The Ramp, We Did It!
As construction of the new 48th Street ramp nears completion, it bears mentioning that it was the Turtle Bay Association that spearheaded the campaign to reinstate the entrance to FDR Drive after it was "temporarily closed" eleven years ago. During this period, access to the Drive has been shunted to the next northbound entrance on 62nd Street, causing First Avenue to become one long bottleneck.
"We got the ball rolling," recalls Bruce Silberblatt, TBA's land-use and zoning chairman. "We rallied neighborhood representatives, organizing the 48th Street Ramp Task Force, a bipartisan coalition that included TBA, the Sutton Area Community, Beekman Place Association, the South York Avenue Association and Community Board Six." The coalition fought long and hard for the reopening of the ramp, continually putting their case before our elected officials, pushing them to take heed.
Assemblyman John Ravitz and Senator Roy Goodman doggedly pursued state funding for the ramp, and finally announced last year that funding had been approved for a design estimated at ten to twelve million dollars.
"The old ramp with its left-hand feed had been declared unsafe and a right-hand feed turned out to be cost prohibitive," says TBA's Bruce Silberblatt. "The new ramp is also a left-hand feed but because it provides a longer entrance to the FDR Drive, there is more time to accelerate before entering the traffic flow. Thus, it is safer."
Construction has proceeded quickly without adverse impact on the community. Silberblatt commented in his report to the TBA Board in September, "...Altogether an exemplary project which is a credit to all concerned, especially Defoe (the contractor) and the NYS Department of Transportation."
Slated for completion before year end, the ramp will reduce avenue traffic and prevent noise and air pollution that have plagued the area since 1987.
An additional bonus is a funding appropriation to design a pedestrian walkway which will provide access to a planned East River esplanade.
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Turtle Bay Association is a nonprofit (501c3) community
224 East 47th Street, New York City 10017
Fax (212) 751-4941