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Requesting Public Review Of Rail Yards Rfp Responses

 

Hon. Elliot G. Sander
Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
347 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Dear Executive Director Sander:

As the New York State Senator whose district includes the John D. Caemmerer West Side Yard ("West Side Yard"), made up of both the Western Rail Yard ("WRY") and the Eastern Rail Yard ("ERY"), I am writing to you as a signatory of the Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") concerning the development of, and issuance of Request for Proposals ("RFP") for, both the WRY and the ERY. I respectfully request that there be an opportunity for public review of the Project Profile portion of the responses to the RFPs before a proposal is selected.

During the development of the Design Guidelines for the WRY, there were a series of meetings both with the Hudson Yards Community Advisory Committee ("HYCAC"), the designated body representing the community to the Hudson Yards Development Corporation ("HYDC"), and with the public at large. These meetings were instructive, I believe, for both the authors of the RFP and the local elected officials, as they informed us of the community's concerns and preferences regarding the development of the West Side Yard. I am therefore encouraged that many of the community's concerns have been integrated into the Design Guidelines and the RFP, including the stated preference for preservation of the High Line and a mechanism for measuring the cost of its retention, and bonus incentives for construction of permanent affordable housing and a public school on site.

Throughout the process leading to the issuance of the RFP, both the City and the involved State agencies have maintained the importance of keeping the RFP and Design Guidelines sufficiently broad so as to provoke varied and innovative responses from developers. I am sure everyone is as anxious as I am to see the developers' responses, which I anticipate will be of world-class quality. As this development will have a tremendous impact on the City of New York, I am requesting that the public -- especially the local community -- have a chance to review the major elements of these responses before a selection has been made. There will be fundamental variations between the different designs, including massing of buildings, orientation of open space, affordable housing plans, and other aspects. The community and the larger public's reactions to these differences will, I hope, be helpful to you as you proceed in the selection process.

As I indicated to you earlier today, I am aware that there may be legal restrictions guiding what material may be made available for public review, and I appreciate your assurance that you will investigate these restrictions and get back to me when you are able. I would suggest that the public would be interested in evaluating the information that is delineated in the Project Profile sections of the ERY and WRY Proposal Submission Forms in the respective RFPs.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. I must also add that I have been impressed by the MTA's recent commitment to be more open and responsive to the public, a welcome change from the previous administration.

Sincerely,

Thomas K. Duane
New York State Senate
29th District