The needler in the haystack.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Don't put those Plainfield flood maps away just yet




The Cedar Brook emerges from its tunnel under PHS on Saturday.


Back in December, Plainfield's City Council raked then-DPWUD Director Jennifer Wenson-Maier over the coals about flood insurance (see my post here).

I rose (slightly) to her defense because the Council's questioning seemed rather unfocused -- was the issue paying flood insurance AT ALL (Burney's point) or the RAPID RISE in policy premiums (Reid's point)?

Wenson-Maier is now gone, and the issue has not been brought back to the table, but Saturday's rain -- with its subsequent flooding -- brought it once again to mind.

I drove around taking pictures of some of the conditions throughout the afternoon.

It did not seem anyone was being flooded out; in fact, the major area of flooding -- from the East End diagonally down through Cedar Brook Park -- seems to have been well-serviced by the flood-prevention efforts undertaken many years ago, which forced Cedar Brook to exit its tunnel under Plainfield High School with tremendous force, flooding the low-lying Cedar Brook Park, resulting in the closing of Randolph Road and Pemberton Avenue.

Along the Green Brook, most of the potential for flooding looked to be on the North Plainfield side, with the roadway through Green Brook Park acting as a sort of levee on the Plainfield side.

Things got so threatening that the Tri-County Red Cross set up a shelter at the Vermeule Community Center on Green Brook Road for area residents who may have been flooded out (see here).

While the rain abated overnight, we are expected to have intermittent spell throughout the day today. Depending on the persistence and severity of the rainfall, water levels may rise further.

But with actual flooding of homes barely an issue, the question arises: Will the Council continue to pursue the efforts to get an overall reduction of flood insurance rates for Plainfield property owners?


BACKGROUND: Flood insurance was taken up in the very first year of Mayor Robinson-Briggs' administration (see here; and here), where the Planning Board memorialized new FEMA flood maps for Plainfield. Turned out at the time that the confusion created over the issue may have come from the Mayor's office failing to forward the correspondence it received from FEMA about the new maps to Wenson-Maier. On the other hand, Wenson-Maier was president of the Rahway City Council at the time (a town renowned for its flooding issues) and seems unlikely to have been unaware of the importance of the new flood maps -- both to residents and potential developers.




Plainfield's flood zones unofficially shown in a 2006 DPW mailer.




The Cedar Brook floods the soccer fields between Stelle Avenue and Randolph Road.




The Cricket Pitch in Cedar Brook Park is under water.




The Green Brook totally floods the soccer fields east of West End Avenue.




The drive in Green Brook Park acts as a levee,
as here at the Revolutionary Fort monument (through my windshield).




Near Clinton Avenue, the Green Brook flooding submerges picnic tables and barbecue grilles.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

it looks wonderful its a colon cleansing of plainfield brighter days ahead

Anonymous said...

Years ago [10+?] Kanti Patel and Ken Dunhouser got the City to a lower level insurance spot when Eric Watsen was the Director of Public Works, but then the sun came out and everyone forgot and the Enginner office was closed

Rob said...

And I thought the Mayor's office was all wet !!

Anonymous said...

Many (!) years ago I wrote and drew a few anti-drug comics for PLFD Today

I really really had a blast doing those comics and want to thank the little newspaper that gave my 15 mind an outlet and purpose!

Jerry Hunter
Brooklyn NY