Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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Eight Arrested During UES Waste Transfer Station Protest

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Eight people were placed under arrest Friday after protesting the city's tree removal in preparation for a planned Upper East Side garbage transfer station, and even as the city says it continues to take community concerns regarding the station under consideration, those opposed say the Department of Sanitation has made a move that can't be undone. NY1's Rocco Vertuccio filed the following report.

Opposition to a planned city waste transfer station on the Upper East Side is not cooling off.

Police arrested eight people Friday morning while they protested the removal of some pear trees near the site where the city plans to build the 91st Street Marine Transfer Station.

"I don't want to see those trees come down," said Barbara Heyman, who was arrested during the protest. "I don't want to see the dump come here."

The eight 30-year-old pear trees lined a ramp on the north side of the Asphalt Green Sports Field.

Sources say the trees and their roots are in the way of the city's demolition work for the transfer station.

Residents and community groups who oppose the station say the cutting down of the trees was a symbolic move that shows the city is moving forward without more community input.

"The city, which is supposed to be in discussions with us to hear our concerns, appears not to care," said Shawn Wood, the director of Pledge to Protect.

Protesters say the station is too close to the sports fields, playgrounds, schools and a densely populated neighborhood. They're also worried that truck traffic to and from the station could put children in danger.

"This is the wrong thing for the whole city of New York," said Dara Hunt, who was arrested during the protest. "If it would help the city, I would support it, but putting a garbage transfer station here is the wrong thing for our whole city."

"We can't put our children in danger," said Carol Tichler, who was arrested during the protest. "If a child is hurt, if people get hurt, they'll say 'We're sorry' and we'll lose our children."

Sources say the Department of Sanitation is considering a change to the location of the access ramp in response to the neighborhood's concerns.

As for the station itself, the city says it's part of a new approach to have all boroughs share the burden of waste management, not just neighborhoods outside Manhattan.

Mayor Bill de Blasio supports the station and the five-borough waste management plan. He says the city will be responsive to air quality, traffic and safety concerns, including adjusting the times that trash is delivered to the site.

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