Despite verification that the compressed natural gas tanks proposal was dead, a statement from Parks said: “The Parks Department has not made any decisions about implementing temporary or mobile fueling stations at this time.” Customers in the Cafe commented that Parks Department seems to have mastered the ability to talk out of both sides of their mouth.
Fort Totten Park won’t need natural gas station
by Liz Rhoades , Managing Editor
Although Parks Department officials said they have not made any decisions about installing compressed natural gas tanks at Fort Totten Park, the need for them has largely vanished.
In December, the nearby Bay Terrace community learned that the city was considering such a move to fuel its new tram. Otherwise, the vehicle would have to be transported frequently to the nearest city fueling area at Flushing Meadows Park.
Some community members, led by Warren Schreiber, who heads the Bay Terrace Community Alliance and the Bay Terrace Co-op Section 1, oppose the possible installation of tanks. They fear it might present a safety concern or be a possible target for terrorists. But it appears the city has resolved that problem by having a larger fuel tank installed on the tram.
“They solved the problem in a very creative and intelligent manner,” said state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing). “I’m happy when things work out.”
Stavisky and Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) wrote letters to the Parks Department against installing the gas tanks at the former Bayside military base. They received a reply from Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski in mid-January calling the compressed natural gas tram “a very green alternative.”
Lewandowski indicated her agency made preliminary inquiries regarding permit requirements for a fueling station, but since then, the tram has been retrofitted to triple its fuel capacity, “making the need for an on-site fueling station unnecessary,” she said.
Schreiber is ecstatic the problem has been resolved. “We’re happy it’s over,” he said. “They need to make the park accessible to everyone, but not with a miniature gas station.”
Joe Branzetti, president of Friends of Fort Totten Park, said his group met with the park administrator, Janice Melnick, who explained that the larger fuel tank on the tram will mean fewer trips to refuel.
Branzetti was also told the refueling would be done at a Con Edison facility in College Point, which is a little closer than Flushing Meadows. But Parks Department officials could not verify that.
Despite verification that the compressed natural gas tanks proposal was dead, a statement from Parks said: “The Parks Department has not made any decisions about implementing temporary or mobile fueling stations at this time.”
Last July, Borough President Helen Marshall funded the $262,400 tram to move visitors around the park. The open-air vehicle includes the lead tram car with seating and a separate all-passenger gondola.
Plans call for the lead car to be unhitched for refueling and driven to Flushing Meadows or College Point. Before the fuel tank was enlarged, it was estimated it would have to be refueled every two to three days.
Because of mechanical problems, the vehicle was not used last year. It will only be operated in warm weather.
Filed under: Bay Terrace, Bayside, community Board 11, Environment, Fort Totten, New York City, Parks, Public Safety, Queens | Tagged: 11360, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Double Talk, Fort Totten, New York City, Parks Department, Public Safety, Queens |