Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Community invited to hear presentation June 13 on arena Transportation Demand Management plan effectiveness. Community not invited to scrutinize findings beforehand.

As required in the Final Environmental Impact Statement issued by Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing Atlantic Yards, the Barclays Center developer had to analyze how well arena-goers were deterred from driving to the arena.

Well, the report on the effectiveness of the Transportation Demand Management plan--which relied on promotion of public transit, along with pre-paid parking and shuttle buses--will be unveiled at a public presentation June 13.

The findings are likely to be highly positive--the biggest snags have been with limos idling and parking illegally rather than too many "regular" drivers causing gridlock at the intersections.

Still, the failure of the state to enact--and of city officials and arena operators to push for--residential permit parking means that there's ever more competition for limited free parking on the streets near the arena.

That problem is likely to be exacerbated when New York Islanders fans start driving to games when the team moves in 2015 (if not earlier). But that was not evaluated, obviously.

It also will be interesting to see how much the report evaluates the planned (but limited) cross-marketing to arena patrons.

Set up to deter scrutiny?

But the public meeting is already set up to advantage Forest City Ratner and its consultant, Sam Schwartz Engineering (SSE), because there's no way for civilians to assess the findings ahead of time and attend with intelligent questions.

And despite an invitation from ESD Government/Community Relations Manager Derek Lynch for people to "reach out" to him with questions, he didn't answer my query as to whether the report or any data would be available before the meeting.

Letter from Lynch
Dear Community,
Attached to this email is a notice for a public meeting on the effectiveness of the Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management Plan. The meeting will be held on June 13th, 2013 from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. at The Brooklyn Hospital Center Auditorium, Third Floor 121 DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11201.
Representatives of Forest City Ratner Companies and Sam Schwartz Engineering will make a presentation and be available to answer questions. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions regarding the June 13th Presentation.
The work

According to a letter (bottom) detailing the scope of services, SSE conducted surveys of arena attendees at nine events, to evaluate whether the goals were met: average auto mode (i.e., personal vehicle) share of Nets game attendees of no greater than 28.3% for weekday evening games and 32.0% for Saturday afternoon games.

A draft presentation was to be shared with Forest City, ESD, and NYC Department of Transportation for review and comment prior to its completion.

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