Blogs > Docket > Riverkeeper and Guardians of Flushing Bay call for immediate environmental review of LaGuardia AirTrain proposal

Riverkeeper and Guardians of Flushing Bay call for immediate environmental review of LaGuardia AirTrain proposal

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Flushing Bay Sweep

Guardians of Flushing Bay lead a volunteer cleanup along Flushing Bay Promenade during the annual Riverkeeper Sweep

Update (June 22, 2018): The State Senate passed A.11158 on June 21, 2018, and the bill is now headed to the Governor’s desk for signature, expected later this summer.

Update (June 19, 2018): Legislation that would grant eminent domain authority to route an AirTrain from Citi Field to LaGuardia has passed the New York State Assembly (A.11158). It is now being rushed through the State Senate with only two days left in session. The routes proposed in the legislation would go over World’s Fair Marina Promenade park space, directly through Flushing Bay, and/or onto the Grand Central Parkway highway median near the community of East Elmhurst. Riverkeeper strongly opposes this legislation. No ridership study, environmental impact review or alternatives analysis has been performed. Yet the legislation is being rushed in order to cut to cut the New York City Council, Mayor and public out of a parkland alienation process that would give us a say in determining whether turning parkland into an AirTrain route is a public good. This bill, being rushed to a vote without public scrutiny, amounts to a land grab of city parkland.

Original Blog (June 8, 2018): Riverkeeper has learned that state legislation is now being drafted to enable an AirTrain to be constructed through Flushing Bay and over the Flushing Bay Promenade to connect LaGuardia Airport to Willets Point subway station at Citi Field, in Queens, New York. In an area already starved for open space, the AirTrain would harm the ecological habitat and eliminate the use of the promenade at historical World’s Fair Marina Park. We sent a letter to Governor Cuomo, calling for a public environmental and community impact review before legislation specifically authorizes any particular route.

Flushing Bay was filled in to create LaGuardia airport and receives LaGuardia airport runoff. Despite these burdens, thousands of kayakers and dragon boaters take to the bay each year. Even more New Yorkers enjoy the Flushing Bay Promenade and historic World’s Fair Marina for recreation and boat launching. Besides people, the waters are home to many wetland species, such as oysters, blue crabs, flounder, striped bass, and great blue heron.

Riverkeeper and Guardians of Flushing Bay, along with community partners, have developed a vision plan to reinvigorate the bay and improve the park. The plan contains more than 50 flexible community-driven projects, such as oyster reef creation, pedestrian bridge upgrades, and the development of a Queens Water Exploration Center to bring essential amenities to the bay.

The potential to reshape Flushing Bay would be severely curtailed by an AirTrain route through its heart. These concerns, and those of the communities that live and work near the AirTrain route, should be considered before any steps are taken to move the project forward.

Open Letter Calling for an Immediate and Full Review of Community and Environmental Impacts from LaGuardia Airport AirTrain

 

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