Volume 76, Number 24 | November 1 - 7, 2006


An M.T.S. at Pier 76 could be best option

The city’s Solid Waste Management Plan has met stiff opposition in Greenwich Village, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen. The plan — to go into effect gradually over the next 20 years — calls for a new marine transfer station for recyclable municipal and commercial waste at Gansevoort Peninsula and also an M.T.S. at Pier 99 at W. 59th St. for commercial waste. The paper, plastic and metal would be barged to a Brooklyn recycling plant.

The operations would bring more garbage trucks through the neighborhood and take away park space in the 5-mile-long Hudson River Park, namely at the 5-acre Gansevoort Peninsula, near W. 14th St., where the M.T.S. operation would use the peninsula’s northern edge.

However, the 1998 Hudson River Park Act prohibits municipal uses on the peninsula, and the Sanitation garage currently on the peninsula must vacate by 2012.

A new alternative calls for combining all the proposed new M.T.S. uses at one location: Pier 76 at W. 35th St. This option is being advocated by the Coalition to Protect Our Parks — a new group including Friends of Hudson River Park, West Side elected officials and the three community boards bordering the park. Pier 76 is behind the Javits Convention Center, so it’s not in a residential area. Also, Community Board 4 (which covers Chelsea and Clinton) would not be sandwiched by M.T.S.’s at its northern and southern ends; rather, one centralized site — so the thinking goes — would cut down on neighborhood impact.

At 3 acres, Pier 76 is a doublewide pier, potentially big enough for all the recycling operations — as well as a recycling education center that’s also part of the city’s proposal. An option could be to roof over Pier 76 so a park could be created over the recyclables operation. This park could be connected by a bridge to the Javits Center, and could even have restaurants or other amenities. The plan could include a ramp to lift the trucks over the park bikeway.

The city’s tow pound would have to be relocated from Pier 76. And the police Mounted Unit — to move temporarily to Pier 76 — will also need a new home.

Friends of Hudson River Park is currently raising $20,000 to study the Pier 76 alternative.

Chelsea, certainly, could not be accused of NIMBY’ism (not in my backyardism) if C.B. 4 were to support the Pier 76 proposal, since it is in Chelsea. C.B. 4’s Waterfront Committee has already passed a resolution calling for a study of the Pier 76 option, as well a second option: removing recyclables via the Western Rail Yard at W. 30th St. C.B. 4’s full board will vote on the resolution this week, and it’s predicted they will support it.

Though she took no position on it before becoming Council speaker, Christine Quinn now supports the city’s M.T.S. plan. We hope she gives this Pier 76 proposal consideration. It may well be the best option available. And Gansevoort is too critical a spot for Hudson River Park; it will be heavily used by Village and Chelsea residents alike — and must not have a recycling operation.

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