Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sudden Appearance of Heavy Trucks has Glendale Residents Worried

MTA Moving Contractors into 88th Street Storage Facility

By Conor Greene

The sudden appearance of tractor trailers and MTA work trucks along a quiet Glendale street has some residents worried about long term impacts on the local quality of life.

The concern arose after resident Kevin Burns noticed “huge trucks with pipes and giant wheels of wire” headed to the last property along 72nd Drive in the past week or so. A worker on the site told him that he was an LIRR employee and that the activity had to do with the planned East Side Access Project, which will connect the LIRR to Grand Central Station.

Burns, who was awakened several times by trucks coming and going late at night or early in the morning, became worried that the activity is “out of character for the neighborhood,” with the large trucks barely able to clear the turn onto 72nd Drive. “Will they be part of our lives for the foreseeable future, arriving and departing at odd hours?” he wondered in an e-mail he forwarded to various community leaders.

In response, an MTA spokesman told The Forum that the activity residents are noticing is part of the process of allowing contractors to occupy the agency’s storage 70,000-square-foot storage facility at 88th Street and 72nd Drive. The building will store equipment and supplies needed for the East Side Access Project, and trucks are only supposed to be traveling through the neighborhood between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

The spokesman, Aaron Donovan, was unable to comment specifically on the photos circulated by Burns or say for sure if those trucks are part of this project. “I can confirm that we are in the ramp up phase of beginning to use the storage facility. The important thing is this will be about a one-week move in process, after which truck traffic should decrease significantly,” said Donovan.

The storage facility is expected to be used for the next four to five years for the East Side Access Project. “Over the long-term, I would say that the residents in the area can expect to see a very dramatic decrease in the amount of truck traffic compared with the ramp up phase,” said Donovan. “I can’t tell you how much will remain, but there will certainly be far less than there currently is.”

In the meantime, Burns said residents are left wondering who will be responsible for fixing damage caused by the trucks, including tire tracks on the sidewalk, a broken stop sign, a large hole in the pavement and a broken drainage grate.

“I understand this is stimulus money, and people need work. And they are valiantly trying to minimize the impact,” said Burns. “But it seems to me that most of this money went down to Texas, where all that piping was fabricated, and not to Glendale. And now we have to repair the damage.”

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