Friday, June 29, 2012

Getting some answers from ESD on transportation plan: is cutting parking a disincentive? will parking change be studied? where will savings on "NetroCards" go?

The draft Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan was presented to the local community and elected officials on 5/22/12 (my coverage), as noted by Empire State Development, and the public has until July 3, 2012 to submit comments and questions to AtlanticYards@esd.ny.gov.

ESD has prepared a document (also below) that answers several of the questions already raised. I highlight a few.

Parking disincentive

The key question is below, though it could be formulated in multiple ways. How can the reduction by half in on-site parking is an effective disincentive, according to the question, when there's sufficient off-site parking elsewhere nearby?

The answer is that "[p]roviding fewer parking spaces in an area with robust transit service is clearly a disincentive to driving." But the presence of free, on-street parking will be an incentive to driving, at least for some (and initially). That's not mentioned here.

Parking changes

Why was there no official analysis of the changes in parking? ESD says it is "in the process of considering" Forest City Ratner's proposal to reduce on-site parking, and "will determine whether a supplemental environmental review is necessary."

Well, it's hardly in doubt whether ESD will approve the proposal. As for a supplemental environmental review, that may have been accelerated by the court decision this week upholding a required Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement for Phase 2 of the project, which (arguably) subsumes plans for the parking block.

Saving money on no "NetroCards"

So, if Forest City Ratner will save potentially $2 to $3 million a year by not providing free MetroCards (aka "NetroCards"), where will the money go? The answer suggests it will go to mass transit marketing, though no dollar amount was announced.

Nets games, or other events?

Will TDM measures be used at other events? Why was the focus on Nets games? The answer is that Nets games are "the reasonable worst case scenario," with likely repeat high attendance. That's surely plausible, but if Jay-Z plays five concerts to open the arena, that'll be high attendance, too.
62012 May 2012 TDM Presentation Questions

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