Tag Archives: New York and Atlantic Railway

New York and Atlantic Railway responds to community concerns


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

It’s been there for more than a century and is being used more frequently than in recent years, yet the Fresh Pond Railyard continues to be a source of friction between its operators and nearby residents.

The New York and Atlantic Railway, which leases the Glendale rail yard from the Long Island Rail Road for freight operations, insists only so much can be done to mitigate concerns from local residents while meeting regional transportation needs.

“What has happened over the intervening 100 years, as one would expect, the community has undergone expansion and construction where the footprint of the community ends at the footprint of the railroad,” said Paul Victor, New York and Atlantic Railway president.

Even with the uptick in railroad activity, Victor said, rail transportation is historically “a fraction of what it was.”

“We always try to accommodate as much as we can to local residents, but we can’t really fulfill their wish and not be here because if we’re not here, you have to weigh the historic difference between a railroad moving something and a truck,” Victor said.

As it pertains to local concerns over New York and Atlantic Railway’s open top rail cars, Victor said that the waste in those containers is non-organic, non-putrescible waste. It is only construction and demolition waste (C and D), which does not give off offending odors or attract unwanted wildlife.

“That has zero impact on the community because it’s no different than a C and D container in the street,” Victor said. “Then, to be fair, you have to cover everything in every street and see what happens to the economy. If that’s what they want, don’t do it to the railroad car only; take every construction site and force it to be covered on every corner.”

Residents of Glendale near the Fresh Pond Terminal also raised concerns about hearing trains operating during all hours of the night.

“There is no physical way to accommodate the existing traffic in an eight-hour window, or a ten-hour window, or even a 12-hour window,” said James Bonner, director of sales and marketing for New York and Atlantic Railway. “The nature of the timing of our interchange for some other agreements we have with other community members is that you’re going to have be operating around the clock, and that’s what we do.”

To help alleviate some of the noises made by the trains, New York and Atlantic Railway has recently installed a greaser in the Fresh Pond Terminal, which reduces the squeal of the trains.

“We did this specifically because we told CURES [Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions] we were going to do it and we did it,” Victor said. “We talked with them, we said here’s what we can do, we made the investment and put that in.”

Mary Parisen, chair of CURES, believes that the C and D waste can cause problems for the neighborhood.

“People with respiratory ailments are subject to the dust from the cars when they are being transported and bang together,” Parisen said. “When rain gets in there it can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.”

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CURES wants to put a lid on open-top rail cars


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Updated June 3, 5:05 p.m.

An odoriferous open-top rail car, filled to capacity with construction and demolition debris, has been parked for several weeks in the Fresh Pond Railyard, directly across the street from Glendale homes, raising the ire of nearby residents.

Just an orange mesh lies atop the debris of the car at the corner of 68th Place and Otto Road, leaving it exposed to the elements of nature, according to one activist.

“When you have open containers like this, you leave the communities open to odors and debris,” said Mary Parisen, chair of Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES) civic group. “The orange top is not sufficient when the railcars are traveling near schools, parks and homes. These open rail cars are hosts for vectors, odors and storm runoff. Our communities cannot be held hostage by the state of New York to these conditions.”

“The railroad won’t move it. The rail car has a defect, which is why it is parked here,” she added. “The community shouldn’t be subjugated to vermin, raccoons or even rats. These long, heavy rail cars have been creating structural damage to homes, with seismic vibrations, and keeping residents awake all hours of the night.”

The rail yard is operated by New York and Atlantic Railway, which leases the site from the Long Island Rail Road for its freight operations.

A resident of the area believes that something has to be done about this rail car near his property.

“I’m not crazy about that, it’s been here over a week,” said Peter Germano, resident of 68th Place and Otto Road. “They shouldn’t leave it like that. You get a strong wind or some rain and it can get worse.”

CURES has urged Joseph Martens, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and elected officials for the complete containerization of all waste moved by rail, not just demolition and construction residuals.

“If you put a solid lid on top of the rail cars, you will be protecting the community since they are traveling though densely populated neighborhoods,” Parisen said. “The state needs to be responsible for this.”

In May, seven local elected officials, including state Senator Joseph Addabbo and Borough President Melinda Katz, penned a letter to Martens asking him to consider implementing the use of solid lids on rail cars carrying waste near communities.

“Additionally, we would like to follow up on the use of hard lids on all freight rail carts carrying putrescible waste,” the letter stated. “The use of solid covers to restrict pollution is a strong measure that would benefit our constituents and all New Yorkers.”

Paul Victor, New York and Atlantic Railway president, confirmed that the rail car is off the tracks and near the fencing by Otto Road. He said the car is there because it is awaiting parts for a repair before it can be put back on the tracks and moved.

He also said that the orange mesh atop the garbage in the rail car is used to signify that it is filled with construction and demolition debris, and not any other type of garbage.

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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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Glendale, Middle Village still dealing with train noise, pollution


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

After years of drawing attention to the issue, Glendale and Middle Village residents say they are still waiting on promises from public officials to fix trains that disturb and pollute their neighborhoods.

Residents say the trains loaded with garbage and construction debris wake people up on their way through Queens to a town upstate. They add that the railroad cars make screeching sounds and idle behind houses while the engines emit harmful gases from diesel fuels.

The MTA-owned trains are leased to companies including CSX and New York and Atlantic Railway.

At the end of March, Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi was able to allocate $3 million from the state budget towards updating the engines. Retrofitting the trains in question, which were designed in accordance with 1970s standards, will significantly reduce the impact of gases in the community.

“We are still in the process of working with the MTA and we’ll see how that is going play out,” said Alex Schnell, chief of staff to the assemblymember.

Congressmember Grace Meng, who toured the Fresh Pond Rail Yard in Glendale in April to learn about the problem, wrote a letter to the Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies concerning the federal budget. She asked for $30 million from the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) to retrofit old trains with the new engines.

“This level of funding would help alleviate the significant unmet demand and would assist in upgrading inefficiencies,” Meng said in the letter.

As of press time, Meng had not received a response.

For residents like Anthony Pedalino, elected officials’ actions to date have not been fast enough.

With the open car locomotives running below ground level, Pedalino and others suggested that a tunnel be built or adequate covers set up for the cars to stop the leak of foul smells.

“That protection is the least they can do,” Pedalino said.

He sends out emails to a number of public officials almost daily to remind them about the issue.

“I think locomotives with new engines are a big plus and will cut down on a significant amount of pollution. This is a wonderful start,” said Gary Giordano, district manager of Community Board 5. “I can understand people being upset, even though that’s some good news.”

 

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