The City of New York is planning to authorize Waste Management’s garbage transfer station on Review Avenue in Long Island City which will accept the solid waste collected curbside from sanitation truck routes throughout Queens Community Boards 1-6. The waste will be delivered to the transfer station via an estimated 65 sanitation truck trips per day. Waste Management will then load the waste onto their trucks for transport to trains at the Maspeth Railyard at Maspeth Avenue and Rust Street. This will add another estimated 50 truck trips per day. The trains will then carry the waste to the Fresh Pond Railyard until it is ready for its rail journey out-of-state. While hauling trash via rail rather than truck is a step in the right direction environmentally, this plan is flawed for several reasons.
- The routes that the trucks will take to the transfer station are undefined and will cause trucks to come through residential areas. For example, the Maspeth Truck Bypass Plan has yet to be put into effect by DOT and sanitation trucks heading to and from LIC drive down Grand Avenue regularly.
- The same rail line that the trains will take to Glendale run right next to Waste Management’s property. Therefore it is unnecessary for them to haul it to the Maspeth Railyard. Paying Waste Management to truck the waste to the railyard is a ridiculous waste of taxpayer money, especially since the Varick Avenue Transfer Station in Brooklyn will transport their waste via rail to the Fresh Pond Railyard. There is no reason why the same can’t be done here.
- The City is upgrading its rail-barge system at 65th Street in Brooklyn but Waste Management will not be utilizing that because it says their containers do not fit that system. The containers should fit the system that is least likely to cause environmental damage and adversely impact residents’ quality-of-life; the system should not be driven by the type of containers they have on hand.
- The proposed plan will increase pollution and increase asthma and cancer rates as there are a number of people living near the railyard.
- A document on the Department of Sanitation’s website shows way more truck trips (81 to the transfer station and 144 to the railyard) than what WM is reporting now (50 to the transfer station and 65 to the railyard).
- The Vallone family of Queens political fame has collected more than $1M in fees to lobby for this project since 2002.
Area civic organizations, our local elected officials and political candidates and Community Board 5 all agree that there has to be a better way to dispose of Queens’ garbage.
Photos of Waste Management rally held on 7/18/2009 may be found here.