Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Venue Parking and Security

Ultimately, venue parking - as currently proposed - won’t happen. Perhaps it is in the plan as a negotiating item to be dropped later, in a show of compromise. Or is it possible that the developer really doesn’t yet understand that public parking under the arena can’t happen as proposed? The Freedom Tower in lower Manhattan was moved to be further away from the street. We’re checking back-packs at subway stations. Does anyone really believe, post 9-11, that we’ll allow unchecked passenger vehicles to drive under an arena filled with 20,000 fans at events carried live on national TV?

Could the vehicles be checked first? Proper checking takes time. Even a minor delay for arriving vehicles would result in total grid lock on the streets. Let’s drop the charade and talk about real options.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goods points...

However, I don't think this is a charrade and I'm not sure what you mean by "real options."

Is it not possible that a car scanning mechanism is invented so that cars do not have to stop...they are scanned while moving? (This probably already exists).

There are three parking options: sub-grade (which you are suggesting is NOT possible), surface parking (which is worse for many reasons) and shared parking. Shared parking would be great, but the parking garage across the street is used until 10:00 pm and would not be available for basketball game parking. There may be other garages or parking lots in the area where this may be a feasible option.

Perhaps you are suggesting that we may be able to kill the stadium project by proving there is no parking solution? I do not agree. They will not kill the stadium because they can't have sub-grade parking. They will simply alter the plan and put the parking at grade (which I think is worse).

5:44 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

I am not aware of any technology even approaching the ability to scan for explosives in a moving vehicle. Current technology is detectors and dogs. Real world design rule #1: don’t design for future technologies.

There is a third option to the parking scenarios you propose: don’t provide venue parking. In conjunction with residential parking permits for the surrounding neighborhoods, this would promote increased use of the railroad, subways, buses, and taxis. I'm not suggesting that the current untenable parking proposal is a fatal flaw to a project on this site.

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Delighted to see your very accurate post... i have been working on this issue from early on, hence the link to the NOLANDGRAB site:

Unfortunately parking is only one security related problem, there are also the issues of Gehry's glass walled arena & associated towers that have no setbacks and so are subject to the same sorts of attacks that got the Freedom Tower moved; an arena connected to the Atlantic Ave Station complex that was the target of a 1997 suicide bombing plot; the Police Dept's ability to close or even Demap streets (as they are doing at Ratner's Metro Tech right now) for undesclosed security reasons - just imagine Flatbush, Atlantic or 6 th Aves closed for any period....

And thats just the simple overview.

One critical aspect of the security issue is that NO Terrorist ever has to set foot in Brooklyn again for there to be direct & unacceptable consequences - financial, social, ecomonic & political - from pursuing this out-of-scale project.

Glad someone else is spreading the word... good luck


10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My search for the explosive scanning technology begins...

And, where can I get a copy of the Real World Design Rules?!?!

All joking aside, I agree with you. NO venue parking is a viable and optimal option.

My concern is that eventually there may be a need for parking and then a less than optimal site is chosen...

sometimes a sustainable master plan that includes parking can prevent a less than desirable situation in the future. For example:

What if in the future, findings suggest a correlation between decreasing numbers of spectators and no venue parking? Instead of using funds to provide incentives and encourage people to use alternative modes of transportation, the city and owners will chose the easy way out and fund a parking lot...right?

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The community won't successfully kill this project for concerns of terrorism. But the argument may very well be successful in compelling the developer to bulid a gigantic fortress bunker complex that makes "towers-in-a-park" look good by comparison. Rosner's terrorism thread is the most ill-advised part of the current community strategy on Atlantic Yards. It should be dropped.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

In my view the security issue is not part of a "stategy"; it's real. Let's deal with it now instead of later.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the security question, if answered, wouldn't require a "gigantic fortress bunker" as Anonymous writes (2:27). it would require a sane, thoughtful plan for a project that has a unique location and use. that isn't too much to ask for when the public is funding this thing and will have to live with its result.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The juxtaposition of "strategy" and "real" is very weird to me. If you're trying to be an activist on Atlantic Yards, I hope you do think and work strategically. You can bet that the corporation you are fighting is doing so.

Rosner, the self-appointed community leader on this security issue is not thinking strategically. He is asking for buildings to be set back way off the street and no glass near street level. What he is advocating is utterly anti-urban. It is the same type of design that the Freedom Tower has gone forward with. Perhaps this design protects building inhabitants in the rare event of an attack but, in doing so, it does major damage to the public realm during the 99.999% of the time that Brooklyn is not being attacked by terrorists.

There are three reasons why the security issue is a red herring for the community and should not be a major focus for activists at this juncture:

1. Fear of terrorism and the pressing of security issues is not going to kill this project.

2. The only security measure that would provide tangible benefits to the neighborhoods and communities around Atlantic Yards would be the elimination of public parking beneath the arena and the other towers. And that would only be a benefit if accompanied by measures to prevent event attendees from parking on neighborhood streets. Virtually every other security measure that you can think of -- particularly the ones that Rosner frequently brings up at meetings -- would have largely negative impacts on the public realm during the 99.999% of the time when terrorists are not attacking Brooklyn.

3. Community advocates can be completely and totally sure that the developer who owns the project, the corporate tenants who will reside there and the NYPD, which has been very active in building design and fortification lately, will do plenty of thinking about security when the time comes. And when these guys start thinking about security -- lord help us. I've already cited the Freedom Tower. Have you seen MetroTech lately? It defines "corporate fortress bunker." If anything, the community and neighborhoods will, when the time comes, need to work to ensure that the Atlantic Yards development remains an open, inviting, democratic place. The last thing we need to do is urge the developer and city to fortify this thing any more than will already want to do on their own accord.

Community activists have limited resources. They need to be strategic, focused and organized just like the corporation they are fighting. If Rosner or anyone else wants to continue to push the security discussion, let them focus it on the underground parking issue, which ties into so many other critical impacts. Let them stop pushing for a security design that will make this project's impact so much worse than it already is.

Be strategic. Be real.

12:00 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

I didn’t mean to juxtapose strategy and real. I meant I don’t have a strategy to try to kill the project, as suggested by anon 2:27, but I am trying to make it better by distributing some ideas about it. I do agree with Rosner that achieving stand-off distances will come to this project, either sooner or later. The challenge is how to design for the 99.999% of the time (hopefully more), given the security concerns. I disagree that it will necessarily damage the public realm. To answer your other points:
1. I agree that these issues won’t kill the project.
2. Eliminating venue parking should be accompanied by measures to prevent parking on neighborhood streets, but it would be a public benefit even if it’s not. With venue parking, people will drive, and will park for free on the streets if they are able to. Without venue parking, fewer people will drive. That would be a net good thing (no pun intended).
3. I agree that security thinking will come to the project, if it hasn’t already. It is MUCH better for the public realm if it comes earlier, rather than later. Early thinking can design it in, retrofitting a project will compromise the public space much more. Remember the trucks around Metrotech after 9-11? That was security retrofit. I’ll do a new post about some new thinking for this. The Freedom Tower, btw, is not ugly because of the security thing. That was basically just an excuse to kick Daniel Libeskind off of the design team. The designers LIKE that look and think it’s appropriate for the building, in the tradition of minimalist tall office buildings.

A realistic strategy: Let's try to get the developer to acknowledge everything now, while we still have some sway.

7:40 PM  

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