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Statement of District Needs

Fiscal Year 2006
July 2005 - June 2006

DISTRICT OVERVIEW

Manhattan Community District No. 4 (CD4) is comprised of two West Side neighborhoods, Chelsea and Clinton/Hell's Kitchen. The District generally covers the area between 14th and 59th streets - to the west of Eighth Avenue north of 26th Street, and west of Sixth Avenue south of 26th Street. CD4 shares borders with Greenwich Village, the Flatiron, the Upper West Side and the Midtown central business district. Portions of several other well-known areas exist within CD4's boundaries: the Garment District, the Flower District, the Gansevoort Meat Packing District, the Ladies Mile Shopping District and the Theater District. Other notable sites in CD4 include Restaurant Row, the High Line, Columbus Circle, Maritime Piers 56 - 99 including the Passenger Ship Terminal (Piers 88, 90 and 92), and segments 5 - 7 of the Hudson River Park.

The total population of CD4 is approximately 100,000. Many residents are long time residents; others are relative newcomers. An estimated 10,000 new residents already occupy or are expected to move into housing developments completed or begun since the last Census. Chelsea and Clinton/Hell's Kitchen remain desirable residential neighborhoods for their streetscapes, building types and local institutions, as well as their proximity to world-class cultural resources and amenities. It is the diversity of residents, however, that is our greatest asset.

Currently, development of all types is considerable, but housing production is predominant. In-fill construction, building enlargements and substantial renovations have filled-in gaps and improved the housing stock in core residential areas. Housing development activities in less dense areas have preserved and strengthened the character of existing neighborhoods (Hell's Kitchen South and the Clinton Urban Renewal Area) and created new population centers (42nd Street and far west 23rd Street). Major redevelopment plans proposed for both neighborhoods will create opportunities for capturing some of the value created through rezonings and for revisiting policies to strengthen our diversity with permanent affordable housing.

CD4 is central to Manhattan and the region's core. The physical character of CD4 is defined as much by its neighborhoods, as by the infrastructure that supports the citywide economy. At the local level, transportation infrastructure exerts the greatest impact as it channels hundreds of thousands of visitors through CD4 every day. Streets and avenues are exceedingly congested, trucks are an increasing presence on residential streets, off-street facilities for all types of buses and commuter vans are inadequate and environmental pollution is a constant quality of life complaint and threat to public health. These problems are a condition of the sometimes competing goals of neighborhood protection and improvement and the efficient flow of traffic.

A range of economic activities exists within CD4. Many reflect the area's historical development as an immigrant, working-class neighborhood once closely tied to an industrial waterfront and later serving as a "backstage" community for the theater industry by providing theater-related support services. Local businesses are vital to the community. Many are an essential of part of or serve the midtown central business district, the city's garment trades, or nearby entertainment industries. Neighborhood shops, restaurants and other enterprises serve area residents and workers, but are also are widely known for high-quality goods and services and have become important destinations for art, culture and recreation.

Recent growth in the Midtown central business district has created pressure to expand commercial development westward into CD4, especially in the area between 30th and 42nd streets. The area is now a focus for large scale development designed to carry the city over the long term into the next series of economic cycles. Local goals for growth have been developed toward balancing the proposed expansion of the central business district with the preservation and expansion of Clinton/Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea residential neighborhoods.

CD4 is defined by its homegrown, unique characteristics, both physical and social; its symbiotic relationships with surrounding neighborhoods; and our communities' reaction to the unique characteristics, both physical and social, of those surrounding neighborhood. In the current setting of growth and development, Manhattan Community Board No. 4's priorities are (1) preventing displacement, (2) maintaining neighborhood character, stability and quality of life, and (3) attracting development that enhances diversity and positive neighborhood relations among disparate groups. Concrete efforts to realize these priorities include advocacy for increased supply and access to affordable housing, improvement of the area's physical infrastructure, and adequate delivery of social and public services.


LAND USE PLANNING

Chelsea

The Chelsea 197-a Plan, now in effect for the traditional core of Chelsea, has largely been effective in redirecting development pressures into areas that do not threaten the essential character of historic Chelsea or entail significant displacement. Conversions and new residential construction where such uses were previously illegal are transforming the face of Chelsea while not impinging significantly on the historic core. Nevertheless, it remains a source of deep dissatisfaction that effective means have not yet been found to fulfill the Plan's important goal of creating mixed-income housing on appropriate sites in the community. The difficult issue of creating affordable housing where land values are high must be addressed in order to attain social stability and social justice in our communities. We look forward to working with the City administration and elected officials as well as with private institutions toward this goal when new funding sources may be available or when new programs or mechanisms are developed.

CB4 has been undertaking planning for the remainder of the Chelsea community, essentially the manufacturing districts west of the now rezoned residential area. Among the goals are supporting the burgeoning arts community in West Chelsea, preserving and improving the existing service base, and providing for parks and open space and residential development where appropriate. Preservation and expansion of the existing residential corridor along Tenth Avenue, including provisions for affordable housing and for protection of existing housing and appropriate scale, are major concerns of the Board. Adaptive reuse of significant existing buildings, discouragement of nuisance uses, and linking the community physically and visually to the waterfront should be promoted by putting in place well-considered use and bulk controls. In many places buildings and streetscapes of considerable distinction remain in the area and should be protected by zoning or Landmark designation. CB4 is proposing a new Chelsea Waterfront Historic District in the warehouse/industrial area north of 24th St as well as identification and individual designation of significant structures in areas to be rezoned.

City Planning's recent proposals to provide new opportunities for residential development in West Chelsea and to create a mostly open corridor along a transformed High Line are in large degree consistent with the CB4 goals. The scales proposed for the new residential areas, however, especially along Tenth Avenue south of 23rd Street and on the block bounded by 17th and 18th streets and Tenth and Eleventh avenues, are inconsistent with such significant goals as minimizing residential displacement, preserving the ambiance of the Chelsea Historic District, linking the community with the waterfront, and even providing a truly open corridor for the High Line. Such environmental problems as sewage overflow will be exacerbated by major new development. CB4 is also deeply concerned about the absence of significant proposals for affordable housing in this sizable rezoning. CB4 hopes these issues can be resolved.

The Board cannot support any rezoning plan for this area that does not provide effective measures for dealing with the spread of large nightclubs and the growing impacts on residents and visitors from noise, traffic, drug use and violence. Recent incidents at or near some clubs in western Chelsea are only a part of a long-standing and worsening problem that is in serious conflict with the growing arts and residential presence in the area. Big box retail and adult uses are also inconsistent with such a presence.

West 14th Street Area
West 14th Street is the southern boundary of CB4 and the northern boundary of CB2. For this reason, the two community boards have developed planning goals for the area around and including our common boundary. CB4 and CB2 have agreed on the following goals:

  • Rezoning 14th Street, from Seventh to Ninth avenues, as proposed in the Chelsea Plan, to more closely reflect the low-scale nature of this street and its importance as a linkage in scale between low rise Chelsea and Greenwich Village.
  • Preserving the essence of the Gansevoort Meat Packing District as a mercantile district where light manufacturing can co-exist with commercial and retail uses, and where residential uses are prohibited.
  • Creating open space on appropriate sites.
  • Curbing the proliferation of unruly bars on the ground floors of residential buildings.

