Monday, November 07, 2005

DEIS: Business impacts; New foot-traffic pattern around stadium


Draft EIS states:

...and help reduce the walk from parking facilities to the stadium, as
an at-grade, controlled crossing of East 161st Street at Ruppert Plaza would be created.

Between Heritage Field and the soccer field and athletic track would be a passive park with an alley of trees on re-aligned Ruppert Place. Renamed “Ruppert Plaza,” it would comprise 1.13 acres of new parkland. Ruppert Plaza would function as the main thoroughfare from the existing parking facilities, as well as proposed Parking Garage A, to the proposed stadium.

Rather, these trips would be redistributed within the transportation network, largely due to the future location of the proposed stadium, the addition of nearby parking facilities, and the provision of a dedicated pedestrian spine along Ruppert Plaza.

...representing a net addition of approximately 3,022 spaces above existing parking supplies—would make it easier for fans driving to games to park closer to the stadium, resulting in less circulation on local streets in search of the currently often hard-to-find parking spaces.

(1) the proposed project would provide Yankees fans with thousands of new parking spaces close to the proposed stadium, thus relieving the area of excessive traffic circulation pre-game as motorists would no longer have to circulate on local streets in search of hard-to-find parking spaces, especially on sellout game days;

(2) the proposed project would also eliminate some illegal parking on local streets and on the service road of the northbound Major Deegan Expressway since the parked cars could now be accommodated within off-street parking lots and garages;

(3) the proposed project would result in a shift of vehicular traffic from some currently used traffic routes to others, primarily to streets such as Jerome Avenue, the Macomb’s Dam Bridge Approach, River Avenue, and others;

The proposed project is expected to result in similar overall transit use and pedestrian levels as currently exist in the surrounding area of the project site. to the change in terms of access patterns and the redistribution of pedestrian flow.

Furthermore, by consolidating and better organizing parking in the area, the proposed garages would have a positive land use impact in the project area.


It appears that the design intent of the new stadium project is to re-direct pedestrian flows from the parking structures to the stadium. New parking structures will be built immediately adjacent to the stadium to mimimize walking from the car to the stadium. Ruppert Plaza will also be used as a way to channelize pedestrian traffic from other garages south of the stadium to the stadium’s front entrance. Since Ruppert Plaza will not have any retail along it, most of the people walking from the garages to the stadium under the new proposal will not pass any of the local businesses along River Avenue on their way to the stadium. This loss of pedestrian traffic in front of these businesses will likely mean a decline in business, particularly where “impulse purchases” – which require a high degree of visibility - are involved.

Perhaps shift of pedestrian traffic is being done as a logistical improvement for pedestrian flows? However, this seems unlikely due to the large numbers of people who will have to use a controlled pedestrian crossing at 161 st Street – a concept that will likely lead to chaos or vehicle-pedestrian conflicts due to the high volume of traffic on 161 st Street during game days. It could be hypothesized that this new pedestrian access pattern was devised deliberately – as a way to keep people from going to local businesses so that they spend more money in stores and restaurants within the stadium walls. However, nobody can expect the DEIS to give out this kind of information, so for now it can only be a theory.


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