Thursday, August 18, 2011

City's Attempt to Avoid Ramp Cramp

WPU was in Judge Madden's court yesterday to argue that the city should be enjoined from proceeding with its bogus phase I on the Willets Point development because the crucial ramps to access the Van Wyck have yet to be approved. The ramps, as even the city has greed, are crucial mitigators for the 80,000 car and truck trips that this project is projected to generate each and every day. When WPU's original suit was dismissed by the judge she predicated her decision on the sworn affidavit submitted by Deputy Mayor Lieber that there would be no condemnation until the ramps were approve.

This was a bald faced lie!-as events have demonstrated. What EDC and the city didn't anticipate was that WPU would expose its fraudulent traffic data so that approvals-expected to be garnered in quick fashion-have yet to be received because state and federal regulators are grappling with, not only the immaculate deception, but the fact that the Van Wyck simply cannot accommodate this massive influx of traffic from the development.

This has left the city scrambling, and in court its lawyer was acting as a server at Burger King-serving up Whoppers! The city says that its own studies should suffice, the ones that miraculously have found that Phase I traffic will not burden local streets. The Flushing Times has this fable:

"The city counters that it should be allowed to proceed with first phase construction because it believes it has undertaken all necessary environmental review processes, and that for Madden to revisit a prior decision would cast uncertainty on all future public development projects in the city.

“The city can’t be asked to sit and wait and not do anything when it has determined that the phase one impacts without the ramps are equal to or less than they would be with the ramps,” City Law Department counsel Chris Reo said in court Tuesday, later adding, “By Mr. Gerrard’s admission, the record could never be closed, and the government could never have the certainty it needs when pursuing an action.”

When it has determined? This from a city that allowed a fraudulent analysis to be submitted to the state only to watch as state regulators spit it right back when WPU's Brian Ketcham exposed the deficient data? Should the court just take its word now? As Mike Gerrard pointed out:

"Michael Gerrard, attorney for Willets Point United, laid out his case to Judge Joan Madden that she should vacate her approval of the proposal based on the city’s April 2008 environmental assessment in light of new information related to the plan.

Gerrard argued that the city has not undertaken sufficient review of the traffic impacts its plan to build a 20-acre first phase of the project will have on area streets. He said the city never looked at what happens if final approvals for two ramps onto the Van Wyck Expressway cannot be secured, which the city promised Madden it would obtain before building the project. The state Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway

This is just the latest in a long series of underhanded moves taken by EDC-from the illegal lobbying of Claire Shulman and the sweetheart deals given to a few property owners-to the latest attempt to make an end run of proper environmental review. For a city awash in bike lanes to lower the carbon footprint this attempt to jam Queens with a massive influx of cars and trucks that its infrastructure can't support is a cruel hoax-and Judge Madden should expose it for all to see!