When New York City's massive, visible-from-space Fresh Kills landfill closed in 2001, the city began trucking its garbage—around 14 million tons annually—to other states. Former Mayor Bloomberg tried to soften this unsustainable solution with a 2006 plan to transport waste by train and barge instead of trucks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 192,000 tons per year. Now, with Mayor de Blasio's ambitious "zero waste" plan for landfills by 2030, the need for revamped waste management systems is pressing. Could old-school pneumatic tubes help the City meet its goal? Pneumatic tubes seem like a futuristic waste disposal technology, but they are widely employed in Europe and parts of the U.S., including New York's Roosevelt Island and Disney World. Indeed, some parts of New York used to get mail delivered by pneumatic tubes. How could this system work on a large scale today? ClosedLoops, an infrastructure planning and development firm, has been researching this question for five years. The team hopes to create a pneumatic tube system, the High Line Corridor Network, underneath the High Line park on Manhattan's Far West Side. Now in the pre-development phase, the team chose the High Line to test their prototype because its height eliminates the need to tunnel beneath the streets. Waste would be sucked from the park and nearby buildings and deposited in a central terminal for overland carting to landfills outside of New York. As of December 2015, NYS Energy Research and Development Authority and NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) are on board, and the DSNY (plus the NYC DOT) have offered to support the grant proposal for the project. If trash tubes were installed citywide, it would be possible to track who produces the most (and least) waste, and mete out fee-for-service accordingly. The project will take a few more years to come fully to fruition. In the meantime, there are plenty of places to see pneumatic tubes in action, including your local drive-thru: https://www.flickr.com/photos/benfrantzdale/5022238452
Posts tagged with "Department of Sanitation":
The holidays are here when the Coniferous Tree Exception kicks in. This New York City ordinance allows dead pine trees to be sold on city sidewalks in the weeks leading up to Christmas. One true marker of the season's end is the Christmas trees that line those same sidewalks in January, awaiting DSNY pickup. In years past, one artist has revivified these trees, albeit illegally, creating semi-real pine forests from discarded trees in marginal urban spaces. This year, the trees will have a second chance at life in the most popular place for dead New Yorkers: Queens. In 2012 and 2013, San Francisco–based artist Michael Neff rounded up 35 Christmas trees from the curbs of Brooklyn. He hung them with twine from a metal pipe and displayed them under a BQE overpass, at Metropolitan Avenue and North 6th Street, in Williamsburg. Within a matter of hours, the trees were removed and discarded by the city. https://vimeo.com/150815655 This year, Neff is reprising his installation, legitimated and indoors, at the Knockdown Center, in Maspeth, Queens. A time-lapse video (above) shows the installation in process. Working a cherry picker, Neff and his team suspend coniferous trees of slightly varying sizes from the ceiling in a neat grid. In a statement on the exhibition's event page, Neff describes the advantages that a change of venue con(i)fers:
The exhibition at Knockdown Center allows for a much different experience, most importantly time for the trees to shed their needles into halos on the smooth concrete floor below. Paired with the subtle pine fragrance of the trees and the opportunity for quiet contemplation, the exhibition encourages repeated viewing.Suspended Forest is on view from January 9th to January 31st.
The New York City Department of Design and Construction is now managing the majority of capital construction for the Department of Sanitation and the Department of Parks. DDC spokesperson John Ryan Martine confirmed that the agency is now officially responsible, adding that the shift was in response to a request from City Hall to facilitate consolidation. The DDC already works closely with both departments. For example, DDC will be responsible for the design and renovation of Tavern on the Green. Recently, Sanitation ceded responsibility to DDC for construction of its controversial garage at Spring Street designed by Dattner and WXY. "This means that for Parks, we will manage the design and construction of their comfort stations (bathrooms) and other buildings such as pool houses and storage facilities," Martine said in an email. "For Sanitation, we will manage the design and construction for things such as sheds, storage facilities, garages, plants, etc." Martine added that when appropriate DDC would use in-house architects from the agency's Design and Construction Excellence program, but that would be determined on per project basis. The change jibes with similar consolidation efforts dealing with construction throughout the administration. In his State of the City Speech, Mayor Bloomberg outlined a plan to streamline the inspection process for buildings. Similarly, last summer, a pilot program from the DOB brought together a half dozen agencies under one roof to process architects' applications and plans. Martin noted that since the DDC's inception in 1996 the plan was always to consolidate the design and construction efforts to help various departments focus on their mission.