If you're planning on driving to games and events at Barclays Center, you may want to think again.
At , planners and engineers for the Barclays Center project presented their plans to reduce street congestion and attendant complications before, during and after events. With the state mandated r, encouraging use of public transit has become a priority.
The new plan involves a multi-pronged campaign to reduce street traffic during events.
From subway service and map changes to social media, the various agencies — including the DOT, MTA, LIRR, and others — say they are determined to prevent gridlock around the arena. Measures range in scale from Barclays Center itself not providing driving directions to the facility, to the addition of more Q and 4 train subway service after events. Changes began earlier this month when the former "Atlantic Av-Pacific St" station was .
Sam Schwartz, whose firm is handling the revised transportation plan for the area (and who coined the term "gridlock" in the 1970s) succinctly summed up the plan.
"My message is 'Don't even think of driving to the arena,'" he said.
"We will maximize transit and encorage sustainable transportation choices. We also will do our best to reduce the impact of people coming to the arena to people in the community."
According to the Transportation Demand Management Plan developed by his firm (see attached PDF) all media related to the arena will include directions using public transit. Also, transit options immediately following events will be more "condensed" with more service arriving more frequently.
Some, however remain unconvinced.
Members of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council said they were most disappointed by the failure to include "meaningful disincentives" to driving to the games such as residential parking permits or parking surcharges.
"Even Forest City’s consultants, Sam Swartz has said increasing the price of parking is a common element of TDM (Traffic Demand Management) plans. There’s nothing in the plan to increase the price of parking," said Tom Boast, PHNDC's vice president. But, he added, "To increase the price of parking, the city and the state have to be the leaders."
They were also dissappointed Barclays officials did not include promised details about the massive surface lot planned for Pacific Street, such as the hours of operation and plans for landscaping, staffing and lighting, and that there were no penalties in place if traffic reduction goals aren't met.
“If this plan is not successful, they won’t be held accountable for it,” said Danae Oratowski, PHNDC’s chair. (See more reaction at our .)
Jo Anne Simon, Democratic Leader of Brooklyn's 52nd District and , was also not impressed by the plan.
"One of the big problems is not whether you can get people to the arena site," she said, "but can you get them home again."
"I just don't think this was a good site for an arena, because I think it's a very, very difficult balance to be able to strike to make it work at that location."
But as the project moves towards completion, she feels the die has been cast.
"Let me just say this. You let yout 10,000 people into a residential area, I don't care if none of them are drunk, they make noise. They just do. People talk, and voices carry at night," she said.
"It's going to be as bad as everybody fears. I'd like to be proven wrong, but I don't think I will," she added.
Stadium planners however, believe their efforts to discourage driving to the stadium will be enough to reduce the impact on the surrounding neighborhoods.
"We're hoping people will stay, have a few drinks, and never drive," said Schwartz.
Amy Sara Clark contributed reporting.