BREAKING: Waste Management won't truck waste on Maspeth streets
by Daniel Bush
Apr 12, 2010 | 2606 views | 1 1 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
More Waste Management trucks aren't headed for the streets of Maspeth after all.

In an about shift, the waste services company announced today it will scrap an earlier, controversial plan that would have increased garbage truck traffic in Maspeth.

Under a new agreement WM will truck containerized waste directly from its Review Avenue facility along a 2,000-foot stretch of private road, adjacent to a set of LIRR tracks, west to the Blissville Railyard, which is owned by New York and Atlantic Railway. From there the garbage will be loaded onto railcars and shipped to out-of-state landfills.

The change means significantly fewer trucks will use Maspeth streets each day.

WM originally planned to send trucks on a 1.5-mile route through local streets to the more distant Maspeth Railyard. But the plan spurred criticism from Maspeth residents and elected officials, who feared increased truck traffic and air pollution.

A company spokesperson said WM's reversal resulted from “community concerns.”

“Following an extensive analysis, we have modified our plan to eliminate the need to move rail containers over city streets, virtually eliminating any traffic impacts,” said the spokesperson, Rachel Amar.

The company will proceed with plans for an expanded waste transfer station at its Review Avenue facility, meant to handle the waste from an additional two community board districts in Queens (CB4 and 6; the company already handles waste from CB1, 2,3 and 5).

Once the new facility is built it will take in a peak load of 1,375 tons of residential waste per day, according to WM projections, up from approximately 958 tons now. The number of city sanitation trucks entering the facility each day to drop off garbage will rise 25 percent to 125.

But by sending the waste, once it's containerized, along a shorter stretch of private road WM will avoid city streets while reducing its carbon footprint to comply with the city's Solid Waste Management Plan.

WM informed elected officials of the change in plans last week and will update affected community boards at upcoming meetings. Early reactions to the change were positive.

“There have been long-standing concerns about what is already excessive truck traffic in and thorough the commercial and residential streets of Maspeth,” said Assemblywoman Margaret Markey. “This change in plans is a welcome development.”

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Mary Arnold
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April 13, 2010
The fact that truck traffic will not increase in Maspeth to haul garbage is great news. However, keep in mind that it was the previous acceptance of a trucks vs. rail trade-off in the absence of new infrastructure, equipment, and operations that led to the present intolerable conditions of waste-by-rail in Queens. Since 1998, there has been discussion about sealing solid waste, pollution, and odors inside rail cars, as well as the need for new equipment, operations, and modes of transportation that reduce community costs, odors, noise, and emissions. There can be no permits for Review Ave. until implementation is underway that solves these longstanding issues.