Hell's Kitchen/Hudson Yards

Over the past year, CB4 has provided extensive comment on community needs related to the proposed No. 7 Subway Extension and Hudson Yards Area Rezoning. In brief, CB4 questions the need for 35-40 million square feet of new development in Midtown and the compatibility of mixed uses at such high densities. The Board has joined with Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association to support an alternate development plan that uses the western Rail Yards not for a stadium but for a mix of uses including new high density commercial buildings, hotels and community uses. This would allow redistribution of density from sensitive areas such as the 42nd Street, Tenth Avenue and Eleventh Avenue corridors. The eastern Rail Yards and the areas east to Eighth Avenue between 30th and 35th Streets should be established as the area's main high density commercial corridor. 42nd Street should remain a primarily residential mixed-use corridor and a buffer for the Special Clinton District to the north.

CB4's overarching goal for the area between 34th and 42nd streets, from Eighth to Eleventh avenues is to have a residential neighborhood develop with strong local identity. In this area, existing residential buildings should be protected and development should occur in a fashion that reinforces the community's historical identity and strengthens its connections with neighborhoods to the north and south.

Housing
One of the stated objectives of the proposed rezoning is to "reinforce the existing residential neighborhood and encourage new housing opportunities." This must include providing affordable housing at low to middle-income levels, as well as market-rate housing. Not less than 30% of all housing units constructed in the rezoned area must be permanently affordable. The rezoning must include specific mechanisms to accomplish this goal.

The up-zoning of the Hell's Kitchen/Hudson Yards area will lead to significant increases in property values in CD4 and to heightened real estate tax collections by the City. CB4 believes that every effort should be made to capture some of this value toward creating affordable housing in our area through such means as tax exemption, help in acquiring suitable property and low-cost funding, modification of existing affordable housing programs, and mandatory inclusionary housing. Indeed, this should be general City policy. In conjunction with the proposed rezoning, the City must also commit to develop additional affordable housing on targeted publicly owned sites, with stated timelines.

To preserve existing residential buildings and protect existing residents, the Special Clinton District regulations concerning alteration or demolition of residential buildings in the Preservation Area should apply in the Hell's Kitchen/Hudson Yards area.

West Side Football Stadium
A stadium is the wrong economic development tool for the West Side, and is incompatible with the development of the dynamic mixed use community the City is seeking to facilitate. It would be a 30-story barrier to the waterfront, and would bring insurmountable traffic problems.

Clinton/Hell's Kitchen

Clinton/Hell's Kitchen continues to experience an explosion of commercial and residential development. This has created opportunities in some areas, such as the accelerated pace of redevelopment in the Clinton Urban Renewal Area, and challenges in others, such as the increased pressure on affordable and contextual residential properties in the Special Clinton District.

Clinton Urban Renewal Area
CB4 is pleased to note that the Clinton Urban Renewal Area (CURA), which has long been the focus of the Board's land use efforts in Clinton/Hell's Kitchen, has been part of this development boom:

  • The renovation of six tenements at 52nd Street and Eleventh Avenue in CURA Site 9A were completed in 2001 to produce 45 units of low-income housing.
  • Tenements at 501 W. 52nd Street in CURA Site 8 were renovated in 2003 to produce 26 permanently affordable family units; a permanent home for Housing Conservation Coordinators, a Clinton-based non-profit organization that plays a crucial role in stabilizing and improving the quality of affordable housing; and a community garden.
  • The Flats/Old School renovation at Eleventh Avenue and 52nd Street in CURA Site 7A will produce 33 low-income family units and 53 low-income units for homeless adults and community residents. The development will also include a community garden.
  • The construction of an 11-story building at 52nd Street and Eleventh Avenue in CURA Site 7A will produce 96 residential units - 70% low-income and 30% middle-income.
  • The construction of an 8-story building at 755-765 Tenth Avenue in CURA Site 9C will provide 84 units of subsidized housing for low-income seniors.
  • The renovation and new construction at 501-505 W. 51st Street includes 27 mostly family units development through the inclusionary housing program. The project also includes the preservation of a long term commercial tenant, Dave's Collision.
    HPD has recently selected a developer in response to its RFP for the undeveloped portions of CURA Sites 8 and 9C. The RFP calls for mixed-income housing units (at least 20% of which must remain low-income units for at least 30 years), commercial/retail space along Tenth Avenue, two new theater spaces and substantial publicly accessible open space.

These developments reflect the cooperation that has developed between CB4 and HPD with the assistance of the City Planning. The Board also acknowledges the ongoing assistance of the Clinton CURA Coordinating Committee, a coalition of not-for profits, in developing and sponsoring affordable housing in this area. The coalition includes Clinton Housing Association, Clinton Association for a Renewed Environment, Clinton Housing Development Company, Encore Community Services and Housing Conservation Coordinators.

This partnership between the not-for-profits, CB4 and city agencies has made remarkable progress toward realizing the goals established for the Clinton Urban Renewal Area many years ago. We look forward to continued cooperation to complete redevelopment of the CURA.

Consistent with the Board's past positions, we maintain that all city-owned property developed in the CURA should maximize the number of units dedicated to affordable housing. Other CURA principles adopted by the Board include a new mixed-use zone to accommodate existing commercial, light manufacturing, cultural and non-profit institutions on site; urban design controls to reconcile the community's need for more housing with the preservation tradition and limits of the Special Clinton District; and the maintenance and development of only low-rise buildings on the west side of Tenth Avenue to match the low-rise character of the District to the east. Any action by HPD to facilitate development in the CURA must reflect these principles.

In addition, we note that the only acquisition parcel that has yet to be acquired by the City in the CURA is Site 6, which is the western portion of block 1082, on Eleventh Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets. As such, this property is not subject to the development restrictions of the Clinton Urban Renewal Plan and, because it is located within the CURA boundary, it is also is excluded from the height and bulk restrictions of the Special Clinton District. This Board will oppose any future request to permit redevelopment of Site 6 for a use inconsistent with residential use or at a density that exceeds what is allowed in an R8A zoning district.

Special Clinton District - Preservation Area
The development boom throughout Clinton has put considerable pressure on the Special Clinton District, which was established in 1973 to, among other things, preserve and strengthen the residential character of the community, and permit rehabilitation and new development in character with the existing scale of the community and at rental levels which would not substantially alter the mixture of income groups then residing in the area.

CB4 is pleased that City Planning has proposed to amend the text of the Zoning Resolution amended to clarify and restrict building heights on the avenues in the Preservation Area. In a further effort to maintain the District's goals, CB4 will continue to favor development proposals that will produce substantial ratios (more than 30%) of permanently affordable residential units and will include the preservation of commercial tenants that serve area residents.

However, attention must be paid not only to new development but also to enforcement of the protective provisions of the Preservation Area of the Special Clinton District, the neighborhood's residential core. The proper training and assignment of inspectors with detailed local knowledge is a must (see HOUSING section, Special Clinton District). Without adequate and informed enforcement, the goals district will not be fulfilled.

Special Clinton District - Other Area
The western area of the Special Clinton District beyond the boundary of the Preservation Area, is primarily zoned for light or medium industrial uses. CB4 will continue to study those manufacturing zones with a view toward better understanding the uses, scales and activities that are present and adapting the area for desirable development in the future.


TRANSPORTATION

More and more vehicles crowd our streets and avenues each year. This creates high levels of congestion in our district, increasing pollution, leading to dangerous situations for pedestrians at street crossings, impairing the ability for cyclists to safely travel, and raising competition for the limited curbside parking space on neighborhood blocks. There are no easy solutions to these competitions and conflicts. Remedies and amelioration call for a balanced and thoughtful approach; efforts must be in a partnership among CB4, DOT, NYPD and the Port Authority.

