From the Daily News:
The federal stimulus may be pumping greenbacks into the economy but it's also making a part of Woodside distinctly less green.
Locals are steamed over Amtrak's brush-clearing effort that recently chopped down more than a hundred mature trees along rails running parallel to Northern Blvd.
Homeowner George Olt, 69, whose property on 56th Place abuts the land owned by Amtrak, said he began hearing buzzsaws near his lush backyard on April 30.
By the next day, some 200 trees - more than a hundred of them exceeding about 2 feet in diameter - had been felled, Olt said.
"It's not like the trees were dead," said Olt, a retired transit worker who has lived in the same home for 26 years. "They were in full bloom."
The leafy trees also acted as a noise buffer from passing trains, he and neighbors said.
Most of the felled trees - along a 200-foot section of the railway - were rooted more than 50 feet from the tracks, said Olt, who was skeptical of the railroad's claim that the clearing project would improve safety.
The project was funded by federal stimulus money and is part of a nationwide initiative to upgrade infrastructure, said Amtrak spokesman Cliff Coles.
Coles conceded the trees "may not be located directly on our right of way" but was a precautionary step.
The timing of the project has also stung local environmental groups. The tree-clearing comes as hundreds of others were planted in Woodside as part of the Mayor Bloomberg's MillionTreesNYC initiative.
"We didn't gain anything," said Anthony Gigantello, president of Coalition Helping Organize a Kleaner Environment, or CHOKE, based in Long Island City.
Coles said residents can call Amtrak's hotline to voice concerns about the project's impact.
But that's too little, too late, locals said.