Spencer Road Traffic Study and Ways of Giving Feedback

Per Tim Logue, the City’s Transportation Engineer, here is an update on the Spencer Road/Stone Quarry Intersection ​Study:

The consultant LaBella Engineering has been retained and an initial meeting with transportation staff has already been conducted. LaBella’s first step will be to review and examine the area survey provided by INHS and determine if additional information needs to be acquired. City transportation staff will develop a residential survey, asking residents for their thoughts, suggestions, concerns, that they would like taken into consideration with regards to the proposed redesign. This survey should be available for public input around mid-January. Shortly thereafter, there will be a kickoff meeting with neighborhood residents that will allow for staff and residents to meet to discuss the survey, and community suggestions and to provide staff with a better understanding of resident’s concerns.

The resident survey and the public meeting are meant to serve the same purpose: outreach to the neighborhood to hear concerns before any design work is started. City transportation staff wanted to make sure there was another way to hear from people besides attending the meeting, although people can do both if they want.

Based on the meeting and survey, LaBella will develop 3 design alternatives for review, on or about late winter 2015.

These alternatives will be presented to the neighborhood for review and comment, and then go to the BPW for additional opportunity for public review and comment, and selection.

Tim is happy to receive your comments, suggestions, and considerations throughout this process and he can be reached by email at tlogue@cityofithaca.org.

UPDATE: According to Tim Logue, this has been delayed.  He expects the survey will come out early February and the public meeting will now likely be later in February or early March.

Community Crime Meeting: Sat. Oct. 25th at 10am

Within the past month, we have seen two residential break-ins on the 400 block of Spencer Road (one during the day while the resident was at work, and one at a different residence at night when the residents were home), along with some vandalism (a resident had their mailbox completely smashed and destroyed one night).

Officer Williamson from the Ithaca Police Department has offered to meet with our community to share experiences and to share ideas.  He has reserved the northeast study room (a.k.a. the “Large Study Room”) at the Tompkins County Public Library this Saturday at 10am to meet.  Any neighborhood residents, property owners, or other concerned parties are invited to attend. Community members from South Hill are also invited to attend due to a shared increase in residential crime during the past month.

This is a good opportunity to ask questions from an IPD officer about residential crime, home security, and neighborhood safety.  Ward alderpersons Cynthia Brock and George McGonigal will also be present.

If you would like to reach out to Officer Williamson separately regarding a question or concern, he can be reached at:  JWilliamson@cityofithaca.org or at: (607) 216-3221.

Neighborhood Traffic Meeting: Oct 21st at 7pm

There will be a neighborhood conversation about traffic concerns in the Spencer Road area.  The goal is to gather, and then provide, neighborhood feedback to the City to take into consideration with the traffic study they are conducting and in advance of any road work or “improvement” that is completed on our streets.  It is important that safety, both vehicular and pedestrian, is taken into account, as well as existing neighborhood concerns.

This is only a conversation with neighbors and it is not with any City officials.  The goal is to get a neighborhood consensus on what we want to communicate to the City so that information can be passed along.

The meeting will be Tuesday, October 21st, at the TC Action Building (701 Spencer Road) at 7pm.  Residents of Spencer Road, South Meadow St Ext, Morris Heights Rd, and the bottom of Stone Quarry Road are all welcome to attend.

If you will not be able to make the meeting, but would like your feedback taken into account, please e-mail SpencerRoadIthaca@gmail.com or call your neighbor Jean at 277-2978.

Save the Date: Neighborhood Traffic Meeting Oct 21st at 7pm

Please save the date: October 21st at 7pm there will be a community review of the traffic concerns in the Spencer Road area. We will put together community feedback for a recommendation to the City.  Residents of Spencer Road, South Meadow St Ext, Morris Heights Rd, and the bottom of Stone Quarry Road are welcome to attend.

The meeting will be held at the TCAction Building at 701 Spencer Road.

More details to follow soon.

If you will not be able to attend the meeting, but would like your feedback included, please e-mail: SpencerRoadIthaca@gmail.com.

Sign the Petition! Tell City Officials that Putting Housing on Toxic Contamination is NOT Okay

If you are concerned about the toxic site contamination at the proposed site of the Stone Quarry Apartments (low- to moderate-income housing at 400 Spencer Road), please take a minute and sign the petition.  Tell local officials that housing should be safe and comply with state and federal regulations.

Here are the primary concerns:

  • Unsafe levels of toxic contaminates (lead, acetone, manganese, PCBs, methylcyclohexane, nathalene, crysene, benzoathracene, benzopyrene, and benzofloranthene) have been detected in both soil and groundwater.
  • The NY DEC approved an environmental management plan for the site that does not comply with state DEC or federal HUD regulations. It is not clear why the DEC would approve an environmental management plan that does not even comply with their own regulations.
  • There is no plan for further testing on the site, so the extent of the contamination is still unknown. There will be no investigation of whether contamination has spread to surrounding properties.
  • Even known contamination will not be fully cleaned up.  The only removal of contaminated soil will be where they will have to dig for the buildings, but the rest of the site contamination, including the contaminated groundwater, will remain.  According to the developer, the project will require ongoing mechanical ventilation of building slabs on grade to prevent contamination from affecting occupants in their residences. Residents of at this site would be precluded from even planting vegetables for consumption due to the site contamination.  The known contamination under the playground will remain as well.
  • The City intends to comply with the plan which only requires partial remediation, and no further testing on the site, even though this plan does not comply with state and federal laws.

Please take a minute and sign the petition to tell City officials that housing should be safe for all, regardless of income!  The site needs to be fully tested and toxic contamination needs to be remediated in accordance with state and federal law.

HUD Needs to Recertify the Stone Quarry Apartment Project

Here is the most recent news article about the Stone Quarry Apartment project,published in the Ithaca Voice:
Feds Say Ithaca’s Low Income Housing Developers Didn’t Disclose Toxic Contamination

In light of the undisclosed toxic contamination at the site, the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency, which was going to give low income housing funds for this project, elected to make the City of Ithaca recomplete and resubmit their environmental assessment of this project for these funds.  HUD will need to recertify the project.

The City of Ithaca has, again, concluded that this project would have no negative environmental impact.  There is a 15 day window (ending August 27th) to give feedback to the City if you disagree with that conclusion.  After that, there will be a 15 day comment period with which feedback could be provided to HUD about the City’s environmental assessment.

If you would like to give feedback to the City of Ithaca about this project, it can be mailed to:

Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency
City of Ithaca
108 E Green St
Ithaca, NY 14850

Or it can be e-mailed to Lynn Truame at: LTruame@cityofithaca.org.

On the Radio

Tomorrow evening (Thursday, July 31), Spencer Road residents Bob and Jean will be on WRFI, 88.1 FM during the Community Radio news program that airs from 6 to 6:30. They will have about 5 minutes or so to inform listeners of our concerns about the proposed Stone Quarry Apartments. Tune in or listen online at: http://www.wrfi.org/online-stream/

If you have not already signed the petition, please consider doing so by clicking here.  If you have signed, thank you! Now please ask your family members, friends, and co-workers to read it and to consider signing, also. Numbers matter. Thank you for your support.

Update: If you missed the radio program, you can download an archived version of the interview here (mp3 format).  Or listen here:

Thank you to WRFI Community Radio News hosts Charles Dunaway and Laurie Sankin for including us on your program!