Rendering Of Lightstone Group's 700-unit development at 363-365 Bond Street in Gowanus
Photo courtesy of Michael M.
The past few weeks have been hell for residents who live near the Lightstone Group's building site at 363-365 Bond Street between Carroll Street and 2nd Street. They have had to deal with noise, shaking, toxic smells and traffic jams ever since construction of the 700-unit, 12 story mega project on the banks of the highly polluted Gowanus Canal got underway.
The continuous pounding and shaking of pile driving has prompted nearby homeowners to organize and to stay connected through the Facebook page 'Voice Of Gowanus'. After numerous 311 calls, reaching out to Council Member Brad Lander's office, and signing a petition asking Lightstone to use noise reduction measures in place while driving more than 1200 piles into the marshy ground, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection finally paid a visit in late May and "found the noise recordings to be 'unreasonable'. The DEP issued a 5 day cure notice.
Lightstone contractors and the DEP subsequently tested various forms of sound muffling blankets on the ends of the piles in hope of reducing the impact of the noise on the surrounding neighborhood.
However, residents still say that the noise is unbearable and that they still feel their buildings shaking. One Second Street resident has invested in a digital sound meter device. This morning at 9:30 AM, the reading from his bedroom window registered 95.1 decibel. (Sustained exposure to 90-95 dB may cause permanent hearing loss.)
Decibel reading on June 12th 2014 at 9:30 AM on Second Street
near Lightstone Group Contsruction site
Then there is the noise coming from idling trucks that have been lining up on First Street right next to St. Mary's Star of the Sea Senior Home and across the street of residences as early as 5 AM, though the construction site only opens at 7 AM. According to a spokesperson from Lightstone's PR firm, Geto DeMilly, the construction team has been directed to tell the truck drivers NOT to back up onto 1st Street prior to the site opening at 7 AM, but so far, that new policy does not seem to have taken effect.
On Tuesday, June 10th, trucks were still beeping non-stop for 15 minutes at 5:45 am according to a First Street resident.
And traffic is another headache around the site. I just received an email from resident Riccardo Sinti, who contacted me about the traffic snarl created on Third Street "by the almost 100ft long tractor trailer trucks that are delivering the 1200 piles to the Lightstone development on Bond Street.
Sinti sent along the photo below, which he took yesterday.
"As you can see from this picture the trucks are having difficulty navigating the tight curve from 3rd to Bond, nearly hitting the scaffolding that surrounds the building housing Fumi Hair Salon.
I have personally seen one of these trailers catch their rear wheel on the base of the lamp post and they always need to go up on the curb.
Obviously a 100ft long truck stuck in the intersection ties up traffic on an already busy street.
When they started deliveries this was always an issue so the eventually found a better way by using a short cab with a tighter turn radius which they would use to back up onto Bond between 3rd and 4th before heading straight across 3rd st.
I thought they learned their lesson until this morning when I saw them trying to execute the nearly impossible feat of turning from 3rd to Bond with the full sized cab. The short cab was parked down 3rd st. One of the construction workers said the driver "wanted to be a hero."
They don't seem to have a protocol in order for these deliveries and are inconveniencing and endangering drivers, pedestrians, parked cars and infrastructure.
Lightstone and the truckers need to have a plan to make sure that these trucks can get where they are going with the least inconvenience to the neighborhood and the police need to be present during these maneuvers to manage traffic and ticket cars that are parked in areas that should be clear on alternate side parking times to facilitate the movement of these mammoth vehicles."
Ricardo Sinti has forwarded the information to Councilman Brad Lander's office.
Lastly, but more importantly, both 363 and 365 Bond Street need to be remediated through the New York State Brownfield program since they are former manufacturing sites.
Crews at the Lightstone Group's site recently removing soil known to contain harmful petroleum-based contaminants. The resulting fumes caused residents to experience difficulties with breathing. The Fire Department visited the site twice on May 29th.
Below is a list of suspected chemicals on the 365 Bond Street building site.
Gowanus residents have created the Facebook page 'Voice Of Gowanus' for the community to be able to communicate about the Lightstone development as well as to discuss issues pertaining to the Gowanus area. To access the page, click here.