Sunday, September 04, 2011

What if it gets loud? State says police "will seek to control unruly behavior," but expect "significant adverse noise impacts" from traffic (though they didn't study impact on plaza nor effect on pedestrians)

The Empire State Development Corporation has posted (also embedded below) 68 questions and responses from the 6/14/11 public meeting on traffic issues.

I've already 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, and potential sidewalk closures.

Below is another question with a short answer but a longer backstory.

But what if it gets loud?

The question:
67. What are the plans to manage noise from traffic and pedestrians late at night?
The answer:
The FEIS [Final Environmental Impact Statement] determined that the Project would result in significant adverse noise impacts; thus some increase in noise is expected. Police officers patrolling Arena events will seek to control unruly behavior that would constitute an undue disturbance.
Note what's missing from "significant adverse noise impacts"--exactly who and where. Also unclear is how many officers will be available, and at what radius from the site. Will police be posted along residential Dean Street as event attendees walk back to the surface parking lot?

From Chapter 15: traffic noise locations

Chapter 15, Noise, of the FEIS, was not comprehensive, as it addressed noise from traffic, not pedestrians, an issue bypassed in the answer above. It states:
The noise analysis presented in this chapter focuses on the noise-generated changes in traffic that would result from the operation of the proposed project (i.e., when construction of Phase I and Phase II have been completed in the years 2010 and 2016, respectively). Noise effects during construction of the proposed project are analyzed and discussed in Chapter 17, “Construction Impacts.”
Where'd the impact be? The chapter states:
Specifically, excluding the effects of construction, in 2010, when construction of Phase I of the proposed project would be completed, noise levels due to project-generated traffic would exceed the 2001 City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) Technical Manual impact criteria and result in significant adverse noise impacts during one or more time periods on Flatbush Avenue in the area near Dean Street, on Dean Street from approximately Flatbush to Vanderbilt Avenues (including the Dean Playground), 6th and Carlton Avenues from approximately Dean Street to Atlantic Avenue. These locations are the principal feeder streets to and from the parking facilities for Phase I project elements. The impacts would be localized and occur on street segments immediately adjacent to the project site (Flatbush Avenue, Dean Street, and 6th and Carlton Avenues). On Dean Street, existing and No Build noise levels are relatively low and project-generated traffic would cause significant increases in noise levels on this street, but would still result in noise levels that fall in the CEQR “marginally unacceptable” range, which is not unusual for New York City residential areas.

In 2016, when construction of the proposed project would be complete, noise levels due to project-generated traffic would exceed the CEQR Technical Manual impact criteria and result in significant adverse noise impacts during one or more time periods at the same locations as in 2010—on Flatbush Avenue near Dean Street, on Dean Street from approximately Flatbush to Vanderbilt Avenues (including the Dean Playground), and on 6th and Carlton Avenues from approximately Dean Street to Atlantic Avenue.
(Emphases added)

The-not-so-quiet plaza?

The chapter also states:
In addition, noise levels within the new open space areas created on-site as part of the proposed project would be above the 55 dBA L10(1) noise level for outdoor areas requiring serenity and quiet contained in the CEQR Technical Manual noise exposure guidelines.
At the time of the FEIS, all such "new open space areas" would be created in Phase 2, around residential towers east of Sixth Avenue.

The arena, west of Sixth Avenue, was to be bordered by an an unclosed Urban Room, part of the structure connecting to Building 1, the first tower.

Now, of course, that space is to be an open plaza. The impact of noise on that plaza was not studied. However, given its central location, bordered by Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, it's hard to imagine that noise levels would not "be above the 55 dBA L10(1) noise level for outdoor areas requiring serenity and quiet."

070811 Response to Questions re Traffic from June 14 Public Meeting

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