Nadler Hails Ruling Overturning City Decision to Close West Side Highway 72nd Street Northbound Exit

Oct 7, 2004

New York - Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) today hailed a State Supreme Court ruling overturning the decision by the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) to close the 72nd Street northbound exit from the West Side Highway. The decision to close the ramp was made by DOT in response to a request by Hudson Waterfront Associates, developers with Donald Trump of the Riverside South project on the Upper West Side.

"I am delighted that the Court has ruled against the City’s misguided and irresponsible decision to close the 72nd Street off-ramp," said Nadler. "This is a victory for due process and for the rights and interests of the community over those of special interests," he said. "The Department of Transportation must finally follow the rules and conduct a robust and honest environmental review that takes into account current conditions," he said.

Justice Doris Ling-Cohan ruled Friday that DOT had failed to comply with New York State and New York City environmental review procedures, and she rendered its decision to close the ramp "null and void." The DOT had attempted to use the results of a 1992 environmental impact statement to justify its decision to close the ramp, and had not allowed public comment and review before making the decision. Ling-Cohan’s ruling means that a new environmental impact study must be performed.

Had the 72nd Street exit been closed all vehicular traffic would have had to exit at 59th or 79th Streets, creating massive traffic tie-ups on West End Avenue. The City had intended to implement a "West End Avenue Improvement Plan" that would have created a six-lane highway on West End Avenue to deal with the increased traffic. Nadler has criticized that plan because it would have created increased hazards to pedestrians crossing the street.

In her decision, the judge notes that the City even attempted to place the onus for designing an alternative to the ramp’s closure on the community. "Not only did the City not abide by its own legal requirements, it also tried to evade transportation planning, a fundamental part of the agency’s mandate," said Nadler. "I am hopeful that the DOT will now conduct a proper traffic and environmental impact study and that the community will finally get its say about the ramp closure."

The lawsuit was filed in April 2004 in State Supreme Court against the New York City Department of Transportation, DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall and Hudson Waterfront Associates, developers of the project, by the Coalition for a Livable West Side, coop and tenant associations, and five local elected officials: Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Assembly Members Scott Stringer and Daniel O’Donnell, State Senator Eric Schneiderman, and City Council Member Gale Brewer.

Rep. Nadler has been in Congress since 1992. He represents the 8th Congressional District of New York, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

###