Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How will congestion on Dean Street affect the firehouse? State document says police will step up when events are scheduled and that impacts "were discussed" (not quite)

The other day I was at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Dean Street, catercorner from the in-construction Barclays Center arena.

A fire truck assigned to the firehouse just east of the corner--Engine 219/Ladder 105--was temporarily parked in the left lane of the street. Cars were parked along the right lane. A city bus tried to get through, but it was stymied.

It took more than a minute--probably more than two--to untangle the knot. So, what happens if the arena's open? It turns out the state is optimistic, as explained in 68 questions and responses from the 6/14/11 public meeting on traffic issues has posted (also embedded below) by  Empire State Development (aka Empire State Development Corporation).

(I've previous highlighted some questions and responses, including the capacity of sidewalks on Dean Street, plans for the surface parking lot, the impact of traffic on the Dean Street Playground, a post-arena opening traffic study, the Transportation Demand Management plan, potential sidewalk closures, and noise from traffic and pedestrians.)

Traffic bottlenecks?


The question:
62. On Dean Street the church double parks every night. The police and fire department park on the sidewalk. You don’t take that into account. Where do these cars go? How does the fire engine company get out in an emergency?
The answer:
Enforcement of double parking prohibitions is the responsibility of the New York City Police Department, which will have an active presence in the Arena vicinity before and after Arena events. Potential impacts on emergency vehicles were discussed in Chapter 5 of the FEIS (e.g., pages 5-10 through 5-12).
How much enforcement is there now? Not much. Apparently ESDC is optimistic it will change.

What the FEIS said

According to Chapter 5, Community Facilities:
The proposed project would change certain roads from one-way to two-way operations and also include permanent roadway closures, including: Pacific Street (in two parts) between Flatbush and 6th Avenues and between Carlton and Vanderbilt Avenues; and 5th Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues. The proposed project’s closure of portions of Pacific Street (between Flatbush and 6th Avenues and between Carlton and Vanderbilt Avenues) would not hinder the ability of FDNY to access the project site, as the projects’ design accounts for the access needs of FDNY and EMS emergency vehicles. The proposed closure of 5th Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues would not adversely affect response times as this is a relatively short north-south block and there are multiple alternate routes in close proximity to the project site, including the conversion of 6th Avenue between Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues from one-way southbound to a two-way operation.

Similar to NYPD operations, FDNY response times are not expected to be significantly affected by the closing of local streets or increased traffic as the project site is accessible by three of the borough’s major thoroughfares and service to surrounding areas is from FDNY facilities that have a broad geographic distribution. As discussed in “Existing Conditions” above, these facilities include seven firehouses, one squad company, and one emergency response unit (located at 39 Auburn Place north of the project site). FDNY and emergency service vehicles would be able to access the project site and would maneuver around and through congested areas and are not bound by standard traffic controls.
It's true that they're not bound by standard traffic controls, and that multiple fire companies could access the site.

However, the question was whether excess congestion hinders this specific fire company, and it wasn't exactly answered.
070811 Response to Questions re Traffic from June 14 Public Meeting

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