miles along Brookville Boulevard through tidal wetlands of Idlewild and Hook Creek Parks and serves as a critical transportation corridor in Southeast Queens, connecting the Rockaway Peninsula and Nassau County's Five Towns to major arterials including the Cross Island Parkway and the Belt Parkway.

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. In fact, in 2019 the MTA was forced to reroute buses due to these occurrences, and the situation presents many additional challenges to be addressed in the study.

For example, the study will take into account regulatory constraints such as environmental and wetland mitigation requirements, and the fact that several utilities are located in the area as well. The funding will allow the city to include extensive topographic analysis and traffic data collection, and will also include a significant community engagement including with sister city agencies, state partners, community boards, civic organizations and elected officials.

The Brookville Boulevard Flood Mitigation Study is expected to take 30 months and cost $3.4m (equaled out with a city funding match). It will consider several mitigation options, all with the goal of improving traffic safety and the ecological health of the surrounding wetlands:

  • Raising the existing roadway to various elevations (long-term)
  • Rerouting the roadway, creating a shorter, more direct path between 149th Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard (long-term)
  • Strategically placed signs and warning devices to improve conditions ahead of any potential capital improvements. (short-term)

The study is expected to launch next year.

"Climate change impacts every New Yorker, but especially our most vulnerable communities," said Mayor's Office of Climate & Environmental Justice Executive Director Elijah Hutchinson. "We applaud the federal government for stepping in to ensure New York is a more livable home for all. This funding will help to protect its residents from flooding, which is only expected to get more frequent and disruptive in the coming years."

"Thanks to this hazard mitigation grant from FEMA, we're launching a game-changing study to tackle the persistent flooding on Snake Road," said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol. "With this funding, we're taking a big step in developing lasting solutions for one of New York's toughest environmental challenges. As we face the realities of climate change, we're focused on our mission to protect our communities, as well as our critical roadway networks, which are especially vital during emergencies."

"Brookville Boulevard bisects NYC Park's largest wetland complex, a critical resource for both community and ecosystem resiliency," said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. "Though a vital transit link today, this road was built before environmental protection laws existed and long before we recognized the importance of these natural systems to mitigating climate change. The 3.1 million in FEMA funding will propel the City towards exploring innovative solutions to transit needs, flood mitigation and wetland protection, creating a path toward a safer and more sustainable future along the Queens/Nassau border."

"I am proud we secured over $3 million in federal funding for the Brookville Boulevard Flood Mitigation Study that will help prevent future flooding, improve traffic safety along a crucial stretch of road in Southeast Queens, and improve the health of Idlewild and Hook Creek Parks' wetlands," said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. "This study, made possible by federal funds, will consider the best mitigation options, with input from community partners, to improve conditions and avert disruption for those traveling along the border of Queens and Nassau."

"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," said Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (NY-05). "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."

"While I'm thrilled to have secured this vital funding for Brookville Boulevard, the real victory belongs to the community," said State Senator James Sanders Jr. "This grant is a testament to the power of collective action. For two years, we stood together, raising our voices and demanding a solution. Thanks to the tireless efforts of residents, stakeholders, and my office, we are finally on the path to making Brookville Boulevard a safer and more resilient place for all."

"I am thrilled that Brookville Boulevard, infamously known as "Snake Road," has finally been awarded a $3.1 million federal grant for a study to promote flood mitigation, said NYS Assemblymember Khaleel M. Anderson. "This investment is a major victory for Southeast Queens residents, especially motorists and commuters who, for decades, have experienced climate disasters, including high tides and extreme flash flooding causing hazardous road conditions. Brookville Boulevard is notorious for its poor infrastructure yet has abundant potential as a critical transportation corridor connecting our entire Assembly District from the Rockaway Peninsula to the mainland. I am hopeful this study will provide a comprehensive analysis that will support the lived experiences of our community with scientific evidence and long-term solutions. I want to thank our community, my elected colleagues, the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, FEMA, and the New York City Department of Transportation for their support, advocacy, and coordination to make this victory possible. Together, we will finally tame Snake Road."

"Flooding along Brookville Boulevard has been a frustrating issue for years, so I'm thrilled to see our government partners investing in a comprehensive feasibility study and alternative analysis to finally help mitigate this problem," said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. "We've already invested $2 billion in flood-mitigating infrastructure improvements across Southeast Queens, which I'm proud to have secured, but there is still much more work to be done, both along Brookville Boulevard and elsewhere. Studying how to address flooding and ultimately implementing new infrastructure along the roadway will undoubtedly impact Southeast Queens for the better."

"Brookville Boulevard has long been a priority for myself and local residents as it is a vital link between other parts of Queens and Rockaways Peninsula," said New York City Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers. "Unfortunately, this thoroughfare continues to pose a major challenge for commuters and residents throughout the area, causing extreme delays and frustrating detours as a result of reoccurring flooding. It has also become a dumping ground for illegal materials and trash. This important study is a meaningful first step in the much-needed transformation of Brookville Boulevard. I hope this study will offer creative solutions to address persistent problems and potential recommendations to safeguard our unique and beautiful wetlands. I'm thrilled to see this grant awarded to Southeast Queens, and I look forward to examining the study's findings."

"For years, Snake Road has been a major concern for the Rosedale community, serving as the source of ongoing frustration and delays for commuters in District 31. After continued requests for updates to the area, we're happy to receive the funding for this critical study," said Evidelia Boyd, the President and Board Chairperson of the Rosedale Civic Association. "We believe this is a vital first step in updating Snake Road, but it's critical this step does not negatively impact the timeline for projects already underway in the area. We're grateful to the Department of Transportation and our elected leaders for prioritizing Southeast Queens by initiating this study."

"Snake road is the artery to the five towns. We look forward to the results of this study and the commencement of the long-awaited Brookville Triangle Part B project," said Marcia O'Brien 3rd Vice President, Rosedale Civic Association Inc. and President of 148th Dr. & Community Block Association Inc. "Thank you for making Rosedale a priority."