NEWS AND ISSUES


Testimony of New York State Senator Thomas K. Duane before the New York City Department of Sanitation Regarding the Draft Scoping Document for a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Consolidated Sanitation Garage for Manhattan Districts One, Two & Five

January 31, 2007

My name is Thomas K. Duane, and I represent New York Statefs 29th Senate District, which includes the Hudson Square neighborhood, where the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has proposed siting the sanitation garage being discussed at todayfs scoping session. I also represent portions of Manhattan Community Districts One, Two, and Five, which the facility in question is intended to serve.

To begin, I would like to thank DSNY for presenting a proactive and long-awaited plan to remove its facilities from the Gansevoort Peninsula. The peninsula, as you know, is designated parkland by the Hudson River Park Act, and in a 2005 court settlement, the City committed to begin removing its facilities immediately so that a park could open there by 2012. It remains imperative to my constituents and to me that the City lives up to its legally-binding commitment. Whether or not this specific plan is approved, I hope that DSNY continues its progress in this regard.

With respect to the plan under consideration this evening, I am here primarily to raise concerns, many of which I have also heard from my constituents, that I hope will be addressed in the forthcoming Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

The current plan calls for several thousand gallons of fuel and oil to be stored in buildings on either side of Spring Street, between West and Washington Streets\two square blocks that are directly above the entrance to the Holland Tunnel. The proximity of the tunnel to the fuel tanks poses an obvious safety threat, and I would like to see the EIS include an analysis of the security risks, as well as the potential damage that could be caused in the event of a devastating accident or intentional act.

A major feature of this plan is the consolidation of three existing DSNY garages into one that will gachieve an economy of scale, replace outdated facilities, and improve operational efficiencies.h One downside of consolidation, however, is that trucks will have to travel greater distances since they are not based locally. I am curious about how much the total annual truck mileage will increase, and how that will affect the traffic congestion and air quality in the Community Districts in which the trucks travel.

All neighborhoods have to bear their fair share of the sanitation burden, and Ifve said repeatedly that, in my district, I am willing and eager to take on that responsibility, even a little more. But no community should have to do more than that, and I look forward to an EIS that describes how having three sanitation garages in one district will impact the Hudson Square Neighborhood, which was recently-rezoned. I am very concerned about the general impact it will have on the surrounding neighborhood regarding traffic, environmental safety, health, etc, which are already previewed in the draft scoping document.

Finally, if some form of this plan is ultimately approved, I hope that DSNY and the City will make efforts to maintain balance in the community, by negotiating some other type of community facility to mitigate the inconvenience the garagefs construction and usage will undoubtedly cause.

Thank you for your attention to the communityfs concerns on this important matter. I look forward to seeing how they are addressed in the final EIS, and to continuing to participate in the ongoing public process.


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