Long Island City residents raised environmental concerns with the proposed relocation of the ferry landing

A plan to demolish and relocate the ferry dock at Hunters Level South Park is outraging Queens residents who say the proposal would launch poisonous air pollution and block views of the waterfront.

The challenge was first proposed in 2019 by the New York Metropolis Financial Improvement Company, a municipally funded nonprofit accountable for managing town’s ferry system. Plans embrace eradicating the ferry terminal at Lengthy Island Metropolis park, the oldest within the system, and changing it with a floating dock on the most important waterfront park close to Gantry Plaza State Park.

In early December, the IEC made its plans public for the primary time to the district board, after residents mentioned that they had been stored knowledgeable. The board ultimately voted in opposition to the challenge, citing group considerations and an absence of transparency from the EDC. If the US Military Corps of Engineers decides to disregard this recoil and settle for the EDC plans as is, the brand new lander will likely be accomplished in 2023.

The $12.2 million effort will develop current operations on the LIC/Gantry Plaza State Park terminal, permitting two ferries to function concurrently. In the mean time, the station solely permits one boat at a time.

Locals fear that extra ferry boats in an already crowded place utilized by 5 close by colleges for outside actions will enhance the quantity of noise and air air pollution within the space.

There already complaints have been Round city across the boats’ blaring horns, that are required by the US Coast Guard earlier than departure. And though it is solely 300 toes from Gantry Plaza, the ferry dock at Hunters Level South Park is in a extra residential space with no leisure areas. Whereas ferries have decrease emissions in comparison with motor autos, they aren’t with out environmental hazards. Nitrogen dioxide emissions in open areas close to ferry terminals can exceed EPA air air pollution requirements by greater than 50%, based on a 2016 report. examine by EDC.

Jessica Seacrest, government director of the Hunters Level Parks Conservancy, an area nonprofit that helps protect inexperienced areas within the space, mentioned the LIC/Gantry Plaza State Park station presents distinctive environmental challenges that EDC plans have not taken under consideration. Moreover the inexperienced area used for trip by 5 close by colleges, the park is a restored wetland that gives a habitat for resident and migratory birds, in addition to native plant species.

“There are some considerations in regards to the bodily actuality of simply constructing this new pier” in East River, Seacrest mentioned.

In 2019, when EDC introduced its plans to develop its ferry operations, the company Performed an environmental evaluate of potential stops. The examine, revealed in 2020, discovered that the proposed touchdown alternative at Hunters Level South Park wouldn’t result in any important will increase in noise and air air pollution, not like among the different ferry terminals on the listing.

The EDC didn’t present additional particulars about this evaluation, however company spokesperson Holmes mentioned: “Environmental audit choices are made by lead businesses, on this case, the mayor’s Workplace of Environmental Coordination. These choices are the results of analyzes carried out in accordance with the Environmental High quality Audit Technical Guide to New York Metropolis.”

Opponents of transferring the ferry additionally fear that the brand new touchdown will block views of the Manhattan skyline.

A bigger ferry terminal is required in Lengthy Island Metropolis as a result of ridership numbers elevated 40% through the week and 25% through the weekends in 2022, EDC spokesman Jeff Holmes mentioned, including that the Hunters Level South Park touchdown has the seventh highest ridership within the nation. the system. , which consisted of 24 landings.

Holmes added that an enlargement of the ferry terminal of the proposed measurement couldn’t be safely constructed on the present touchdown as a result of the Amtrak practice traces and the Queens-Midtown Tunnel each run below Hunters Level South Park.

EDC’s plans have been working easily till November, when the Hunters Level Parks Conservancy posted a press release on its web site and social media accounts opposing the challenge.

Seacrest mentioned the EDEC didn’t make sure that group wants have been taken under consideration earlier than it utilized for permits in October with the US Military Corps of Engineers, the company finally accountable for deciding whether or not the challenge was permitted.

“Once we first heard about it, we began asking folks,” she mentioned. “It is a comparatively small, well-connected group in Hunters Level, in Lengthy Island Metropolis, and we have been shocked that nobody we spoke to had any concept this was coming, which suggests they have not completed any outreach.”

The EDC has defended group outreach, saying it has submitted the company’s plans to Councilwoman Julie Gained, who represents Lengthy Island Metropolis, and to the transportation committee with Queens 2 Group Council, an area advisory group. However that assembly was not open to the general public and roughly a dozen native residents mentioned they didn’t discover out in regards to the challenge till lower than two weeks earlier than the unique public remark interval closed.

Subsequently, the Hunters Level Parks Conservancy and Gained have requested that the US Military Corps of Engineers prolong the deadline to December 5, giving residents a further two weeks to evaluate EDC plans.

Gained mentioned she stays sad with how the Middle for Civil Protection and the US Military Corps of Engineers dealt with this challenge.

“I believe the present proposal, because it stands, won’t be pushed as a result of there will likely be political penalties,” she mentioned. “They will have to spend so much of political capital to spend with us in the event that they wish to do one thing for the group, fairly than not do any authorized work to be sure that the group is purchased into an enormous change like this.”

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