I attended the September 17th public scoping meeting regarding the environmental impact of the proposed transfer of the Jewish Home Lifecare center from West 106th Street to West 97th Street. My wife and I live across Columbus Avenue from the proposed facility.
The environmental impact statement should include consideration of a range of issues. They include:
1 - Traffic. My wife and I are out and about on West 97th Street several times daily, from early morning to late at night. Traffic both from the east via the 97th Street transverse and from Columbus Avenue is heavy. Whole Foods trucks, ambulettes to the Ryan Health Center and schoolbuses clog up the block even more. Ambulances have a hard time getting through. Traffic to and from a proposed 20-story facility - during and after construction - will make a really bad situation even worse.
2 - Noise. Much traffic causes lots of noise. Assuming the construction of the proposed facility goes on 2-3 years, it's hard to imagine how the children of P.S. 163 next door can learn properly, and it will be extremely unpleasant for all the many residential neighbors.
3 - Lead, toxins. It's clear harmful toxins are in the ground of the current parking lot where the new facility is proposed. I would not want my child exposed to these toxins many hours each schoolday, and am concerned about living within a block of the proposed construction site.
4 - Safety. Besides the real question of safety of children at P.S. 163, I agree with several speakers at the Sept. 17 hearing that a 20-story nursing home cannot provide proper safety for its residents. I routinely visit friends in Manhattan nursing homes. The elevators are slow. I don't see how residents on upper floors could be evacuated swiftly in case of emergency.
May I suggest a simple test: Would you or anyone you know want to live under the conditions I and others have discussed? I think not. Jewish Home Lifecare was given a variance to build up on 106th Street. Let them take advantage of this variance there, and not cause untold hardship and real damage on West 97th Street.
- Glenn Richter, West 97th Street
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