Residents of Boerum Hill, Park Slope, Caroll Gardens and other neighborhoods adjacent to Barclays Center are worried that their backyards will become one giant parking lot for the thousands of visitors to the arena, sports center and entertainment venue which just opened last week.
Complaining that officials in charge of Barclays have not done nearly enough to encourage the use of public transportation to get to the new home of the Nets basketball team, local community organizations are demanding the establishment of local parking permits to control neighborhood parking.
“The parking issue is terrible right now, and while nobody can see into the future, it’s certainly likely that the situation is going to get a lot worse” said City Councilman Steve Levin, Democrat of Greenpoint.
City officials say that the MTA and the developer Forest City Ratner have been publicizing the fact that there are nine subway lines, 11 bus routes and a Long Island Rail Road stop at the arena. Neighborhood residents point out that there is a sign for Barclays off of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
Despite the many ways of arriving to Barclays by public transport transportation officials are estimating that at least 2,500 private cars will arrive at the northwestern corner of Brooklyn all looking for a place to park their cars.
“If you live in the neighborhood obviously you are going to have concerns about security and traffic. We are going to do our very best to be good neighbors” said developer Bruce Ratner. He added that most concerts and basketball games will last about three hours.
“It’s not like you are losing your space in front of your place forever” he added.
This fact does not satisfy residents in the least. Part of the solution that they see, short of tearing down the arena, is to create a Residential Permit Parking program in their neighborhood, which will allow locals to reserve parking spots near their homes. Unfortunately this plan has been stopped in the state Senate by representatives of other neighborhoods outside the proposed protected area.
These lawmakers, including Senator Martin Golden, Republican of Bay Ridge, are worried that residents of their neighborhoods will not be able to find parking spots during events at Barclays Center, and will not be allowed to park in the downtown area to take the subway to work. Golden is also afraid of the cost to residents for the permits.
“This is nothing more than another tax on our communities” he said. “The idea that someone would have to pay to park in front of their own home is ludicrous.”