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City Adds Second Ramp to Marine Transfer Station Plan, Adding $30M to Cost

By Shaye Weaver | August 6, 2015 4:19pm
 The city has agreed to move its primary drump truck entrance to East 92nd Street after it received backlash from some residents in the area.
MTS Primary Ramp Will Be Relocated
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YORKVILLE — Despite outcry from residents, the city is not only moving forward with a plan to build an entrance ramp for the new marine transfer station on 91st Street, but announced last week that it's also planning to build a second ramp a block away.

Residents and advocates have been calling on the city to move the planned location of the truck ramp on 91st Street to 92nd Street because they were concerned that it would congest the area and create a hazard for kids walking to nearby Asphalt Green, located on 91st Street.

In response to concerns, the Department of Sanitation has decided to continue to build the ramp on 91st Street, but to only use it as the main entry point to the marine transfer station for three years until the second ramp on 92nd Street is completed.

Once the second ramp is completed, the 91st Street ramp, which will start at York Avenue and end at the marine transfer station, will only be used for emergencies, such as structural issues with the main ramp, the Department of Sanitation explained.

Both the station and 91st Street ramp are expected to be completed by 2017. 

Work on the second, which will be wider than the first to accommodate snowplows, will start a year later and finish in 2020. It costs about $53 million to build both ramps, according the Department of Sanitation.

The agency could not immediately provide an exact location or span for the second ramp.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office announced the decision last week after community groups, including Pledge 2 Protect, pressured the city to move the entrance and the facility's weigh station away from the busy intersection.

Even though the second ramp won't be completed for another five years, news of the city’s plan to eventually move its primary entrance was greeted with relief from some last week.

"This is a huge, huge victory for the tens of thousands of kids that cross that intersection every year," said Kelly Nimmo-Guenther, the president of Pledge 2 Protect. 

Nimmo-Guenther, while pleased at the main ingress and egress being moved a block north, is worried that the new ramp will disturb residents of nearby NYCHA housing complex Stanley M. Isaacs and Holmes Towers on 93rd Street and First Avenue.

But the Department of Sanitation said that the change comes after much input from the community, including residents of the complex.

"There was strong community consensus in favor of the 92nd street ramp, including from NYCHA residents," the agency said in a statement. "DSNY has engaged NYCHA management and residents in the planning process, and will continue to do so."

Nimmo-Guenther said her group, with help from the New York City Housing Authority, is also asking the city to install noise and air pollution barriers to protect those residents.

The city is working with the community to address its concerns about air quality, traffic and pedestrian safety, Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said in a statement.

For instance, the Department of Sanitation plans to move the facility's weigh station from outside to inside of the marine transfer station and to install pedestrian side guards on sanitation trucks beginning next year.

The agency also promised to station agents at the foot of the 91st Street ramp to manage pedestrian and vehicle traffic. And the city plans to install expand the sidewalk at 91st Street and install safety bollards there to shorten the pedestrian crossing distance at the 91st Street and York Avenue intersection, according to the Department of Sanitation.

Once completed, the new station is expected to collect and transfer waste from four districts of Manhattan and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 34,000 tons, according to the Department of Sanitation.

The State Department of Environmental Conservation is currently considering the renewal of three permits the city needs to continue construction and operate the facility.