MTA Flood Mitigation
Street Furniture + Urban Plan

MTA Flood Mitigation
Street Furniture + Urban Plan

The project addresses a number of flood prone areas in Queens including a 3.5-mile stretch of Hillside Avenue, through the development of a modular solution which can be applied to other areas.

AIA Tri-States Honor Award | AIANY State, Design Citation | AIANY Design Awards, Merit Award in Urban Design | I.D. Design Review Regional and Urban Design Award. Full list of awards
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The solution responds to the varied depths of expected flooding established by a hydrological study, creating a profile of raised ventilation grates which mark the minute topographical distinctions which shape the flood. Recognizing that the broader problem is driven by infrastructure and soil permeability, the design creates a permanent expression for an intermittent problem which needs to be addressed.

The development of the design included a hydrologist to establish the potential flood elevations for a 100-year storm and fluid dynamic specialists to model the subway environment and test the impact of closing or reducing vent opening sizes. A survey of the street and sidewalk documented the current streetscape, and pedestrian counts established areas of greater and lesser crowding to establish minimum criteria for raising or closing a grate. This team worked in an iterative process to optimize pedestrian movement on the sidewalk above while maintaining the required ventilation to the platform below. The final design solves the immediate problem of flooding at the ventilation grates, creates a highly visible streetscape element and raises public awareness of the broader problem. The project has attracted the interest of area residents, many of whom have lived with the flooding problem for years, and has drawn positive media attention from sources not usually concerned with infrastructure and urban design.