November 21, 2008
Port Authority's Ward: AY represents simple--er, complex--density challenge
Atlantic Yards Report
Norman Oder reports on recent comments about Atlantic Yards made by Port Authority chief Christopher Ward.
Then he got to Atlantic Yards. “That is part of the challenge that we face in terms of where we will build," he said. "Think of the challenge that Bruce Ratner’s facing, Atlantic Yards, where you’ve had exactly what you could describe as a transit-oriented development resisted heavily, simply because--simply for the complex reason that the community around there does not match the height, density, and character. So you have the brownstone versus the skyscraper, although Atlantic I think is the MTA’s second-largest transit hub within the city, which lends itself to the very model that Hong Kong represents.”
It's the third-largest transit hub, I believe, but not necessarily the third-busiest. (Aren't Times Square, Grand Central, and Union Square busier?)
Ward's awkward syntax suggests that the issue is more complex than simple. Yes, many have resisted the project's scale and density, but supporters of the UNITY plan welcome significant density, just not at the level that Forest City Ratner proposes. Urban planner Ron Shiffman, a supporter of density, has argued that the proposed density "far exceeds the carrying capacity of the area’s physical, social, cultural, and educational infrastructure."
Several other issues generate resistance, including the undemocratic approval process, the level of public subsidy, and the use of eminent domain based on questionable findings of blight.
Posted by eric at November 21, 2008 7:22 AM