Tuesday, November 24, 2009

City trying to hide impact of Van Wyck ramps

From the Neighborhood Retail Alliance:

The effort of Willets Point United-the group of business owners trying to stave off eminent domain generated eviction over at the Iron Triangle-is being stonewalled by the city's Economic Development Corporation in its effort to have all of the relevant project traffic information publicly disclosed. Of particular urgency is the data that pertains to the proposed Van Wyck ramps-the linchpin of any ability that the city would have to mitigate the impact of the 80,000 cars/day that this massive redevelopment will generate.

What the city is doing here, is attempting to avoid any public scrutiny-a scrutiny that would reveal the extent to which the entire traffic study that lead to the project's initial approval at the city council fraudulently fails to disclose essential information that would, we believe, totally undermine the public support for this expensive venture.

Central to this unethical-and perhaps illegal-end run, is the withholding of the Access Modification Report (AMR); and all of the data that has been generated to come up with the report that is the key to getting both state and federal approval for the ramps. While the report itself may still be considered, "work product," the traffic information that has been utilized to make it up, certainly isn't.

What exactly is the city trying to hide? Huge costs and unmitigatible local and highway traffic. As Brian Ketcham, WPU's traffic expert points out: "...the project will generate 80,000 vehicle trips on an average weekday (of which 2,500 are truck trips) and about the same number of trips for weekend days, with peak hour impacts of between 6,000 and 7,000 vehicle trips."

And nowhere in the original environmental review is the impact of the ramps ever actually analyzed.