Rep. Maloney Urges NY State to Block UES Marine Transfer Station
Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens) urged the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to deny the City of New York's permit application to build a Marine Transfer Station (MTS) on East 91st Street in Manhattan.
The proposed MTS is part of the City's Solid Waste Management Plan (SWAMP), which would among other measures encourage the transport of the City's garbage by barge or rail, rather than by truck; ensure that the majority of the garbage produced by each New York City borough be processed at transfer stations within that same borough; and create 5 new transfer stations at proposed sites including East 91st Street.
While Maloney supports the SWAMP's general goals, she continues to have serious concerns about the City's proposal to locate the East Side MTS in a primarily residential neighborhood. While the SWAMP's proponents maintain that the plan would sharply reduce the transport of Manhattan's garbage to low-income neighborhoods such as those in the South Bronx, Rep. Maloney noted that the East 91st Street MTS would be located next door to Stanley Isaacs and John Haynes Holmes Towers, two of Manhattan's largest public housing developments.
In a letter sent yesterday to DEC Administrator John Cryan (click here for a full copy of the letter), Maloney noted that the East Side MTS:
* is inappropriately sited: the 91st Street site is the only facility in the SWAMP that would be located in the heart of a densely populated residential neighborhood, with nearby parks and public housing developments;
* would impact a large senior population: the Isaacs/Holmes Towers have aging populations and have been designated Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities;
* is six blocks from the asthma capital of NY: the proposed site is located just a few blocks south of Manhattan Community Board 11, where the rates of asthma and other respiratory ailments are among the very highest of any neighborhood in the entire United States;
* will impact a public park: under the City's proposal, the entrance road and ramp for the MTS would run straight through Asphalt Green, a park immediately adjacent to the MTS site, which serves thousands of children from East Harlem;
* is located in hurricane flood zone: the proposed MTS is located in what the City calls "Hurricane Zone A," one of the few locations in the entire city with "the highest risk of flooding from a hurricane's storm surge." If a hurricane or other significant storm were to hit New York City, flooding at the MTS could spread water-borne diseases and bacteria through the densely-populated surrounding neighborhood;
* does not consider the impact of congestion pricing: the Environmental Impact Statement for the MTS was prepared by the City before the City issued its proposal to turn Manhattan below 86th Street into a "congestion pricing" zone. Such a proposal will place an additional strain on traffic management and parking availability in the neighborhood immediately bordering the congestion pricing zone, which is also the area in which the City proposes to build the MTS;
* and would place an undue burden on the community: under the City's proposal, the East Side MTS would handle 5,280 tons of municipal solid waste per day and operate on a 24-hour/6-day-a-week basis, with garbage trucks lining up on York Avenue and entering the MTS at East 91st street. These trucks and the lengthy hours of operation of the facility would together generate increased traffic and noise in the immediate area, which contains large, high-rise public housing developments at Isaacs/Holmes. The residential population of these apartment complexes, entirely comprised of low- and middle-income individuals, would undoubtedly be adversely impacted by the added truck traffic, air pollution, odor and vermin resulting from the proposed facility just a few hundred feet from their doorsteps.
In conclusion, Maloney stated that "it seems clear that the City has chosen the 91st Street site for the simple reason that a marine transfer station was previously located there. This is not a compelling rationale considering that the original station was built in 1940 at a time when the surrounding area was still heavily dominated by manufacturing. This community is now almost entirely residential, with the few remaining manufacturing or commercial sites quickly being converted for residential use."