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Web www.startsandfits.com
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Yankee Stadium Rail Station 'Not in the Cards'
Starts & Fits' correspondent Juan "Coney Island" Rivero sends along a link to an article detailing transportation plans for the new Yankee Stadium.

Starts & Fits has spent a number of very enjoyable afternoons and evenings at the House that Ruth Built, leading me to question whether new stadium would really be that much more fun. The beer will taste the same, right?

But given that a new stadium seems to be "needed," at least we will have a great opportunity to connect it to a rail line that — what luck! — runs right next to the site: Metro-North's Hudson Line (mapped at right). A temporary station was put up there to serve commuters during the recent transit strike and it should be made a core component of any plan to build a new Yankee Stadium.

One of the best times to take mass transit is to attend a large scale spectator sporting event where thousands of people leave the place at the same time. Under the car-and-parking-lot transportation model that prevails at most major league ballparks and football stadia, after the game you end up sitting in traffic, going nowhere but fighting other drivers for the most minuscule advantage — capping a fun day at the game with a major downer and a headache. Even before the game is finished, you stress yourself out deciding whether to leave early and "beat the traffic" or catch the last out. But under the mass transit model that reigns at Yankee Stadium, when the game ends and the stadium disgorges its thousands of fans, the D train waits with open doors for everyone to climb aboard. Fans travel downtown together in a festive, communal atmosphere, sharing the excitement of the game after it has finished. The ability to have this kind of experience is a big part of what makes New York New York.

I've written before about the uncanny connection between the fact that the winningest team in baseball, with the highest revenue and the most fans attending its games, happens to use the stadium that has the best subway service of any major league ballpark. Is that a mere coincidence? I thought not.

Unfortunately, the latest indications are that the transportation for the new stadium will include expensive parking garages, but no Metro-North station.

"The plan calls for taking lots and building multi-level structures that will multiply the number of cars coming into the same area," said Bronx Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo. "Where now it’s 140 cars, it could be 400, 500 cars coming into the same lot. What traffic-management plans does the city have to ensure that traffic in the immediate community is not going to become worse than it is?"

Public transportation advocates have pushed for a new Metro-North station at Yankee Stadium, and during December’s transit strike the MTA had set up a makeshift stop at the location.

"There's always been an interest on Metro-North's part to have that station," said Metro-North spokesman Dan Brucker, "but we needed to have absolute assurances that the Yankees and the stadium were going to stay there." …

The Empire State Development Corporation is investing $70 million in the parking garages, which are estimated to cost between $235 million and $320 million. The ESDC says the excess cost will be borne by a private developer "and/or the City."

While taping WNBC-TV's "News Forum" for this Sunday, ESDC chief Charles Gargano said the new Metro-North station is "not in the cards at this time."
$70 million for new parking garages but the Metro-North station is "not in the cards"? Are we planning for Phoenix, or for New York City? I'd urge public officials to rethink this plan. As a matter of public policy, we should be encouraging people to take the train to baseball games, not drive. Between the Bruckner, the Major Deegan, the Cross Bronx "Expressway" and all the other highways that connect Manhattan to the northern suburbs, the Bronx suffers from more than its fair share of traffic as it is. Why create even more?

- Stadium funds eyed [Metro]
- The Transportation/Winning Connection [S&F]
- Save Our Parks
- Make [the temporary Metro-North station] permanent! [Save Our Parks]
- Posted at 12:46 AM | Permalink | Comments: 1 | Post a Comment |  

I'm a Mets fan and there is nothing worse than trying to leave Shea Stadium in a car. It takes forever and you do get very frustrated. Taking the subway is much better and faster, but they could do more to make the #7 express going back to Manhattan, especially on weekends. The Empire State Development folks might want to get out from behind their windshields and take a train or bus sometime...or...I daresay walk around the South Bronx!

By peakguy, at 3/22/2006 9:36 PM  

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