Sanitation: Don’t dump on Hudson Square

Hudson Square used to be a dumping ground for uses shunned by other neighborhoods, mainly trucking, including private garbage carters and recyclable waste and paper carters. In the late 1990s, that began to change as new luxury residential buildings began to sprout up.

Three years ago, Hudson Square’s southern end was rezoned residential, and the new designer glass towers have kept on coming.

But the Department of Sanitation garbage-truck garage on Gansevoort Peninsula is a problem. Under the Hudson River Park Act, Sanitation is already supposed to have left Gansevoort so the park can be built there; but the city has moved slowly, precipitating the Friends of Hudson River Park’s lawsuit, which forced the city to agree to vacate the peninsula by 2012, paying steep fines every year it remains.

When Community Board 2 debated the Gansevoort problem back in 1998, the Greenwich Village board resolved Hudson Square could accommodate one more Sanitation district’s trucks in addition to the trucks from Sanitation District 1 (which, currently based at Canal and Spring Sts., serve Lower Manhattan’s C.B. 1, though this garage site is within C.B. 2). The thought was always that C.B. 4 (Chelsea/Clinton) could also house one more Sanitation district’s trucks in addition to its own.

But the new Hudson Square plan calls for a three-Sanitation district garage — for Sanitation Districts 1 and 2 (the latter serving Greenwich Village) and now also Sanitation District 5 (serving the middle of Manhattan from Union Square to Central Park S.). And, it turns out, Chelsea/Clinton isn’t getting an additional Sanitation district, after all.

A couple of years ago, as Mayor Bloomberg pushed his West Side stadium plan, the city was also proposing a new Sanitation garage — with a rooftop park — in the West 30s. The stadium idea collapsed, but City Hall is still promoting the Hudson Yards, with a slew of upscale residential towers on the way. For unexplained reasons, though, a Sanitation garage is no longer slated for the Hudson Yards.

Again Hudson Square is being dumped on. Yet, the city rezoned Hudson Square residentially — so the city is working at cross-purposes.

And we can’t fathom why this planned four-story garage must be 150 feet tall. UPS will have the ground floor; still, must ceilings be 35 feet high? If there were one less Sanitation district, meaning a few dozen less trucks (assuming one of the Sanitation districts was relocated, perhaps, to Chelsea), the garage could be smaller.

This project will add thousands of truck trips to congested Canal St. and the Holland Tunnel area. The preliminary document says the traffic study area will be a 400-foot radius around the site — to be expanded “if needed.” Clearly, a 400-foot area is too small to assess the tremendous impact this facility promises.

Hudson Square shouldn’t be saddled with garbage trucks from three community board districts. This isn’t so much a NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) issue as just not fair.