Roosevelt Island residents voiced their concerns and support for Cornell NYC Tech at a community board meeting Monday night, kicking off a seven-month community review process of the proposed campus.
While many residents welcomed the economic benefits and increased visibility the tech campus would bring to the island, others raised several concerns about the project’s potential negative effects.
Increased traffic congestion due to construction was a primary concern of many attendees. The residents feared trucks travelling across the Roosevelt Island Bridge from Queens would ensnare traffic on Main Street, according to The Epoch Times.
Judith Berdy, president of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, questioned why the University wasn’t planning on using barges to transport construction materials to cut down on traffic congestion. She noted that the builders of Coler-Goldwater Memorial Hospital, which sits on the future site of Cornell NYC Tech, used such boats when the hospital was built in the 1930s.
Some residents also questioned the length of the construction process. The first phase of the campus is slated to be completed in 2017, with the entire campus scheduled for completion in 2037.
“Forgive me for being so old that I may not be around to see the end of this,” one middle-aged resident joked, according to The Epoch Times.
Still, many residents were supportive of the project, saying the tech campus would benefit local businesses and bring more political clout to push for improvements on the island.
Bryn Bass McCleary, another Roosevelt Island resident, said the campus and a proposed ferry spot would help improve the island’s economy.
“They’re bringing in a lot. Some of the country’s most intelligent people will be coming here,” McCleary said.