It is especially important, as plans develop to add considerable new density in CD4, that DOT devote at least as many, if not more, resources to finding new ways to encourage use of mass transit and non-motorized transportation as it does to increasing capacity for private cars.

There is a pressing need for off-street parking sites for tourist and commuter buses and vans. The parking and standing of these vehicles on our streets brings with it serious traffic and pollution problems. Using the streets as terminals for loading and unloading commuter vehicles is an unacceptable problem which is aggravated by the loss of parking to development. Both the location and prescribed routing to and from such facilities must be carefully evaluated with input from CB4. Consideration must be given for the establishment of off-street facilities for waiting "black cars" and for the provision of rest stations for taxis and similar vehicles.

Parking/Standing regulations require clear posting, and even-handed constant enforcement. No intervention from a single special interest user should hold sway. All stakeholders must be considered when these regulations are adjusted. The mixture of commerce and residential uses in our Board area makes imperative budgeting for adequate signage and for enforcement staff.

Much of CD4's population uses mass transit. Keeping the City's system operating at an optimal level is therefore a continuing basic need. In addition to efficient movement of surface traffic, the accessibility of bus stops and subway stations contribute materially to the usability of public transit. Subway stations must be designed to be as accessible and friendly as possible for all riders. Bus stops should have clear signage. Where feasible, shelters are desirable, and standing vehicles must be kept away so that buses can "curb" for passengers with mobility limitations. The Board must be kept apprised of temporary and emergency changes in bus routes, subway station closings, and schedule alterations. The Board must be consulted before implementation of permanent changes in types of equipment used, schedule modifications, and bus stop relocations.

All areas of Chelsea and Clinton/Hell's Kitchen should be safe and friendly for pedestrians and bicyclists. CB4 reiterates its request for DOT to extend the Hudson Street/Eighth Avenue bike lane and buffer lane as far north as possible, a request that has also been made to DOT by our neighbors on CB5. The Board understands that restriping prior to repaving may require the removal of some of the current lane stripes, which could leave a mark on the roadway. Given the current status of Eighth Avenue street surface, which is already disfigured by numerous cuts and patches, the marks left by stripe removal are of minimal concern, compared to the substantial public benefit to be conferred on the community by the restriping.

We recommend that DOT consider widening the west side of the Eighth Avenue sidewalk between 30th and 38th streets by 6 feet. The pedestrian level of service there is "F" (the lowest possible rating) during the morning and evening peak periods. It is often so crowded that hundreds of people end up walking in the street, creating very dangerous conditions.

DOT should construct secure bike parking at Port Authority bus terminal similar to what is being proposed at Penn Station. It costs $100,000 to construct state-of-the art, well-secured parking for 60 bikes, compared with a $50,000 price tag of construction for a single car-parking space in Midtown. Even these costs can be mitigated by DOT partnering with the local BID and other groups, as it did for the Penn Station bike parking facility.

During any future roadway work, DOT should widen sidewalks within CB4's district as much as possible, especially at corners to create "bulb-outs." Bulb-outs increase pedestrian safety by increasing the turning radius around corners, thus slowing motor vehicles. Bulb-outs also shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians. Bulb-outs that were already created at various intersections in the 40's are welcomed by the pedestrians who use them.

The Lincoln Tunnel traffic improvement plan, implemented earlier this year by the Port Authority and DOT, has improved overall efficiency of the traffic entering the tunnel, but some aspects of the plan ignore pedestrian concerns and have created problems. Two particularly problematic locations are 42nd Street and Ninth Avenue, where longer queues of vehicles (particularly buses) and pedestrians increasingly compete for the use of streets; and 37th Street and Ninth Avenue, where Tunnel bound traffic can be dangerously aggressive, though often grid-locked. Sufficient enforcement by NYPD or Port Authority traffic officers at these locations to manage traffic and ensure pedestrian safety has not been consistently deployed.

As the primary entry/exit route of the Lincoln Tunnel, Dyer Avenue receives heavy traffic and requires special attention to ensure pedestrian safety. However, these basic concerns must be addressed:

  • Intersection of Dyer Avenue and 40th Street. Pedestrian signals have been installed at this location; however, pedestrian crossings are still problematic. Two pedestrians were killed at this intersection since 2001. Crosswalks should be realigned to avoid the columns of the ramp leading to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. In addition, improved signage is required to alert drivers that they have left the Tunnel and entered the New York City street grid;
  • 35th Street and Dyer Avenue. Not all pedestrian crossings are striped; none are hatched. Vehicles associated with the Midtown South Police Precinct Police are often parked in pedestrian crossing lanes.

Enforcing all laws regarding the proper use of bicycles substantially contributes to pedestrian safety. NYPD should increase enforcement of bicycle riding on the sidewalk and target businesses that are repeat offenders. In addition, there is a continued need for bike parking racks throughout Chelsea and Clinton/Hell's Kitchen to discourage chaining of bicycles to trees, tree-guards, scaffolding and other inappropriate locations. There must be vigilance to ensure that sidewalks are kept clear of unnecessary clutter and obstructions. That goal requires a constant balancing of the needs of commerce with human needs, and this Board requires the active help of various City agencies to accomplish it.

As DOT engages in roadway repaving and reconstruction, we request that in general avenues be rebuilt with narrower roadways wherever possible, using the reclaimed space for sidewalks and greening; that DOT widen sidewalks at key locations to provide additional bike parking; that DOT add bike lanes on the planned network and all the avenues.

Vehicle speed limits and other traffic laws must be vigorously enforced. Traffic-calming elements can be added on residential streets that are not arterial routes intended for heavy through-traffic. All street crossings need to be designed to be usable by blind and low-vision pedestrians as well as those traveling in wheelchairs and with walking aids.

Major development projects at the northern end of our district, including Time Warner Center, the Hearst Building, the John Jay College expansion, Durst's mixed-used project on 57th Street, the new DOS garage at 12th Avenue and the marine solid waste transfer facility at Pier 97, in addition to project just out side our district boundaries - the museum at 2 Columbus Circle and development at Riverside South, will create major traffic problems in upcoming months and years. DOT must address the needs of surrounding residents and businesses as it plans for congestion mitigation in relation to these projects during construction as well after completion.

The Columbus Circle subway station is sorely in need of additional work beyond the Subway Improvement Program being undertaken by the Hearst organization. This involves moving promptly ahead with the remainder of the improvements that MTA has committed to carrying out. These should include noise abatement; improved lighting, ventilation and signage; and appropriate final surfaces. Creating direct access to the downtown IRT platform from the west side of Broadway, and addressing the dangerously steep stair at the entrance adjacent to the Trump International Plaza should also be priorities. The Board believes that the plans should include an escalator from the uptown IND platform to the uptown IRT, since this is a very heavily used transfer. An effective location should be found. It has been suggested that a passage could be created between the north and south mezzanines via the now unused central IND platform. This suggestion seems attractive to the Board as an inexpensive measure to improve connections between the south end of the station and the uptown IRT and should be further considered. It is time to complete planning and start construction.


QUALITY OF LIFE

Police Department

Responsibility for enforcement of traffic regulations has been shifted from the DOT and the Taxi and Limousine Commission to NYPD. We note that a great number of auto repair shops and taxi, bus and truck depots are concentrated on the west side of Manhattan, where the 10th and Midtown North Precincts are already responsible for nightclubs, prostitution, drug and other problems. Any increase in precinct responsibilities must be balanced by an increase in the number of officers.

