Protecting Neighborhoods from an Oncoming ‘Onslaught’

The Park Slope Civic Council, the Boerum Hill Association, and the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council have created a Barclays Center Neighborhood Protection Plan (NPP) that sets up a series of guidelines to minimize the impact of the oncoming arena on surrounding communities.

“Long-standing and historic residential neighborhoods in the immediate vicinity of Barclays Center (Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, Park Slope and Prospect Heights) need protection from the onslaught of vehicular traffic, patron activity and negative externalities caused by this type of magnet destination,” the plan states. The NPP was needed because various planning documents for the Atlantic Yards megaproject “only minimally address mitigation of the operation of the arena on adjacent neighborhoods.” (You can download a PDF of the plan here.)

Among those at the May 29 press conference were, from left, Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, Michael Cairl of the Park Slope Civic Council, Councilmember Stephen Levin, and Senator Velmanette Montgomery.

The plan was presented to City Councilmembers Letitia James and Stephen Levin and other elected officials at the May 23 meeting announcing the Atlantic Yards Transportation Demand Management Plan by developer Forest City Ratner, a scheme that BrooklynSpeaks has called “too little, too late.” (The Civic Council and the plan’s two other authoring organizations are sponsors of the BrooklynSpeaks coalition.) It was officially unveiled at a May 29 press conference at which James, Levin, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, and other local leaders spoke. (See the Atlantic Yards Report and NY1’s website for more details on the press conference.)

The NPP focuses on nine major components: arena operations; public safety and crowd control; pedestrian circulation; sanitation; open space; traffic and parking; transportation demand management; citizen information and communication; and documentation, monitoring, accountability, and oversight.

The plan’s recommendations include the following:

  • The 78th Precinct should be responsible for the arena along with enforcement of traffic and parking rules, protection of pedestrian safety and regulation of public behavior (e.g., liquor-license rules) in the surrounding neighborhoods that will be affected by the arena.
  • Forest City Ratner must deliver permanent and publicly accessible open space on its Atlantic Yards site early in the project, timed to the creation of residential housing.
  • Transportation demand management must apply to all Barclays Center events, not just Brooklyn Nets games.
  • New York State should authorize, and New York City must create and enforce, a robust residential permit parking program to discourage arena patron use of private vehicles.
  • Continuing oversight and review is required. Forest City Ratner shall fund a full-time staff person employed by ESDC to oversee implementation of the NPP and monitor its performance.

“The plan is the communities’ response to the many impacts of Barclays Center, which will open in just four months,” said Civic Council President Michael Cairl. “Working together, we have to ensure that ESDC, city agencies, and Forest City Ratner implement the plan’s concepts and help protect the many neighborhoods around the arena.

from the June 2012 Civic News