Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dean Street Squeeze (and more) documented: Atlantic Yards Watch shows width of sidewalks was overestimated, says narrow nature requires response

A "crowd" along Dean Street on the path to the arena.
Yes, the sidewalks around the Atlantic Yards project site are quite narrow, and that could be a problem.

Atlantic Yards Watch has compiled some thorough research, illustrated with a video and photos (by David Power) on how Overestimated sidewalk widths may spell trouble for arena patrons and residents alike.

(I wrote about the Dean Street Squeeze in June 2010, pointing out how it was clear the sidewalks were too tight for crowds, but AY Watch has done much more analysis.)



In the Daily News

The Daily News got the exclusive,  boiling down the findings in Sidewalks around Atlantic Yards project too narrow for Barclays Center crowds, report finds: Advocates measure sidewalks and find they're not as wide as state claims:
They say the narrow sidewalks in a residential neighborhood will make the crowding problem worse than around an arena like Madison Square Garden. The report found that half of the sidewalks have less than the eight feet of clear space than city rules call for in commercial areas.
“There’s a safety issue...Pedestrians are going to walk in the roads,” [Peter] Krashes said. “When you put too much demand for the same space on the sidewalk, it just makes it less safe and less desirable to be there.”
Based on what I saw when I last attended a Nets game in Newark, people eagerly used the streets.

State says all's fine

The state maintains everything's OK:
Arana Hankin, Atlantic Yards director for the Empire State Development Corporation, said the agency’s consultants recently analyzed sidewalks around the arena site. “The analysis determined that pedestrian conditions operate at acceptable levels of service,” she said.
The Daily News ended its article with quotes from one resident who fears chaos, and another who said "They'll take care of it." That's kind of what Jay Rosen calls the "View from Nowhere," the false middle, the inability to do any analysis. suggesting each opinion was of equal value, though the evidence suggests otherwise.

What could be done? Well, at the next Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting, scheduled for May 3, perhaps an elected official or two will ask some hard questions.

From Atlantic Yards Watch

Go to AY Watch for a full explication of their findings, but take a look at the chart below.


Illustrating the problem

These photos were shared by AY Watch with me; they are either stills from the video or shots that don't yet appear on the AY Watch site.
Pacific Street just east of Sixth Avenue across from arena.
Dean Street between Sixth and Carlton avenues, along path from surface parking lot to the arena.
"Crowd" at Dean Street between Sixth and Carlton avenues, south side, near Dean Playground. Arena in background.
Another "crowd" simulation along the same street, north side.

Northeast corner of Sixth and Flatbush avenues

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