We continue to welcome the community policing strategies implemented by the Administration and NYPD. We are happy to see that these strategies have improved the quality of life for our citizens and tourists. CB4 will continue to work closely with our local precincts. We encourage the police to maintain their sensitive balancing of the quality of life for the community with the rights of individual citizens. We also recommend that care be taken to assure a consistent presence of beat officers. Community policing has such a positive impact that even a small lack of continuity in deployment creates a negative effect. We must add, however, that the community policing beats in midtown have become too large; smaller beats are more efficient.

We welcome the proposed legislation which would provide the first comprehensive overhaul of the New York City Noise Code in over 30 years. Noise complaints from CD4 consistently rank among the highest registered by DEP and are rising in the Board area, especially at night. We are encouraged to learn that the legislation focuses on reducing sound resulting from construction and on a more flexible standard and enforcement schedule for bars, clubs, and cabarets as well as a new standard to measure bass-level and vibrational sound. We are also encouraged by the provision to simplify enforcement by using a plainly audible standard instead of conventional decibel limits which require use of a noise meter. We look forward to working for a solution to this growing problem.

We request that the Manhattan South Borough Command closely monitor the needs of precincts since the merger of the Housing Police with the NYPD. Precincts such as the 10th and Midtown North, which contain a significant amount of public housing, may now be facing a burden out of proportion with their current staffing level.

Growth and development within CD4 and in surrounding areas increasingly strains our under-staffed, under-equipped local precincts. We feel that it is vital to bring all of our precincts up to strength both in manpower and in communications technology. West Chelsea in particular has seen an explosive growth of clubs and bars in the last two years. This has increased evening and late night traffic on the streets and noise and congestion (which is further exacerbated in some cases by the smoking ban) on the sidewalks in front of bars and clubs. Clinton/Hell's Kitchen also is experiencing an increase in clubs. Noise and disruption by unruly patrons leaving the bars and clubs is a growing and disturbing nuisance in residential neighborhoods.

We ask for police enforcement of the Limited Truck Zone in Chelsea, especially in view of the advent of Route 9A and its impact on Chelsea.

The increased demands on police enforcement make it urgent that staffing levels in our precincts, the 10th, the 13th, Midtown South, and Midtown North, be brought up to full strength. The recent addition of 35 new officers to Midtown North is a much appreciated step in that direction.

Our district is diverse. People of all races, religions, and lifestyles live, work and visit our neighborhoods. It is critical that all police agencies, including NYCHA police, make their officers aware that bias crimes will not be tolerated in any of our neighborhoods. We applaud efforts by the NYPD to increase the membership of minorities and women in its ranks. This Board also urges the City to reexamine the potential usefulness of allowing NYPD's Paid Detail Unit to work outside bars and nightclubs.

Our precincts need more cell phone accounts for community affairs officers. Cell phones play in increasingly important role in managing the increasing number and size of demonstrations, parades, and public events and in responding to emergency situations. Cell phone also enable officers to respond quickly to calls from community members. Our local precincts have other specific needs. The Midtown North Precinct requires an up-to-date computer system to give this most important of city precincts a critical edge in the fight not only against crime but also against threats of terrorism to the midtown area. The 10th Precinct requires additional unmarked vehicles to conduct anti-crime patrols and street narcotics operations.

In 1996, CB4 (along with neighboring CB5) requested a major revision of the boundaries between Midtown North, Midtown South and the 10th and 13th Precincts that would reflect the changing residential identification along the existing borders. CB4 articulated this request again this year; we hope that some day this change will be implemented.

Sanitation

The reduction in the number of litter baskets on our avenues and streets together with a reduction in the number of trash pickups has substantially increased the litter and filth on streets. If we want tourists and visitors to feel safe on our streets we have to work at keeping the streets clean of litter. Dirty streets are a health hazard, and the negative impact on everyone's quality of life cannot be in question. Not every neighborhood has a Business Improvement District with its own private sanitation crew; all neighborhoods need the City to do its job in keeping our streets clean.

Improving Sanitation maintenance in the area is important, especially along 14th Street and the adjoining avenues, as commercial and tourist traffic has increased dramatically over the past few years, leading to a constant overflowing of wastebaskets. Increased foot traffic and a scattering of undeveloped lots have also contributed to the worsening garbage accumulation on the sidewalks along Ninth Avenue in the middle of CD4.

Mayor's Office of Midtown Enforcement

CB4 strongly affirms its support for the continued and strengthened existence of the Mayor's Office of Midtown Enforcement, an office essential to the welfare of the community - residents, businesses and visitors alike. No other City agency can so effectively marshal the vital components - fire, housing, and health inspectors, police and attorneys - often necessary to resolve illegal, threatening or dangerous situations in our area. Immediately, OME needs an additional attorney line and added support staff, including inspectors.

Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications

The proliferation of public pay telephones (PPTs) in our community is the product of a quest for advertising revenues from booth walls. It is not a response to public demand for additional stationary telephonic services. PPTs at times are a great convenience and at times are essential for public safety. However, PPTs can also attract socially unacceptable enterprises, are obtrusive on most residential streets, constitute a negative element in the viewscape, and present unnecessary obstructions to fluid pedestrian movement.

Over the past year and a half, this Board reviewed and provided substantive comments to over 500 proposed new PPT locations in CD4. Site observations determined that public demand is sufficiently met, and probably exceeded, within the Eighth, Ninth and Tenth avenue corridors. While there may be other areas in CD4 that are appropriate for new installations, without location-specific data, there is no way of knowing where PPT service is needed.

It remains very important that Community Boards continue to be consulted with regard to all installations of PPT's in public spaces. Further, Boards must be respected when they determine that a particular location is inappropriate for a new installation or that a particular booth should be removed in the public interest.

Department of Consumer Affairs

We look forward someday to improved legislation in regard to licensing and the oversight of night life establishments. The State legislature recently passed legislation that would require applicants for liquor licenses to prove that they are in compliance with the building's certificate of occupancy before receiving a license. We support similar legislation with regard to the issuance of cabaret licenses by the City.

At least 60 sidewalk cafés are licensed or have licenses pending to operate within CD4. Storefront businesses also commonly use sidewalk space for merchandise displays, signage, planters, informal seating and other business related uses. When operated responsibly and within the law, these uses can contribute positively to the vibrancy of our neighborhoods. However, as sidewalk space is increasingly occupied by commerce and public street furniture, less space exists for pedestrians. Given limited enforcement personnel and other budget constraints, we encourage multi-agency enforcement by DCA, DOT, OME, DOB and DOS to ensure that sidewalk space is maximized for pedestrians and that all sidewalk regulations are upheld. We also repeat our request of DCA to implement perhaps the simplest mechanism to ensure adequate sidewalk space for pedestrians: striping of the perimeter of sidewalk cafés as required by the law.

While we have in the past coordinated efforts with the 10th Precinct, DOB, OME and DCA to increase enforcement of parking lot regulations, these efforts have recently been unsuccessful. When DOB or OME identifies faulty or expired Certificate of Occupancy documents, it is essential that DCA follow through to ensure that parking lots operate legally, especially with respect to capacity. We look forward to working with DCA to tackle this difficult problem.

