Monday, September 17, 2012

EDC's Trafficing in Fantasy

In another in a series of incisive letters, Ben Haber deconstructs the fantasy that the city has concerning Willets Point-and the ability of the area to accommodate the huge influx of additional traffic if the current plans are realized:

"There are three and only three major vehicular arteries that service the Willets Point and Downtown Flushing areas. They are Northern Boulevard, the Grand Central Parkway and the Van Wyck Expressway, arteries that are frequently choked to capacity. There is no way these roadways can in any meaningful manner be enlarged to accommodate any substantial increase in vehicular traffic. Mayor Bloomberg’s ill-advised Willets Point proposal whether as originally planned or as currently in a phased manner, will involve a huge increase in vehicular traffic in the areas. The mayor’s attempt to ignore the obvious environmental problems his plan entails has now been exposed and a court has correctly directed there be an environmental review."

Haber goes on to demolish the idea that the ramps are some kind of a panacea:

"The review must come to grips with the vehicular monstrosity the proposed development will surely create. Of particular importance, the mayor’s attempt to blindside the problem by simply talking about the construction of ramps to the Van Wyck Expressway as the solution must be exposed as a world-class folly. Ramps can only bring and exit vehicular traffic from Willets Point, but do not and cannot deal with what awaits the vehicles once they are on the highway assuming they ever get there. Exit ramps without understanding the inability of the roadways to accommodate the traffic once on the roadway is as nonsensical as the infamous “ bridge to nowhere." Common sense prevailed and that bridge project was abandoned."

What Ben is missing, however, is that the city is tripling down on this absurdity by its desire to build new soccer and tennis facilities that will blow a giant hole in the existing road and mass transit infrastructure. As Walk in the Park blog has said-and we reiterate:

"A public scoping meeting for Willets Point Development is being held on Thursday, September 27, 2012, at P.S. 19 Marino Jeantet, 98-02 Roosevelt Avenue, Queens, New York, at 4:30 P.M. Opponents of the plans are calling for a full environmental review of all three projects to access the cumulative impacts before any of the projects begin ULURP."

Haber deserves and gets the last word: "One hopes common sense prevails and like old soldiers who never die, but fade away, Mayor Bloomberg’s Willets Point plan should follow suit."