Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Position # 2: Mass Transit: the Key to Responsible Development


The worst feature of the current stadium proposal is the four new parking garages. The neighborhood suffers from traffic and parking problems with the current setup. Historically, the phenomena of induced traffic has been convincingly demonstrated. It’s clear that if more garages, expressways, bridges, etc. are made available, more people will be persuaded to come in by cars.

In addition, the presence of Garages A, B, and C prevent Yankee Management from doing whatever is needed to their stadium to the south and west of 161st Street which the community supports. They add to the size of the project and require more land which is the given reason for moving the stadium into the parks for which the community is so ferociously fighting. Eliminating the garages means that the Yankees could have a new stadium and the community could keep their parks.

By anchoring the project in mass transit, the Bronx would serve as a model for responsible development for the entire city. Transit options include:

1. The new station on the western branch of Metro-North which everybody favors.

2. The Melrose station (162nd St. & Park Avenue) on the eastern branch of Metro-North which has been a blight in its community is finally scheduled for renovation. This station should become the official Yankee Stadium station of that line. It must be advertised, it must have more frequent service (more frequent service for the community as well), and a shuttle bus service could be started to take fans to the stadium on game days. In addition, park and ride facilities could be provided around stations in Westchester (utilizing private parking facilities) if there is a demand and train discounts could be given to ticket holders. It’s important to emphasize that this must be heavily advertised to be effective.

3. A new subway service can easily be inaugurated on the 8th Avenue "A" line which would directly connect Penn Station and the Port Authority Bus terminal (used by Yankee fans) to the Concourse line, thus avoiding a transfer from the A & C to B & D trains.

4. In a longer term project, the #3 line can be extended from its 148th Street terminal to the Bronx and linked to the #4 line at 162nd St. to continue to Woodlawn. A feasibility study should be done. This line would run over a dedicated railroad bridge, be elevated in the Bronx and ultimately follow the route of the 9th Avenue "El" through the tunnel under Ogden and Anderson Avenues then to the elevated junction with the #4. An elevated station would be built to serve both Yankee fans and the Highbridge community which is a considerable distance from the current subway stations at 161st Street. (The junction with the #4 cannot be done if the new stadium is built over 162nd Street.) If there is a large amount of development in the far west side, this extension would be extremely popular and useful.

For this to work, driving-in must be discouraged by a strict enforcement of traffic and parking rules and also, new ideas such as congestion pricing can be tried if community residents are exempt.


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