By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The Brookdale Neighborhood Coalition is continuing its fight against the proposed sanitation garage by exploring alternatives in existing facilities in other parts of Manhattan, options that have not yet been discussed at the public hearings or Community Board 6 meetings on the topic.
“This additional option came to our attention and we liked the idea so it was included in our public comments on the draft scope,” said Waterside Tenants Association President Janet Handal, who is also one of the coalition’s co-founders. The comment period for the draft scoping document for the project ended on July 22.
On behalf of the coalition, which represents tenant groups who oppose the sanitation garage planned for East 25th Street and First Avenue, Handal has also asked local elected officials, including Councilmembers Rosie Mendez and Dan Garodnick, as well as Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, to request that the Independent Budget Office, a publicly funded city agency that provides nonpartisan information about the city’s budget, do an appraisal of the Brookdale site as well as an evaluation of the existing Pier 36 garage and an old incinerator building located on 215th Street.
The garage that has been proposed for the Brookdale Campus on East 25th Street would house equipment for Community Districts 6 and 8 but these alternative options that Handal wants DSNY to explore would split the equipment between the two existing facilities, with CD6 equipment being stored in Pier 36 at 299 South Street between Montgomery and Jefferson Streets, and CD8 equipment housed at the currently-empty incinerator building on 215th Street in Inwood.
District 6 is from East 14th to 59th Streets and District 8 is directly north, stretching from East 59th to 96th Streets.
The garage at Pier 36 currently houses equipment from Districts 1 and 3 and does not have any room for additional equipment but space will be opening up in December because District 1 will be moving its equipment to a newly constructed garage downtown.
“Pier 36 will be underutilized as of December when District 1 moves to the Spring Street garage,” Handal said. “The incinerator is also vacant right now and is in a highly industrial area.”
With the relocation of District 1’s equipment, 49 spaces in the garage will be vacant. The latest figures for the sanitation garage planned at the Brookdale Campus put the number of vehicles at 63.
Handal requested that the IBO assess Pier 36 as an option for District 6, including the possibility of expanding the facility to meet the district’s needs and stacking some of the lighter vehicles to use the space more efficiently.
A representative for DSNY said that the agency has considered a number of potential locations for the garage but the rep would not specifically address the Pier 36 or old incinerator building options, only noted that there will be a discussion of the sites that were investigated in the ULURP application and the draft Environmental Impact Statement.