Uprooting the New York Islanders from their suburban arena on Long Island and putting them at a busy Brooklyn crossroads may have one unwelcome consequence, according to the Wall Street Journal – more hockey fans driving to the arena.
Sam Schwartz, the engineer who prepared traffic plans for the Barclays Center, acknowledged in May that Long Island hockey fans would be less accustomed to using the subway system to get to game, adding that Nassau County has about two cars for every home.
Still, with Long Island Rail Road access across the street from the arena, Schwartz believed that public transportation could still be a viable option for suburbanites.
“If the Islanders come to Brooklyn,” Schwartz said at the time, “we’ll be ready for them.”
The Journal notes that with LIRR upgrades coming in the next few years, Atlantic Terminal riders will have a mandatory transfer at the Jamaica, Queens station. Zhan Guo, a researcher at New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, says there is a “transfer penalty,” though, where people generally tend to prefer the least amount of transfers during a trip.
“One more transfer can deter passengers from making that trip,” Guo said in an interview earlier this year. “People tend to become more annoyed by the transfer than transportation engineers estimate.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz have answered questions about traffic the same, according to the paper: mass transit is the easiest way to get to and from the Barclays Center, because the Atlantic Terminal station houses so many different lines.
MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota insists that Islanders fans already come to Madison Square Garden via LIRR to watch their team go up against the New York Rangers.
“Based on how Long Islanders use the Long Island Railroad to come to MSG,” he wrote to the Journal, “why wouldn’t they follow the same pattern and take the LIRR to Barclays?”