CITY ISLAND, the Bronx (PIX11) — Whether there’s heavy rainfall or light rain with a few droplets, the roads and sidewalks in the Bronx’s City Island neighborhood will have pools of water.
“We stay home whenever we know there’s a lot of rain and there is a possibility of flooding. It’s just not worth it leaving home,” said City Island resident Chihiro Allen.
The low-lying aspect of City Island makes it extra vulnerable, due to its proximity to the Long Island Sound. It’s considered a high-risk evacuation zone. That was made painfully clear during Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Ida and the other major storms that left basements flooded. Even without a natural disaster, flooding is a problem.
“It needs to be addressed because it’s causing a lot of erosion, road damage and accidents to elderly people who are sensitive. I’ve seen them almost fall into these puddles,” said City Island resident Eric Leiser.
New York City committed to make improvements as part of its stormwater resiliency plan. Now, a new initiative called NYC FloodNet will help government agencies zero in on the trouble spots. Sensors placed on certain streets collect flood data, measuring the rain accumulation. That information is available to city agencies, residents, emergency response teams, and researchers in real-time.
“The purpose here is to collect data that shows an ongoing problem and then going to our state, federal and local office holders and agencies and showing them ‘hey, your own data is showing this to be a problem,'” said City Island Rising member John Doyle.
FloodNet is a collaboration between the City University of New York, New York University and several city agencies. There are just over 80 sensors in New York City, with 10 of them in the Bronx. All the findings are available online.
Washington approved infrastructure money for communities that are susceptible to climate change. Local activist groups like City Island Rising will present the sensor data to city and state leaders in hopes of getting improvements in the Bronx.
“It’s unacceptable to the people who live around here that they have to put up with this year-round,” said Doyle.
The city said the sensors will help determine road closures and other ways to respond during storm emergencies. The goal is to install about 500 flood sensors citywide by 2027.