Saturday, November 05, 2005

DEIS: Traffic concerns; Increased volume of traffic/induced demand due to more parking


Draft EIS states:


...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; As with vehicular traffic, the proposed project would not result in a net increase in transit and pedestrian trips over existing conditions. 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, and the provision of a dedicated pedestrian walkway along Ruppert Plaza. A sellout game at the existing stadium, with its 57,000 attendance capacity, can attract approximately 3,000 more fans that the proposed stadium. Therefore, the existing stadium attracts 320 to 480 more vehicle trips in the peak arrival and departure hours than the proposed stadium would.


The fact that thousands of new parking spaces will be added to the stadium complex will mean that it will be easier for fans driving to the game to find a space. As a result, it should be expected that more fans will decide to start driving – or driving cars with fewer passengers – to the game since the deterrent of hard-to-find parking will be removed. This concept is called induced demand, and it is a common phenomenon that traffic engineers are well aware of.

The DEIS has chosen to ignore this concept, despite the fact that several people and organizations brought it up at the hearing for the Draft Scope of Work. However, Page A-15 of the Final Scope of Work states, “The DEIS will address the issues of modal split and induced demand.” The fact that an induced demand discussion was not included in the DEIS is a breach of protocol and a betrayal of the trust put into the public hearing process for the Draft Scope of Work. Because the DEIS did not include an analysis on induced demand, it is not a complete document, and should not have been accepted as complete by NYCDPR.

Instead of providing a meaningful analysis on the concept of induced demand, the DEIS instead makes the claim that 320 to 480 less vehicle trips will be made since the seating capacity of the new stadium would be less than the current stadium. This figure is strictly based off of trip generation multipliers and does not take into account the reverse effect that induced demand will cause.

By ignoring the concept of induced demand - a real impact of providing increased parking to any site - and stating that traffic will actually lessen with the new proposal, the DEIS has created a sham analysis of traffic that should be thrown out and re-written before any decisions get made. Additional studies such as air quality impacts and public health impacts may have to be re-done as well as a result.


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