By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village residents are fed up with the changes to East 20th Street and demanded that the street be returned to its pre-L-shutdown state before the city begins work on the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project that will affect the roadway.
Tenants expressed their grievances about the state of the street at a recent meeting hosted by the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association. There, the Department of Design and Construction offered updates about the resiliency plan, which is intended to provide flood protection for the East Side in the event of another Hurricane Sandy.
Department of Design and Construction associate project manager Eric Ilijevich explained at the meeting that there is a structure that will likely be placed on East 20th Street near Avenue C that will help improve drainage during a flood event. Although this is not a new component to the plan, residents had concerns about the container due to the other changes that the street has undergone.
“Twentieth Street is being condemned by everything that you guys are planning,” Stuy Town resident Tom Nonnon said. “You need more community involvement.”
STPCV Tenants Association president Susan Steinberg reiterated the need for community input.
“These changes were foisted upon us and now we have another building that will take away even more parking,” she said, later adding that residents want East 20th Street to be returned to the way it was before work on this project begins.
“We’re working with you but you’re not working with the community on 20th Street,” added Peter Cooper Village resident Anne Greenberg.
“What would be the process for getting the bike lane removed?” another resident shouted out during the meeting, to laughter and applause from other residents.
A project manager for the Department of Transportation noted that the bike lane acts as a corridor for the Stuyvesant Cove ferry, which will continue to run, despite changes to other transit options since the L train shutdown was canceled in favor of the governor’s alternative plan.
Ilijevich also confirmed at the meeting that funding for the flyover bridge located at the pinch point by the Con Edison facility has been approved, although he added that the bridge will actually be constructed at a later date, after the rest of the project is complete.
DDC Deputy Commissioner Andrew Hollweck said that the project is expected to reach the end of the design period by this fall and construction will likely start in early spring of next year. DDC expects to release the Environmental Impact Statement for the project by April and Hollweck said that the city agencies involved in the project have been meeting with Community Boards 6 and 3 every month to answer questions, in addition to meeting with other community stakeholders like the STPCV Tenants Association, park advocacy groups, NYCHA tenant associations and other organizations.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated the DDC hosted the event.