One year ago, Conshohocken woke up to flooding along its riverfront that resulted from the remnants of Hurricane Ida. While the office and apartment buildings constructed over the past 30 years on the riverfront performed as designed (allowing the water to flow through surface area parking lots under the buildings or ground floor lobbies), the water went above the railroad tracks for the first time in recent memory where is damaged homes and businesses.
Businesses such as Tricycle Cafe & Bikes, Super Pups, Vision+Fitness, Dr. Detail, Prime Intensity Training, and Patch & Paint Pros, all recovered after varying degrees of damage. The borough’s dog park on the river was completely destroyed and the Conshohocken Beer Garden’s infrastructure was severely damaged.
The severity of the flood also resulted in new questions being asked about riverfront development. Over the past year in Whitemarsh Township, two apartment communities were in various stages of the approval process and members of the township’s planning commission asked questions about evacuation plans, the removal of cars to remote locations, and second-floor moorings for emergency watercraft.
In the aftermath, many people questioned why so many cars remained on the riverfront when it was widely reported that a flood was coming. The expected height of the flood was increased overnight from September 1st into September 2nd. In one instance, a specific area of an apartment building’s parking lot had remained safe for vehicles during past floods. Residents had been told to move their vehicles to this section of the parking lot. The change to the projection overnight resulted in flooded vehicles.
There were no deaths or major injuries resulting from the flooding. First responders were able to safely remove hotel guests at the Residence Inn when needed. After the flood, the Borough of Conshohocken, with the help of the local business community, purchased a highwater rescue vehicle. With the addition of approximately 3,000 new residents along the river in the Conshohocken zip code in the next five years from the construction of new apartment communities, the response needed from the first responder community will only grow. While not specifically done in response to the flooding, Conshohocken’s Borough Council also voted to remove the ability to add more residential housing along the riverfront.
While the flooding is a serious issue, one teenager from Conshohocken named Tyler James went viral after skimboarding through the floodwaters.
@morethanthecurve.com Guy skim boarding in the flood waters in Conshohocken. Video courtesy of Jamie Joffe. #conshy #conshohocken ♬ Thunderstruck – AC/DC
@morethanthecurve.com More of the skimboarder riding the floodwaters in Conshohocken. Video from Jamie Joffe. #conshy #conshohocken ♬ Bezos I – Bo Burnham