Fewer Seats But More Cars at Yankee Stadium

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Anybody else catch the Discovery Channel’s 2-hour special on global warming on Sunday night?  It recapped the many problems we can expect to see from global warming: potential death for millions of people, millions more forced to move as coastal cities are permanently flooded, extinction for many species of plants and animals, more frequent severe weather events like forest fires, hurricanes and tornadoes, and positive feedback loops that reinforce the warming. It all would sort of a change life as we’ve come to know it – for the worse. Complete transformation of the planet: Every other issue sort of pales in comparison, and it makes one wonder, how can we be concerned about anything else?

A matter of this magnitude ought to guide every single public policy decision, starting 10 years ago. Urban planners in particular should be on the forefront of finding ways to reduce emission of greenhouse gases by encouraging the creation or revitalization of walkable, transit-served cities, and by reducing automobile use in them.

Given global warming, the plan for a new Yankee Stadium — one that increases the number of parking spaces by 75% (while reducing the number of seats) — is absolutely bonkers. Yes, the plan has an unfunded commitment to construct a new Metro-North station, but the focus is clearly on increasing parking in a community that already suffers from high rates of asthma.

It is all the more incomprehensible because the new stadium will continue to sit atop the 161st Street station served by the B, D and 4 trains. Taking a train to the game is a more fun way to get to the game than driving is anyway: You feel the collective energy of the crowd well before you get to the stadium; leaving is a breeze on the subway compared to sitting in a parking garage motionless as you jocky for position against all the other ill-tempered motorists.

New Yorkers for Parks is reporting that the plan is approved, but a commenter notes that the IRS still need to approve the tax-exempt bonds.

Photo: Mikeystrike’s "Post-Game Traffic" on Flickr

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