Skip to main content

Uh-oh: Dean Street sidewalk at B2 construction site, adjacent to arena entrance, will narrow to five feet; crowds already cause overflows

The current sidewalk: 13'11"
In presenting plans last night for B2, the 32-story residential tower slated to be the world’s tallest modular building, developer Forest City Ratner and its partners sounded like they had thought through almost every issue.

[See a full report on the meeting.]

They stressed that, by building most of the components inside a factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, there would be less noise, fewer deliveries, and a faster construction schedule--all of which should add up to a decreased impact on neighbors near the tower bordering the Barclays Center at Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue.

After an arena event, on Dean Street
The plan (full presentation)


But construction also means that, for one year, the sidewalk on the north side of Dean east of Flatbush--already periodically overburdened by crowds streaming to and from the arena entrance on Dean-- will narrow to just five feet, a situation that left some Prospect Heights neighbors incredulous.

That would leave only one lane of traffic on Dean Street.
Construction site in background on right

The current width, according to a memo by state consultants, is as narrow as 13’11”, with an effective width--minus obstructions and “shy distance”--of 9.4 feet.

(That would be the sidewalk condition when the building opens.)

With only five feet, that's a significant decrease.

Once the building is finished, the permanent effective width, however, could be functionally even more narrow, according to Peter Krashes of Atlantic Yards Watch, because the sidewalk will continue to be narrow while the demands on it will be increased -- in part because of retail on the ground floor.

As Krashes wrote, "the width of the sidewalk adjacent to B2... may now have a permanent effective width of 3.5 feet, hardly substantial enough for a busy sidewalk supporting a large arena entrance, a loading dock and a lay-by lane."

A 10-foot walkway will be maintained on Flatbush, with a five-foot walkway on Dean, Forest City construction chief Bob Sanna said last night at the meeting, held at Borough Hall. At the Dean Street entrance, a covered platform will protect the arena pedestrian entrance.

Can it work?

Crowds outside arena entrance where sidewalk bulges out
Questions from the audience, written on index cards, were read by the moderators, Rob Perris, District Manager of Community Board 2 and Craig Hammerman of Community Board 6. How can that volume of traffic be accommodated--were any pedestrian counts done?

"They were all approved by the DOT [Department of Transportation], so they were responsible for doing the studies and determining that this is appropriate," responded Ashley Cotton, Forest City’s head of external affairs.

“You think five feet will be enough to accommodate arena patrons?” queried Prospect Heights resident Robert Puca incredulously, from the audience. "How is that possible?"

“Well, we believe it's possible, and so does DOT, and that's who approves it," Cotton replied.

“Ashley, you see what happens after games,” Puca responded, before he was quieted by the moderators for speaking out of turn.

(As Atlantic Yards Watch showed in a video, after a recent Nets game, crowds overflowed the Dean Street sidewalk and streamed into the street.)

Later, a question was raised: has any pedestrian count been taken after arena events?

“Not to my knowledge,” responded Marshall.

Perhaps, but there have been people with clipboards apparently counting monitoring pedestrians on Dean Street.

On video

[Note that the audio is out of sync--I will try to fix. Video shot by Jonathan Barkey.]


Adjustments coming

After the formal Q&A concluded, Cotton took the microphone. “Let's talk a little about sidewalks, and the crowds coming out of the arena,” she said. “To put it in a more human way, first of all, DOT says it's fine. We think it's going to be fine. But as you've seen over last two months, we adjust very well to arena occurrences."

“We're going to have look very closely at this, and get ready for a new model, and so we admit that,” she said. “We spend a lot of time with arena operations. They understand what's coming. We will monitor crowd control in a whole new way, with this adjustment. Clearly it's an adjustment. We don't want to pretend it's not.

DOT trying to cope

From the audience, DOT official Chris Hrones got up. “I don't know if I would use the word fine.” he said. “I think this is the best we can do. We worked closely with Forest City to try to get as much pedestrian space, to try to keep impacts off Flatbush Avenue. Five feet for construction is our minimum requirement. Would we have liked to have more? Absolutely... [but we] couldn't make it work.”

He said the arena is expected to pro-actively manage pedestrian flow. He noted that, for fire safety reasons, the Barclays Center can't keep the Dean Street entrance closed, so they’ll be “actively directing people to other entrances” to minimize the flow when they exit the building.

“I kept hearing DOT thinks it fine,” Hrones said, a little sheepishly. “I know what you're trying to say, but I just want to clarify, it's not our ideal, it does meet our minimum standards... but obviously, I can understand what people's concerns are, it's the best we can do... We're going to have to work as we go through it on measures that will help manage that pedestrian flow.”

Cotton said “we agree completely,” adding that “our partners in the police have been excellent... we understand your concerns and will monitor it," just as they've done in the past two months.

Truck routes

The modules, no greater than 50 feet wide and between 20 to 50 feet in length (and typically closer to 30 feet), will be shipped by truck during the day. Eight to 23 modules will be delivered between rush hours, taking a route from the Navy Yard to the site, down Flatbush Avenue.

One module will be delivered at night and stored overnight, so early morning crews can work on it. No night work is expected.

Sanna was a bit fuzzy on what happens to the trucks after the delivery. He first suggested that they could turn either right or left on Sixth Avenue to reach either Flatbush or Atlantic avenues. One of his colleagues corrected him, saying the only permissible route is a left on Sixth to Atlantic.

“That's a two-way street,” uttered Puca. "How can a truck possibly make a left turn?"

“We've done the truck turning radius, and it can be done,” responded Forest City executive Jane Marshall. “It's entirely possible to do.”

What about bike lane?

“Even with the [Dean Street] bike lane?” Puca asked. "What happens to the bike lane?"

“The bike lane is shared in the construction period with the drive lane,” Marshall responded.

"Is the bike lane on Dean maintained, or do cranes take up that space?" read Hammerman.

“It's maintained, but as a shared bike line,” Cotton added.

It will be only 12 feet wide.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website Matzav.com explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

So, Forest City has some property subject to the future Gowanus rezoning

Writing yesterday, MAP: Who Owns All the Property Along the Gowanus Canal, DNAinfo's Leslie Albrecht lays out the positioning of various real estate players along the Gowanus Canal, a Superfund site:
As the city considers whether to rezone Gowanus and, perhaps, morph the gritty low-rise industrial area into a hot new neighborhood of residential towers (albeit at a fraction of the height of Manhattan's supertall buildings), DNAinfo reviewed property records along the canal to find out who stands to benefit most from the changes.
Investors have poured at least $440 million into buying land on the polluted waterway and more than a third of the properties have changed hands in the past decade, according to an examination of records for the nearly 130 properties along the 1.8-mile canal. While the single largest landowner is developer Property Markets Group, other landowners include Kushner Companies, Alloy Development, Two Trees, and Forest City New York.

Forest City's plans unc…