New details on 92nd Street MTS ramp

Construction of connection to Marine Transfer Station will require playground removal, potential changes to traffic and bus patterns

  • The planned East 92nd Street access ramp to the Department of Sanitation’s Marine Transfer Station would traverse a section of what is now DeKovats Playground. Image: NYC DDC

  • The planned East 92nd Street MTS ramp would connect to the existing bridge that traverses the FDR Drive at East 91st Street. Image: NYC DDC

Though the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station will welcome its first garbage trucks this spring, the 92nd Street ramp that will eventually serve as the primary access point to the East River facility will not be completed until 2023.

The new ramp, which will be located near the intersection of East 92nd Street and York Avenue and run through a portion of what is now DeKovats Playground at the northern end of Asphalt Green’s campus, will connect to the existing bridge that spans the FDR Drive at East 91st Street.

Construction on the ramp is expected to commence in 2021 and will require the removal of play equipment and a number of trees in DeKovats Playground. The $53 million project will also require changes to the surrounding streets, including the potential reconfiguration of East 92nd Street to accommodate two-way traffic between First and York Avenues.

The East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station is expected to open March 25, following years of ultimately unsuccessful local efforts to block the controversial Department of Sanitation facility. The project remains broadly unpopular with Upper East Side residents and elected officials, who cite pedestrian safety, traffic congestion and air quality concerns raised by increased garbage truck traffic in the neighborhood, among other issues.

Until the new ramp is completed, garbage trucks will access the East River waste transfer station using the existing ramp at 91st Street, which runs through Asphalt Green’s campus. The new ramp was first announced in 2015 in response to community concerns with pedestrian safety and air quality hazards presented by trucks using the existing ramp between the complex’s athletic fields and playground.

Air quality monitoring and traffic agents

The southern portion of DeKovats Playground will remain open during construction, and the Parks Department intends to replace the removed equipment and redesign the entire playground once ramp work is complete. The estimated $3.2 million necessary to complete the playground project, however, is currently unfunded.

The Upper East Side’s Community Board 8 urged the mayor’s office to allocate funding for the DeKovats Playground project in a resolution passed at its Feb. 20 meeting.

The community board also called for a more extensive air quality monitoring regime than the city plan currently in place, and for traffic agents to be placed at intersections around Asphalt Green and nearby schools to promote the safety of children and other pedestrians.

“As much as we think it’s inappropriate to have the MTS, we realize that the city is determined to use the facility as planned, so we want to minimize the negative impacts and safety issues,” said Alida Camp, the chair of Community Board 8.

In addition to the introduction of two-way traffic on East 92nd Street, which garbage trucks will use to access and exit the Marine Transfer Station, city plans also call for adjustments to bus patterns in the area. Existing M31 and M86 SBS bus stops on First Avenue and East 92nd Street to be relocated to East 91st Street. Buses that currently lay over between runs on the north side of East 92nd Street would be assigned new layover zones on the south side of 92nd Street and on York and First Avenues.

Trees removed during construction will be restituted in accordance with city law. A Parks Department spokesperson said that the agency will work to maximize the number of trees replanted in the area of the project. If the number of trees to be replanted exceeds the space available, the trees may be replanted elsewhere in the neighborhood.

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