311 Citizen Service Center

The 311 Citizen Service Center has brought government information and services closer to New Yorkers. 311 not only makes government more accessible, but it also represents a valuable planning and management tool. However, now that 311 is widely used by New Yorkers to report problems or to request services, CB4 receives considerably fewer calls than it did a year ago. Since the launch of 311, the overall number of complaint calls to CB4 has dropped by a third, leaving the Board with much less information to support its thinking and decision-making.

Without reports on 311 calls, the system stands to undercut our ability to carry out Charter-mandated responsibilities properly and effectively and to serve as representative voices in government. Regular and detailed reporting of 311 to Community Boards must be required.


HOUSING

CB4 is committed to the preservation and expansion of affordable (low-, moderate-, and middle-income) housing within our district.

Today, CD4 is a mixed-income community offering a range of services and resources to people of lower income that are not available elsewhere. Since its inception, the Board has worked to create a community open to people of all income levels. Unfortunately, the economic upswing of the last eight years has made tenants in Clinton/Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea vulnerable to speculation and displacement. The Board requests that the City recognize the long-term benefits associated with mixed-income neighborhoods and mixed-income buildings when considering the best use for the remaining government-owned property within the district as well as when reviewing any zoning changes, variance requests or development plans.

The District's diversity is in danger. CB4 is primarily a rental community that relies heavily on rent regulations, government subsidies and public housing to maintain its affordable housing. To date, rent regulations have played a large role in maintaining that diversity. However, the 1997 amendment to the rent stabilization regulations that permits the deregulation of apartments once rents reach $2,000 per month has resulted in a significant loss of affordable housing stock.

In the near future, CD4 stands to lose a significant amount of affordable housing due to expiring-uses. Programs such as Mitchell-Lama and Section 8 have come up for renewal; property owners are considering opting-out of these programs. The 20% affordable component in many 80-20 (80% market-rate-20% affordable) developments will soon approach expiration, and all apartments will revert to market-rate. The City must work to achieve a permanent solution to prevent the displacement of these households. In the short term, the City must ensure that rental subsidies (Section 8 Certificates or other programs) are in place to meet the needs of these tenants faced with displacement by their inability to afford increased rent due to opt outs.

CB4 supports the increasing of the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) annual income limits from $24,000 per year to $30,000 per year to reflect today's economics. Many seniors with income comprised of Social Security and pensions totaling $30,000 are unable to afford their rents but make too much to qualify for SCRIE.

CB4 believes significant government attention and investment are required to ensure new permanently affordable (low-, moderate-, and middle-income) housing is built in our community. We have been encouraged by the Mayor's focus on this issue and are hopeful this will lead to varied and creative new mechanisms to support this goal. Little, if any, new affordable housing has been constructed in recent years, with the exception of the 80-20 Housing Program. However, the affordable component of an 80-20 development is only for a limited-time, offers no long term benefit to the community and does not respond to the need for housing affordable to a range of low-, moderate- and middle-incomes. We strongly believe that this program is not the best use of public funds.

Since the long ago demise of the Mitchell-Lama Program, most government funding opportunities do not address the needs of middle-income housing. In a community with a minimal supply of publicly-owned land, the best use for the remaining government-owned property within the district must be affordable housing. New means of creating and encouraging affordable housing on privately-owned property must also be considered. Text and map modifications of the Zoning Resolution, new funding mechanisms, and innovations in housing type/construction must be explored.

Department of Housing Preservation & Development

CB4 continues to support HPD programs that fund the rehabilitation of buildings and prevent the evictions and improve the living conditions of those who live there.

Over the last 10 years, most city-owned residential property within CD4 has been transferred to non-profit and tenant-ownership programs that have provided opportunities for preserving and increasing the supply of decent, affordable housing. Tenant ownership has been possible through HPD's Tenant Interim Lease (TIL) Program. Several years ago, there were almost twenty buildings enrolled in the program. Last year, the final TIL building was sold to its tenants, marking the completion of the TIL program in the Board area. The complete renovation is expected the fall. Since 1980, the TIL program will have produced over 500 affordable units of low-income cooperative housing providing homeownership opportunities for families and individuals whose incomes do not allow them to compete in the real estate market.

CB4 continues to support programs such as HPD's Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP), which funds the rehabilitation the city-owned buildings. We recognize that not every group of tenants is capable of, or desires, to assume the responsibilities of home-ownership. Non-profit rental buildings are a long-term stabilizing force in our neighborhood. CB4 also supports the continued use of the Supportive Housing Program to preserve and expand the supply of affordable SRO housing for homeless persons and community residents. This housing, with onsite supportive services for tenants, has been a successful model in housing very low-income persons. It is the sole HPD program that provides funds for acquisition of privately owned property for conversion to affordable housing, and provides a means to expand the supply beyond currently publicly owned land.

CB4 strongly supports programs, such as the Community Consultant Contracts, that preserve affordable housing through preventing evictions and working to improve living conditions. These programs, among others, are critical to several community groups in our District working to preserve and increase affordable housing. As a result of their work deteriorated buildings have been restored to excellent, long-term affordable housing and the rights of tenants have been protected. Their funding sources, always in danger, should be increased.

General Code Enforcement
Residents of Chelsea and Clinton/Hell's Kitchen continue to experience the negative impact of insufficient government response to conditions that threaten life, health and safety. In the 1980s, there were 685 housing code inspectors citywide. There re much fewer today. CB4 requests that HPD increase the number of its inspectors; fill the vacancies in its Litigation Bureau; and step up code enforcement as well as increase the number and timeliness of litigation against the most egregious violators of the housing codes. We also request of HPD, DOB, and Corporation Counsel to pursue with due diligence the collection of outstanding fines owed by repeat violators, ensuring better enforcement and creating badly needed income for the City. An atmosphere of lawlessness now exists because corrupt landlords know there will be few consequences for disregarding relevant statutes and codes.

Code Enforcement - Special Clinton District
DOB and HPD inspectors, and those assigned to the OME, do essential work in our area. Their work is particularly important within the Special Clinton District (SCD), where we depend on their skills to enforce arcane but essential provisions of the SCD. The Board continues to see cases where owners have made renovations in SCD buildings without first applying for a required Certificate of No Harassment. The Board is concerned that the spread of self-certification by architects and engineers in applications to DOB and other agencies has led to a lowering and evasion of standards, particularly in areas like the SCD where special zoning regulations apply. Close monitoring of the effect of self-certification is essential.

Regulations are only as effective as the system in place to enforce them. We therefore request that DOB, HPD and the OME dedicate specific inspectors to concentrate on SCD enforcement. These inspectors must receive rigorous and adequate training to ensure that they have the particular knowledge essential to preventing the flagrant disregard of SCD regulations that continue to occur too frequently. We also commit to taking such actions as are appropriate and necessary to stop illegal conversions, and to ensure that tenants are not harassed. We also call upon the DOB's Legal Department, Corporation Counsel and HPD to begin prosecuting the most flagrant violators of the regulations of the SCD and other housing codes and regulations. It is crucial that an on-going procedure be implemented by DOB to meet regularly with the Board and the community regarding these issues.

Single Room Occupancy Housing (SROs)
A large number of SROs (including rooming houses, SRO hotels, and converted tenements) exists in our District. However, SROs continues to disappear from the neighborhood at an alarming rate, due to both legal and illegal conversions to transient hotels or other uses. SROs have become the single most important source of affordable housing for single adults and an important resource for the prevention of homelessness. Affordable housing within our District is critical to house the diverse population of artists, students, minimum wage earners and those on fixed incomes. This mixed population includes the backbone of the service and cultural economy of the city, as well as many of the most frail and isolated members of our community.

