Why have solutions to solve flooding at the Croton Harmon train station parking lot been ignored?
“This plan also addresses a key concern of the Village: addressing the chronic flooding that impacts a portion of the eastern area of the parking lot. This option therefore includes new fill and regrading for an approximate 2.5 acre portion of the parking lot.”
This quote is from the Village’s “Croton Harmon Station Area Study” that was undertaken in 2004 and ignored in 2005 (pages 14-15). (To read more, click here and get the PDF called “Croton-Harmon Station Area Study”)
Leo (Trustee Leo Wiegman) and I (Trustee Charlie Kane) voted against the 2005-2006 Village Budget for several reasons. One was the final budget gutted all funding for 2005 parking lot improvements, which the village had been planning for three years. We felt very strongly this work at the commuter parking lot needed to start immediately as the first steps toward a long-term series of upgrades. Another was the 2005-2006 budget jacked up parking fees dramatically in advance of any improvements.
The good news is Croton already has in hand long-term solutions to cars being flooded. The bad news is the plans got mothballed last year with the change in administration.
In plain terms, the Schmidt, Brennan, Steinberg majority abandoned immediate plans to improve daily traffic congestion (phase 1 improvements), and then mothballed any action on phase 2 that would have addressed chronic flooding.
We can all pay more attention to the signals that Mother Nature sends about her weather intentions. But we do have solutions in hand. A proper confluence of political will, time, and money can both solve this flooding problem and untangle the daily traffic snarl at the Croton Harmon Train Station.
We are sorry it has taken such calamitous floods to draw the full village board’s attention to the lot of stranded commuters (see: “Flood Waters Swamp Cars Again in Croton Harmon Commuter Parking Lot” from January 19, 2006).
PS: Why does the parking lot flood?
The Croton commuter parking lot happens to be located at the confluence of the Croton and Hudson Rivers. Significant winds from the south will always push more of the Atlantic up the Hudson than usual for the duration of such winds. Twice a day the tides rise and fall (see: www.hudsonriver.com). Rain always produces a layer of storm water in the river on top of the existing flow. Any one of these factors may cause minor flooding.
On sunny days, as happened earlier this month, the lot can flood in the lower lying areas of the Croton Harmon Station commuter parking lot due to the strong southerly winds that amplify tidal surges. On days with heavy precipitation, even with no southerly wind plowing more seawater up river , the lot may flood due to storm water runoff amplifying the tide.
The Croton River drains a 3,000 acre watershed over 3 miles long whose topography offers splendid steep slopes, but a limited natural capacity for water retention. Hence the Croton River swells to prodigious volume during heavy rain, amplifying the other two factors.
When all three factors, southerly winds, high tide and heavy rain runoff, converge for a tide cycle of a12 hour period or longer, Croton experiences the “perfect flood” that occurred this week. Such was the force of the supercharged tide surge on Wednesday that many vehicles on the south side of the parking lot were draped with uprooted phragmites.