With the Barclays Center set to open in September, community groups and leaders presented a plan Tuesday designed to curb traffic concerns and preserve residents' quality of life. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
With a September opening date, workers at the Barclays Center are busy meeting construction deadlines for the 18,000-seat arena. And community leaders are busy coming up with ways not only to fend off the projected onslaught of traffic to the area but to preserve their quality of life.
"Whether you were in favor of the arena or against the arena, the reality is that it's with us," said City Councilman Stephen Levin of Brooklyn.
On Tuesday, a group of local civic organizations and elected officials presented what it calls its "Neighborhood Protection Plan."
"We're looking at reasonable ways to manage not only the flow of cars and pedestrians but also other impacts like sanitation, snow removal and responsible behavior by arena patrons," said Michael Cairl of the Park Slope Civic Council.
Among the group's recommendations include ending alcoholic drink sales 45 minutes before events end to limit the number who've had too much to drink from flooding their the neighborhood. They also want to lower the light emitted from the arena plaza after 11 p.m. to bring tranquility at night.
The group is also calling for developer Forest City Ratner to pay for extra traffic enforcement agents, garbage cleanup and snow removal.
"It is not anything unusual in exchange for huge investments by government, which we had made hundreds of millions of dollars in investment for this project (in) public funds, that we should request some amenities from the developer," said State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery.
"The proposals put forth in the Barclays Center neighborhood protection plan are modeled after similar policies in cities like Newark, Washington D.C. and Chicago," said Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council.
The neighborhood protection plan also requests a residential parking permit program and a tax surcharge for drivers using area parking lots.
"This plan will discourage individuals from driving to Prospect Heights, Park Slope, Boerum Hill and Fort Greene," said City Councilwoman Letitia James of Brooklyn. "It's a protection plan."
In response, Forest City says it'll do everything it can to minimize the impact of the arena.
The neighborhood group says the plan is only effective if there's continuous oversight and review. They're asking Forest City Ratner for an annual report of all the measures taken.