No to removable storm barriers

BY ROBERT S. TRENTLYON  |  I must differ with The Villager editorial of Oct. 31, “Being prepared for the hurricane next time,” specifically, the statement, “We think Mayor Bloomberg’s idea of removable storm barriers along Lower Manhattan’s edge is a good idea.”

These fences would consist of 6-foot-tall stanchions permanently installed along the west side of Route 9A. Between every two stanchions an aluminum sheet would be slid into place prior to the storm and removed after it. However, over time, some of the hundreds of aluminum sheets would become damaged by constant insertion and removal or by incorrect placement. Then, the water would be able to enter through cracks and spread out on the other side.

Further, a late storm warning could lead to a rush panel-insertion job, resulting in flawed placement of some panels. Also, if a storm predicted to completely miss this area suddenly veered our way, we could be caught with no protection in place. Remember: We were prepared for Irene and it passed over us, but we were not prepared for Sandy and it hit us. I have no problem with Con Ed and Verizon putting aluminum sheets around their buildings on a permanent basis.

With Category 4 and 5 hurricanes predicted for this century, we should go with the most proven protection — storm surge barriers. The cost of storm surge barriers is always less than the cost of post-storm repairs. Remember, Katrina was only a Category 3. And who had ever heard of a 240-mile-per-hour tornado like the one that, with wind and  storm surge, wrecked the Philippines? We have federal money now for protection. Spend it on storm surge barriers!

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