The soon to be completed Hudson Park is a waterfront eyesore. I thought we were passed the building of parking garages on the Hudson River. This is a micro version of Alexander Street Master Plan which will have 18 building ranging from 30 stories to 14 stories. The ASMP also calls for 57 levels of above ground parking on the Hudson shore . What happened to the 2002 NYS open space conservation act and other environmental acts that ensure proper land usage on the waterfront. Parking garages, streets and on street parking on the waterfront are not within the public land use doctrine.
Project for public spaces gives quite a few good ideas about rebuilding public space.
The waterfront section is particular interesting and relevant to the Yonkers issue. This issue is now getting bigger than the Alexander street master plan, but is addresses the whole Yonkers waterfront. I have been at the public meetings with the mayor, where time and time again people from the audience question the privatization of the waterfront and how they already see the Yonkers waterfront becoming the private front yard and dog walking area for the new Yonkers residents. The mayor repeatedly states that this isn’t so, but the evidence isn’t supporting him, the historic Yonkers pier was privatized and chopped up for a high end restaurant, a good restaurant so I hear, but with prices so high very few from the local non city hall community are going to be dining there. The fireworks display this fourth of July was more like a private party for X2 Xavier opening crowd than the normal Yonkers affair, the banners advertising the fireworks were missing and there was no mention of the fireworks on the city of Yonkers website. Kind of like it was invitation only event. Questions about the no fishing signs that appeared at the pier are answered as a temporary thing due to the ferry , I think it has more to do with X2 Xavier, they don’t want the place to look too common. The mayor promise a fishing pier, but it is not on the DGEIS plans submitted , at least not in downtown Yonkers, yes there is one proposed for the JFK marina, but that’s not downtown Yonkers, that is probably the location they figure on having the affordable housing, they plan on building a full service marina there, full service marinas are very noisy, that will be where the section of affordable housing may be ( if any). Stick the fisherman down there too, that will be their section of the waterfront, they did put in the DGEIS that the oldest canoe club in the USA was also being relocated, but didn’t tell the canoe club. Now they promise that was only a mistake by AKRF, it will remain in downtown Yonkers, where it is, so they promise.
So we have the Yonkers pier, the missing fisherman, secret fireworks for X2 patrons all pointing to privatization of the waterfront as an esplanade for the new Yonkerites, the wealthy condo buyers they are trying to draw into Yonkers.
The project for public spaces waterfront guidelines had a couple points that jumped right out at me
1 . Residential units in close proximity do not mix and are contrary to a successful public waterfront. I frequent the revitalized Manhattan and Brooklyn waterfronts, they have free concerts, movies, music, dancing, and children’s activities all planned for the spring, summer and fall. The riverfront greenway park isn’t shut down at dusk like these non functioning systems. Residences along the waterfront are going to try to limit that proper public use. A successful waterfront is going to be the more nighttime use the better, the safer it is. Every night you will have a choice of destinations, this has happened in Manhattan. Why are there no dance lessons and free outdoor dancing on the esplanade now and planned for the spring and summer summer? It is built , it is there, there are dance studios that I am sure would want to get involved, the esplanade has been there for years now and it hasn’t been put to its proper use.
Outdoor movies could be shown on the pier, esplanade or sculpture garden too, all on the same night, a blues band could be performing on the lower level of the pier. There should be four activities every warm weather night down there
There is all this alleged public space, already built, that has not been put to its proper use. I have seen the mayor speak at a couple of these public meetings, he has great personality and is very likable. He keeps stating he wants people down there to use the place; they cannot get a coffee house to set up shop since no one goes down there. Actually that is false, your waterfront development wont confirm the space they need to run a business, they want to wait until the gap or some big user leases out the big chunk , and then give the coffee house people what is left over. The coffee people cannot come up with a business plan that way, I spoke to the client.
Mayor Amicone , it is time to light a fire under your recreation, waterfront development personal, a layman can figure out what is wrong with this waterfront.
It is already not being put to it proper use, 400 hundred yards of beautiful finished product. It can host a lot of activities, This isn’t the front yard of the imported new Yonkers wealthy, it is still Yonkers front yard and we need to start using it this spring, and your recreation/ waterfront people should be lining up dance studio’s, setting up movie nights, invite a blues or jazz band to set up shop. Plenty can be accomplished now on the established waterfront. A successful waterfront should be a busy thriving area; it should be the place for concerts, outdoor movies, music and dancing. It should be open late, well into the nighttime and early morning hours “residential development limits the diversity of waterfront use and creates constituencies invested in preventing 24-hour activity from flourishing”.
