CB 5 rejects transfer station plans for LIC

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Community Board 5 has come out against the proposal for expanding a garbage transfer station in Long Island City, echoing complaints from Maspeth that the plan would clog the neighborhood’s streets with additional truck traffic.

The board voted 34-1 last week to oppose the plan unless Waste Management agreed to build a rail spur at the Review Avenue property, buy part of the contaminated industrial Phelps Dodge property for a rail spur or convert the site to a barge transfer station.

Plans for the expanded facility would take garbage from the borough’s six western community districts — about 300 tons per day and more than the roughly 1,000-ton capacity it currently processes from two community districts — and load it on tractor-trailers to be driven 1.5 miles to the Maspeth Rail Yard. The increased volume would mean 25 more city garbage trucks coming into the facility and roughly 35 more tractor-trailer rigs leaving each day, officials said.

Waste Management officials have ruled out a marine transfer station at the Review Avenue location, saying it would require a much higher volume of garbage — and trucks — to be economically feasible.

News of the added truck traffic angered Maspeth residents. A protest was planned for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Clinton Diner near the rail yard, where the garbage containers would be loaded onto rail cars.

While CB 5 member Manny Caruana accused Waste Management of including the extra truck trip to maximize its income from handling the garbage, others suggested there was hope for a rail siding at the transfer station.

“In our discussions, they weren’t opposed to it,” said CB 5 member Paul Kerzner. “They just said the LIRR said no. It requires us to help to get this done.”

Kerzner also lamented the current traffic congestion along Review Avenue.

CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano doubted the Long Island Rail Road, which owns the tracks that would access the hypothetical rail siding at the Long Island City property, was paying much attention to the situation.

“The LIRR has leased their freight operation to New York & Atlantic Railway, and that’s why they may not pay much attention to any of this,” he said. “It’s up to New York & Atlantic to stay out of the way of the passenger trains and to schedule their freight operations, and this would be a freight operation.”

Representatives from the two rail companies did not return requests for comment Tuesday.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

Updated 6:34 pm, October 10, 2011
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