Manhattan Express 86th Street BID Taking Shape , But No Dollar Deets Yet Public by Jackson Chen

Manhattan Express
Manhattan Express
86th Street BID Taking Shape , But No Dollar Deets Yet Public
Jackson Chen
04/21/2016

86th Street BID Taking Shape, But No Dollar Deets Yet PublicAdded by paul on April 21, 2016.
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Share This Post Overflowing trash at 86th Street and Lexington Avenue may finally be addressed by twice-daily trash pick-up. | JACKSON CHEN

Overflowing trash at 86th Street and Lexington Avenue may finally be addressed by twice-daily trash pick-up. | JACKSON CHEN

BY JACKSON CHEN | The push to create an 86th Street Business Improvement District has made significant strides over the past five months, with the steering committee behind it having decided on its boundaries and goals, and with a financing structure agreed upon as well, though not yet released to the public.

Business Improvement Districts, or BIDs, are currently established in 72 areas throughout the city, providing services ranging from area beautification to local business assistance at a cost to commercial property owners and, to a far lesser degree, residents.

For the Upper East Side, major complaints fueling the drive for a BID have focused on overflowing trashcans and panhandling.

According to an April 13 announcement by East Side City Councilmember Ben Kallos, the BID steering committee, which began work in November, has narrowed the boundaries of the proposed district. Advocates of a BID had initially suggested casting a net as wide as East 80th Street to East 92nd from Lexington Avenue to First.

Instead, the committee’s scaled-down proposal area runs only from East 84th to East 88th, though it retains its original east-west breadth.

“This was the area of highest need,” Kallos explained. “The point here was to start in the area with the most need and if the community likes it and wants it to expand, we can come back with more support.”

The new proposed boundaries resulted from a needs survey that Kallos’ office concluded in December. According to the councilmember, their results yielded 387 responses from residents and 46 from business owners, 22 of which are commercial property owners.

“We received great feedback from the District Needs Survey,” Kallos said. “The steering committee is using these responses to inform the programming and budget of the BID.”

According to the results, 316 responses mentioned the homeless population and panhandlers in the neighborhood, while 284 responses cited trashcans overflowing onto dirty streets and sidewalks.

“Those were the kinds of things that really jumped off the page, really caught our attention, and the focus of where we’re putting attention on the BID,” Kallos said.

The steering committee — its membership includes six property owners, three merchants, three residents, and four non-voting members, with representatives from different areas within the boundaries — have met on a monthly basis to sculpt the BID.

The committee is currently working on finalizing a sign-on Statement of Support, its next step in demonstrating community input and backing. The BID proposal has already won support from State Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblymembers Rebecca Seawright and Dan Quart.

While the BID committee has decided on a target budget and assessment levels, Kallos declined to share them pending a later announcement. He earlier had told Manhattan Express that the budget would be in the six figures, and last week he confirmed the numbers would be in that range.

In addition to working on the BID, Kallos has also successfully negotiated to have the city’s Department of Sanitation double up on trash pickup along 86th Street. The litter-plenty condition of 86th Street is due, in part, to the MTA’s 4, 5, and 6 subway stop at Lexington Avenue, which serves 20.7 million riders and is among the system’s top dozen busiest. Trashcans near the stop are often left neglected and overflowing.

After hearing numerous complaints and being provided with photo evidence of the proliferation of trash on the corridor, Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia agreed to the stepped-up schedule.

“We really need partnership with our communities in order to figure out how to provide the right service at the right time,” Garcia said at an April 13 Upper East Side press conference with Kallos. “One of the things that was particularly interesting here is that just by adjusting how we were routing our trucks, we were able to provide additional service.”

The twice-a-day pickups will continue alongside the BID’s maintenance services once they are launched, Kallos said. The councilmember added his office would release the BID’s Statement of Support in coming weeks.