2.) Don’t let the developers set the goals, I have been to about every waterfront meeting, and speaker after speaker has said the same thing, do not let the developers ruin our waterfront, it is one thing that Yonkers still has. Put community goals first, not developer’s goals, plans must adhere to the concept that the Yonkers waterfront is Yonkers public asset.
7. Encourage 24-hour activity by limiting residential development
Housing does not encroach on the waterfront in Montreal, Canada
Great waterfronts are not dominated by residential development. Why? Because these are places that are full of people, day and night. They are the sites of festivals, markets, fireworks displays, concerts and other high-energy gatherings. A high concentration of residential development limits the diversity of waterfront use and creates constituencies invested in preventing 24-hour activity from flourishing.
Mistake #6: A Process Driven by Development, Not by Community
Fast growing cities around the world, like Panama City, are quickly ceding their prime waterfront space to development.
Many waterfront planning efforts are led by “development corporations,” but when development is the primary objective, public goals and public process get left behind. As with any public space, the knowledge and desires of the community should form the framework for shaping waterfronts. When a city hands over the future of its waterfront to developers, the essential public spirit of the waterfront is compromised. Development is a necessary component of this process, but not the only point. It should fit within the community’s vision, not override it.
There is no mention of on street separated bikeways or shared paths, An east west connection to the south county trailway must be incorporated. Bicycles and public transit are just an afterthought and are thrown in as a couple political correct words on the DGEIS traffic study.
State and federal ISTEA funds may be available for bicycle and pedestrian projects.
3.1 billion For the Alexander street master plan alone and no on street bicycle lanes or improved public transit. These developers only have their own profit in mind. The residents’ quality of life is not even a thought.
A bicycle blueprint needs to be established for Yonkers, before the city and roadways are redeveloped. The SFC plan, the one closest to reality, is car centric. Incorporating alternative transportation into the plan is the modern and sensible approach.
The rise in fuel prices and the nations desire to not be dependent on oil can be countered by real planning, not this cookie cutter 1980’s transportation design.
Properly equipped and ADA compliant streetcars and shuttle buses could reduce the need for private vehicles in the downtown business district. Ten thousand parking spaces are not the answer for the Yonkers downtown area.
Yonkers is extremely hilly and this creates additional problems, a possible solution that has already been invented, has been outlawed on state roadways by Governor Spitzer. The only reasons i can think of this is the automobile lobbyist are concerned about competition, they do not want anyone to find out how easily the Segway could replace 1 car and 90 percent of their sub 20 mile trips. The safety concerns are a red herring and bogus, 1,500 people a year in New York State are killed in MVA and many more catastrophic injured. The Segways main predator is the same as the bicyclist and pedestrians, the automobile. If people used Segways(or similar) plus zip car and rental car type concepts, the 7000 car parking spaces and 54 levels of above ground parking garages on the Hudson on the Alexander street project could be greatly reduced.
At a construction price of $25,000 a parking space, this makes more economic and environmental sense. Visitors and shoppers would use public transit, properly designed public transit and alternative transportation is the rage in modern cities and plan 2025
Quick synopsis of Thursday bfeb 14 city hall public comments on the Alexander street DGEIS
I need to check which council members were in attendance . The mayor and chuck lesnick chaired the meeting. I saw Joan G and am not sure if any other councilmember’s attended. I will update this as my notebook is probably in my car and I trying to write a short piece from memory. I will update as I get correct spelling of names and retrieve more information. I arrived a couple minutes late. I heard that bob morrow from the canoe club spoke about the references in the dgeis that stated the canoe club would be moved to a new undisclosed not established location. The city and mayor said that this would be fixed and they plan on keeping the canoe club right where is , they like the service it provides to the community. I was at the mayors greet and speak last week at the library and the same question was asked and the mayor again confirmed that the DGEIS will be changed there is no plan to remove or relocate the canoe club. Roda gave some great comment on how the waterfront design and green space is inadequate, that the greenways and bikeways could and should be extended as a widest width as possible. The submitted DGEIS allows water side vehicle driveways and waterfront on street parking. All this space that can and should be used for green space and wide greenways. Roda pointed out that the greenway at the sculpture garden on the south side of the pier was designed too small for bicycle use. My comments if you go to goggle earth you can measure the space between the original building on the waterfront and the railroad tracks, there was plenty of room to place the driveway in rear of the building and use the waterfront space for to make a wider multi use greenway and park space. Battery park city is a much older design, but they knew enough to place all roadways behind the buildings, and they had plenty of space in the front for both. If you look at mansion designs on the waterfront around the world, you do not see the driveways and parking on the waterfront side, why do these designers and planners have so little respect for the public use? A man spoke about how one of the involved developers is being sued for many millions of dollars for non payment of their workers and for monies owed at their last projects, he said don’t make deal with developers already facing litigation for poor performance and building techniques. My thoughts, if buying a house in a new development if you see the builder has a poor history and has many unsatisfied customers, lawsuits and has not corrected defects and doesn’t have the money to do so, I would find another builder. He also mentioned that many of the developments that they have been involved in are collecting moths and only two waterfront developments worked out ok, providence and one in California, he mentioned that most of these waterfront developments are falling down already due to poor construction, the developers have made their money and are long gone.