The largest concentration of SRO housing in our community lies between Eighth and Ninth avenues from 42nd Street to 57th Street. There are 62 buildings containing nearly 2,200 SRO units in this area. Most SRO units are found on 51st Street where twelve buildings contain 574 units. Most SRO buildings are found on 46th Street, where 21 buildings contain 289 units.

CB4 supports the acquisition, renovation and new construction of sensitively-sited supportive housing developments to preserve and expand the SRO housing stock.

The OME and HPD must strengthen the SRO anti-harassment laws and enforce them to protect this valuable and essential community resource. Continued funding of the efforts of the West Side SRO Law Project to protect tenants' rights and to preserve of SRO housing is essential.

NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA)
Security and enforcement are issues facing all property owners in the city. In particular, vandalism, drugs and lack of security continue to plague NYCHA developments in both Clinton and Chelsea. We encourage NYCHA to work with CB4 to help coordinate solutions using a community-wide strategy instead of isolating developments and the people living within from the resources that surround them.


HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

Homelessness

Tragically, homelessness, continues to be a terrible problem citywide and a particularly visible one in the CB4 area. We applaud the Mayor's new, comprehensive, and ambitious initiative to address aggressively the root causes of homelessness and, especially, to provide critically needed affordable and supportive housing. We urge the energetic implementation of this plan. Over the years, efforts to "clean up" Midtown and other "high visibility" areas has only driven a larger number of homeless people into other parts of our community. Large public facilities located within our District, such as the Port Authority Bus Terminal, are also a natural gathering place for people without homes. Many homeless people need social services, in particular drug treatment and/or mental health services. Inclusion of these services is essential in any effort to address New York's homelessness situation as is increased funding to expand these services.

Currently, two of the twelve citywide drop-in centers for homeless individuals are located within CD4. While pursuing its new initiatives, we encourage the City to continue funding these centers at adequate levels to provide the comprehensive interventions that are needed. We are also deeply concerned about the inadequacy of family shelter slots, especially for victims of domestic violence, as well as the lack of adequate resources for homeless youth. It is especially troubling that the needs of women, children and youth at risk are still far from being met.

Supportive Housing

CB4 recognizes the need for residential facilities and has consistently welcomed them into our neighborhoods, but we also realize that they can only be successful if they are well planned and staffed and appropriate for the location and population served.

Again, we are pleased to see the Mayor's plan focus on the provision of permanent housing; we believe that, whenever possible, such projects should mix supportive housing units with other low- and moderate-income units. Community Boards must be given an opportunity to assess any proposal for residential facilities in terms of the needs for specific facilities, the adequacy of the plan, and the quality of the provider. The City should work with the community to determine the size, site and design of each facility. Any facility must provide adequate and essential social services as well as access to health services and other necessary support services.

HIV / AIDS

New York City continues to account for a major proportion of the nation's AIDS cases; CD4 is home to the nation's largest percentage of people with AIDS. In order to slow and hopefully stop the spread of this disease, we actively support educational programs, condom distribution and needle exchanges. For our neighbors who are stricken with this disease, we welcome community-based care facilities, supportive housing and other programs geared towards people with AIDS. HIV/AIDS infection rates have long been increasing especially within communities of color, and among women and youth, however funding for prevention and services to these communities has not kept pace.

Core Support for the Young and the Old

CB4 is concerned that the youngest and the oldest among us have adequate access to services necessary to assure their health, safety and security. For young children, adequate, supportive, licensed and affordable day care must be available for all those eligible, especially those newly moving into employment. Easily accessible and responsive health services for children and pregnant women are essential. For the elderly, a comprehensive range of services, including community centers, in-home supports, transportation, supportive housing, and preventive health and social services, are essential to assuring that they can live out their lives with dignity within their home communities.

Accessibility

We call upon the city Human Rights Commission to increase funding for more inspectors to investigate and enforce disabled accessibility building code compliance. We continue to receive complaints about deficiencies in various aspects of the paratransit system, including serious limitations in Access-a-Ride service.

Environment and Health

Residents of Clinton/Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea are faced with a variety of health and environmental concerns. We are concerned about the negative health effects that result from cuts to pest control. Cutbacks to DOHMH have aggravated the problem of rat infestation in certain locations. There an adequate amount of inspectors and exterminators to respond promptly to community requests for inspections and baitings, in an effort to curtail the problem.

Concern remains over the condition of the sewer and storm drainage system west of Ninth and Tenth Avenues. During heavy rains, basements and first floors, as well as streets and sidewalks, tend to flood. The area west of Tenth Avenue in Chelsea is increasingly residential, and this is also a health concern for those living in the area. While there has been some improvement, the problem continues to need study and monitoring from the DEP and DOT.

A significant population with the district is vulnerable to water-borne disease. A recent survey indicates that almost one in four Chelsea residents has a compromised immune system. Also, our community has a large senior citizen population and a rapidly growing number of children. As a result, this Board is extremely concerned about the quality of the City's water supply. In particular, we need DEP to take immediate action to ensure that all our residents, especially immune-compromised individuals, are informed of the danger of water-borne disease and of appropriate ways of protecting themselves from these diseases.

CB4 has been working with the DEP to assign noise violations for music which plays far above the allowable decibel level. DEP must work more closely with the community boards and neighborhood residents to build cases against clubs, bars and lounges that consistently commit quality of life violations.

Loud music emanating from nightclubs, bars and lounges and patron noise is not the only quality of life disturbance to residential neighborhoods. The district also has noise and odors from restaurants as well as noise and vibration from large mechanical systems serving restaurants and other commercial buildings; long hours of operations; garbage-pickup noise during early morning hours; etc. We need to affect a workable co-existence with mutual respect of businesses and residents in mixed-use neighborhoods.

Last year, total noise complaints from CD4 ranked among the highest registered by DEP. In 1999, CB4 asked our elected officials to investigate lowering the maximum decibel reading from 45 to 35. We still look forward to the adoption of this proposal.


YOUTH SERVICES

The Chelsea and Clinton/Hell's Kitchen community is home to more than 7,500 children under 18 years of age, more than 17% of whom receive public assistance. The youth services have been woefully under funded for many years. While we appreciate the focus given to this area by the Mayor's office, we are extremely concerned that precipitous changes, without a concomitant commitment of minimally adequate funds not only may not generate any improvements but may well undermine some core quality, community-based services already in place.

While we understand current fiscal pressures, we also continue to be concerned that youth services regularly shoulder more of the pressure than is equitable. While we were very relieved to see some proposed cuts restored in this year's, there are still serious areas of concern.

ACS is absorbing cuts both in its child welfare and child care divisions that are of concern. In addition, the impact of potentially transferring the school-age component of child care services to DYCD, and assuming a significant cost savings, remains very unclear and potentially troublesome. Both ACS and HRA have repeatedly acknowledged that it still needs to serve thousands of children citywide to meet the needs of eligible families. In neighborhoods such as ours, which includes many low-income working families, quality, city-funded day care - including school-age child care - is a primary concern.

We continue to be very distressed by the virtual dismantling of the Summer Youth Employment Program over the past few years as a result of extremely delayed decision-making, cuts, redirections, and poor leadership. What has become the annual ritual of an artificially created crisis related to this program is unconscionable and must be ended. It is essential that we provide our children and teens safe and well-staffed places for after school recreational activities, homework assistance, cultural and social events and individual enrichment. Many service organizations have been forced to curtail, close down, or charge for the services once given freely to youth. Finally the allocation of funding and contracts by DYCD needs continued attention to ensure the best use of available funds in light of local needs and preferences. .

