Community Protests Shed for 5,000 Tons of Salt

November 17, 2008 at 11:40 pm Leave a comment

Locals protested a 138-feet high salt shed on Sunday that the Department of Sanitation is planning to build on the very west end of Canal St.

The proposed shed will hold up to 5,000 tons of rock salt for 128 vehicles, including snow-shoveling trucks that serve the area from the tip of Manhattan to 57th St. between Lexington and 8th Aves. Opponents of the plan say that it disproportionately burdens one neighborhood.

“The proposal is way out of scale, it’s too tall, and the uses are too intense for one neighborhood to accept,” said lobbyist Michael Kramer.

Locals are concerned that salt in such large concentrations in a residential area will pose health risks. The shed will be fully open on one side and ventilated along the top perimeter, sparking fears that strong winds coming off the Hudson River could blow salt particles into the air.

The proposed salt shed is part of a larger facilities swap within the Department. To make way for the construction of the Hudson River Park according to the 1998 Hudson River Park Act, the Department had to move their original facility from the Gansevoort Peninsula and Pier 52.

“Ironically, the reason that this [facility] is being moved from Gansevoort Peninsula is the complaint that it would be a health hazard to those using the park,” said Richard Barrett, head of the TriBeCa Community Association and a member of the steering committee for the community group Canal West Coalition. Barrett refers to a lawsuit that Friends of Hudson River Park and some City officials filed against the City and the Department of Sanitation in 2005.

At the same time, the Department outgrew their garage currently located at 297 West Street. As a solution, the Department is replacing the Garage with the salt shed and moving the Garage to a lot nearby.

Barrett says the shed would threaten a hard-earned park adjacent to the site. Canal Park is a small triangular park that was built in the 1980s as a response to the influx of residents in the area.

As an alternative, residents are proposing more trucks and a smaller facility placed elsewhere at a lower cost than the current Department proposal. For the new garage site, the community proposes a rooftop park.

“The argument they (the Department) is making that they have to have a salt shed on the West side if they’re going to have one on the East side,” said Kramer. “The argument we’re making is, why don’t you just have twice as many trucks, fill them up with salt, and position them on the West side so that by the time they got to the East side facility, they were empty?”

By Kramer’s estimates, the costs of extra trucks would be less than the Department’s proposed plan.

The community has been working on convincing the City of alternate plans since January 2007. “We would suggest that up to this point, the City has not been listening,” said Kramer. The community is working on a lawsuit that is yet to be finalized, according to Kramer. City Council is tentatively scheduled to vote on the Department’s proposal on Wed., Nov. 19.

By Christine Lin

Epoch Times

Entry filed under: Dive In, Manhattan, Public Waterfront. Tags: , , .

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