Friday, July 24, 2009

Queens Locals Trash Waste Plan, Say Congestion and Odor Will Damage Maspeth Ave. by Sindhu Sundar - NY Daily News

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Maspeth community activist Christina Wilkinson objects to a proposal that would bring 65 trucks daily to the Maspeth railyard. - Pokress for News

At least 65 tractor-trailers loaded with garbage could rumble into Maspeth every day under a new waste removal plan proposed to start in 2011.

But as far as area residents are concerned, the plan stinks.

Waste Management Inc. is seeking a permit to convert its existing truck-based transfer station on Review Ave. in Long Island City to a rail-based system. Under the plan, trucks would haul trash 1-1/2-miles from Review Ave. to a railyard at Rust St. and Maspeth Ave.

That would eliminate 52 round-trips a day of tractor-trailers moving through Queens, said George McGrath, spokesman for Waste Management of New York.

The move is in line with the state Department of Environmental Conservation's goals to reduce environmental impact from truck and vehicle emissions.

But locals said it would hurt those living near the railyard.

"We're all for the overall decrease in the number of trucks," said Christina Wilkinson, a local activist who organized a rally last Saturday on Rust St. to oppose the plan. "But this will be concentrating truck traffic along certain roads in our community, and this is unfair."

Maspeth residents and small-business owners are already overburdened with air pollution and congestion from truck traffic along Maspeth Ave., protesters said.

"There will surely be more truck trips than Waste Management is reporting," said Corey Bearak, president of the Queens Civic Congress, an umbrella group for civic associations.

Area merchants also fear the garbage trips will drive away customers.

"I'm not sure how they're going to contain the odor," said Nick Diamantis, owner of the Clinton Diner on Maspeth Ave. "And I don't know what people would feel about eating next to a place with all this waste."

Community activists proposed alternatives such as building additional rail spurs at the current Review Ave. facility to eliminate the need to truck waste to the Maspeth railyard. The garbage could also be barged out along Newtown Creek, adjacent to the facility, activists said.

Community Board 5 urged Waste Management last week to implement these alternatives. It also sent the recommendations to the DEC and the city Sanitation Department.

"It's a perfect example of how a community has come up with an amendment to a bad plan," said City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who attended the rally. "And I will support them in whatever way they need me to."