Final Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Emergency Ventilation Plant
The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Proposed Action has been completed and accepted by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) New York City Transit (NYCT), as lead agency, for the Proposed Action.
This serves as the Notice of Completion and Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement issued for the Proposed Action (Emergency Ventilation Plant for the Lexington Ave Subway Line between 33rd St. /Park Ave South and Grand Central Terminal/42nd St. Stations) pursuant to 6NYCRR Part 617 of the implementing regulations pertaining to Article 8 (State Environmental Quality Review Act) of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law.
The Proposed Action is the construction and operation of a new emergency ventilation plant (EVP) to provide necessary mechanical ventilation to serve the Lexington Avenue Subway Line between the 33rd Street/Park Avenue South Station and the Grand Central/42nd Street Station, located on Park Avenue in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City, which currently has no such protection for Fire-Life Safety. The EVP would be located below grade within the Murray Hill Historic District which is designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, the New York State Historic Preservation Office, and the National Register of Historic Places.
The FEIS evaluated the Proposed Action for potential environmental impacts (generally related to construction impacts); transportation (traffic, parking, pedestrian and transit); air quality; noise and vibration; historical and cultural resources; social and economic conditions (community facilities and services, open space/parkland and recreational facilities, community character, urban design, visual resources, environmental justice and public health); natural resources; contaminated and hazardous materials; infrastructure, energy and solid waste; safety and security; cumulative effects; irretrievable and irreversible commitments of resources; unavoidable adverse impacts; and growth inducing aspects of the proposed action.
The action evaluated thirteen 13 alternative sites which were initially identified in the project Draft Scoping Document, issued May 18, 2016. The alternatives considered the siting of the EVP at 13 potential locations between 36th to 39th Streets: on the side streets east and west of Park Avenue; and, on northbound (NB) Park Avenue. From among these 13 alternatives, two Candidate Alternatives, 11 & 12, were identified for further evaluation. After the Final Scoping Document and Alternative Analysis/Feasibility Evaluation were issued on February 8, 2017, MTA NYCT identified, two (2) additional options that it judged offered the potential to reduce EVP facility presence on Park Avenue. This would be achieved by placing elements of the EVP on side streets; these options are referred to as Alternatives 11A and 12A. These two (2) additional options, along with Candidate Alternatives 11 and 12, previously identified in the Scoping documents, and the No Action Alternative were evaluated in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).
Alternative 11 is located along Park Avenue NB between East 37th and East 39th Streets; and, Alternative 11A presents an “L” shaped configuration, with one “leg” on Park Avenue NB between East 38th and East 39th Streets and the other “leg” on E 38th Street, east from Park Avenue. Alternative 12 is located on Park Avenue NB between East 36th and East 38th Streets; and, Alternative 12A presents an “L” shaped configuration, with one “leg” on Park Avenue NB between East 36th and East 37th Streets and the other “leg” on East 37th Street, east from Park Avenue.
NYCT analysis during the DEIS process indicated that Alternatives 11A and 12A would engender significantly more adverse engineering and environmental effects/impacts than Candidate Alternatives 11 & 12. Further analysis determined that between Candidate Alternatives 11 and 12, Candidate Alternative 12 indicates a greater potential to minimize significant adverse impacts than Candidate Alternative 11. This difference results from consideration of an Oil-o-Static line and associated manhole located in Park Avenue NB; specifically, Candidate Alternative 11 would require the relocation of the Oil-o-Static line and associated manhole whereas Alternative 12 would minimize effects on that utility. Thus, NYCT considered and identified Alternative 12 to be the tentative preferred alternative upon issuance of the DEIS.
The DEIS was issued on March 15, 2017 and a Public Hearing was held on April 5, 2017; the associated comment period for the DEIS closed on April 28, 2017. During the DEIS comment period, over 120 commenters submitted commentary to NYCT (in letters, “online” on the website, and oral and written testimony).
NYCT reviewed and responded to all of the comments and appended the Response to Comments to the subsequently prepared FEIS. As a result of the NYCT’s review of all the comments from the public and elected officials, NYCT has concluded that Candidate Alternative 12 is the Preferred Alternative which, in aggregate, based on engineering, economic and environmental factors, provides the greatest potential to minimize significant adverse effects/impacts during construction and operation.
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