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Opinion | The Plan to Save New York From the Next Sandy Will Ruin the Waterfront. It

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Last September, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers unveiled its proposal to protect the greater New York and New Jersey metro area from the next catastrophic flood. It is an epic plan that includes dozens of miles of floodwalls, levees and berms along the shoreline and 12 storm surge barriers — arrays of movable gates — across entrances to waterways throughout the region.

The plan is estimated to cost a staggering $52.6 billion. It’s by far the most expensive project ever proposed by the Corps.

The trouble is that despite its great ambitions, the Corps’s plan demonstrates the shortcomings of relying on massive shoreline structures for flood protection. If built, this plan could reverse the region’s decades-long effort to open up its waterfront for recreation while, at best, protecting only a small fraction of the region’s most vulnerable areas from devastating storm surge flooding.

Coastal storm flooding is a grave risk to the region, as we saw when Hurricane Sandy swept through, causing 60 deaths and more than $70 billion in damage. In terms of population at…

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