Ongoing work on the Canarsie Tunnel repair has created gridlock along East 14th Street. So much so, that neighbors and elected officials are banging the drum about the effects on the surrounding neighborhood. And have been for the better part of the last year.
Yesterday morning, Assemblyman Harvey Epstein rallied with area neighbors outside the MTA offices on Broadway for a press conference to “draw attention to concerns over air quality, noise, and dust mitigation as a result of the L Train renovations,” as well as “hold the MTA accountable to the repercussions of ongoing construction, which have hurt small businesses and created innumerable nuisances for local tenants.”
True intent of the new subway entrance at Avenue A and East 14th Street came as something of a surprise to tenants, as the project was previously presented to the community as necessary for a new exit/elevator. Apparently, the MTA’s strategy is actually to use the spot as sole access point for the 24/7 delivery of new Canarsie Tunnel infrastructure, as well as the removal of debris, which the city agency also acknowledged is contaminated with asbestos and silica dust.
Many local store owners have reported a decline in business since construction began, while those living in the vicinity encounter constant white noise, traffic jams, and decreased air quality.
“We’re not trying to stop the MTA from doing the necessary work to improve the L train line and the 14th Street and First Avenue, but we do expect the MTA to seek community input in order to minimize the impact of ongoing construction on local residents,” Epstein said in a statement. “There are serious environmental, accessibility, and quality of life concerns that tenants and small business owners are trying to draw attention to, and so far, the MTA hasn’t been listening.”
“The MTA needs to be as transparent as possible about how it is going to conduct air quality monitoring, mitigate dust, and reduce noise pollution in the 14th Street area,” echoed Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. “The Lower East Side deserves a firm commitment from the MTA.”