Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Open Space

An earlier post looked at the project's strategy of taking streets to "improve" the Floor Area Ratio. A similar point should be made relative to open space. For the planned residential development, active open space is critical, and Brooklyn currently has a shortage. Have you seen the AYSO schedules for the Parade Grounds on a spring or fall weekend?

The Draft
Scope proposes 7 acres of “Publicly Accessible Open Space”. Sound good? One acre is 43,560 square feet. Seven acres is 304,920 square feet. But existing open space in the form of public streets and sidewalks would be taken by the project: Pacific between Carlton and Vanderbilt (approx.1000 ft.), Pacific between Sixth and Flatbush (approx. 700 ft), and Sixth Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic (approx. 200 ft.), for a total street length of about 1,900 ft. If the width of a street - property line to property line - is approximately 70’, the total street area that would be demapped and delivered to the project is about 133,000 square feet: over 3 acres. So almost half of what the project is “providing” in open space is space that was already supposed to be open in perpetuity, according to the city plan.

The City’s CEQR Technical Manual provides guidance for open space requirements for projects. 1.5 acres of City Parkland per 1,000 residents is the median community district ratio, although the citywide average is 3.5 acres per 1,000 residents. While not a regulatory standard (unfortunately), “For planning purposes, the city seeks to attain a planning goal of 2.5 acres per 1,000 residents”. This 2.5 acres is relative to the city's existing pattern of streets and blocks, where the streets provide additional open space that is not counted in the ratio. If we didn't have streets, the requirement for open space would be much greater, so we can't count the street area when comparing the amount of open space required by a project to the city standard that assumes 70' wide streets every 200 feet. (In addition, “.15 acres of passive open space per 1,000 workers represents a reasonable amount of open space resources for that population”). (

So let’s do the math. The project's scope calls for 7,300 residential units. 7,300 units at an average of 2 people (?) per unit is 14,600 residents. The requirement for 14.6 thousand people at 2.5 acres per thousand = 36.5 acres of open space, according to the city’s standard. But rather than the required 36.5 acres of open space, not even counting the requirements for the arena or the office space, the developer is proposing to add 4 acres, not counting our currently open streets. For the proposed scope of this project, that’s a 10% solution.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Parking for 4000 cars is the same as about 19 miles of roadway.

10:08 AM  

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