Skip to main content

City study casts major doubt on state's AY parking availability estimates

A new city analysis has cast significant doubt on the Empire State Development Corporation's (ESDC) generous estimate, in the Atlantic Yards environmental review, of the availability of on-street parking in the vicinity of the project site.

It was hard for Brooklyn residents to believe the ESDC's claim (p. 12-20) that "[u]tilization of these on-street parking spaces was found to be approximately 65 percent in the 5-6 PM period, 47 percent in the 7-8 PM period, and 65 percent in the Saturday 1-2 PM period."
(Click on graphics to enlarge)

Their comments (12-84 of this PDF) were polite but incredulous. Excerpts: Seems fanciful. Simply untrue. Just not possible. Unrealistic. Never plentiful as stated. Woefully underestimates the existing capacity. (Full comments below.)

The ESDC's response was essentially a variant on that famous Marx Brothers line: Who are you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?

Dueling evidence

To trump the observed experience of residents, the ESDC cited "extensive field surveys" of an area "within ¼ mile of the project site" by the transportation consultant Philip Habib and Associates. The surveys were conducted in February and March of 2006.

Less than two years later, things have changed enormously--at least for some of the data. As first pointed out yesterday on No Land Grab, at a residential parking workshop held last Thursday [corrected] at Temple Beth Elohim in Park Slope, a city Department of Transportation survey, conducted in January, showed that, of free parking spaces surveyed in the area surrounding the crossroads of Fourth, Flatbush, and Atlantic avenues, 98 percent were occupied at 2 pm, 98 percent were occupied at 6 pm, and 95 percent were occupied at 5:30 am.

There are obviously some differences in methodology, since the state study included both free and metered spots. And it's not at all clear that the exact same blocks were canvassed. Still, the areas seem comparable.

The city survey canvassed 332 spaces out of a total 2660 available. It's not clear what sample of spaces in the state study were canvassed, but a total of 5590 to 6280 spaces were found, including both free and metered parking.

Differences at 6 pm?

At 6 pm, according to the city study, 98 percent (2607) of the 2660 free spots in the study area were occupied. However, in the state study, only 65 percent (3660) of the 5590 spaces were filled during the 5 pm to 6 pm hour.

So, if we assumed (and it's a rough comparison) that the city study were a subset of the state study, the latter would include an additional 2930 spaces, of which 1053 were occupied. (That's how we get from 2607 to 3660.) That would represent only 36 percent of the additional spaces.

So 64 percent (NLG said 62 percent) of the additional spaces in the state study would have to be vacant at 6 pm. That's tough to believe. Even if the study areas don't completely overlap, the numbers are tough to believe.
Additional details may explain differences between the two studies. But the city study surely confirms the experience of numerous residents and suggests that the ESDC's conclusions should be taken with an large grain of salt.

"Hard look" in court?

The questionable parking statistics were not addressed in the lawsuit challenging the Atlantic Yards environmental review, which charged that the ESDC failed to take a "hard look" at various environmental impacts.

The standard for judicial review in such cases, cited in Supreme Court Justice Joan Madden's decision (p. 3 of PDF), is whether the agency followed lawful procedure and whether "the determination was affected by an error of law or was arbitrary and capricious or an abuse of discretion."

The court is not permitted to second-guess the agency or substitute its judgment for the agency. That sets a pretty high bar, since it essentially accepts an agency's response to evidence presented.

But what if another agency offers seemingly contradictory evidence? That might raise questions about the "hard look."

Primary source: From Chapter 12

This passage from Chapter 12 of the FEIS, Traffic & Parking (12-20 of the PDF), addresses on-street parking:
Table 12-5 shows the existing supply and utilization of on-street parking spaces within ¼ mile of the project site during the weekday 5-6 PM, 7-8 PM pre-game, and Saturday 1-2 PM pre-game periods. As shown in Table 12-5, accounting for curbside parking regulations, fire hydrants, curb cuts, loading zones and other restricted curb space unavailable for parking, there are a total of approximately 5,590 legal on-street parking spaces within ¼ mile of the project site during the weekday 5-6 PM peak period; 6,075 during the weekday 7-8 PM (pre-game) period; and 6,280 during the Saturday 1-2 PM (pre-game) period. The lower number of parking spaces during the 5-6 PM period reflects the more restrictive curbside regulations typically in effect during weekday peak periods. Utilization of these on-street parking spaces was found to be approximately 65 percent in the 5-6 PM period, 47 percent in the 7-8 PM period, and 65 percent in the Saturday 1-2 PM period, with approximately 1,930, 3,240, and 2,215 spaces available during these periods, respectively. As shown in Figure 12-4, many of the restrictions on parking within the study area (including metered parking) end at 6 PM or 7 PM, and some regulations, including most alternate side-of-the-street regulations, are only in effect on weekdays. Consequently, many of the on-street parking spaces available in the 5-6 PM, 7-8 PM and Saturday 1-2 PM periods can be utilized for lengthy periods (e.g., for more than two hours) or for overnight parking.

