Friday, July 16, 2010

AY lobbyist Lipsky flunks sustainability

Lobbyist Richard Lipsky was paid $15,000 last year by the Atlantic Yards Development Group (and $10,000 by FC East River Associates, which is developing East River Plaza in East Harlem), so that may be enough to keep him writing things like this on his Neighborhood Retail Alliance blog:
The point gains additional poignancy, because it has been suggested by New York's Burden-planning commissioner Amanda-that Flushing Commons is a prime example of Mayor Bloomberg's promotion of sustainability because of its location right next to a major transit hub. Now, in our view, Atlantic Yards, located at Fulton and Atlantic Avenue, has a greater claim to this distinction because of the 18 or so interconnecting rail links in and around the site; but the claim that downtown Flushing offers a similar venue for the use of mass transit over looks the fact that the 7 Line (the only train servicing the area) is already stuffed to the gills-and the buses that run out of Main Street are filled to capacity at peak travel hours.
Factchecking

Um, the western border of the Atlantic Yards site would be Flatbush and Atlantic avenues.

As for the "18 or so" rail links, the Barclays Center site states that "Visitors will have the option of taking 10 different subway lines and the LIRR."

Sustainability

The larger point is more subtle. Yes, the Atlantic Yards site would be adjacent to a larger transit hub than in downtown Flushing So it does have a somewhat greater claim to the distinction, but that doesn't make it sustainable.

As urban planning professor Tom Angotti wrote in the 6/5/07 Gotham Gazette, under the headline Atlantic Yards and the Sustainability Test:
Atlantic Yards is promoted as a prime example of “transit-oriented development” because it is located over the third largest transit hub in the city. Yet Forest City Ratner plans to build a parking garage with 3,670 spaces, and in the first phase, which could last 10 to 20 years, create over 2,000 spaces in open parking lots. These would attract more cars and increase traffic congestion. At the same time, the plans currently provide for no improvements to subway and train stations, which are already over-capacity, and no additional trains. Bus service, under the latest proposals, would not be expanded and could even decline.
Actually, AY would be adjacent to the hub, not over it.

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