The "Barclays Center Transit Connection", the arena's link to the New York transit system, is two months ahead of schedule and could be finished in spring of next year, says the most recent report on construction at the arena.
In radio interviews this week, Nets officials were pushing how important it is to the overall project.
Brett Yormark told ESPN Tuesday that the project is key to attracting fans "from all over the metropolitan area", specifically mentioning Long Island. Avery Johnson, with a slight bit of exaggeration, told WFAN Friday, "you see they are doing a great job with the train station. They're going to have all that rail...you'll have about 12 different rail stations come in there".
The $50 million project hasn't gotten a lot of attention. There have been no gaudy renderings other than a video that ends with the view you'd get from an escalator as you exit the green-roofed "Barclays Center Transit Connection" and walk out on to "The Plaza at the Barclays Center", what Forest City Ratner is calling transit link and the acre of public space in front of the arena.
Essentially, "The Barclays Center Transit Connection" is a block-long extension of an underground passageway between the MTA's Atlantic Terminal and "The Plaza at the Barclays Center", where fans will gather in front of the arena. The "Connection" passageway will link the platforms of nine subway lines and the Long Island Railroad along the way. At the far end of the passageway is the year-old Atlantic Terminal station, itself a $108 million project.
The nine subway lines off the passageway extend out in three directions to stations in four of the city's five boroughs and via ferry to Staten Island. The LIRR lines run east to Jamaica, where connections can be made to 10 of the 11 LIRR branches. More than 25,000 LIRR riders and 32,000 subway riders pass through Atlantic Terminal daily, making a rich and captive market place of potential arena customers. Five local bus lines also stop at the terminal.
It's also 1.8 miles and four stops from Penn Station on the Q ... five stops on the B or the D ... meaning a lot of fans coming from New Jersey will wind up using the "Connection" for the last leg of their trip.
And all of it will have single name, "Barclays Center". Forest City Ratner agreed to pay the MTA $200,000 a year for the next 20 years for naming rights. Another reason to take mass transit: indications that by the time the arena opens in September 2012, a 32-story apartment building will be under construction at the southeast corner of the arena.