Primary Source: The Response to Comments

The Response to Comments chapter of the FEIS (12-84 of this PDF ) addresses comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, or DEIS:
(Emphases added)

The DEIS analysis of on-street parking seems fanciful. It states that the "utilization of these on-street parking spaces was found to be approximately 65 percent in the 5 to 6 PM period, 47 percent in the 7 to 8 PM period, and 65 percent in the Saturday 1 to 2 PM period..." For the DEIS to suggest that in the worst case, more than one-third of on-street parking spots are available, flies in the face of the real-world experience of the people living in these neighborhoods. (102, 103, 154, 328)

Two years ago you could find a parking space fairly easily in Fort Greene. Now people are afraid to drive because they would lose their parking space. The EIS states there is ample parking when this is simply untrue. (77, 241, 266, 284)

Table 12-5 that deals with on-street parking utilization indicates current on-street parking spaces filled to only 65 percent of capacity between 5 and 6 p.m. and 47 percent of capacity between 6 and 7 PM. This is just not possible and contradicts the recent Residential Parking Urban Study completed by the Downtown Brooklyn Council, which concluded that there is inadequate on-street parking to accommodate current community needs. (24)

The DEIS suggests low 47 percent to 65 percent current utilization rates for on-street parking in near proximity to the proposed arena. These numbers are unrealistic. There is so little on-street available parking that there is competition for double parking spaces between church-goers and police and fire department workers. Availability has been worsened by overflow parking from the Atlantic Center Mall. (461)

On Vanderbilt Avenue at the edge of the footprint of the proposed project, parking is never plentiful as stated in the DEIS. As more and more properties continue to convert to condos, on-street parking is more and more scarce. (312)

The DEIS woefully underestimates the existing capacity for on-street parking and incorrectly assumes the project will have little or no impact. (324)

The ESDC's Response: The estimates of on-street parking supply and utilization reported in the EIS were based on data collected during extensive field surveys conducted in February and March of 2006. They included all blocks within ¼-mile of the project site. Much of the area surveyed was not included in the study areas for the Downtown Brooklyn Council’s Downtown Brooklyn Residential Permit Parking Study.


Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.
Security issues came up several times at the meeting.
Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.
After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.
Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the …

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming + FAQ (post-dated pinned post)

This graphic, posted in February 2018, is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. Note the unbuilt B1 and the proposed--but not yet approved--shift in bulk to the unbuilt Site 5.

The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change. The project is already well behind that tentative timetable.

How many people are expected?

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park has a projected 6,430 apartments housing 2.1 persons per unit (as per Chapter 4 of the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement), which would mean 13,503 new residents, with 1,890 among them in low-income affordable rentals, and 2,835 in moderate- and middle-income affordable rentals.

That leaves 8,778 people in market-rate rentals and condos, though let's call it 8,358 after subtracting 420 who may live in 200 promised below-market condos. So that's 5,145 in below-market units, though many of them won…

The passing of David Sheets, Dean Street renter, former Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality

David Sheets, longtime Dean Street renter, Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality, died 1/17/18 in HCA Greenview Hospital in Bowling Green, KY. He was 56.

There are obituary notices in the Bowling Green Daily News and the Wichita Eagle, which state:
He was born in Wichita, KS where he attended public Schools and Wichita State University. He lived for many years in Brooklyn, NY, and was employed as a legal assistant. David's hobby was cartography and had an avid interest in Mass Transit Systems of the world. David was predeceased by his father, Kenneth E. Sheets. He is survived by his mother, Wilma Smith, step-brother, Billy Ray Smith and his wife, Jane all of Bowling Green; step-sister, Ellen Smith Alexander and her husband, Jerry of Bella Vista, AR; several cousins and step-nieces and step-nephews also survive. Memorial Services will be on Monday, January 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm with visitation from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm Monday at Johnson-Vaughn-Phe…

Some skepticism on Belmont hockey deal: lease value seems far below Aqueduct racino; unclear (but large?) cost for LIRR service

As I wrote for The Bridge 12/20/1, The Islanders Say Bye to Brooklyn, But Where Next?, the press conference announcing a new arena at Belmont Park for the New York Islanders was "long on pomp... but short on specifics."

Notably, a lease valued at $40 million "upfront to lease up to 43 acres over 49 years... seems like a good deal on rent for the state-controlled property." Also, the Long Island Rail Road will expand service to Belmont.

That indicates public support for an arena widely described as "privately financed," but how much? We don't know yet, but some more details--or at least questions--have emerged.

An Aqueduct comparable?

Well, we don't know what the other bid was, and there aren't exactly parcels that large offering direct comparables.

But consider: Genting New York LLC in September 2010 was granted a franchise to operate a video lottery terminal under a 30 year lease on 67 acres at Aqueduct Park (as noted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo).


Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…