Samuel I. Schwartz, the traffic engineer tasked with figuring out how to accomodate thousands of extra cars near Atlantic Yards, has a message for New York drivers: "Don't even think about driving to Barclays arena." His plan is to cut parking spaces near the arena in half to discourage driving altogether. "We will scare drivers away from the arena," he said, adding that he thinks patrons will find driving and parking near the Barclays Center so frustrating that they won't want to do it. Instead, he wants people to arrive to events by subway or LIRR, which would add more trains to accomodate fans. Schwartz presented the idea at a public meeting last night so earnestly and adamantly that the Times described his presentation as having "all the flourish and detail of a general planning to storm the beaches of Normandy."
Several panel members, including City Council members Letitia James and Stephen Levin immediately balked at the idea, saying that for many residents living further out in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, taking public transportation is just not an option. Schwartz's plan calls for 550 parking spaces, half the 1,100 that were included in earlier sketches. In a worst case scenario, the arena expects to draw an additional 2,500 cars to the already congested area during events. Barclays has secured 612 parking spaces in two garages more than a mile away, where shuttle buses would transport patrons to the arena. There are 20 other garages within a half mile of the arena, and visitors would be able to reserve spaces when they buy their event tickets. And of course, there will be 400 bike parking spots. For the anti-driving plan to work, all officials need to do, in Schwartz's words, is to "educate the public" that mass transportation is better than cars.
· Traffic Plan for a Brooklyn Arena Cuts Parking Slots by Half [NYT]
· Barclays Center coverage [Curbed]