New York Officials Announce Completion of Amtrak's Clean-Up Efforts Following Extensive Brush Clearing in Woodside

November 23, 2010
Press Release

Washington, D.C. —Today, Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Council Member Peter F. Vallone Jr. and Assembly Member Marge Markey joined representatives from Amtrak and the community to announce the completion of Amtrak’s clean-up efforts following its extensive brush clearing operations in Woodside last May.

The operation involved the removal of 100 mature trees, and was carried out without notifying the community. The trees provided a privacy, noise and sight barrier for residents who live along the rail’s tracks. Aside from exposing residents to the tracks, the clearing efforts resulted in a significant amount of leftover debris as well as damage to fences that prevent loitering and pollution. Following discussions held with Congressman Crowley’s office, as well as with Council Member Vallone and Assembly Member Markey, Amtrak officials made a number of commitments to remedy the situation. These included the replanting of trees and shrubbery, repairing or replacing fencing along the tracks, and providing assurances that Amtrak will work with the community in the future.

“While I was disappointed that the trees were chopped down in the first place, I am pleased that Amtrak has followed through with its promises to rectify the damages it caused in our community,” said Congressman Crowley. “The safety of Amtrak’s passengers and workers is of utmost concern, but Amtrak also must be a good neighbor to the residents who live along its path. That is why I, along with Council Member Vallone and Assembly Member Markey, worked hard to ensure that Amtrak make right on their promises. Today is proof that when community members join forces and come together, they can accomplish great things.”

"Today’s announcement is the direct result of community involvement. Our citizens stood up after trees were chopped down in their neighborhood and Amtrak listened. I commend Amtrak for trying to repair the damage and most importantly I commend our residents for their efforts,” said Council Member Vallone.

“I want to thank Peter Cohen and Amtrak for responding to Boulevard Gardens and residents of 56th Place and 57th Street by repairing the devastation caused by the surprise clearing of their right-of-way a few months ago. As they have seen, working with the community is always a better way to be a good neighbor,” said Assembly Member Markey.

“The input received from the community and from Congressmen Crowley and Councilman Vallone, Jr. and Assembly member Markey allowed us to complete this mutually beneficial agreement,” said Peter Cohen, Senior Officer, Amtrak Government Affairs. “Our efforts to complete this project, underscore our efforts to be looked upon as a good neighbor and continue to provide our passengers with a reliable, efficient and safe travel experience.”