I know this is true in many areas of Vancouver, Brazil, Oregon and Washington State. They used the wrong mix and the like the Boston big dig, consequences are extreme.
Excelsior manufacturing company spoke up there have been no plans to either relocate them or incorporate them to stay in the area, they are the biggest employer in the area and have been providing stabile employment for over 25 years, what is going to become of these workers and the one community business?
Terry N spoke out how the yonkers paddling and rowing club should now be classified as historical and cultural resource in the BOA. this is different than landmark status, my thoughts, in the DGEIS the drafter considered the old Beczak building a 1950’s era Quonset hut a historical and cultural resource, the yonkers canoe club is probably the oldest continues use canoe club in the united states, it has much more historical significant on the Hudson river and Yonkers than the 1950’s naval reserve building. The yonkers canoe club was established in 1886 , it was located a bit farther upriver but was relocated and rebuilt at the current location around 1935, it is the oldest historical and cultural community site in this plan. This is reinforced and highlighted at every year Riverfest. Terry n also spoke out how the new canoe launch at the JFK marina should be physically separated and far away from the jet ski and power boat launch, it is hazardous to human powered boat users to launch both at the same location, my comments yes, the existing ramp is too steep for kayak launching and is too easy to slip and fall the grade is for power boat trailer launching not hand launched boats.
Jane a Ludlow resident made some great comments on the population density this plan and the adjacent sfc plan , if completed over 10,000 people will be placed into a geographically small footprint in yonkers with inadequate resources to accommodate them, the county sewage plant may not be able to accommodate the sewage, it is already severely taxed and CSO overflows too often. My thoughts, the development in the Yonkers area in the last 10 years had caused flooding and overflowing of catch basins in areas that never were a problem before. The blacktopping of all this previous green space is causing combine sewage overflow at much lower rainfalls than previous. 10,000 additional residents in this area could cause cso every rainfall. 3752 residences in Alex street , about 2000 residences in the sfc , plus the residences in the no build projects.
A woman named Terry spoke out in favor of retaining the canoe club at is present location, even though she is not a member, she has seen their outreach to the community and believes they belong in the current downtown area.
Another man spoke up about how Henry Hudson discovery and exploration of the Hudson 500 year anniversary is coming up, he gave a great and funny narrative on how Henry Hudson ghost would be walking with Mayor Amicone and asked him what he did this was a gorgeous Hudson valley with sweeping views of the palisades, now only the people that can afford huge end condo will have the views. I will update this more latter , there are many othr statement and comments that were made that I would like to note and expand upon. This was broadcast on the cable network and hopefully is easily obtainable to review.
Another item I want to touch on which has been brought up at the Chema Community Center meeting. why is there no yonkers public TV, this will be an important tool in the coming years, it should already be established, with the current FIOS bargaining the resources should be made available to the community , this is very common in Manhattan, different neighborhoods have their own TV shows, put out by the residents, not the providers.
this is incomplete, but i wanted to post something before the weekend. many great comment from park hill area will be added
it looks like the stone drain into the hudson under the metronorth tracks , is the only fix
the water feeding into the Hudson looks pretty rusty. i guess that was the fix.
there is also a collection of photo’s mixed in from the original may 7 , 2007 spill, those are easily spotted as the vegetation was much greener than this weekends picture