Skip to main content

NYPD: felony assaults down, accidents up since opening of arena; questions about roles of TEAs and pedestrian safety managers

Several Atlantic Yards issues came up last night at the monthly meeting of the 78th Precinct Council of the New York Police Department (NYPD).

Notably, Deputy Inspector Michael Ameri, the commanding officer, said that felony assaults are down compared to last year, "which I find remarkable, because everybody was so concerned about the Barclays Center." In other words, there have been no drunken rampages.

He did acknowledge that accidents have been up in the last six months, correlating with the arena opening though not necessarily attributable to that, given that the precinct boundaries also expanded: "Let's be honest, we have an increase in traffic, and increase in pedestrians."

Improving traffic safety, and an accident follow-up

His new executive officer, Martha Doble, has responsibility for traffic and pedestrian issues. Doble said NYPD would push education (flyers urging pedestrians to walk carefully), engineering (speed bumps, traffic cones), and enforcement to cut down on incidents.

Ameri was asked for more details on the incident in which an elderly man was killed by a truck last month at the treacherous intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenue.

He called it an "unfortunate situation" not connected to any arena event. The "elderly man... did step in the traffic" between two parked cars, not at a crosswalk, and was caught on the back wheel of a slow-moving truck. 

While the truck driver may have been cited for some equipment issues, he was not cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian.

Ameri did get thanks from neighborhood advocates for protecting a bike lane at Bergen Street and Flatbush and getting officers' and precinct cars off the sidewalk at Bergen Street east of Sixth Avenue near the precinct house.

TEAs ignoring rules?

One resident noted that a city traffic enforcement agent (TEA) last week parked a van in a pedestrian plaza in front of Pintchik Hardware at Bergen and Flatbush, though the whole adjacent block was open with legal parking.

The resident asked the agent if the van belonged to him, got a vague answer. The resident asked the agent to move the van, and was told he'd do so, but didn't.

"I know they're not under your command, but can we do something to not get them to block pedestrian areas," he asked Ameri.

"That's my pet peeve," Ameri responded, noting that, while the TEAs do not fall under his jurisdiction--they're under the NYPD's transportation bureau--it does not excuse their behavior

TEAs and pedestrian safety managers

TEAs are assigned to ensure the flow of vehicular traffic, while private pedestrian safety managers--in the case of the arena, hired via traffic consultant Sam Schwartz Engineering--are supposed to ensure the safety of those crossing the street.

Can they stop traffic?

"To the point of pedestrian safety," Ameri responded, acknowledging it was "maybe a gray legal area."

One resident said such manager were waving cars through red lights during the early days of the arena operation

"I guess, technically, it's not supposed to work that way," Ameri said. "Will pedestrian managers stop a vehicle for pedestrian safety and flow? Yeah."

Peter Krashes of the Dean Street Block Association asked how long the pedestrian managers, who initially had a two-month contract, and the TEAs, which Forest City Ratner was supposed to pay for, would last.

Ameri pointed to arena Community Affairs Manager Terence Kelly. Kelly said the issues could be discussed May 7 at the next Atlantic Yards Quality of Life meeting.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Is Barclays Center dumping the Islanders, or are they renegotiating? Evidence varies (bond doc, cash receipts); NHL attendance biggest variable

The Internet has been abuzz since Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick reported 1/30/17, using an overly conclusory headline, that Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Is Dumping the Islanders.

That would end an unusual arrangement in which the arena agrees to pay the team a fixed sum (minus certain expenses), in exchange for keeping tickets, suite, and sponsorship revenue.

The arena would earn more without the hockey team, according to Bloomberg, which cited “a financial projection shared with potential investors showed the Islanders won’t contribute any revenue after the 2018-19 season--a clear signal that the team won’t play there, the people said."

That "signal," however, is hardly definitive, as are the media leaks about a prospective new arena in Queens, as shown in the screenshot below from Newsday. Both sides are surely pushing for advantage, if not bluffing.

Consider: the arena and the Islanders can't even formally begin their opt-out talks until after this season. The disc…

Skanska says it "expected to assemble a properly designed modular building, not engage in an iterative R&D experiment"

On 12/10/16, I noted that FastCo.Design's Prefab's Moment of Reckoning article dialed back the gush on the 461 Dean modular tower compared to the publication's previous coverage.

Still, I noted that the article relied on developer Forest City Ratner and architect SHoP to put the best possible spin on what was clearly a failure. From the article: At the project's outset, it took the factory (managed by Skanska at the time) two to three weeks to build a module. By the end, under FCRC's management, the builders cut that down to six days. "The project took a little longer than expected and cost a little bit more than expected because we started the project with the wrong contractor," [Forest City's Adam] Greene says.Skanska jabs back
Well, Forest City's estranged partner Skanska later weighed in--not sure whether they weren't asked or just missed a deadline--and their article was updated 12/13/16. Here's Skanska's statement, which shows th…

Not just logistics: bypassing Brooklyn for DNC 2016 also saved on optics (role of Russian oligarch, Shanghai government)

Surely the logistical challenges of holding a national presidential nominating convention in Brooklyn were the main (and stated) reasons for the Democratic National Committee's choice of Philadelphia.

And, as I wrote in NY Slant, the huge security cordon in Philadelphia would have been impossible in Brooklyn.

But consider also the optics. As I wrote in my 1/21/15 op-ed in the Times arguing that the choice of Brooklyn was a bad idea:
The arena also raises ethically sticky questions for the Democrats. While the Barclays Center is owned primarily by Forest City Ratner, 45 percent of it is owned by the Russian billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov (who also owns 80 percent of the Brooklyn Nets). Mr. Prokhorov has a necessarily cordial relationship with Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — though he has been critical of Mr. Putin in the past, last year, at the Russian president’s request, he tried to transfer ownership of the Nets to one of his Moscow-based companies. An oligarch-owned a…

Former ESDC CEO Lago returns to NYC to head City Planning Commission

Carl Weisbrod, Mayor Bill de Blasio's City Planning Commission Chairman and Director of the Department of City Planning, is resigning,

And he's being replaced by Marisa Lago, currently a federal official, but who Atlantic Yards-ologists remember as the short-term Empire State Development Corporation CEO who, in an impolitic but candid 2009 statement, acknowledged that the project would take "decades."

Still, Lago not long after that played the good soldier at a May 2009 Senate oversight hearing, justifying changes in the project but claiming the public benefits remained the same.

By returning to City Planning, Lago will join former ESDC General Counsel Anita Laremont, who after retiring from the state (and taking a pension) got the job with the city.

Back at planning

Lago, a lawyer, in 1983 began work as an aide to City Planning Chairman Herb Sturz, and later served as the General Counsel to the president of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Weisbrod himself.