What's in store for the Upper East Side this year
By Nicholas Viest, CB 8 Chair
Manhattan Community Board 8 hears literally hundreds of issues in a given year. Virtually any action that requires government approval goes through our Board as well as a host of issues that don't. For Community Board 8, making sure that these issues get a public hearing and are adjudicated fairly is a priority.
The East Side has become more congested and we will be focusing on pedestrian and vehicular safety and sidewalk congestion. Our Transportation Committee will be dealing with issues regarding bike lanes and the addition of Citibike racks by the Department of Transportation. The Street Vendor Task Force will be holding a forum on street vendors later in the year to address better ways to regulate their expanding presence. Community Board 8 will also work with residents and neighborhood organizations regarding congestion and sanitation issues on 86th Street.
We will continue to look at ways to help residents and businesses impacted by the Second Ave Subway construction through our Second Avenue Subway Task Force, Transportation Committee, and Small Business Committee.
Over the next 5 years, NY Presbyterian Hospital, Hospital for Special Surgery, Memorial Sloan Kettering and Rockefeller University will be building new structures so there will be significant construction and traffic impacts in that area. We will inform the public on construction schedules and work with the residents and institutions to deal with the impacts created by these projects. Community Board 8 requested and received authorization for a traffic study to be done on York Avenue.
Another priority is to get a comprehensive plan from the city for the East River Esplanade. Funding is needed to make the Esplanade a continuous park site which can accommodate both passive and recreational uses. Rockefeller University has a proposal is to build over the FDR Drive and the Community Board is working through the application and its proposals regarding the Esplanade.
Community Board 8 opposes the 91st Street Marine Transfer Station. CB 8 will monitor the impacts of this project and keep the public informed about the safety and traffic issues as construction begins assuming that the current court cases do not reverse the city plan for this site.
Public education is a priority, especially the effort to get more middle school seats for our district. The CB 8 Youth and Education Committee is working with parents regarding the opening of the new middle school in the existing P.S. 158 building and also to secure a new principal (soon to be announced) on the curriculum and admissions process.
We also feel that the significant historic parts of Board 8 need to be preserved and will be pushing for support of our resolutions to extend the Park Avenue Historic District.
Community Board 8 has very little open space and our Parks Committee will be working on creative ways to provide a more "green" environment for residents.
We have also separated our Public Safety and Housing Committees to enable them to focus on each of these critical issues separately.
Community Board looks forward to working with our new and current elected officials to help the residents of Board 8 and we encourage all of our residents to attend Board 8 meetings on the issues that are important to them.