Cuts to city parks also greatly affect the youth of CD4 where recreational opportunities and space are extremely limited. The Chelsea Recreation Center is an especially important project. For over 30 years, CB4 and the Chelsea community have anxiously awaited the opening of the Chelsea Recreation Center. This facility will provide a positive, safe center for the young people in our neighborhood. We look forward to working with DPR, community leaders and elected officials to ensure that the necessary funds are provided and that this facility reflects the needs and desires of the community.

We are also very alarmed by cuts in juvenile justice and housing. CD4 ranks highest among all Manhattan districts in the number of felony arrests. We urge that housing for homeless and run-away youth be maintained, that alternative to violence and creative justice programs be maintained, and that job training and placement programs be developed.


CULTURE & EDUCATION

Schools

CD4 has many schools of all grades serving local children as well as children from other school districts and boroughs. We have always supported education and are committed to developing and maintaining high standards for teachers as well as students. We must also provide assurances to parents that their children are in safe and healthy environments, both during the school day and during after school programs; this means on the streets as well as indoors.

There exists a heavy concentration of high schools within CD4; therefore, we would like to be consulted when new schools (provided through either new construction or space rental) are planned. The reason for this provision can best be seen in the case of Park West High School and Graphic Communication Arts, which are within one block of each other. The 3,500 students attending these schools come from all five boroughs. This has led to clogged neighborhood streets at varying arrival and dismissal times, problems at subways and at other transportation points, and disruptive situations affecting our residents and businesses.

In addition, greater consideration should be given to community residents in terms of their needs, which include better sanitation around schools, cleaner and safer streets for pedestrians, etc. Joint planning between the Department of Education and CB4 can results in a more harmonious relationship, which will lead to a better educational environment.

Libraries

CB4 endorses the restoration of funds cut from NY Public Libraries in order to continue six day service in all branch and research libraries, full funding for books and materials and important programs like the Connecting Libraries and Schools Project (CLASP). CB4 would also recommend that our libraries remain open on Saturdays for those residents who are unable to have access to them during the week.

We support increasing branch library funding to bridge the "digital divide" through free computer training and broad access to the Internet. Ninety-eight percent of all free public access computers in the City are in public libraries.

CB4 also believes library funding for expanded hours, and technology training and services should be increased. This Board seeks funding for building and technology infrastructure, which would serve to protect the investment that the City has made in computers and electronic information resources while ensuring well-maintained and secure libraries.

In regard to the libraries' challenge to recruit and retain qualified librarians, and the severe levels of turnover, this Board supports efforts to increase librarian salaries to levels in parity within the City, as well as the surrounding metropolitan area.

Cultural Affairs

CB4 is concerned about the continued loss of funding for small theatrical companies within our community. Small theatrical arts groups develop new talent in areas of writing, performing, and directing and this Board is pleased that the new administration has made support for these companies a priority.

We must also keep in mind the secondary theater and other artistic services that exist within CD4. For example, rental storage space for art, costumes, scenery and lighting are located through Chelsea and Clinton/Hell's Kitche. There are many dance companies and actively used rehearsal studios in our area. The money generated from these industries provides jobs and maintains the artistic life of the city. CB4 is also concerned with the loss of artists' studios in the District and the displacement of working artists.


WATERFRONT & PARKS

Although approximately 100,000 residents live on CD4's 700 acres of dense city blocks, the District has only 3 parks and 11 pocket parks or playgrounds, totaling less than 16 acres. The addition of the Hudson River Park will of course increase that total, but very little acreage is available now. Among the 59 community districts in the City, CD4 ranks 57th in terms of open space. We have less than 1/5 of an acre of open space per 1,000 residents, compared to a citywide average or 2-1/2 acres per thousand. Expense and capital budget cuts and the dramatically low staffing levels of the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) make it harder and harder for the department to maintain our parks, threatening the quality of life.

Funding

Over the past 30 years, the DPR budget has fallen sharply. Between 1990 and 2000 the decrease was over 30 percent. As a result of less funding, DPR now has less than half of the full time staff that it did ten years earlier. In total, the number of full time staff declined from approximately 4,500 in 1990 to just 2,100 in 2001. As a result, parks are cleaned less frequently, fewer recreational programs are offered and less security is provided. As examples of impact, the number of recreation workers fell 78 percent, from 371 in 1991 to just 80 in 2001; over the same period, the number of park workers decreased by 58 percent, from 1,600 to 670. According to the Parks Council, there is now on average one recreation worker per 101,053 children, and each park worker maintains 56 acres of parkland.

Meanwhile, private spending in parks by groups such as the Central Park Conservancy, the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation and the Riverside Park Fund contribute millions towards the improvement of large city parks. However, developing a cash-endowed constituency for smaller parks, such most of the ones in our district, is not possible.

And while the city has kept parks cleaner using Work Experience Program and Park Opportunity Program participants, these workers cannot perform many repair and maintenance duties, and the welfare list is dropping, making fewer workers available for parks.

CB4 demands that the administration make a greater commitment to open space in our community by restoring the Parks Department Budget.

Parks staffing
Each park in our district should have a full-time, on-site park keeper to address constituents concerns, provide security and perform routine maintenance of that park alone. Funding must also be directed towards full-time gardeners, maintenance workers, PEP officers, as well as seasonal aides and playground associates for the summer.

Requirement contracts
All of our parks require some small capital investment to make minor repairs, such as replacing a swing, painting bathrooms, fixing water fountains. Funding for requirements contracts should be increased so the Parks Department can maintain the parks in the best fashion. Funding must also be dedicated to support Green Thumb Community Gardens and pruning for street trees.

Hudson River Park

Additional financing
To date, the state and the city have promised $100 million each to build the park. The current financing plan puts the total cost at $330 million (in 1998) but a realistic estimate today is closer to $400 million. Commitments from both the state and the city must be secured for the balance. Design or construction schedules must not be held up due to a failure of political determination.

More acreage for Clinton Cove Park
The original park planned by the Hudson River Park Conservancy for Clinton Cove, from 52nd to 57th streets, included green space on 10-acre footprint of the current Pier 94 headhouse, now leased by the Unconvention Center. However, the Hudson River Park legislation left this parcel out of the park. As a result, northern Clinton was left with a four-acre park north of 54th Street only. CB4 supports the community in its pursuit of a better solution for Clinton. At the very least, the board would like to recover the northern stub of the head house for public space, an addition of two acres. This should be able to be realized without a significant change in use of the headhouse for the Unconvention Center.

CB4 is pleased that work has begun on the 4-acre upland portion of Clinton Cove Park, including the new boathouse. However, we are still disappointed that the development of Pier 94 by ENK, in particular the head house portion, occupies almost 10 acres of what was to be parkland in the original plan released by the Hudson River Park Conservancy for Clinton Cove. We hope that, when ENK's lease expires, the city will take a new look at this pier with a goal of a development that does not need the head house, or at least the northern extension of the head house - as well as use that might be more compatible with a waterfront park. The removal of the northern extension of the head house alone would add two acres of parkland without significantly affecting the portion of Pier 94 that could be developed.

