Tuesday, October 05, 2010

When they say Pacific Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues is closed, now they really mean it

Pacific Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues--the place, during certain hours, for the staging of trucks for arena construction--has officially been closed since March, as the notice at bottom states.

But the closure hasn't really been enforced by the guards working for Forest City Ratner--until last Friday, October 1.

(Photo by Tracy Collins shows shanty for guard at Pacific and Vanderbilt.)

Guards step up

Prospect Heights resident Patti Hagan told me that she had regularly used the street, but, on October 1, she tried to walk east from Carlton to Vanderbilt on Pacific but was stopped by a cop.

"I could last week," Hagan said. "Why can't I walk there?"

The guard claimed it was "because of electrical voltages."

Later, on her return trip, Hagan tried to walk in the opposite direction. She was stopped by a different guard who told her it's a private street.

Hagan asked what was different since the previous week.

"Since today," the guard said. "Orders came down this morning."

Statement processed Friday

Indeed, a memorandum sent from Forest City Ratner to the Empire State Development Corporation last Friday--the basis for a Supplemental Report regarding Atlantic Yards Construction Activities--indicates that, effective immediately, all pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular access will be prohibited, unless it's related to construction.

ESDC spokeswoman Elizabeth Mitchell told me:
ESD's understanding was that this was a policy that has been in place since March 2010 (the March 2010 notice is also attached) and that the purpose of this new notice was to remind people of the existing policy. [Project Manager] Arana Hankin did not yet send this notice out through her two-week Look Ahead, but we assume that the reminder had already been delivered to the security guards. The matter of electrical voltage was not the reason we were given for the closure.
That raises a question: why would the guard mention that? Was he just making it up? Or does Forest City Ratner have a reason?

Uneven enforcement


Over the weekend, however, enforcement was mixed. "I walked the stretch from Carlton to Vanderbilt," Collins reported. "At Carlton, yellow tape was across the sidewalk, but I noticed several people strolling on the block and security really didn't seem to care."

"I walked past 752 [Pacific] where some security eyed me with my camera, but didn't do or say anything," he recounted.

"When I got to the other end of the block, near Vanderbilt, and started to snap photos of the last few buildings, the guard in the makeshift hut came out and asked me for whom was I taking photos," Collins stated. "When I answered that I was taking them for myself, the guard said that I'm not supposed to be on this private street taking pictures."

While the guard said he generally doesn't mind people walking through, he has orders not to allow pedestrians, Collins said.

Time to use Dean Street, apparently.
Supplement Report to AY Construction Activities September 27, 2010

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