West Side Notes from the Neighborhood

Written by Megan Finnegan Bungeroth on . Posted in Breaking News, News West Side Spirit, Notes From the Neighborhood west side spirit, West Side Spirit.

The School Construction Authority (SCA) has taken a step toward fixing the long-standing issue of overcrowding in Upper West Side public schools. After much deliberation on the part of the Department of Education, the SCA and Community Board 7, the SCA has agreed to increase the square footage of the school it will build at Riverside Center, from the previously intended 85,000 square feet to the maximum allowable 100,000 square feet.

Due to the recent development boom, especially in large residential buildings, there has been a substantial increase in school-aged children on the Upper West Side. The school system, however, has yet to experience the same level of expansion. CB 7 and local parents have been pushing to make sure that the new school can accommodate as many children as possible.

“While this agreement will not immediately resolve the area’s school overcrowding crisis, it is an affirmation of the community’s long-stated contention that we need more seats,” said State Sen. Tom Duane in a statement.

A group of Upper West Siders is launching a new initiative to get people engaged in fighting climate change. Called the Carbon Squeeze, the program is a series of talks and contests that will pit neighbor against neighbor in challenging people to lower their carbon footprint. The first talk will be Monday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. at the JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave.

Environmentalist Paul Reale, from The Climate Change Project, will give a talk, “Climate Reality: The Truth We Pretend Not to Know,” accompanied by images, on how climate change is affecting the planet and what people can do now to change it. The group will also debut the Carbon Squeeze challenge at the talk. Future events are planned with Mark Gorton, founder of Open Plans and the NYC Streets Renaissance, and Colin Beavan, of No Impact Man book and film fame.
Last summer, Upper West Siders panicked when an emergency fire forced the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant on the Hudson to dump 200 million gallons of untreated sewage into the river, and some local officials were not pleased with the Department of Environmental Protection’s response time in warning residents of the potential dangers. The incident also raised questions about how much untreated sewage is entering the waterways on a regular basis as a result of combined sewer overflows that occur when it rains. Now, the DEP has announced that they will be monitoring these sources in real time with new sensors at five locations and is planning to bring the same monitoring system to the Hudson River in the near future.

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