Testimony of Ryan Lynch
My name is Ryan Lynch, and I am the Senior Planner and Long Island Coordinator for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a non-profit organization working toward a more balanced, transit-friendly and equitable transportation system in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
The Nassau Hub is an important project that has the opportunity to serve as a model for smart growth development on Long Island for the immediate and foreseeable future. However, any such development must take into account increased traffic impacts the project will bring, and study the necessary measures that will serve to mitigate these traffic impacts.
To do so, the Environmental Impact Statement must incorporate traffic data that can be used to analyze impacts on nearby transportation systems as well as impacts on air quality caused by increases in traffic. The EIS should investigate thoroughly the feasibility of alternative transit options such as increased Long Island bus service throughout the Hub, not just ‘discuss’ these options as indicated in the draft scope. One way to emphasize this would be for the EIS to encourage the Lighthouse Development Group to invest in mass transit infrastructure throughout the Nassau hub. Building and maintaining state-of-the-art bus shelters for Long Island Bus would be a good start.
Additionally, the EIS should broaden its transportation and parking resources and research to include more comprehensive and holistic studies of traffic mitigation and parking options. The EIS should include ideas from the burgeoning complete streets movement that incorporates space into the streetscape for pedestrians, cyclists, transit users and motorists, which has shown to be successful in reducing the number of vehicle miles travelled, a good measure of whether a development will hold to the tenets of smart growth development.
The EIS should also study ideas such as on-street shared parking, as opposed to off street parking garages, and ‘cash-out parking’, or providing the cash equivalents of subsidized parking as incentives to commuters if they use an alternative travel mode. These ideas, and many more, can be found in The High Cost of Free Parking, by professor of urban planning at UCLA, Donald Shoup. This book has proven to be an important resource that the EIS should utilize when studying solutions to parking problems and when working to reduce negative traffic impacts.
Ultimately, the Nassau Hub project should be a development that strives to reduce the need to use a private automobile. The EIS should reflect this, and study in depth, alternative modes of transit that can be used to promote this vision.