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 undertaking was first proposed in 2019 by the New York Metropolis Financial Growth Company, a municipally funded nonprofit accountable for managing town’s ferry system. Plans embody eradicating the ferry terminal at Lengthy Island Metropolis park, the oldest within the system, and changing it with a floating dock on the foremost 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 they’d been stored knowledgeable. The board ultimately voted in opposition to the undertaking, citing neighborhood issues and a scarcity 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 can be accomplished in 2023.

The $12.2 million effort will increase current operations on the LIC/Gantry Plaza State Park terminal, permitting two ferries to function concurrently. For the time being, 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 improve the quantity of noise and air air pollution within the space.

There already complaints had 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%, in accordance with a 2016 report. research by EDC.

Jessica Seacrest, govt 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 into consideration. Apart from the inexperienced house 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 issues concerning the bodily actuality of simply constructing this new pier” in East River, Seacrest mentioned.

In 2019, when EDC introduced its plans to increase its ferry operations, the company Performed an environmental evaluate of potential stops. The research, revealed in 2020, discovered that the proposed touchdown substitute at Hunters Level South Park wouldn’t result in any important will increase in noise and air air pollution, in contrast to a few of the different ferry terminals on the checklist.

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

Opponents of shifting 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 dimension couldn’t be safely constructed on the present touchdown as a result of the Amtrak prepare traces and the Queens-Midtown Tunnel each run beneath Hunters Level South Park.

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

Seacrest mentioned the EDEC didn’t make sure that neighborhood wants had been taken into consideration earlier than it utilized for permits in October with the US Military Corps of Engineers, the company in the end accountable for deciding whether or not the undertaking was authorized.

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

The EDC has defended neighborhood outreach, saying it has submitted the company’s plans to Councilwoman Julie Received, who represents Lengthy Island Metropolis, and to the transportation committee with Queens 2 Neighborhood 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 concerning the undertaking till lower than two weeks earlier than the unique public remark interval closed.

Subsequently, the Hunters Level Parks Conservancy and Received 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.

Received mentioned she stays sad with how the Heart for Civil Protection and the US Military Corps of Engineers dealt with this undertaking.

“I feel the present proposal, because it stands, is not going to be pushed as a result of there can be political penalties,” she mentioned. “They’ll have to spend so much of political capital to spend with us in the event that they wish to do one thing for the neighborhood, somewhat than not do any authorized work to guarantee that the neighborhood is purchased into an enormous change like this.”

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