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May 18, 2012

What to expect from big Barclays Center transportation meeting next Tuesday--and what's missing (and why the first year may be a risky experiment)

Atlantic Yards Report

Coming Tuesday, May 22, as noted in the announcement at right, is the belated meeting on the Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, at 6 pm at Borough Hall.

Beyond consultant Sam Schwartz, who works for developer Forest City Ratner, representatives of several government agencies will be present, including the Metropolitan Transportation, Long Island Rail Road, and Department of Transportation. The meeting should focus on incentives to use public transit or at least to not drive to the arena area.

We should learn how the MTA and LIRR will increase service, how Forest City Ratner will use incentives (like a free MetroCard with ticket and remote parking lots with shuttles) to encourage use of public transportation, cross-marketing with area businesses, how bike parking will be run, perhaps even how they rationalized cutting the surface parking lot to fewer than 550 spaces, and whether the incentives will be used for other large events beyond Nets games.

The plan was supposed to be released last December, and the delay--let's hope for a clear explanation why--is seen by elected officials like Council Member Steve Levin as precluding effective public input. (Maybe we'll also get a straight answer about the likelihood of the Carlton Avenue Bridge reopening before the arena opens, given that the current schedule puts it about a week late, portending traffic chaos.)

The missing disincentives to drive, and the risks

Indeed, what we apparently won't learn, as representatives of Atlantic Yards Watch have pointed out, are any plans for parking disincentives, such as a surcharge on area parking lots (as in Newark) and residential permit parking (as in several other cities with sports facilities).

And that runs the risk of a rough first year of operation, before policies are revised.

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Posted by eric at May 18, 2012 11:12 AM