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Thursday, April 13, 2006

NASCAR in New York City?

River Road wetlands

(Photo credit - Rob J)

I usually don't use this blog as a platform for conservation issues. However, the information on the following NASCAR track plan would not only create a traffic nightmare, but also effectively destroy a large wetlands habitat on Staten Island. Thanks to Seth Wolney for sending out the information flyer pasted below. The above photos were taken adjacent to the proposed track site. Feel free to link to this posting.

Satellite image of habitat

Click the satellite image for a larger view. The proposed site is above and below the River Road label.
(Photo credit - Google Earth)



The proposed 82,500-seat racetrack stadium and adjacent retail center (with 2,815 parking spaces) would be located on a parcel of land just south of the Goethals Bridge that is not currently served by mass transit. The traffic impact would be significant! Six major races would be held on weekend days during our warmer "smog season" months, with practice and pre-qualifying sessions held on Thursdays and Fridays before race weekends.

On a major race day, according to plans submitted to the Department of City Planning, Staten Islanders would experience:

- 8,400 cars
- 950-1000 buses estimated ("up to 1,000 buses")
- 635 recreational vehicles (RVs)
- 80 or more ferries (or a combination of Staten Island and private ferries)
- Plus an estimated 30 helicopter trips, according to statements by the developer

According to the environmental assessment statement submitted to the NYC Department of City Planning, a major race day would require closing of 8 expressway ramps/road segments, and rerouting of traffic on some local streets. The helicopters and noise on-site -- and filling of acres of wetlands -- would pose a risk to Staten Island's remarkable Harbor Herons Complex of wetlands and bird habitat. Beautiful birds such as the Snowy Egret and the Great Blue Heron, as well as remarkable raptors such as the Northern Harrier and Peregrine Falcon, have been seen foraging in these wetlands.

Please come to the hearing on the draft "Scope" for the Environmental Impact Statement! Tell the Department of City Planning and State Department of Environmental Conservation what concerns you think the draft environmental impact statement on this project should cover:

When: Thursday, April 27 at 6:00 p.m.
Where: Michael Petrides School, P.S. 80

715 Ocean Terrace, Staten Island
For more information contact the Sierra Club at 212-791-3600 ext 33 or at

Related Links:

College of Staten Island

Earth Island Institute

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods

Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter

St. Petersburg Times

Staten Island Citizens Against the Track

Tangled Web

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