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Experts Say NYC Needs To Do More To Prepare For Future Storms

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TWC News: Experts Say NYC Needs To Do More To Prepare For Future Storms
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While the city and the MTA took precautions before Sandy hit, some experts say the city needs to go much further. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.

In the aftermath of Sandy, some are asking whether the city was adequately prepared for the storm and whether it will be ready for the next one.

"It is going to require a more comprehensive thinking than we've done historically in response to past disasters," said William Solecki of the City University of New York Institute for Sustainable Cities.

Some experts in the areas of climate change and city planning say New York needs to start preparing for the storms that lie ahead.

New York University Professor Rae Zimmerman sits on the city's climate change panel. She said New York needs to revamp its transportation system. She'd like to see sections of the subway or rail system sealed off in a storm. That way, some lines could function somewhat normally when others are flooded.

She also thinks the city can learn from NYU, which has a natural gas network that kept the school partially powered last week.

"We can go a long way with distributed energy," Zimmerman said. "For example, solar cells, if we can figure out how to store that energy so it's available independent of the grid in times of emergencies."

There's also the question of whether the city should build a physical barrier similar to one used in London to keep flood waters out.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been dismissive of the idea.

"London has a small river that they put a barrier on. We have an enormous harbor. But the real damage is, we have an extensive shoreline," the mayor said Wednesday.

Professor Solecki, who co-chairs the city's panel on climate change, said all options need to be considered.

"It could be that a barrier emerges as the best opportunity," Solecki said.

Realistically, the decision to build a storm barrier would not rest with Mayor Bloomberg or even with a future mayor. It would likely be a federal project that targets New York State and its neighbors as well.

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