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May 11, 2012

A caution on the Gridlock Sam admiration society: the consultant still has to satisfy his clients; he and his client already have failed to deliver the transportation demand management plan promised for December

Atlantic Yards Report

The New York Observer's Matt Chaban this week penned an interesting and admiring portrait of former government official, consultant, and all-around New Yorker "Gridlock Sam" Schwartz, headlined May the Schwartz Be With You: Gridlock Sam Wants to Turn New York Traffic On Its Head—the Same Thing He’s Done for 40 Years.

Schwartz deserves attention for his not-quite-congestion-pricing plan, which would toll East River bridges, improve highways, add pedestrian bridges, and generally try to treat New Yorkers equitably while removing glaring inequities and their inevitable consequences.
...

However, unmentioned, Schwartz has no small seduction left for Brooklyn. On May 22, he and his colleagues will unveil--six months late--the long-promised Atlantic Yards Transportation Demand Management plan.

The general contours of the plan have been well-known, the details not so much. Only this month did we learn that there would be fewer than 550 surface parking spaces on Block 1129, the southeast block of the project site, but we don't know where, if at all, the spaces previously designated for HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) and suiteholder parking would go.

Yes, Schwartz is an able presenter. But he's already sacrificed some credibility. As I wrote 5/5/12, Schwartz, during a 6/4/11 Q&A (video) at a forum on Atlantic Yards traffic changes/mitigations, answered a question about bike parking by saying, "That's over the next six months when we come back to you figuring out how we're going to get people out of their cars."

At that point, the TDM plan was due in December 2011. They didn't "come back to you." The plan was delayed multiple times, for reasons obscure. Did Schwartz really underestimate the schedule by six months? Or was he hampered by his client?

The upshot is that, four months before the arena opens, there will be 30 days for public comment. That's too little time, as Council Member Steve Levin has observed, for public input.

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Posted by eric at May 11, 2012 12:03 PM