Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Introduction to Lukas Herbert's Unofficial Guide to the Yankee Stadium Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

Our good friend Lukas Herbert, who happens to be a city planner in Westchester County and who is also a member of Community Board 4 here in the Boogiedown, has read through the 700 page Draft Environmental Impact Statement. He was kind enough to take notes so those among us who are not trained as he is to understand these things can keep up. He was nice enough to provide Save Our Parks with his notes, which will be published on this blog over the next few days.

Unofficial Guide to the Yankee Stadium Draft Environmental Impact Statement

Prepared by Lukas Herbert, AICP and member of Community Board 4


This unofficial guide and analysis has been prepared in response to a need expressed to me by many members of the community who are faced with reading a 700+ page Environmental Impact Statement(EIS) if they want to learn the “ins and outs” of this incredibly complex, yet incredibly important project.

Reading a 700+ page document is a daunting task, especially when you have a life you need to live, a job you need to go to, families you need to take care of and a multitude of other day-to-day things to do that are just a part of everyday life. Reading a 700+ page document is even more daunting when it is filled with technical jargon, sometimes designed to influence or mislead the reader. This may particularly be the case if this is the first EIS that you have ever read.

Fortunately, I have had the time to read the EIS. I also have a lot of expertise reading EISs though my professional life as an urban planner. I am familiar with the format of these documents, and I have seen over the years how they have sometimes been used to sell projects which may have impacts that are detrimental to society. While the EIS process was originally intended to be used to identify serious environmental impacts which would then allow local decision makers and elected officials to take a “hard look” at the benefits and costs of a projects, modern EIS documents are often used as tools to discount the obvious environmental flaws of projects and prevent them from being considered as part of the “hard look” involved with the decision making. However, the EIS is the main source of public information when it comes to the details of any large project. It is therefore something we all should be able to examine thoroughly if we care about the decision that is to be made. This Guide attempts to bring some of this information to everyone in a way that is easier to read than pouring over a 700+ page document. It also offers opinions on the issues to show what some people are thinking about each issue.

The Guide is broken into several sections, as follows (they are not in any order of importance):

•Summary of Project Description
•Summary of Parking Concerns
•Summary of Parks Concerns
•Summary of Traffic Concerns
•Summary of Public Transit Concerns
•Summary of Air Quality Concerns
•Summary of Neighborhood Impacts
•Summary of Business Impacts
•Summary of Alternatives

Each of these sections is in the same format. They are broken into several sub-topics which include direct quotes from the DEIS. These quotes were simply cut out of the DEIS and pasted into the Guide. I did not have time to include the page numbers (I don’t have that much time…), but you can find them in the DEIS if you research the document. I have not augmented these quotes except on occasion to make the sentences more readable.

Following the EIS text, I have offered a suggested response to each of the subtopic issues. The response is not intended to speak for anyone else other than myself. It is my personal view which has been shaped by my discussions with other members of the community. These opinions are only intended to get the reader thinking about his or her own responses to what the DEIS says by offering a point of view. They do not necessarily represent the opinions of Community Board 4, any City agency, the New York Yankees or anybody else.

I invite you to use this Guide as a way to inform yourself about the Yankee Stadium DEIS. However, please be warned: reading this Guide is not a replacement for reading the entire DEIS, which is the official document of public record for this project.


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