Over the last three years the Yorkville community, in partnership with Pledge 2 Protect and Asphalt Green, has made an extraordinary effort to prevent the East 91st Street marine transfer station from becoming a reality. From filing lawsuits and commissioning studies to producing documentaries and holding protests, the community has fought to stop what it saw as a serious health threat to the neighborhood.
The bad news is that it’s likely the MTS will in fact open in 2017, and will run straight through the campus at Asphalt Green for at least two years until an alternate ramp at East 92nd Street is built.
The good news is that the community secured that concession from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration to move the ramp one block north and over to FDR Drive, and that the fight isn’t over. Community Board 8 just formed a task force that will meet monthly to discuss ways to stop the MTS and address concerns from residents and with construction. But it doesn’t seem likely that the city will change course, having weathered all challengers so far.
But the fight for more concessions, such as around the clock air quality monitoring and increased safety protocols around “the dump,” is alive and well.
But even the success of getting the access ramp moved one block north comes with its own set of problems for tenants at the Stanley Isaacs and Holmes Towers developments, which sit on 92nd Street between York Avenue and First Avenue. It’s possible the Dept. of Sanitation will route trucks along that stretch of road on their way to the MTS. Residents of Holmes Towers, as reported in this paper in October, are already battling a NYCHA proposal to site a mixed affordable and market rate development on a playground at the project in order to plug the agency’s budget deficit and and cover capital needs.
If that plan - called NextGen NYCHA - goes ahead, low-income residents at Holmes may be faced with the loss of open space, massive amounts of construction, overcrowding, and the possibility - depending on which route the DSNY chooses to get to the MTS - of seeing a daily parade of dump trucks pass by on 92nd Street.
Next year look for DSNY to establish the dump truck route to the MTS and construction of the station to continue apace, while Holmes Towers residents continue to push back against NextGen NYCHA and hope to somehow see 92nd Street clear of the trash trucks.
-- Daniel Fitzsimmons