The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) designated Hoboken a Role Model City for flood risk management as part of its global Making Cities Resilient campaign. Hoboken joins 44 other cities around the world, and is only the second US city, after San Francisco, to be recognized by the UN:
In a letter announcing the designation, German Velasquez of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction wrote: “Your city’s efforts in enhancing its physical infrastructure to improve its capacity in dealing with flood risk have been well-recognized. Moreover Hoboken’s attention to land use regulations and expansion as well as its efforts in informing public through the city website and social media have stood out as exemplary.”
The announcement noted several of Hoboken’s projects, including the City Council’s 7-2 vote February 23rd to approve bonds for the city’s second flood pump; the ‘Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge’ coastal defense strategy that won a $230M Rebuild by Design federal grant; the design completed with public input for Hoboken Cove Boathouse, the first phase of a ‘park as defense’ against flooding; and Southwest Park, a one-acre park that will provide much-needed public space for southwest Hoboken while reducing flooding with rain gardens, permeable pavers, and underground detention chambers that can hold up to 250,000 gallons of stormwater.
In her 2015 State of the City, Mayor Dawn Zimmer announced that Hoboken City Hall will become a model for stormwater mitigation, with rain gardens, permeable sidewalks, and cisterns that can retain the stormwater from a 6-hour-long, 100-year storm. She also announced that the when the city resurfaces 50 blocks later this spring, 11 intersections will be improved with curb extensions that reduce pedestrian crossing distances and house rain gardens to capture stormwater.
The Hoboken Terminal and Yards redevelopment plan, approved by the City Council in December 2014, includes a number of flood mitigation and resiliency measures. Also, NJ Transit received a $146M federal grant to fill Long Slip, a former barge canal adjacent to Hoboken Terminal that was the southern entry point for Hurricane Sandy floodwaters. The agency will build six new tracks on land created by filling the canal, along with three ADA-accessible platforms that will provide step-free access to trains.