On Long Island, All Aboard the Green Construction Train

I’ll have some thoughts on Babylon’s (Long Island) green building legislation at some point, but in the meantime developers of the city’s new Tanger Outlet Mall will use a 700 yard rail spur to move construction materials and debris on and off the project site. The mall developers and Babylon town officials estimate that the [...]

I’ll have some thoughts on Babylon’s (Long Island) green building legislation at some point, but in the meantime developers of the city’s new Tanger Outlet Mall will use a 700 yard rail spur to move construction materials and debris on and off the project site. The mall developers and Babylon town officials estimate that the rail spur will eliminate 5,500 trucks from local roads during the course of the project. The 800,000 square foot mall will apply for an undisclosed level of LEED certification despite what its developers “said would be a ‘significant’ seven-figure increase in construction costs.”

I’d posted back in the fall about green construction practices, but this is the first project I’ve read about which has actually implemented a specific plan. (My previous post discussed New York City’s deliberations about creating a plan to green the process of building the $37 billion worth of projects below Chambers Street taking place over the next few years by reducing construction vehicle traffic, noise pollution, and demolition debris.) But, as one opponent to the Tanger project points out:

“I laud them for bringing in those tracks, but what about what happens when these stores open?” said James Ptucha, of Dix Hills, who opposes the 800,000-square-foot mall. “These tracks are temporary.”

So, sure, the mall may receive LEED certification, but what about all of the inevitable traffic once the developers complete the project? While LEED does provide credits for preferred parking spaces for hybrid vehicles and carpools, and also recognizes the surrounding density of a development’s site selection, it really doesn’t (and I’m not sure that it ever can) take into account the volume of vehicular traffic that a particular development might generate. As LEED is continually refined, I’ll be curious to see if the Sustainable Sites/Community Connectivity credit category (as currently presented in LEED-NC V.2.2) can somehow address these concerns beyond what the credit currently contemplates.

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