April 23, 2007
Atlantic Yards Report on PlaNYC
Norman Oder scours the Housing section of Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC for signs of Atlantic Yards:
Yesterday, when discussing PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York, Mayor Mike Bloomberg called congestion pricing "the elephant in the room." When it comes to the housing section of the plan, however, the elephant in the room is Atlantic Yards.
While numerous examples of past, present, and future projects are provided in the Housing chapter, Atlantic Yards is conspicuously unmentioned.
Given that the project remains high on the mayoral agenda, the omission is curious. Is Atlantic Yards so controversial that it's wise to avoid it?
Or has the production of the new plan pointed out the flaws in the process that led to Atlantic Yards? Indeed, the report recomments a planning process before decking over a railyard--a distinct contrast to the city's embrace of one developer's plan for the Vanderbilt Yard at the heart of the Atlantic Yards plan.
But the big one is a congestion pricing pilot scheduled to begin by Spring 2009, aimed to charge drivers who enter the Central Business District in Manhattan in certain hours. The money would be directed toward improving public transit and thus offer opportunities to those most burdened by the charge, though obviously the transition period could be dicey.
The concept gains support from left-ish transportation advocates (who are holding a rally at 10:30 a.m. today, noting that the mayor's plan results in "reducing car use and giving more space and priority to bus riders, pedestrians and bicycles"), wonky transportation analysts, and business groups.
It has been opposed by outer borough politicians and officials, mindful that it would hit some of their constituents--who lack good public transit access to Manhattan--the hardest. It's also been opposed by trucking companies and garage owners.
Congestion pricing is seen as necessary for the Atlantic Yards plan to have a ghost of a chance, though political backers of the plan like Borough President Marty Markowitz, as well as developer Forest City Ratner, have remained quiet about the issue.
While the city plans to pilot five bus rapid transit routes, one in each borough, in the next few years, the first one in Brooklyn would be Nostrand Avenue. A second round of five routes, likely including Flatbush Avenue, would not be completed until 2015, according to p. 4 of Appendix B to the mayor's PlaNYC report, issued yesterday.
There may be room for certain routes in the second round, including Flatbush Avenue, to open before that date. Still, transportation advocates believe that BRT is part of a package, including congestion pricing (which the city hopes to begin by Spring 2009) crucial to make any Atlantic Yards transportation plan work. The arena is scheduled to open in 2009, though that schedule seems unlikely.
New York City's energy-related initiatives within PlanNYC2030 include a new push for solar energy.
Might the city entertain the notion of "solar zoning"? No such proposal is specified; however, the exploration of the tension between scale and solar likely will increase.
Posted by lumi at April 23, 2007 7:32 AM