Atlantic Yards’ Transportation Demand Management Plan is too little too late

The BrooklynSpeaks sponsors expressed frustration with the Atlantic Yards Transportation Demand Management Plan (TDM), released today nearly six months after its initially scheduled announcement, and only four months before the opening of the Barclays Center Arena. The TDM as presented by Sam Schwartz Engineering emphasized marketing of transit use to prospective arena patrons over disincentives to drive, and reduced the scope of the demand management strategies previously agreed between Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) and the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) in December of 2009.

“Effective demand management is a lot more than advertising,” said Ryan Lynch, Policy Director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “But the plan released today doesn’t even include the free subway fare for Nets ticketholders promised in 2009. The TDM assumes the public will bear the cost of adding transit capacity after arena events. Instead, the developer should be paying for service enhancements.”

The plans announced today by the Empire State Development Corporation and Forest City Ratner Companies include a reduction of the on-site parking for arena patrons from 1,100 cars to 570 cars. Danae Oratowski, Chair of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council asked, “Why isn’t a reduction in parking being analyzed as part of the supplemental environmental impact study ordered by the State Supreme Court? It’s now clear that changes to the Atlantic Yards project approved in 2009 didn’t provide for on-site parking requirements that were part of the project’s original plan. ” Michael Cairl, President of the Park Slope Civic Council added, “Fewer mandated HOV spaces than promised, together with the lack of residential parking permits during arena events, is a recipe for congestion on local streets.”

“It appears that the TDM is still primarily geared to the 40 Nets games planned each year, with adoption of its elements for the other 180 events at the discretion of Forest City Ratner,” said Jo Anne Simon, Democratic Leader of the 52nd Assembly District. “With little more than four months before the arena opens, Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg need to get in the game. Government must play a constructive role in making demand management of streets around Barclays Center accountable to the public. It’s time to put politics aside and do what’s necessary to implement meaningful demand management strategies—like residential parking permits—so that arena patrons will leave their cars at home.”