Squadron: “Comprehensive coordination in lower Manhattan has been critical since 2004”
LOWER MANHATTAN – Today, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Manhattan Borough President Brewer, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Councilmember Margaret Chin, Assemblymember-elect Alice Cancel, Community Board 1, and community members urged the City to continue comprehensive construction coordination, which has existed since 2004. The office dedicated to lower Manhattan is slated to be discontinued at the end of the month.
Squadron wrote Deputy Mayor Shorris on March 9th urging that this coordination continue through City Hall, along with Congressmember Nadler, Borough President Brewer, and Councilmember Chin. The electeds were joined by a unanimous Manhattan Community Board 1 resolution. The electeds and community have not received a response, despite the fast approaching closure of the Department of Transportation lower Manhattan Borough Commissioner’s office (which took on the construction coordination role in 2013).
“For over a decade, construction coordination has existed in our neighborhood. And for over a decade, we’ve seen that coordinated construction can lead to better outcomes for the complicated, high-volume construction issues across lower Manhattan,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “It’s disappointing that less than 3 months after a tragic construction accident in lower Manhattan, the City wouldn’t even provide a response to construction coordination requests. I thank Congressmember Nadler, Assemblymembers Glick & Cancel, Borough President Brewer, Councilmember Chin, and Community Board 1 for joining me in this call.”
“I have long urged the continuation of construction coordination in Lower Manhattan,” said Congressman Jerry Nadler. “As our downtown neighborhoods continue to grow and expand, communication and oversight are critical to making the neighborhood safe, livable and functional for our residents, workers and visitors. I encourage the City to continue this vital function.”
“Although we are supposed to be the city that never sleeps, people deserve respite from construction noise, dust and debris and after-hour variances,” said Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick. “Lower Manhattan has seen a non-stop construction boom which impacts our quality of life. I hope the City will respond to calls from Community Board 1 and local elected officials for a proactive and responsive coordinated effort among City agencies to address these concerns.”
“There are more than 90 active construction projects in a 1.5 square mile area here in lower Manhattan,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “This community is the center of a spider’s web of rail lines, it contains our center of government, the financial markets, and a dense and fast-growing residential population. Here of all places, we need a dedicated local coordinator to make all this construction manageable.”
“Our residents deserve a good night’s sleep without the rattle, the bright lights and the noise of construction. They deserve safe, well-lit streets – not cavernous tunnels of scaffolding. They deserve safety from cranes dangling overhead. That is why I join Senator Squadron, Assemblymember Glick and Community Board 1 to ask this Administration to provide funding for construction coordination downtown. In the midst of the biggest building boom in memory, we need more oversight, more organization, and more communication -- not less. The quality of life of our residents, as well as the safety of the general public, depends on it,” said City Councilmember Margaret Chin.
“Quality of life complaints stemming from the 90 major construction projects in CB1's 1.5 square miles are at the top of the list. They include: safety, off-hour work, noise, air/dust, congestion, scaffolding (that never seems to be removed), garbage and rats. Poor construction coordination costs those that live and do business. It increases the cost of routine jobs since vehicles are stuck in traffic or buses are stuck behind a moving billboard that covers an almost empty tour bus. CB1 has been calling for a vehicular and pedestrian study for over a decade and there still has not been one -- as the residential, worker and tourist population has boomed. No one can tell us how many vehicles are entering our congested streets. However, we do know that of the 59 Community Boards, CB1 already ranks #4 in the worst in air quality,” said Community Board 1 Chair Catherine McVay Hughes.
From 2004-2013, the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center (LMCCC) served a construction coordination role. Since LMCCC’s disbanding, DOT took on this role through the Lower Manhattan Borough Commissioner’s Office. It was recently announced that this office would be closing at the end of the month. According to Community Board 1, there are over 90 active projects in a 1.5 square mile radius in lower Manhattan.