Friday, March 19, 2010

Let state conduct better traffic study

From the Times Ledger:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

On behalf of the Northeast Queens Community Action Network, I am writing to join with the National Resource Defense Council as well as other concerned citizens and groups in expressing concern over discrepancies in study results that could mean greater effects on traffic mobility, noise and air pollution and congestion than anticipated.

Our understanding is that the Environmental Impact Statement prepared by New York City pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act projected significant traffic effects while the draft Access Modification Report showed minor effects. This divergence in results gives one pause as to the reliability of the underlying study methodology as well as the adequacy of proposed mitigation measures.

The NEQCAN’s ultimate mission is to assist our community in combating neighborhood deterioration through dissemination of information and to ameliorate problems associated with public safety and quality of life issues. In keeping with that mission, we urge you to consider our concerns.

I for one, as a former New York City economic development official, do not impute ill motive to the project proponents — in this case, the city Economic Development Corp. From personal experience, I have never met or worked with a more dedicated group of public servants more eager to fulfill their agency’s mandate to promote and advance development.

Indeed, they have a cadre of planning, transportation and real estate professionals of consummate ability and integrity.

Notwithstanding the same, there is a significant and inexplicable divergence in results and given the potential effects and amount of public investment contemplated, it stands to reason further study is called for to ensure mitigation measures, design, etc., are optimized.

To this end, the NEQCAN joins with the NRDC in calling for full independent environmental review pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Review Act of the proposed access ramps and their effects on the Van Wyck Expressway.

This approach should ensure that adequate mitigation measures and design features are implemented and community concerns that potential effects are properly addressed and implemented to the extent possible.

Vince Tabone
Northeast Queens Community Action Network