"Dear Mayor Bloomberg and your administration,
As a resident of New York City, I would like to share my opinion"-- oh, wait, you're not listening!
Despite fierce opposition and relentless efforts from New York City residents, the Bloomberg Administration still plans on building a 10-story waste transfer station on East 91st Street in Manhattan. The city announced Sunday, July 22 that it had received the final regulatory approval from the United States Army Corp of Engineers to build the facility.
The proposed 10-story waste transfer facility would be built on Manhattan's residential Upper East Side, adjacent to Asphalt Green, a sports complex which provides a number of facilities and programs serving all ages. The proposed facility is part of Mayor Bloomberg's Solid Waste Management Plan, which is intended to decrease the use of trucks for the transportation of waste and have each borough handle more of its own waste. The facility on East 91st Street would be the only one of its kind to be located in a primarily residential neighborhood. Many residents have voiced their outrage about the city's plans to put this type of facility in such close proximity to the Asphalt Green sports complex. Asphalt Green is a five and a half acre facility home to an Olympic swimming pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a large FieldTurf field, basketball courts, a children's playground and more. The facility attracts locals as well as residents from around the city. Asphalt Green has proven to be a paradise for children and teens participating in competitive and recreational sports.
Residents are concerned that the facility would negatively impact the health of adults and children, attract rodents and insects, produce disruptive levels of noise and odors, harm the river, cause a significant amount of traffic on the nearby residential streets and increase pedestrian accidents. The Department of Sanitation claims that the impact would be insignificant, but residents remain concerned, especially since East Harlem, which is only several blocks away from the proposed site of the transfer station, has an asthma rate of five times the national average.
Residents have been actively trying to spread awareness about the city's plan and voice their concerns about the facility. Activists have developed resources and organized events to protest the facility. There have been many community gatherings, rallies and petitions. Residents For Sane Trash Solutions, an organization dedicated to informing residents about the dangers of the facility and protesting its construction, has worked tirelessly to gain support of residents, experts and city officials. Despite increasing opposition, the Bloomberg Administration has paid little attention to residents, and plans to begin construction as early as the end of this year.
Some city officials and experts have spoken up, defending the residents' concerns about the transfer station. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Assemblyman Micah Z. Kellner of Manhattan, and Senator Liz Krueger are among those officials who have helped voiced the residents' concerns and made an active effort to protest the proposed marine transfer station. Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the pilot who safely landed U.S. Airways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River in 2009 after his airplane encountered birds, has also spoken out against the proposed transfer station, claiming it could attract birds, which would create many dangers for LaGuardia airport which is less than half a mile away.
Previous administrations have recognized the dangers that could result from re-opening the marine transfer facility in a now residential neighborhood. When the existing facility was first put to use, the neighborhood was primarily industrial.
It's time the Bloomberg Administration started listening to the concerned residents of New York City. We have a right to be concerned, we have a right to speak up and be heard, and the Bloomberg Administration has a responsibility to address the concerns of residents and realize that they have to represent the people.