June 10, 2014 By Christian Murray
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer has come out in opposition to the FDNY’s plan to house 100 fire trucks on a site next to Lou Lodati Park.
The councilman’s position essentially means that the FDNY’s plan to use the 39-34 43rd Street site to keep a fleet of trucks has been thwarted.
The plan, which is currently being reviewed by the Queens Borough President’s office, ultimately needs the approval of the City Council to go into effect. With Van Bramer, the majority leader, in opposition to it, the FDNY’s plans for the site are essentially over.
The FDNY wants the site so it can keep a reserve fleet of trucks on hand in case any of its vehicles throughout the city break down or get into an accident.
The FDNY currently houses its reserve fleet in a flood zone in Brooklyn, so it wants to move it to Sunnyside. The FDNY also wants to bring its decommissioned and wrecked vehicles from its current Maspeth location to Sunnyside too.
“I obviously appreciate the work of the FDNY and the bravery of the members of FDNY,” Van Bramer said. However, “I have serious concerns about these large trucks rumbling in and out a residential neighborhood—adjoining a park where literally thousands of children, pets, and seniors cross the street to go to. It seems to be a potential hazard and I have heard from a number of people who are opposed to it.”
Van Bramer said that there are more appropriate locations, in less residential areas. “A facility like this is best suited for industrial zone and not across the street from a residential community,” Van Bramer said.
Van Bramer said that he was concerned that wrecked vehicles would come rumbling in and out of the neighborhood, across the street from people’s living rooms and bedrooms.
Van Bramer said that he was still waiting on outstanding FDNY information–such as the number of trucks that would go in and out of the location—but that would not change his viewpoint in any case.
“I don’t think there is a scenario where I would change my opinion,” he said.
Van Bramer said he saw the stipulations that the FDNY agreed to with Community Board 2 last Thursday but believed they weren’t enough. Those stipulations included assurances that the FDNY that it would not use its emergency lights and would only travel to the site via Northern Boulevard.
“I urge the administration to look at alternative sites that can be viable,” Van Bramer said.
The plan is currently going before the Queens Borough President’s office.
However, it will ultimately wind its way through to the city council for a vote, where “it is highly unusual for the council not support the local member in the process,” Van Bramer said.