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They Paved Prospect Heights and Put up a Parking Lot

One of the more troublesome aspects of Forest City Enterprise's "Atlantic Yards" proposal is the developer's plan to create two rather huge, suburban mall-style surface parking lots on the eastern side of the project footprint. If all goes as planned there will 3,600 new parking spaces will be in place by 2012.

Today, BrooklynSpeaks runs an analysis of the "Atlantic Yards" parking plan and suggests some sensible alternatives. The web site has emerged as a calm and intelligent voice within the deafening chorus of Brooklynites shouting "Jobs, Hoops & Housing!" and "Not in My Backyard." BrooklynSpeaks' four principles for good development are particularly worth a look if you are in favor of the "Atlantic Yards" project and want to see the project have a good chance of succeeding without destroying the neighborhoods all around it.

Here is what they have to say about the parking plan:

One of the most egregious aspects of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards plan is their proposal to demolish existing buildings on the project site to construct a 944 space surface parking lot and a staging area for construction. According to the plan, the lot would be the entire block encompassed by Vanderbilt and Carlton Avenues, and Pacific Street and Dean Street. FCR says the lot will be "temporary." In the best case scenario, temporary means from the start of construction until 2016, when residential buildings will be constructed on the lot. In the worst case scenario, if economic conditions change and the second phase of the project doesn't materialize, temporary means permanent.

Unfortunately, on the community level, many Brooklynites view more parking as a big benefit. There is this idea out there that the more parking Forest City provides around the arena, the less arena visitors will park on neighborhood side streets. BrooklynSpeaks addresses this issue as well:

The more parking provided, the more people will chose to drive, and the more traffic created. This is true even when the parking is for a project next to a major transit hub.... How can the developer and state create a transit-oriented project more suited to Brooklyn? Only provide as much parking as the capacity on the roads can take. Implement a residential parking permit system so people driving to the Arena don't just park in surrounding neighborhoods instead. Include the price of a transit fare in arena tickets and design the project to be friendly to transit-users and pedestrians. Oh, and scrap the three "temporary" surface parking lots altogether. Whatever plan for the site is finally approved, it should embody values of Brooklyn, not car-oriented suburban planning.

Does Empire State Development Corporation Chairman Charles Gargano read blogs? If not, can someone forward this Joni Mitchell audio sample to him?

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