Test borin phase of the environmental review. Photo credit: Adisa Sobers.
By Greis Torres
York College and the MTA/Transit Authority are in the process of entering a short term agreement to lease Site 9, an undeveloped property alongside the South parking lot between Liberty Avenue and Tuskegee Airman Way. If approved, the Jamaica depot on Merrick Boulevard will be demolished and renovated while the site will be used to park its buses.
First, the site has to go through an environmental review which consists of test boring and soil evaluation and many other steps before a full agreement can be finalized. Students received emails advising them about the conclusion, but not the process.
Administration officials presented the decision as something positive for the college.
“Among the anticipated benefits of an agreement are site improvements which will include increases in the value of the property,” said Ronald Thomas, vice president of administrative affairs. “Those improvements include soil remediation, the installation of sidewalks along Tuskegee Airman Way, grading and paving of the property, new fencing, the installation of catchment well for water runoff, perimeter lighting.”
As of press time, it is still unclear if the MTA/NYC Transit wants the whole area or only the unpaved area. Further discussions regarding expenses and conditions will take place after the site assessment is finished.
If the college and the Transport Authority do finalize a leasing agreement, a total of 300 buses will be parked in Site 9 overnight. A special bus entrance will also be opened in the Tuskegee Airmen way.
In terms of parking capacity, according to York’s Buildings and Grounds department the East parking lot has the capacity to accomodate the number of cars that park in the South parking lot on a typical day. However, other parking options will be considered when events are taking place on campus.
“The east parking lot will, however, be unable to meet the need of the members of the college community with parking permits and guests attending special events during school hours,” said Thomas. “If discussions with the MTA/NYC Transit progress toward a lease agreement, the college will seek agreements with local parking facilities with the intent of securing parking for guests who are attending a special event.”