Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Brooklyn open space maps call parts of AY site well-served, but don't factor in expected new population; what's the open space ratio?

New open space maps from the Parks Department, via the Mayor's Office of Environmental Coordination, provide an apparently accurate but ultimately misleading picture of the Atlantic Yards site.

Sections of the map delineated in red are considered "well-served areas," perhaps because of their relative proximity to Prospect Park. However, should Atlantic Yards be built as planned, the ratio of open space to population will decline, raising questions about the level of service.

Only parts of the Atlantic Yards site destined for Phase 2 are currently considered "well-served areas." The arena block, which would be the first phase developed, is not.

Remember, as I wrote November 16, the delay in project timetable means the "temporary significant open space impact" could last twice as long as the period studied in the Final Environmental Impact Statement.

The map for CB 8

Community Board 8, at its northwest tip, includes the blocks between Dean and Pacific streets and Sixth and Vanderbilt avenues. (Click on graphics to enlarge.)

Of them, the block bounded by Dean and Pacific streets, and Vanderbilt and Carlton avenues, is part of the project site--it's the second block to the east from the northwest tip outlined in blue.

The block, currently used for construction staging and parking, and slated to be a massive interim surface parking lot, is currently considered "well-served."


The map for CB 2

Community Board 2, on its southern border, includes blocks between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street, from Vanderbilt Avenue (bordered in blue) straight west, including the entire northern portion of the Atlantic Yards site, to Fourth Avenue.

The part of the project site bounded by Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street, and Vanderbilt and Sixth avenues, is considered "well-served."

That piece of land represents the Vanderbilt Yard, with a few buildings and one lot occupying land jutting into the yard south of Atlantic Avenue on the block between Sixth and Carlton avenues.

However, the land west of Sixth Avenue, consisting of the northern portion of the arena block and Site 5, the four-sided, irregular plot of land west of Flatbush Avenue and bounded by Pacific Street, Atlantic Avenue, and Fourth Avenue, is not considered well-served.



The map for CB 6

Community Board 6 includes a slight portion of the project site at its northern border, the block bounded by Flatbush Avenue, Sixth Avenue, Dean Street, and the now-demapped Pacific Street--the southern half, more or less, of the arena block.

It's the eastern portion of the northeastern tip, outlined in blue. It's in white, not red, and not considered well-served.


The rationale

From the Mayor's Office of Environmental Coordination:
Open Space Maps - Brooklyn

Below are maps outlining the areas identified as underserved or well-served by open space for each community district in Brooklyn. Some community districts contain both underserved and well-served areas, while others do not have any underserved or well-served open space areas.

* Underserved areas are areas of high population density in the City that are generally the greatest distance from parkland where the amount of open space per 1000 residents is currently less than 2.5 acres.

* Well-served areas
o Have an open space ratio above 2.5 accounting for existing parks that contain developed recreational resources; or
o Are located within 0.25 mile (approximately a 10-minute walk) from developed and publicly accessible portions of regional parks.

For the methodologies used to identify underserved and well-served areas.

THRESHOLDS FOR ASSESSMENT:

* If a project is located in an underserved area, an open space assessment should be conducted if that project would generate more than 50 residents or 125 workers.
* If the project is located in a well-served area, an open space assessment should be conducted if that project would generate more than 350 residents or 750 workers in a well-served area.
* If a project is not located within an underserved or well-served area, an open space assessment should be conducted if that project would generate more than 200 residents or 500 employees.
What's "well-served"?

This is rather confusing, because the Atlantic Yards FEIS does not describe Prospect Park as being within even a half-mile from the project site. Rather, the Grand Army Plaza/Memorial Arch is within a half-mile.

However, the other definition should be considered as well:
Have an open space ratio above 2.5 accounting for existing parks that contain developed recreational resources
And, as I explained, the open space ratio would be well below that.

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