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To Avoid Gridlock, The Man Who Invented the Term Has a (Big) Plan

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Barclays Center
Barclays Center

Sam Schwartz, traffic consultant to Barclays Center, coined the term "gridlock" while New York City traffic commissioner in the 1990's and even authors a column, "Gridlock Sam" for the Daily News. It's his job to eliminate gridlocks at the Brooklyn arena. Ultimately, it's going to be very transit-oriented

This week, he announced the city has agreed to reconfigure a couple of streets near the arena to alleviate and re-direct traffic flow in the warren of tight, short blocks south and east of Barclays Center. It's part of a plan that's starting to emerge, one aimed at getting fans out of their cars and on to mass transit. The city hopes 70% of fans will use the arena's "Transit Connection" at Barclays Center's doorstep. It will link nine subway lines, three LIRR lines and four bus lines, reducing cars to perhaps between 500 to 800 per hour on game nights. Then, there's the "NetroCard".

It's an ambitious plan, but if you choose to drive, get ready for delays, limited parking, shuttle buses from remote lots in Brooklyn (and Staten Island!) as well as heavy bike traffic, etc.

    Here, drawn from a state environmental document (pages 11-13) on the project and Schwartz's website, are some of the key components of the plan:

    Increases in the frequency of subway service to the Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street (soon to be called the "Barclays Center") subway station on selected subway lines immediately following games.

    Free indoor bicycle storage in a secure, manned facility designed to accommodate at least 400 bicycles on the arena block. Schwartz has said the bike park will be North America's largest.

    The so-called "NetroCard", described by the state as "free round-trip subway fare to Nets basketball game ticketholders who would otherwise drive".

    A "fan egress profile" directing departing fans to subway, LIRR, parking lots, the bike lot and building exits to accelerate dispersal.

    Use of Forest City Ratner-controlled parking lots at MetroTech, blocks away from the arena, as remote parking hubs. Rates are supposed to be 50% less than those charged at the main lot at the arena. Shuttle buses will take fans from the remote lots to the arena.

    Institution of an HOV provision at the main arena lot. Up to half the spaces will be reserved for those bringing three or more people to the arena for games or other events.

    Free round-trip charter bus service between two Staten Island park-and-ride facilities (Outerbridge Park & Ride and Father Capodanno Park & Ride near the Verranzano Bridge) accommodating approximately 264 people.

    One part of the plan, however, flies in the face of residents' protests about the proliferation of sports bars in the arena neighborhood. It calls on arena management to "cross-market with area businesses to encourage ticketholders to patronize local restaurants and stores before and after games."