The importance of Fifth Avenue
I know that urban analysts now say that closing streets can actually diminish traffic rather than merely divert it to cause bottlenecks elsewhere. But I think that the plan to close and demap Fifth Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic avenues deserves more discussion. After all, we saw a lot of cars heading north on Fifth for drop-offs and pick-ups at the Atlantic Center Mall, notably Pathmark.
As I've pointed out, the Municipal Art Society (MAS), in its 2006 testimony on the project (graphic above), suggested that, with a north-south re-orientation of the arena, Fifth Avenue could be kept open. Now, though we don't have updated renderings, the arena has apparently been re-oriented.
So I don't think Forest City Ratner's MaryAnne Gilmartin ended the debate when she asserted last month that the reduction in the arena bowl "doesn’t change the general footprint for the arena itself… and the Urban Room has not been eliminated.”
One of the tour participants reminded me afterwards that, while I did mention the name "Barclays Center," I didn't discuss the naming rights deal for the arena or the subway station.
At the July 22 community information meeting (video above), moderator Craig Hammerman asked, "Why will Forest City Ratner get to keep the naming rights revenues for what the ESDC [Empire State Development Corporation] claims will be a publicly-owned arena?"
“It’s part of the financing for the project,” responded ESDC attorney Steve Matlin.
While it certainly is counted on by Forest City Ratner, it was never, as far as I know, suggested to be part of the benefits or part of the sources and uses for the project.
Perhaps someone will ask about that in comments (due by August 31) on the ESDC's pending Modified General Project Plan.