Sunday, November 06, 2005

DEIS: Public transit concerns; Ability to attract additional transit riders who now drive


Draft EIS states:

...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.

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.

Several transportation surveys have been conducted for Yankees games previously. Those surveys show that the escalation in attendance realized in recent years has resulted in some shift of the fan base and has affected the decision making of fans on how to travel to and from Yankee Stadium. To validate and supplement the findings established previously, a travel survey was conducted in September 2004 to collect data on existing stadium-related travel patterns. The data were then compared to results from other surveys, including a summer 2001 survey undertaken by Vollmer Associates, LLP, to solidify the necessary assumptions on travel characteristics for projecting future trips to and from the new stadium. Information from a separate auto-only survey conducted in the summer of 2004 by Urbitran Associates, Inc. for the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) was also used for vehicle trip distribution purposes.

For both the weekday and weekend game conditions, the primary mode of travel is auto, making up 63 and 68 percent of the total stadium trips, respectively.

This is a conservative (i.e., high) estimate of auto use since the most recent surveys on game days show decreasing auto use and more transit use resulting from an increased fan base from Manhattan (which is more transit oriented with the proximity of several subway lines)

Travel by subway comprises 32 percent of trips on a weekday and 24 percent on the weekend. The remaining travel modes, including taxis and black cars, charter service, city bus, ferry, and walk only combine to total 5 and 8 percent on a weekday andon a weekend day, respectively.

(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 DEIS states that travel surveys have been conducted and that transit use is becoming more preferred by game-attending fans. If that is the case, why does the proposed project not include greater transit amenities while at the same time bemoaning that traffic problems will continue? Why does the proposed project include more parking, which will encourage more people to drive, when people have already stated in surveys that transit is becoming a more popular option? It is almost as if the Yankees and the City actually want more people to drive to games, perhaps to gain additional revenues from parking?

If people had more transit options to get to the stadium, there would no doubt be a greater demand for transit services. The fact that more people going to games from Manhattan has boosted transit ridership to the station is a concept that can be applied to other parts of the region by enhancing service for those people. Metro-North is an excellent resource to do this because the site is well served by all three of the east-of-Hudson routes. West-of-Hudson routes may also be added into the mix in the future with the new Tappan Zee Bridge project.

The fact that many people drive to the stadium now may not be a function of their desire to be in a car. It may have something to do with the fact that no good transit options are available to them. Improving Metro-North access to the stadium would remedy this, and would likely boost the modal share of transit rides to the site. Improved transit service to other parts of the region (Long Island, New Jersey) should also be looked at. We need to be innovative in order to make our region’s transportation functional. Just throwing more parking into the equation is not a solution to anything and will only add to the problem.


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