Skip to main content

No interim report yet on arena Transportation Demand Management plan, originally due in December, now planned for May

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting on March 15 covered a lot of ground, but one key issue related to the Barclays Center arena remained shunted to the side, despite promises last year it would have been on the table well before this month.

Where's the Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, the multi-faceted effort--free MetroCards, cross-marketing with local businesses, remote parking, etc.--to get fewer people to drive to the arena and instead choose public transit?

Only with a robust TDM plan can the interim surface parking lot--between Dean and Pacific streets and Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues--but shrunk from the now-planned 1100 spaces, which would require (potentially noisy and unwieldy) stackers, to a more manageable, greener configuration.

City Council Member Letitia James asked for an update on the plan, and Forest City Ratner agreed, but the issue was dropped and no discussion surfaced during the meeting, which lasted less than 90 minutes.

Pushing back the timetable

Forest City Ratner, with the help of Empire State Development (ESD), the state agency overseeing Atlantic Yards, pushed back the release of the plan for six months, reducing the opportunity for public input and for revisions of the plan.

ESD, responding to a question at a public meeting last June about the plan, "anticipated" that the developer would present the plan "to the public for comment in about six months," meaning December 2011.

However, at a December 2011 meeting on transportation issues, we learned that the plan was more likely coming in February, provoking Community Board 2 District Manager Rob Perris to comment that “we should be be very careful” because of the tight time frame.

In January, however, the timetable was pushed back to May.

Interim reports? Semi-promise in January

Perris in January asked if Forest City could provide “interim work products” for discussion before May.

“I pondered this,” Forest City executive Jane Marshall said. “It can't be done in a piecemeal way. You can’t break off the parking from the transit. I don't think there are individual pieces that we can present.”

She promised an update in early May, not late May, and “earlier than May if we can do it.”

Perris asked if it was possible to report on the progress of research in specific areas.

“If we can think of a way of doing that we will try,” Marshall said.

Interim reports? No delivery in March

At the March 15 meting, James commented, "Prior to the holidays, we had a meeting, there was a commitment at that time, that the plan that would be forthcoming in February. Here we are in March."

"If you want on update on where we are, I can give you that," Marshall said.

Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, ESD, said, "We can give you a copy of the [Sam Schwartz] presentation."

"I got a copy of the presentation," James replied. "My question is the actual plan. When is that going to happen?"

"In May we're going to present that plan, but I can give you an update," Marshall said.

But the issue was dropped, at least during the meeting. The next Atlantic Yards District Cabinet meeting is schedule for May 3.

Still waiting

Commenting on Brownstoner, Perris stated:
Jane Marshall has stated several times her personal goal of zero parking at the arena but has not (yet?) been able to sell the idea at FCRC.

Three months overdue, we're now a couple months away from seeing the draft transportation demand management plan. That's when we will know what is real and what is not.
Marshall's personal goal is irrelevant in this case. Many of the suite buyers at the arena will be arriving not by public transit but by luxury personal vehicles. They want a place to park.

The parking lot is supposed to serve both premium customers and high-occupancy vehicles (HOV). What hasn't been made public yet is how many in both groups are expected to seek parking and thus how the surface parking lot can be configured.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

Is Barclays Center dumping the Islanders, or are they renegotiating? Evidence varies (bond doc, cash receipts); NHL attendance biggest variable

The Internet has been abuzz since Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick reported 1/30/17, using an overly conclusory headline, that Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Is Dumping the Islanders.

That would end an unusual arrangement in which the arena agrees to pay the team a fixed sum (minus certain expenses), in exchange for keeping tickets, suite, and sponsorship revenue.

The arena would earn more without the hockey team, according to Bloomberg, which cited “a financial projection shared with potential investors showed the Islanders won’t contribute any revenue after the 2018-19 season--a clear signal that the team won’t play there, the people said."

That "signal," however, is hardly definitive, as are the media leaks about a prospective new arena in Queens, as shown in the screenshot below from Newsday. Both sides are surely pushing for advantage, if not bluffing.

Consider: the arena and the Islanders can't even formally begin their opt-out talks until after this season. The disc…

Skanska says it "expected to assemble a properly designed modular building, not engage in an iterative R&D experiment"

On 12/10/16, I noted that FastCo.Design's Prefab's Moment of Reckoning article dialed back the gush on the 461 Dean modular tower compared to the publication's previous coverage.

Still, I noted that the article relied on developer Forest City Ratner and architect SHoP to put the best possible spin on what was clearly a failure. From the article: At the project's outset, it took the factory (managed by Skanska at the time) two to three weeks to build a module. By the end, under FCRC's management, the builders cut that down to six days. "The project took a little longer than expected and cost a little bit more than expected because we started the project with the wrong contractor," [Forest City's Adam] Greene says.Skanska jabs back
Well, Forest City's estranged partner Skanska later weighed in--not sure whether they weren't asked or just missed a deadline--and their article was updated 12/13/16. Here's Skanska's statement, which shows th…

Not just logistics: bypassing Brooklyn for DNC 2016 also saved on optics (role of Russian oligarch, Shanghai government)

Surely the logistical challenges of holding a national presidential nominating convention in Brooklyn were the main (and stated) reasons for the Democratic National Committee's choice of Philadelphia.

And, as I wrote in NY Slant, the huge security cordon in Philadelphia would have been impossible in Brooklyn.

But consider also the optics. As I wrote in my 1/21/15 op-ed in the Times arguing that the choice of Brooklyn was a bad idea:
The arena also raises ethically sticky questions for the Democrats. While the Barclays Center is owned primarily by Forest City Ratner, 45 percent of it is owned by the Russian billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov (who also owns 80 percent of the Brooklyn Nets). Mr. Prokhorov has a necessarily cordial relationship with Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — though he has been critical of Mr. Putin in the past, last year, at the Russian president’s request, he tried to transfer ownership of the Nets to one of his Moscow-based companies. An oligarch-owned a…

Former ESDC CEO Lago returns to NYC to head City Planning Commission

Carl Weisbrod, Mayor Bill de Blasio's City Planning Commission Chairman and Director of the Department of City Planning, is resigning,

And he's being replaced by Marisa Lago, currently a federal official, but who Atlantic Yards-ologists remember as the short-term Empire State Development Corporation CEO who, in an impolitic but candid 2009 statement, acknowledged that the project would take "decades."

Still, Lago not long after that played the good soldier at a May 2009 Senate oversight hearing, justifying changes in the project but claiming the public benefits remained the same.

By returning to City Planning, Lago will join former ESDC General Counsel Anita Laremont, who after retiring from the state (and taking a pension) got the job with the city.

Back at planning

Lago, a lawyer, in 1983 began work as an aide to City Planning Chairman Herb Sturz, and later served as the General Counsel to the president of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Weisbrod himself.