2016-06-29 / Front Page

Taxi Inspection Center Has A Sinking Feeling

By Liz Goff
A Taxi & Limousine Commission (T&LC) building in Woodside is sinking, officials said.

A portion of the building at 24-55 Brooklyn Queens Expressway West, that houses offices and the agency’s main taxi and livery cab inspection center, is slowly sinking below grade, due to poor soil conditions at the site, an agency spokesperson said.

Architect James Carse, of TEN Architectos, last week told Community Board 1 members that an addition built in 1986, on the south side of the complex, is sinking.

“The current facility that stands there today is sinking into the earth,” Carse said. To fix the problem, crews will have to demolish the existing building and replace it with a new, larger structure built on top of the inspection garage, Carse said. “The garage was built on better soil,” he said.

“The new facility will actually take the office building and lift it above the existing inspection facility, removing the office facility from the poor soil at the south of the site,” he explained.

It is unclear how long the office building has been sinking, authorities said.

As part of the project, the T&LC Inspection Center will undergo a series of renovations that will provide space to service additional vehicles, an agency spokesperson said. The renovations will increase daily inspections from th3 current 980 per day to approximately 1,180 per day.

The center performs inspections on emissions, camera systems and other functions of taxi’s and livery cars, and is the largest such facility in New York City.

Carse said the new design increases capacity, “understanding that this needs to be a facility that will last for the future.”

The new building will feature a parking garage, indoor/outdoor common spaces for T&LC workers, and “green” features like solar panels and stormwater mitigation, Carse said. The building is expected to consume 75 per cent less energy than a standard building of the same size, he said.

Board members voiced concern about a spike in pollution levels from the additional vehicles, citing the building’s proximity to LaGuardia Airport, the Brooklyn Queens Expressway and the Grand Central Parkway.

Carse said the design changes would allow vehicles to go through inspections at a faster rate, avoiding the long lines of cabs that idle outside. “We are attempting to reduce the idling and waiting time to alleviate that sort of congestion,” Carse said. “That would potentially reduce the amount of exhaust fumes.”

If the city’ Public Design Commission approves plans for the new building, construction can begin in 2017. The project is slated for completion in 2019.

 

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