Sunday, September 30, 2007

Near-gridlock at tour's end, and the effect on AY & UNITY

The walking tour I led yesterday (with the help of Ron Shiffman) of the Atlantic Yards footprint and environs wound up, after two-and-a-half hours, on Pacific Street just west of Flatbush Avenue, outside the Brooklyn Bear's Garden. (About 50 people showed up, very few of whom I recognized as involved in Atlantic Yards-related activism.)

The traffic on Flatbush was relentless. It was hard to imagine how a Saturday afternoon arena event could be accommodated unless there were significant changes to the area transportation system, beyond the mitigations--among them a free MetroCard (for basketball games, not concerts) and shuttle buses (ditto)--planned as of now.

Also, though the alternative UNITY plan Shiffman helped develop calls for a park on the triangular plot opposite the garden, between Flatbush, Fifth, and Atlantic avenues, it sure didn't seem like that salubrious a place to gather, given the traffic on Atlantic as well. Many of the major transportation changes that are proposed in the UNITY plan would have to be implemented, at the least.

Remember, the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) rejected several suggestions from Borough President Marty Markowitz about addressing traffic and transit issues. There was more criticism, from consultants Brian Ketcham and Carolyn Konheim, and the ESDC's not-quite-response.

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