Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Updated: Construction Alert drops a hint: some loud overnight work near Atlantic Yards site is not controlled by FCR (however it's not unrelated to AY)

Updated October 14: I got a message yesterday from Empire State Development: "The work is related to AY. It is water main work that is being conducted by one of AYDC’s contractors MFM."

In other words, it was not Verizon, as stated in the Construction Alert, which is prepared by Forest City Ratner and sent out by Empire State Development. And while it may not be under the direct control of Atlantic Yards Development Company, surely AYDC has influence with its subcontractors.


There's a brief but intriguing statement in the latest Atlantic Yards Construction Alert, dated 10/10/11 but issued yesterday afternoon:
We have been advised that Verizon has retained MFM Contracting to install new conduit in the Times Plaza area. This work is independent of and unrelated to the Traffic Mitigation work and is not under the control of AYDC [Atlantic Yards Development Company].
Unmentioned is that MFM Contracting is responsible for some of the loud overnight construction work, including in this video, that has plagued residents on Pacific Street near Fourth Avenue.

Does that mean Forest City Ratner is off the hook? Only partly--residents in the area have reported multiple sources of overnight noise (see list of FCR permits below), and other loud overnight work, such as at the Vanderbilt Yard, is clearly connected to the project.

And it's not clear if MFM's work is devoid of any relation to Atlantic Yards. (See comment at bottom.)

Need for clarity

Arana Hankin, Atlantic Yards Project Director for Empire State Development, has said she wants the agency to be more proactive, and said that should happen when a new community relations staffer comes on board. But that job's been open for nearly four months.

And the agency has for weeks passed on the opportunity to respond publicly to a rash of complaints and questions about noise or, for example, to inform the public promptly about MFM's work.

Moreover, evidence suggests that MFM is not working for Verizon. According to the NYC Department of Transportation permit database, as suggested in the graphic below, MFM is working on a water pipeline.

And while the MFM work may be unrelated to the traffic mitigation work needed for the project, it's not clear whether it has any relation to the changes in the utility system wrought by the project.


As indicated in the document below, Forest City has a wide array of permits, many of them aspects of the same job.
Forest City Ratner DOT Permits

1 comment:

  1. It IS the first time to my knowledge that a utility has been included in the construction alert, which is inappropriate given that the utilities are regularly doing arena-related work.

    I would also not jump to the conclusion that the Verizon work is unrelated to Atlantic Yards based on the entry in the construction alert. The only thing the alert says is that the utilities are beyond the control of those coordinating Atlantic Yards construction. Really, the alert may be saying residents may be exposed to more impacts than were outlined earlier.

    When the water and sewer mains were placed on Dean Street, Flatbush and 6th circling the south, west and east sides of the arena block several years ago there was construction work night and day. The streets kept being closed up, then re-opened, then closed again. When residents complained they were told that the problem was that the utilities could not be coordinated by FCRC. The result was that instead of the streets being dug up once, they were dug up again and again, increasing impacts on the community.

    Right now utilities are doing work like laying fiber optic cable for the arena block. A few months ago I caught workers on a Saturday digging up a tree pit (not legal) on Dean to insert fiber optic cable. That work wasn't on the construction alerts even though their work order clearly stated it was for Atlantic Yards.

    The problem is FCRC and the ESDC have little incentive to disclose work that causes adverse impacts.

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