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NYPD to allow limos to stage on Atlantic Avenue during arena events [updated]

AYW has been informed by a representative of the Empire State Development Corporation that the NYPD intends to allow limos to queue during arena events on the south side of Atlantic Avenue between Carlton and Vanderbilt Avenues. [UPDATE: On November 13, we were informed by Council Member James' office that the block of Atlantic Avenue designated by DOT and NYPD for limo staging was between 6th Avenue and Carlton Avenue, not Carlton and Vanderbilt.] The section of Atlantic Avenue is currently available for public parking except during overnight street cleaning hours. On Friday, November 9, use of the area was reserved for vehicles registered with TLC license plates, consistent with the NYPD proposal.

Idling of limos in unauthorized locations in Prospect Heights, Park Slope and Fort Greene has been a major concern for residents since the arena's opening. AYW incident reports filed include 945947969, 970, 971972, 973989991997, and 998. 311 closed reports for many of these incidents noting "police action was not necessary," or "no evidence of violation." Idling of limos has also been documented by Atlantic Yards Report.

At an October 16 meeting at Brooklyn Borough Hall, community members asked 78th Precinct Deputy Inspector Michael Ameri to address the problem through enforcement. Ameri responded,"Enforcement is part of the answer, but it's not the solution. The solution is to give them a place."

The issue of unauthorized limo parking appears to have been unanticipated by the Transportation Demand Management Plan (TDM) prepared by Forest City Ratner Companies to address traffic congestion and pedestrian safety following the Barclays Center opening. The TDM was developed by traffic consultant Sam Schwartz. It is not clear if Mr. Schwartz was involved in the decision to have limos stage on Atlantic Avenue. Neither Mr. Schwartz nor members of his organization were present at the October 16 Borough Hall meeting.

When it was announced in May of 2012, the TDM was much-heralded by ESDC and FCRC as a comprehensive plan to reduce the impact of arena traffic on surrounding neighborhoods. The TDM has a stated mission to "Reduce cars. Maximize Transit." The TDM includes measures such as a reduction of on-site parking, and lower-cost satellite lots to discourage driving to arena by patrons. Allowing limos to stage on a public street without charge would not appear to be consistent with the intent of the TDM.

Further, the proposed "solution" of staging limos on Atlantic Avenue in effect allocates additional public space for the benefit of Barclays Center without public review. At its November 8 meeting, Brooklyn Community Board 8 passed a resolution calling on FCRC to address the issue of a location for limos to idle without appropriating curbside space.