American Dream Developer, Opponents Face Off Over Traffic Concerns
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority heard two vastly different conclusions Wednesday regarding how traffic may be impacted by the American Dream shopping and entertainment complex.
The project, formerly known as Xanadu, is under development in East Rutherford across from MetLife Stadium.
WCBS 880′s Levon Putney reports
“Having the American Dream mall open on stadium event days will cause gridlock of proportions we have never experienced,” Jets and Giants spokeswoman Karen Kessler told WCBS 880′s Levon Putney.
The New York Jets and Giants have both sued the developer, Triple Five, saying the current project vastly differs from the original plan that was agreed to in 2006.
Traffic experts hired by the teams said the mega-mall would add 7,700 cars to the already-congested roadways on game days, Kessler said.
“We presented over 700 pages of detailed analysis, charts and traffic models,” Kessler said.
The teams, in addition to some local leaders, have opposed the development of the mega-mall citing traffic concerns around the Meadowlands. A judge dismissed part of the teams’ lawsuit in June but said they can refile.
But a spokesman for American Dream said the opposition is misinformed.
“Well, they were using the wrong numbers,” American Dream spokesman Alan Marcus told Putney.
The developer’s traffic experts determined the first phase of construction would only put a few dozen more cars on the road during the football season, Marcus said.
“And based on those numbers, it’s clear that the teams have nothing to worry about,” said Marcus.
The developers also said they expect most people to use public transportation to get to and from the complex, or stay away on game days.
“My hope is that the Jets and Giants quarterbacks are using more accurate signals than the numbers their owners were using yesterday,” Marcus said.
Triple Five refused to agree to close the mega-mall on Sundays to help minimize traffic during the football season. Under Bergen County law, only the amusement part of the complex would be allowed to operate on Sundays.
The developer cited the massive shopping complex they built near the New England Patriots stadium as proof that traffic will not worsen because of the mega-mall.
The 2.2 million square foot complex would combine shopping, an indoor amusement park and waterpark.
The teams have promised to sue if the authority approves the redevelopment plan.
“We hope the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority will evaluate the facts and reach the right decision. If we do not get the decision we need, we will be back in court to pursue this matter,” Kessler said.
“They will lose in court,” Marcus said.
When 90,000 people filled MetLife Stadium for a Jewish gathering in August, the state Department of Transportation declared a traffic advisory.
Carlstadt Mayor William Roseman was among those caught in the gridlock caused by the Talmud celebration. He said it took him nearly two hours to make the trip back from Manhattan.
The Sports and Exposition Authority could vote on the proposal as soon as this month.
If approved, developers said American Dream could open by the end of 2013.
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