Monday, June 14, 2010

Four Flushing

We have been focusing on the mendacity over at EDC-an agency that is so self serving that they should be looking to bring back Horn and Hardart’s as part of its economic development mission. Put simply, they feel no compunction about presenting completely contradictory data-and often do so in the same document. So it goes with the Flushing Commons DEIS.

As we began to outline last week: “When we come to the Flushing Commons project, the litany of misrepresentations continues with a certain savoir faire. In the first instance, the project needs to account for the Willets Point traffic overflow-and therefore, as would be expected, it utilizes the Willets Point EIS study that maximized the diversion of cars onto the Van Wyck. If it had relied on the second ramp report, an extra 1,000 car trips for peak PM hours would have had to be accounted for.”

So EDC begins by cherry picking the most favorable data-no matter that this data is itself under a cloud because of the agency’s sleight of hand with the Van Wyck ramp report. But then things really get interesting-with traffic consultants looking to garner some literary prize for fiction.

As we already explained: “When examining the Flushing Commons EIS we find there is a built in contradiction: We reviewed the DEIS with regard to the types of retail space used in the traffic analysis and the socioeconomic impact analysis. Page 14-40 of Chapter 14 (Traffic and Parking) along with the rest of this Chapter assumes 36,225 sq. ft of "Destination Retail" Page 3-35 of Chapter 3 (Socioeconomic Impacts) along with the rest of this Chapter assumes 120,750 sq. ft. of "Destination Retail"

By using two different assumptions, the DEIS underestimates the already unacceptable traffic impact; and then proceeds to deliberately underestimate the projects harmful effects on local businesses. With such a bold-faced self-contradiction, how can we rely on any of their assumptions?”

It’s as if they know that no one will read these très expensive exercises in fraud-reports that the Bar Association of New York mistakenly believes are sacrosanct for the land use review process. And let’s not forget that the DEIS is already on shaky ground since DOT has jettisoned the plan-the traffic mitigation linchpin of the DEIS-to make Main and Union Streets one way.

But, as Meatloaf’s Paradise by the Dashboard Light song asks, “What’ll it be boy?” Can the city council ignore the blatant discrepancies and fatal contradictory assertions-leaving it to the struggling small businesses to try to overturn this potential injustice in the courts?

Given all this misdirection and confusion, it is hard to see how the city council can accurately and fairly gauge the impacts of the Flushing Commons project. The only equitable thing for the council to do is to send the developer back to the drawing board so that the true traffic and business impacts of the development can be fully understood.