Downtown Local


Mayor serves at other City Hall

Mike Bloomberg came to a less familiar and fancier City Hall the day before Christmas to serve meals to homeless people in Tribeca. Bloomberg helped out and thanked City Hall restaurant owner and chef Henry Meer of City Hall for once again serving free meals before Christmas.

Pier parking

The Hudson River Park Trust has chosen a new operator to run the parking lot on Pier 40 at W. Houston St. Chris Martin, the Trust’s spokesperson, said Standard Parking will take over on Jan. 1, 2004 from C&K Properties, which has run the parking on the pier for the last eight years.

The pier has about 2,000 spaces for long-term parking. Under the Trust’s Pier 40 interim plan, this number could increase by 800 to 900 spaces.

As for any possible increase in parking fees, Martin said, “There’s no expected rate change at the time.”

C&K also held the master lease on the 15-acre pier, subleasing space to FedEx, Academy Bus and the Police Department Barrier Unit, among other commercial tenants. Under the Hudson River Park Act, these commercial uses must vacate the pier by the end of 2003.

During the Trust’s search for private developers to redevelop Pier 40 into a combination park and commercial hub, C&K, under partners Meir Cohen and Ben Korman, submitted a proposal this year for an arts complex and a large ballfield. Friends of Hudson River Park and ultimately Community Board 2 endorsed C&K to develop the pier. But in June, the Trust decided not to pick any of the shortlisted developers.

As part of the Pier 40 interim plan, a 3.2-acre athletic field in the pier’s courtyard is also planned to be completed by this summer.

Diesel bill passes

Mayor Mike Bloomberg signed a law last Monday that will dramatically cut the diesel emissions of construction equipment used on city-contracted sites.

The bill, which the City Council passed unanimously on Dec. 15, requires construction contractors to use ultra low-sulfur diesel fuel and to retrofit their cranes, bulldozers and other equipment to accommodate the change. The law is the first of its kind in the country, according to environmentalists.

“This is absolutely groundbreaking legislation,” said Richard Kassel of the National Resource Defense Council.

Councilmember Alan Gerson was the main sponsor of the bill, which will be implemented first Downtown and then will expand citywide according to a City Council timeline. Contractors working on city construction sites will have to cut their diesel emissions from 3,000 parts per million down to 15 parts per million, or 30 parts per million if existing technology doesn’t support 15.

The bill passed was based on a successful project to cut emissions from construction vehicles at the World Trade Center site, according to Andy Darrell, Living Cities director of the non-profit Environmental Defense. The organization worked with Governor Pataki to establish a commitment that would require all state construction vehicles at the World Trade Center site, which is controlled by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, to use retrofits and ultra low-sulfur diesel fuel, Darrell said.

The law will give an immediate health boost to communities coping with excessive construction, and asthma sufferers in particular will benefit from the reduction in airborne fine particulates, Darrell said.

“I call it a holiday present to the lungs,” Gerson said.

C.B. 1 meetings

The upcoming schedule of Community Board 1 committee meetings is as follows. Unless otherwise noted, meetings will be held in room 709 of 49-51 Chambers St.

On Tuesday, Jan. 6, the Battery Park City committee will meet at 6:00 p.m. to discuss Department of Transportation traffic signals and the proposed milling and paving for south B.P.C.

On Wednesday, Jan. 7, the World Trade Center Redevelopment Committee will meet at 6 p.m. in Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s office at 250 Broadway, Assembly Hearing Room, 19th floor, to discuss the World Trade Center Health Registry and to hear a presentation on the design of the Freedom Tower (tentative).

On Thursday, Jan. 8, the Tribeca Committee will meet at 6 p.m. to discuss with the D.O.T. the reconstruction of Chambers St. from Broadway to West St., a liquor license application for 185 Duane St., 250 West Broadway, 25 N. Moore St., and 25 Hudson St. (tentative), and a liquor license transfer for 385 Greenwich St.

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