Capture Stormwater to Prevent Flooding


Legislation at a Glance

13: Capture Stormwater to Prevent Flooding


Local Law 80 of 2013


Storms can cause localized flash flooding of buildings and streets. Since sidewalks and roadways comprise a large portion of the city’s land area, designing them to absorb water in case of floods can help ease the effects of flooding and reduce the strain on the city’s sewer system. This legislation directs several city departments to work together to study alternative sidewalk and roadway design to improve stormwater control and to develop a uniform standard for sidewalk design.

New Requirements or Changes

Effective: October 2, 2013

NYC Administrative Code, Title 19, Chapter 1, Subchapter 1, Section 19-155.

This legislation directs the departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection to deliver a report, within thirty months, concerning alternative materials and design for city streets and sidewalks. The report is to be posted on the department’s website, and must include:

  • An analysis on the types of materials available for paving, including their cost, durability and absorption capability;
  • Possibilities for changing the angulation of streets in flood-prone areas near bodies of water;  
  • Estimates of the amount of water that may be diverted from the sewer system;
  • The effect on any changes on utilities and other entities who need to make cuts in the streets;
  • Recommendations regarding the use and limitations of permeable materials by private property owners on private roadways, parking lots and sidewalks
  • The results of a pilot program (also mandated by this legislation) on the use of permeable materials on roadway and sidewalk surfaces;
  • A determination on whether a uniform standard on the use of permeable materials in sidewalks within the city of New York is appropriate, based on the results of the study and pilot. If a standard is appropriate, the report is to include recommendations on what the standard should comprise.


There are no known issues with implementing this legislation.