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Volume 77, Number 26 | November 28 - December 04 2007

Support businesses and organizations that support The Villager: The Community Church of New York and Redden's Funeral Home

A draft scoping document shows nine possible sites for a proposed M.T.A. emergency fan plant. The M.T.A.’s three preferred options are P1, at 61 Greenwich Ave. (9/11 tile-ringed parking lot); SB1, on Greenwich Ave. east of Seventh Ave.; and SB5, on Perry St. east of Seventh Ave. Other sites include P2, 192 Seventh Ave. S. (Fantasy World adult store); P3, 76 Greenwich Ave. (St. Vincent’s Triangle Garden); SB 2, Greenwich Ave. west of Seventh Ave.; SB3, W. 11th St. east of Seventh Ave.; SB4, W. 11th St. west of Seventh Ave.; and SB6, Perry St. west of Seventh Ave.

M.T.A. tower and street-bed site options fan fears

By Albert Amateau

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has narrowed its proposed Mulry Square locations from nine to three for the proposed emergency ventilation plant to serve the Eighth Ave. subway line between W. Fourth and 14th Sts. and the Seventh Avenue subway line between Christopher and 14th Sts.

The three preferences were greeted as bad news at the Community Board 2 Transportation Committee meeting on Feb. 13.

The first choice was 61 Greenwich Ave., which the M.T.A. designates on its documents as P1, the triangular parking lot surrounded by a fence adorned with 9/11 memorial tiles. The worst thing about this option for the community is that it would require a 40-foot-tall ventilation tower.

“We have expressed our strong opposition to any structure aboveground,” said Shirley Secunda, committee chairperson. The community board has been eyeing the site as a possible public open space for more than five years.

The M.T.A.’s other two preferred sites for the fan facility — which would only function in an emergency — are in the street bed, options that the community board and neighbors dread because of inevitable disruptions to traffic during construction.

One of these is in the Greenwich Ave. street bed east of Seventh Ave., which the M.T.A. designates on its documents as SB 1. The other choice is SB5, in the Perry St. street bed east of Seventh Ave., probably the worst possible alternative, those at the meeting noted, because Perry is a narrow historic street and the site is in the middle of a short block.

Emil Dul, an M.T.A. engineer in charge of the project, said that if the 61 Greenwich Ave. site were to be built entirely belowground it would have to extend out under the street.

“There would be no point in the P1 option if we had to go into the street,” Dul said. The cost of building the P1 site with the tower aboveground is estimated at $79 million and the cost of construction entirely underground at P1 is an estimated $100 million.

Of the nine original options, several community board members and neighbors favored the one at 76 Greenwich Ave., or P3, the Triangle Garden across from St. Vincent’s Hospital. But St. Vincent’s owns the property, which has a vaulted underground chamber for the hospital’s materials-handling function and contains oxygen tanks and a pipeline to the hospital across the avenue. The site is also planned to serve St. Vincent’s proposed new hospital building across W. 12 St. from the triangle.

“We’ve spoken to St. Vincent’s and they told us they couldn’t give up the site,” said Andera Taub, an M.T.A. spokesperson.

But despite the choices, the authority’s team said that no decision had been made yet. A draft environmental impact statement is to be presented to the community in December.

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