Friday, November 20, 2009

Shiffman: It's time for Bloomberg to align all agencies with PlaNYC

In a Streetsblog piece headlined In Third Term, Bloomberg Must Align All Agencies With PlaNYC, veteran community planner (and DDDB board member) Ron Shiffman points to Atlantic Yards:
Together with private developers, the city's Economic Development Corporation and other quasi-government entities, the planning department has embraced outmoded redevelopment plans for Willets Point in Queens, Hudson Yards on the far West Side, Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, and Columbia University's expansion into Manhattanville without any substantive regard to the principles and goals of PlaNYC.

These large-scale development plans fundamentally ignore the issue of sustainability. And they cast the form of the city in concrete for a century or more.

In these developments, the street is nothing more than square footage added to permit greater building heights and densities. Streets in these developments divide rather than integrate neighborhoods. Traffic lights are recalibrated, for instance, to facilitate the flow of traffic and hinder pedestrian movement by reducing crossing times. Perversely, these measures are dubbed “mitigation” in the environmental review process. Without them, the development would not be allowed to proceed. This is because the developments include more space for car parking than needed -- far above the norm in New York City -- creating more traffic and necessitating such "mitigations."
Beyond the parking issue, which I first wrote about in December 2007, let me also cite an April 2007 piece that points out how Atlantic Yards was curiously omitted from PlaNYC, which recommends a planning process before decking over a railyard--a distinct contrast to the city's embrace of AY.

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