Passenger Ship Terminal
CB4 is pleased to hear that the city will upgrade the PST in the near future. Currently there are two outstanding problems that must be addressed - traffic and waterfront access. We understand that the city is exploring ways to mitigate traffic by reducing traffic flow inefficiencies and by creating taxi drop-offs on the east side of Route 9A. However, as larger capacity ships begin to use the terminal, even more aggressive measures will need to be taken to ensure that traffic associated with the PST does not overwhelm the highway and neighboring Hudson River Park.

Waterfront access must also be improved as the terminal is being redesigned. The current security barriers create the impression of a prison, a feature that is undesirable for both cruise ship customers as well as the park.

Pier 84
CB4 is pleased that work has begun on Pier 84 as a public park and we look forward to an opening in 2006 if not earlier.

Removal of Municipal Uses Park
Currently the Police Department stores towed cars at Pier 76 and the Department of Sanitation parks garbage trucks and stores sand at Pier 97 and the Gansevoort Peninsula. The Board expects the administration to put solutions for the removal of these uses on a fast track. The Hudson River Park Act requires that the salt pile at Gansevoort be removed by 2003. We therefore expect that that space will be free for additional use. We suggest that DOS move more trucks to Gansevoort, and therefore allow Pier 97 to be developed as parkland in accordance with the Act.

The Hudson River Park Act requires that the salt pile at Gansevoort be removed by December 2003, as well as all DOS uses at Pier 97. At this time, there is no solution for Gansevoort in the foreseeable future, and for Pier 97 for at least 4 years. Pier 97 depends on the completion of a new garage, currently under construction at 57th street. CB4 continues to urge the city to expedite the completion of this garage so that Pier 97 can be developed as parkland as soon as possible. If possible, the trucks and other DOS uses should be moved off the pier to an interim location before the garage is finished. Further, some mitigation for the continued occupation of Pier 97 for some four to five years beyond the legislated deadline is expected.

The situation at Gansevoort is even more grim, with the timetables for building a new garage to free up this large peninsula ranging from eight to ten or more years. Given this long span of time, some mitigation is not unreasonable.
Finally, legislation calls for the city to put forth its best efforts to relocate the tow pound on Pier 76 as soon as possible. The Hudson Yards plan calls for the relocation of the tow pound to a new facility south of the western rail yards. The design of this facility, as well as the design of the park to be built on its roof, must involve significant community input.

Resolution of commercial leases
Several commercial leases must be resolved in order for park planning to continue. At Pier 63, planning must take place immediately to ensure that Basketball City's commercial lease is not renewed beyond December 2004, and that the building be demolished as soon as possible so that soil testing can begin in preparation for building the park planned for that area.

With regard to the very popular public access pier called Pier 63 Maritime, which is a subtenant of Basketball City and which must also be moved when that lease is terminated, CB 4 supports, in principle, moving Pier 63 Maritime (also known as the Lackawanna Railroad Barge) to Pier 66A just north of Pier 64.

In addition, a resolution must be found with Circle Line/World Yacht parking areas in order to free the upland area of Piers 81 and 83. The board has supported the concept of allowing Circle Line/World Yacht to park cars on the roof of its more southern pier. We urge the city to come to an agreement on this issue in the near future.

Pedestrian bridges
While one bridge crossing Route 9A at 46th Street to the Intrepid Museum is now complete, the bridge crossing the highway at 54th Street planned as part of NYS DOT's project was never built. CB4 suggests that plans be made to secure necessary funds and public space on both sides of the highway, especially in northern Clinton either at DeWitt Clinton Park or 57th Street for the bridge. The tenant of Pier 94, the Unconvention Center, has agreed to work with State DOT in finding an appropriate landing for the western side of the bridge. Access to the park at its northern end must be improved, especially at the highly trafficked intersections.

Heliport
CB4 remains opposed to any heliport within Hudson River Park. In particular, we are adamantly opposed to a heliport on Pier 76 as this would ruin all efforts to develop 50 percent of this pier as public open space, as stipulated by the Hudson River Park Act.

Segment 5
Now that the design for Segment 5 of Hudson River Park is near completion, we urge that funds be allocated, through the mechanism of Hudson River Park Trust, to construct this segment. However, even before this segment is fully funded, we urge the Trust to begin removing the pier shed from Pier 64 now, so that the views of the river in the area will be enhanced.

New Parkland

CB4 continues to pursue two potential sites for new parkland. The first, at 49th Street and Tenth Avenue, is currently held by the Department of Environmental Protection for construction of the Third Water Tunnel. We ask that the administration take action on this parcel, and execute a transfer of the property for public use.

The MTA has indicated in the past that it will have no use for the Ninth Avenue frontage of its Rail Control Center Project between 53rd and 54th streets. The Board has asked the MTA to consider dedicating this space to DPR, and asks the administration to pursue this possibility.

In addition, more parkland for the Chelsea neighborhood needs to be identified and secured. The City should investigate the reuse of city-owned land for pocket parks such as the Sanitation Department parking lot on the south-side of 20th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues.

Inland Parks and Recreation Centers

Clement Clark Moore Park
Recently, Councilmember Quinn organized several community members concerned with the maintenance of Clement Clark Moore Park, and together we have compiled a specific list of maintenance and capital projects. We will not list them all now, but they include a horticultural master plan for the park, several new plantings, a renovation of the children's spray fountain, and a reuse of one corner of the park near a gate that is permanently padlocked. We look forward to working with the Parks Department on improvements to the park.

Chelsea Park
We are grateful that that DPR was able to reconstruct the eastern end of Chelsea Park through requirements contracts. One last item remains there, however. In discussions with DPR during the design phase of the park, the committee had requested that Parks reposition the stone columns, which date back to Tammany Days, to an appropriate location. However they still remain stuck together in a random spot.

We also request that a broader effort be made between DPR, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Department of Homeless Services and the nearby soup kitchen to develop long-term solutions for ensuring the proper use of the park by all its users.

DeWitt Clinton Park
CB4 is pleased that the Council Member Quinn and EDC have budgeted capital funds for the improvement of DeWitt Clinton Park. In addition to addressing general improvement needs, funding should be secured for a tot-lot at the southeast corner of the park to replace an underutilized paved area. There are plans directly across the street for new affordable housing currently underway. Also, we ask that DPR and the Police Department give greater attention to patrolling this park, especially on its western edge, to prevent unwanted uses.

Hell's Kitchen Park
We are looking forward to seeing construction begin on Hell's Kitchen Park, and we thank the Parks Department for its thoughtful redesign and attention to our requests at reviews of the designs. We also are grateful to Council Member Quinn for securing the funding for a full renovation for this park, one of the largest in Clinton and also the one in greatest disrepair.

We are still startled and mystified to see that a toilet, which was planned for this park, would cost $750,000, not far from the cost of renovating the entire park, which does include the plumbing for the bathroom. We ask that Parks find a creative way to build affordable comfort stations, especially since so few of our neighborhood parks have them.

59th Street Recreation Center
We are looking forward to seeing the RFP for the 59th Street Rec Center go through as soon as possible. We request that the Parks Department now give this project its highest priority, and move swiftly towards the beginning of a sorely needed renovation in the early parts of 2005. We also hope to continue discussions with Parks to see how we can make the most of this center now, while we are all organized behind the project.

Chelsea Recreation Center
What can we say, other than the opening of the Chelsea Recreation Center, after a 30-year stall, was a great day for the district. The center is fabulous. We encourage the department to continue with its construction and to be careful with its maintenance, as well as find funding to fully program the great spaces within the facility.


August 2004



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