A planned New York Islanders Belmont Park arena project would increase traffic congestion in the area, according to a new environmental impact study.
The Islanders and partners Oak View Group and Sterling Project Development are planning a new arena on land at Belmont Park, with hopes of opening the facility in time for the 2021-22 NHL season. It is envisioned that the 19,000-seat arena will be the anchor of a larger $1.2 billion plan that includes a 250-room hotel, 435,000 square feet of retail space, restaurants, and a movie theater.
On Thursday, board members of the state economic development agency Empire State Development Corporation voted unanimously to adopt the nearly 700-page study on the development project. The report found that, even with extra Long Island Rail Road trains available on game days, activities associated with the arena and surrounding amenities would increase traffic in the area–particularly on the Cross Island Parkway and Hempstead Turnpike. Officials indicated that they will continue to work on plans to ease congestion issues. More from Newsday:
“It is a problem. I think we knew that going in,” said Rachel Shatz, vice president for planning and environmental review at the state agency. “There are strategies that we’ve identified in the DEIS [report] that will alleviate almost all of them in the local network. The Cross Island Parkway is a bit of a challenge.”…
According to the study, activities associated with the proposed development would generate:
- 832 vehicle trips during peak hours on weekday mornings.
- 4,261 trips during the weekday evening peak hour.
- 4,075 trips during the Saturday midday peak hour.
- 4,496 trips during the Saturday night peak hour.
Thomas Conoscenti, Empire State Development’s vice president for real estate development, said the agency was working on a transportation management plan “to influence behavior of eventgoers and users of the roads to further alleviate these projected traffic conditions.”
Adoption of the study effectively triggers a public comment process that will unfold over the next several weeks, including the acceptance of written comments through February 11. Arena construction could begin in May, contingent upon the completion of the environmental review process and approval from several state agencies.
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