Whether you live on the Upper East Side or not, the successful effort to move a trash-dump ramp in the neighborhood is a fight worth paying attention to.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose support in the neighborhood is thin, had until now resisted moving the ramp, even though the facts of the project bordered on the absurd: the ramp on E. 91st Street would have directed heavy garbage truck traffic through Asphalt Green, a sports complex popular with kids, exposing them to traffic dangers and noxious fumes.
While the shifting of the ramp, one block north to 92nd Street, seems now like a no-brainer, in fact it emerged as a sort of compromise, once it became clear that the mayor was unlikely to kill the trash dump entirely. Asphalt Green, supported by smart engineering and traffic studies to bolster its case, was able to work with other community leaders to at least ameliorate a bad situation. The mayor signed on to its plan late last week.
There are lessons here for community fights elsewhere in the city: all-or-nothing demands rarely work, especially with this City Hall, which seems to have a nearly endless number of constituencies to satisfy. Second, by keeping the tone of the rhetoric in check, and focusing more on facts and logic, the good guys can, occasionally, win in the end.
There are an endless number of fights where this kind of common-sense approach could help, from Central Park horses to Uber. Is it possible? Yes. Likely? Probably not.