Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Let's build Shangri-La next to an asphalt plant...

From the Queens Tribune:

The City is hoping to make pothole repairs more efficient and environmentally friendly, using the plant, which uses recycled asphalt, to dispatch repair trucks and asphalt that are closer to the Bronx, Queens and Upper Manhattan.

However, the City also has plans to redevelop the area directly adjacent to the plant, removing and relocating the industrial businesses that currently reside there.

Previously, the City Council passed a redevelopment plan for the "Iron Triangle" at Willets Point, a process that lurched forward in June 2008 when Community Board 7 approved the project; it established a precedent for trying to buy out all of the industrial companies there to make room for the redevelopment.

When business owners refused to leave the City Council held a public hearing regarding the plan and voted in November 2008 to approve the redevelopment plan, which includes the potential use of eminent domain to acquire property claiming the area was blighted. "The city has neglected us for 30 years. They let it get like that. We have no sewers, no sidewalks; they left us here," said Jerry Antonacci, owner of Crown Container and President of Willets Point United, a group of business owners who have banded together to fight their removal and redevelopment of the area.

In March 2010, the City purchased the Asphalt Plant for $30 million to make use of it in repairing roads. Bloomberg said it would "help make the streets feel brand new," as well as save taxpayers $5 million annually.

Richard Lipsky, a lobbyist for Willets Point United, said this was "Par for the course with the City," stating that it was operating "asphalt backwards" in purchasing and using an industrial plant while to trying to relocate others from the same neighborhood.

From the Times Ledger:

The plant is located a stone’s throw from Willets Point, a 62-acre plot of land populated by manufacturers, auto repair shops and other industrial businesses.

On the city’s slate of places due to get a makeover in coming years, the city is working to upgrade the area by relocating or purchasing businesses in the area to make way for a multibillion-dollar mixed-use development project. The area is ridden with crater-like potholes as much as a foot deep that turn into deep, dangerous pools of murky water whenever it rains.

And whose fault is that? Richard Lipsky knows:

Is it only us? Are we the only people who think that siting an asphalt plant next to Willets Point isn’t the best idea? Apparently we aren’t since the folks over at Queens Crapper forwarded us this report from the local papers-along with the following comment: “Stupid is as stupid does. Let's develop Shangri-la next to an asphalt plant…”

How right they are. But it actually gets even more ridiculous because of the justifying statement made by Mayor Bloomberg: “The new facility will allow us to resurface and repair more streets faster, in a more environmentally sound fashion and at a lower cost at a time when we are looking at all possible options to reduce expenses,” the mayor said. “By producing more recycled asphalt, we’ll avoid 2 million miles of annual truck trips that are used to carry milled asphalt to landfills, reducing congestion, pollution and wear-and-tear on our streets.”

So, let’s get this straight. They are going to build this plant next to the 9 million square foot Willets Point development-the one that will generate 80,000 car and truck trips a day-and there rationale is, “reducing congestion?” Is there a better reason for believing that the term city planning is an oxymoron?

Not to be outdone, NYC’s own Sadik weighs in as well: “Janette Sadik-Khan, commissioner of the DOT, said the new plant will help the city keep pace with design and repair demands without sacrificing time and money. “Continued investments that combine the safety and good repair of our streets with the need to reduce our city’s carbon footprint are helping New York City remain an international leader in sustainable practices,” she said.”

And to show we have a sense of humor, we will put the “sustainable practices,” asphalt plant right next to an unsustainable Willets Point.