(New York, NY - WNYC) Don't even think of driving to the Barclays Center when it opens on September 28. That was the thrust of a traffic management plan presented by consultant Sam Schwartz at a public hearing in downtown Brooklyn on Tuesday.
"We're going to reduce the number of cars coming to the arena," Schwartz emphasized. "That's our mantra."
The plan would cut parking at the Barclays Center, future home of the Brooklyn Nets, from 1,000 to 541 spots. Ticket-holders will be urged to arrive by Long Island Rail Road or one of eleven subway lines that meet beneath the arena. Schwartz says another way of keeping vehicles out of the heavily congested area will be to encourage drivers to park at a half-priced lot a mile away near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, and take a free shuttle bus.
However, the arena's website makes clear that suite-holders will get priority parking: " You will have a reserved spot within a one to two block radius from the premium entrance. Important to note that our parent company controls parking both on the Arena site and surrounding areas that will enable us to deliver the most convenient parking access possible to our suite customers." Jane Marshall, a spokeswoman for arena developer Forest City Ratner, said 150 of the 541 spots will be reserved for suite and season-ticket holders.
The Schwartz plan also calls for HOV spaces for cars with three or more people. And if drivers want to park near the arena, they'll be encouraged to go online and pay for a reserved spot at a lot or garage before leaving. Schwartz said that should cut down on drivers circling the area while deciding where to park. And the plan offers yet another incentive to leaving the motorized vehicle at home: 400 bicycle parking spots.
Despite such measures, car owners who live near the Barclays Center still worry that people driving in to attend a Nets game or concert will take up all the parking spots in nearby neighborhoods, especially now that the Schwartz plan seeks to slash the number of spots at the arena.
Those residents learned that the city won't be granting their request for residential parking permits any time soon. The New York City Department of Transportation's Christopher Hrones said his agency is still studying the issue.
"We're not in a position, for several reasons, to have a residential parking permit in place when the arena opens on September 28th," he said. He added that even if the city were to approve a parking permit program, it would need permission from the state, and that takes time. Because of the format of the evening -- questions submitted on cards with no possibility of follow-up -- there wasn't an opportunity to get further clarification on residential parking permits.
Around Yankees Stadium in the Bronx, motorists continue to look for on-street parking to the consternation of local residents, as we've reported.
The arena's traffic management plan now enters a 30-day public review period.