City Council Hearing: Yankee Stadium Redevelopment Project
March 28, 2006
My testimony is drawn from a letter jointly sent to Speaker Quinn by many of the leading environmental policy, public interest and environmental justice organizations in the city, including NY Public Interest Research Group and Good Jobs New York represented here by my colleagues. We have submitted the entire letter to you as testimony.
The project includes the construction of four new parking garages to be built on top of public parkland. The capacity of the new garages represents a nearly 75% increase in parking availability in the vicinity of the stadium. Any traffic expert not under contract to the sponsors of this project will tell you that more parking capacity invites more driving. The new parking will encourage more fans to drive to games. More traffic will worsen already bad game-day traffic congestion and air pollution in the South Bronx.
Plans for a stadium Metro-North station have been languishing for years and are not part of the current plan. The Yankees have said that they “support” a Metro-North station, but have not offered to provide any sort of financial assistance, nor has the Mayor sought to amend the MTA capital program to include the project. Instead, the Yankees and the City continue to insist that all of the parking is necessary. Compare to a “Community Protection Plan” the Chicago Cubs recently worked out with the wealthy neighborhood around Wrigley Field – the Cubs promote transit use to the stadium at every opportunity and kept new parking to a minimum.
The State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) requires the lead agency, in this case the New York City Parks Department, to take a “hard look” at all potential environmental impacts caused by a project. However, the environmental impact statement prepared for this project, and its accompanying Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) application, fails to even acknowledge that a massive increase in the amount of parking will lead to more fans driving to games – a major analytical and legal flaw.
The Yankees and the City have simply not made the case for all this park-destroying parking capacity. The new stadium will have fewer seats. They claim that all of the parking is needed, yet last year the Yankees set a record for American League attendance, under the stadium’s current transportation arrangements. Instead of destroying valuable parkland and publicly subsidizing parking garages, the City and State could invest in the mass transit system.
Pass a resolution urging Mayor Bloomberg to amend the MTA capital program to
include a Metro-North station at Yankee Stadium.