Tag Archives: Mary Parisen

Star of Queens: Mary Parisen, co-founder, Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES)


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Mary 3

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Mary Parisen is the co-founder of Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES), a coalition of some of the largest civic associations in western Queens, that came together to improve railroad infrastructure, public health and safety.

BACKGROUND:  Parisen, who works full-time as a school librarian, lives in Glendale, near the Fresh Pond Road freight. She was bothered by the noise, smell and pollution of the trains in the area. So in 2004 she spoke at a community board meeting about the concerns many people in the neighborhood had with the trains, and what came out of that was a green streets project.

“This was to try to abate the noise and make everything look nicer, but it still didn’t change the noise or the air pollution,” she said.

When Mary Arnold, Parisen’s neighbor and co founder of CURES, moved in, they both worked together to solve this problem.  The women formed a group that focused on small but successful beautification projects, and at a meeting when the issue resurfaced, Parisen said, someone suggested a group of civics be formed to tackle the problem, and that is how CURES was born.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Together with the other civic groups, CURES has been able to get the rail lines to use better technology and equipment.

GOALS: CURES’ mission is to work with federal, state and local agencies, elected officials and the railroads, to ensure that they are proactively keeping the neighborhoods clean by having the trains use better and quieter technology.

The increase in rail traffic caused an environmental burden in our neighborhood,” said Parisen.

Parisen and the group would like to see the repowering and upgrading of all locomotives in the Fresh Pond Rail terminal.  

“I’m going to have a granddaughter soon, and I don’t want to have to feel nervous to take her out of my house because of the air pollution in my area,” said Parisen.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: According to Parisen, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council has said that rail is going to increase by 50 percent by 2040.

“This increase in rail traffic should not come at the expense of the people who live in the community,” said Parisen. She added her organization is not opposed to the use of rail, but she believes that this increase should be thought with mitigation with the community.

 

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Community leaders trash railroad garbage expansion plan


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Residents and community leaders are trashing a company’s plan to increase garbage export from Long Island through their neighborhoods.

One World Recycling, which processes garbage in Lindenhurst, Long Island that is hauled by New York and Atlantic Railway through tracks in Middle Village, Ridgewood and Glendale, has applied to the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to nearly triple its output from 370 tons of garbage per day to 1,100 tons.

“We’re going to have garbage all day and all night, that’s how we see it,” said Mary Parisen, chair of Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES). “We’re not happy about it.”

After One World applied, the community of Lindenhurst rejected the idea during a public hearing period that ended on August 16. But following procedure, the DEC has until 90 days after that date to review the application and make a decision.

With just about a month remaining until the deadline, community leaders in Queens are worried the DEC will make the wrong choice and plan to meet with agency officials to work towards a solution.

“The potential expansion of the One World Recycling Center in Lindenhurst raises numerous concerns,” said Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi. “I have signed onto a letter with my colleagues to the Department of Environmental Conservation urging them to deny this expansion, and I am having conversations with the DEC about this specific proposal.”

The trains wake up residents when they move through the night and some sit on tracks for hours with uncovered cars, which cause the stench of garbage to flow through the community, say locals.

The trains, which are owned by the state and licensed to New York and Atlantic, are outdated and discharge pollutants, according to area leaders. Earlier this year Hevesi, along with various elected officials, was able to get the state government to allocate nearly $3 million to retrofit a new engine for one of 11 locomotives, which will reduce the impact of gases in the community.

But the problem of garbage traveling through these communities has annoyed residents for years. It stems from the state increasing rail usage to cut down on truck transportation of garbage to relieve vehicle traffic and emissions.

“Everyone wants to get the trucks off the road, but it’s taking a problem from one area, mitigating it, and putting it in another area,” said Glendale resident Thomas Murawski. “You’re maybe solving part of the problem, but you’re not solving the whole problem.”

While they don’t want the One World expansion, CURES also wants the train cars covered to prevent the smell and hopes the state upgrades all the trains to new engines to cut down on pollutants.

“It’s not a matter of them being our enemies,” Parisen said. “If rail is the way of the future we want them to be responsible.”

Numerous emails and calls were made to One World Recycling but a company representative failed to reply.

 

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