Saturday, September 24, 2011

The collateral damage from construction = at least a month-long root canal; were sufficient mitigation measures (soundproofing, etc.) taken?

Y'know, to get that Barclays Center built, there just has to be a little collateral damage. Arena boosters would say there's always disruption with construction--and there is.

Except it should be within limits, right? Nobody would countenance, say, dismemberment of just one member of the public. But what about a month-long root canal?

Forest City Ratner executive Jane Marshall suggested Thursday that disruptive, noisy overnight work near the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues would be over, like a "dentist's appointment," by the end of October.

"Losing my sanity"

Meanwhile, as one resident wrote in a complaint to Atlantic Yards Watch, late night work has been driving him nuts:
probably my last entry since it appears that the overnight jackhammering has been approved and will not stop for about a year until all is said and done. continuing the reporting to 311 is, therefore, a waste of my time.
looking at soundproofing my windows which is expensive, but so is losing my sanity.
As the complainant suggests, some work will continue for more than a month. Indeed, a message from Forest City Ratner points to the installation of new water trunk main and associated distribution mains on Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, for which Stage Three work should be complete by April 2012. Other sidewalk work would last until August, 2012, though it's unclear how much jackhammering that will include.

But he shouldn't have to soundproof his windows.

Predictions and mitigations

According to Figures 17c-1 and 17c-2 of the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement from the Empire State Development Corporation, noise impacts were studied near the project site, and impacts were predicted on several blocks--and, as described below, mitigation measures including air conditioners and double-glazed windows were offered.

It's not clear to me whether all those experiencing noise now were offered such mitigation measures; it appears, from the comment above, that they weren't.



What was disclosed

According to Chapter 19, Mitigation, of the FEIS, project sponsors were supposed to do their best to reduce noise--but it wasn't guaranteed:
NOISE
To reduce noise levels at the source or during most sensitive time periods (“source controls”), six types of measures were examined and would be implemented:
1. The project sponsors have committed to utilizing equipment that meets the sound level standards for equipment (specified in Subchapter 5 of the new New York City Noise Control Code) from the start of construction activities and using a wide range of equipment, including construction trucks, that produces lower noise levels than typical construction equipment;
2. Where feasible, the project sponsors would use quiet construction procedures, and equipment (such as generators, hydraulic lift vehicles, trucks, and tractor trailers) quieter than that required by the New York City Noise Control Code;
3. Generally, the project sponsors would schedule and perform the most noisy work during weekday daytime hours (and not during weekday nighttime or weekend hours);
4. Generally, the project sponsors would schedule equipment and material deliveries during weekday daytime hours, and not during weekday nighttime or weekend hours;
5. As early in the construction period as practicable, diesel-powered equipment would be replaced with electrical-powered equipment, such as electric scissor lifts and electric articulating boom lifts (i.e., early electrification); and
6. The project sponsors would require all contractors and subcontractors to properly maintain their equipment and have quality mufflers installed.
(Emphases added)

As it happens, some of the most noisy work is not during weekday daytime hours.

Doing their best

The FEIS chapter also states:
Three types of measures related to the placement of equipment and implementation of barriers between equipment and sensitive receptors were examined and would be implemented to the extent feasible:
1. Noisy equipment, such as generators, cranes, tractor trailers, concrete pumps, concrete trucks and dump trucks, would be located at locations which are away from sensitive receptor locations and are shielded from sensitive receptor locations (For example, during the early construction phase of work delivery trucks and dump trucks would be located approximately 20 feet below grade to take advantage of shielding benefits.) Once building foundations are completed, delivery trucks would be located adjacent to noisy streets— Atlantic Avenue, Flatbush Avenue, 6th Avenue, etc.—rather than at quieter streets—such as Dean Street and Pacific Street—where there are residences. In addition, delivery trucks would operate behind noise barriers;
2. Noise barriers would be utilized to provide shielding (i.e., the construction sites would have a minimum 8-foot barrier, with a 16-foot barrier adjacent to sensitive locations—on locations along Pacific Street, Dean Street, and Flatbush Avenue opposite residences and the Brooklyn Bear’s Pacific Street Community Garden —and truck deliveries would take place behind these barriers once building foundations are completed);
3. Noise curtains and equipment enclosures would be utilized to provide shielding to sensitive receptor locations.
But it's not "feasible" to shield jackhammering in the street.

Mitigation measures

The chapter states:
NOISE
The Pacific Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library would experience a significant adverse noise impact over a three year period. To address this impact, the project sponsors would make available to the library, and install, interior-fitted storm windows on the facades facing Pacific Street. In the event the library elects to not accept the offer, there would be an unmitigated significant noise impact for this three year period.
There would be significant adverse noise impacts at the Dean Playground from construction activities. The project sponsors have committed to working with DPR to work with DPR’s planned improvements to the Dean Playground. This commitment would partially mitigate a temporary noise impact on the playground due to construction activities. At the Temple of Restoration, the project sponsors will make available storm windows for windows on the second level of the building (above the Temple of Restoration sign), which face Dean Street, and do not currently either have double-glazed windows or storm windows. With this measure, maximum interior noise levels within the Temple of Restoration building would be in the range of 40-50 dBA l10, which would satisfy CEQR Technical Manual recommended interior noise level requirements for this church use.
Where project implemented measures are not sufficient to prevent significant adverse noise impacts from occurring, and where the residences do not contain both double-glazed or storm- windows and alternative ventilation (air conditioning), the project sponsors would make these mitigation measures available, by purchasing and installing at no cost to the owners of residences. At non-residential locations, such as open spaces, receptor controls such as sound barriers may not be feasible because of safety and aesthetic concerns.
Continued predictions and promises

According to the 2009 Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments:
FCRC shall make available double-glazed or storm windows and alternative ventilation (e.g., air conditioning) for those residential locations where the FEIS identified significant noise impacts and such windows and air conditioning are not currently installed, subject to the consent of the owners and tenants of such residences, and subject to applicable laws, rules and regulations. All such windows and alternative ventilation shall be provided without charge and with free installation.
According to the December 2010 Technical Analysis of an Extended Build-Out of the Atlantic Yards Arena and Redevelopment Project:
Significant noise impacts were predicted to occur at the exterior of a number of residential locations during some portion of the construction periods. The majority of buildings near or adjacent to the Project site either have double glazed windows or storm windows. In addition, a large number of residences have some form of alternative ventilation, either window, through- the-wall (sleeve), or central air conditioning. At exterior locations where significant adverse noise impacts were predicted to occur, and where the residences do not contain both double- glazed or storm-windows and alternative ventilation (i.e., air conditioning), the Project sponsors would make these mitigation measures available, at no cost for purchase and installation to owners of residences. In addition, potential significant adverse noise impacts from construction were identified at the exterior of upper floors of certain residential buildings on the north side of Atlantic Avenue and potentially on streets north of Atlantic Avenue. Generally, all of the sites identified north of Atlantic Avenue already have double-glazed windows with sleeves for alternate ventilation. However, residents within the identified zone who do not have double- glazed or storm-windows and alternative ventilation and choose not to accept the mitigation measures made available, would experience significant adverse impacts from construction noise at these locations.

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