East Side Access/50th Street Ventilation Facility
WHEREAS, Community Board Five supports the East Side Access project for the Long Island Railroad which would bring LIRR trains into Grand Central; and
WHEREAS, The MTA is proposing to build a new tunnel and platform 150 feet below ground through its preferred design of East Side Access; and
WHEREAS, The current cost of the East Side Access project is estimated to be $6.3 billion through federal and state funding; and
WHEREAS, It is unclear with New York State's fiscal crisis whether or not funding for transportation projects like the 2nd Avenue subway and East Side Access is going to be available; and
WHEREAS, The MTA wants to build a facility on East 50th Street between Park and Madison Avenues to ventilate the proposed tunnels and platform for Long Island Railroad service into Grand Central Terminal; and
WHEREAS, The MTA has performed an Environmental Impact Statement on the East Side Access project as a whole and an Environmental Assessment on the 50th Street facility; and
WHEREAS, The community on and around East 50th Street has raised serious concerns about the security and safety impact of the facility; and
WHEREAS, The MTA has been accessible during the process and has met with Community Board 5 to hear concerns; and
WHEREAS, There are legitimate security concerns for the facility as the MTA has a history of security problems and has recently left sensitive documents in public trash receptacles making them easy to find; and
WHEREAS, The MTA should investigate a variety of East Side Access alternatives including the Upper Loop alternative to determine if they can be constructed without the East 50th Street Facility and disruption of service on MetroNorth; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That Community Board Five opposes construction of the Ventilation Facility on East 50th Street as currently designed and encourages further study by the MTA of the issues raised by the community including:
Safety concerns about having diesel fuel to power generators in case of a power failure;
Concerns about a terrorist attack on the facility by either igniting the diesel fuel or pumping chemicals into the station and tunnels;
The canyon impact with exhaust due to the high rise buildings surrounding the facility.
Disruption of the community during construction that would occur during this 6 year project.
And be it further
RESOLVED, That Community Board Five encourages a full review of all alternatives including the Upper Loop Alternative that would permit construction of East Access without the East 50th Street facility and would permit the project to be constructed in a more cost effective and community friendly manner.The above resolution passed with a vote of 21 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstention.