Tuesday, October 18, 2011

From Atlantic Yards Watch: "privatizing arena planning and oversight" leads to flawed analysis of sidewalk width, capacity

From Atlantic Yards Watch, ESDC's flawed analysis of sidewalk widths highlights risk in privatizing arena planning and oversight, follows up on the Department of Transportation hearing October 5 on Forest City Ratner's bollard plan:
In response to an AYW story showing the effective sidewalk widths on the arena block are going to be narrower than ESDC's 2006 environmental analysis has assessed, the agency's environmental monitor HDR submitted a Technical Memorandum to the Department of Transportation revising effective sidewalk widths and reassessing the sidewalks' level of service.

But HDR's Technical Memorandum about the arena block's sidewalks is flawed as well. It incorrectly applies its own formula for assessing effective sidewalk widths. As a result of that mistake the Technical Memorandum overstates the effective widths of numerous sidewalks on the arena block by several feet. And HDR uses outdated pedestrian numbers from the 2006 FEIS even though the sidewalk conditions being analyzed should be based on the 2009 Modified General Project Plan.

As a result, the level of service calculations (which relate the number of pedestrians anticipated to use a sidewalk in a period of peak use to the sidewalk's capacity) are invalid and should not be accepted.
The problem: private planning

From AY Watch:
In arguing for the approval of FCRC's plans for bollards on the arena block at the DOT hearing October 5th, Assistant Vice President Sonya Covington stated that the plans followed two years of coordination with government agencies and that the Technical Memorandum had been produced to address changes to sidewalk widths from what was originally anticipated in 2006.

The reality is the opposite. At a critical time in which the operational, demand management and security plans for Barclays Center are being developed behind closed doors, the bollard plans provide a small window into how and who is shaping the plans.
We're still waiting for the Department of Transportation to respond, and for Empire State Development (Corporation) to convene the once-promised Transportation Working Group.

For more on why this matters, see the full AY Watch article.

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