To protect residents from the onslaught of traffic, sanitation, parking and other issues expected when the Barclays Center opens in the fall, area civic leaders released a “Neighborhood Protection Plan," that calls for dozens of measures that include everything from residential parking permits to a garbage cans for every corner within a half-mile of the arena.
The plan comes less than a week after Barclays officials , which civic leaders say doesn't do enough.
Standing in an under-construction building across the street from Atlantic Yards Tuesday morning, representatives of the Park Slope Civic Council, the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council and the Boerum Hill Association, along with area Council members Letitia James and Stephen Levin and state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, revealed their plan (see full plan here, and in the photo gallery).
To encourage ticketholders to leave their cars at home, the plan suggests that:
- Street parking around the arena be reserved for area residents though residential parking permits, something that’s already in place in Chicago;
- Area meters be priced to encourage customers of area businesses to use them, but not those going to the arena;
- Institute a “parking tax surcharge” at nearby parking lots during arena events, citing Newark, which has a 7 percent surcharge.
“Nothing "here is new," said Michael Cairl, president of the Park Slope Civic Council. Other cities have tried it and have succeeded at it and we just want to take these examples and apply them to Brooklyn."
Other components of the plan address such issues of sanitation and disorderly conduct with such suggestions as requiring Barclays to:
- Put garbage cans on every corner within a half-mile radius of the arena and be responsible for sanitation in that area;
- Cut off arena alcohol sales by 10 p.m.;
- Strictly enforce a code of conduct for arena patrons;
- Plant dozens of street trees and provide additional funding to the Parks Department for supervision of Dean Street Playground and South Oxford Park;
- Give the NYPD funds for a “robust” number of traffic enforcement agents to enforce parking and traffic regulations;
- Set up a dedicated call center for the public to report parking, sanitation, noise and other arena issues.
The plan’s creators called the plan an “olive branch” to open the door with Barclays officials for open and honest discussion.
“We’re looking forward to having a good neighbor and someone who wants to be part of the community. That requires dialogue,” said Boerum Hill Association president Howard Kolins.
John Sparks, Barclays Center’s general manager, said in a statement that he already has plans in place for dealing with security, sanitation and other arena issues. He added that Barclays officials already meet with community stakeholders at bi-monthly Task Force meetings “but would certainly meet separately as well to discuss larger operational issues.”
But area civic leaders said it’s not the frequency of the meetings that matters, but whether they institute any change.
“We’ve had other initiatives with city agencies in Prospect Heights and they’re usually straightforward: you exchange some ideas about the proposals and then eventually something gets implemented.” said Gib Veconi, Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council's treasurer.
“The thing that’s been frustrating about the Atlantic Yards Project is that you never get to that point, where you actually just have a straight, candid conversation," he said.
But he added, you have to keep trying. “You can’t opt out of the discussion. You can’t decide you’re not going to participate and just sit back and see what happens."
Update: May 29, 3:17 p.m.: The ESDC just released the following statement:
"ESD looks forward to continuing the conversation with the local community to determine ways to minimize the arena's impact. The Transportation Demand Management Plan serves as the foundation, but we will continue to ensure coordination with FCRC, City DOT, NYPD, MTA, LIRR, and all other relevant City agencies to ensure that the best possible mitigation plan is put into place," said Arana Hankin, Director of Atlantic Yards for Empire State Development.