Volume 19 Issue 35 | January 12 - 18, 2007

City to build garbage truck parking tower in Hudson Square Cover

By Albert Amateau

The Department of Sanitation wants to build garages on three sites, one of them owned by United Parcel Service, in the Hudson Square neighborhood where six luxury residential towers have risen in the past few years.

The project would require joint use of the 85,450-square-foot U.P.S. parking lot on the north side of Spring St. along West St. behind the U.P.S. Washington St. truck-loading facility. Sanitation would build a garage 150 feet tall — 13 feet taller than the new, 12-story, Philip Johnson-designed Urban Glass House directly across Spring St. from the site. The garage would store garbage and recycling trucks, snow plows and salt spreaders on the upper level, and U.P.S. would use the lower level for the staging area for its Manhattan South sorting and dispatching operation.

The garage would be home to trucks from three Sanitation districts, including those currently on Gansevoort Peninsula, as well as those from the Sanitation garage on the south side of Spring St. at West St. Under a legal settlement, the city must remove its garbage trucks from Gansevoort by 2012 so that the peninsula can be redeveloped as part of the Hudson River Park.

Norman Black, U.P.S. public affairs director, said the city was threatening to take over the property under eminent domain, so the company made a deal.

“We’re a reluctant participant in this project,” he said. “We said we’d agree to the current proposal if the city got all the necessary approvals,” Black said. “Questions about ownership [of the new garage] haven’t even begun to be addressed yet.”

The site is a relatively quiet parking lot during the day, but at night serves as the crucial staging area for trucks that pull into the U.P.S. building as soon as loaded trucks pull out. Without the staging area, U.P.S. would have to move the entire operation, Black said.

Also part of the D.O.S. project is the demolition of the existing Sanitation garage at Spring and West Sts. and replacing it with a truck-washing and refueling facility that would accommodate four 4,000-gallon diesel fuel tanks, a 4,000-gallon unleaded gasoline tank, a 4,000-gallon ethanol tank, a 2,000-gallon hydraulic oil tank, a 2,000-gallon motor oil tank and a 1,000-gallon waste oil tank.

The third part of the project calls for converting an existing parking garage on Washington and Clarkson Sts. into a covered shed to store 6,500 tons of road salt with two above-ground storage tanks for liquid calcium chloride used to melt snow and ice on city streets. This would replace the salt shed on Gansevoort.

Artist Julian Hatton, who lives nearby on Broome St., said “I used to paint the sides of those [U.P.S. and Sanitation] trucks a while back.” He was not concerned about the more recent residents to the neighborhood who have moved into the new luxury buildings.

“The people that live in those condos need to have a little bit of disruption to their lives, it’s like you need to have a trust fund in order to even get one,” he said,

But Francis Dosne, who owns Manhattan Graphics nearby, said: “I am sure it will cause a major traffic problem for residents in this area, there is no doubt about that.”

Sanitation will conduct a public scooping session on the project from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Wed., Jan. 31, in the Rosenthal Pavilion on the 10th floor of New York University’s Kimmel Hall, at 60 Washington Sq. S.

Community Board 2, which originally supported Sanitation’s proposed takeover of the U.P.S. site, reversed itself a year ago under new leadership. Friends of Hudson Square, a neighborhood group headed by David Reck, a C.B. 2 member, has always opposed the project.

With reporting by Priya Idiculla

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