Monday, June 02, 2014

Before community meeting Tuesday, ESD discloses plans to constrict Atlantic Avenue for 21 months (!) for work on green roof, West Portal

Under newly disclosed plans for work on the Vanderbilt Yard and the installation of the Barclays Center's green roof, Atlantic Avenue bordering the arena and just east of it will be turned into a work zone for 21 months, constricting traffic by narrowing the number of lanes to two eastbound, with parking lanes and medians removed.

It's unclear if any safety barrier will remain, or where vehicles bringing people to the arena will be directed for drop-offs and pick-ups. The hours of work aren't clear, so it's unclear how it might affect arena operations.

The 21-month period is more than twice as long as described in the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement, which as I wrote last week, suggested that Atlantic Avenue would be constrained for ten months for work on the railyard's West Portal, work that was supposed to be done while the arena was being built.

Why the difference?

It's the green roof

We'll learn more at a public meeting tomorrow night, but clearly a portion of the time is required by the installation of the green roof, which was not evaluated in any environmental review.

(t was announced well after the 2006 review, of course, and the pending Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement applies only to Phase 2 of the project, east of Sixth Avenue, with Phase 1, the arena block, assumed to be a background condition. Except parts of Phase 1, like the green roof, remain to be be constructed.

The green roof arena developer Forest City Ratner to claim an esthetic enhancement but is aimed to help sell apartments and fix the pesky, unplanned problem of bass leaking from the arena. In other words, Forest City is fixing a couple of problems that should have been resolved when the arena was constructed. Instead, the state let the developer put a Barclays advertisement on the arena roof.



The timeline--which indicates that the removal of medians is imminent--was disclosed tonight by Empire State Development (ESD), the state agency overseeing/shepherding Atlantic Yards, in a presentation circulated to community members.

Discussion tomorrow

The document will be presented by representatives of Forest City  and Sam Schwartz Engineering will make at the Atlantic Yards Quality of Life Committee meeting tomorrow.

The committee meeting is June 3 at 6 pm at the YWCA Community Room, 30 3rd Avenue at Atlantic Avenue. It's quite unusual for ESD to send out information ahead of time, so this is either glasnost of a sort, or a recognition that the changes are so dramatic they'd better give people a chance to absorb.

Note that the presentation involves MPT (Maintenance and Protection of Traffic) but does not address some other significant issues to be raised at the meeting tomorrow, notably the expected construction of two or three new towers, likely first on the southeast block now used for parking and then on the arena block.

Those towers will be built via conventional construction, not Forest City's much-hyped modular system, which suggests that all the advantages the developer promised with modular--fewer trucks, less waste, less noise--well, never mind. will be far more trucks and noise than once modular

Stages of changes

The full document is at bottom, but here's a summary. In stage 1 of the MPT, from June to September 2014, the medians on Atlantic Avenue east and west of Sixth Avenue/South Portland Avenue will be removed, and Pacific Street will become one way westbound.

In stage 2 of the MPT, from September to October 2014, roof cranes will appear on Atlantic Avenue and the B3 site at the southeast corner of the arena block. (So much for the bike parking?) Pacific Street resumes two-way traffic, the B45 eastbound bus stop is moved one block east, and there are pedestrian detours.



In stage 3 of the MPT, from October to November 2014, the southwest corner of Sixth Avenue and Atlantic Avenue is closed to pedestrians, while Sixth Avenue is partially closed, with only northbound traffic between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue. The two roof cranes remain.

In stage 4 of the MPT, from November to December 2014, the southwest corner of Sixth Avenue and Atlantic Avenue reopens to pedestrians, while southeast corner closes. The roof crane on Atlantic is removed.

In stage 5 of the MPT, from January to February 2015, the southwest corner of Sixth Avenue and Atlantic Avenue again closes to pedestrians, while southeast corner reopens. Crosswalks at Flatbush and Fifth avenues close, and traffic on Flatbush narrows to accommodate a roof crane. There's still a crane at B3.

In stage 6 of the MPT, from February 2015 to February 2016, a few things get back to normal. Sixth Avenue resumes two-way traffic and the west crosswalk at Atlantic Avenue and Sixth/South Portland avenues reopens.

However, a work zone continues to narrow Atlantic Avenue significantly. Also, though it's not shown in the slide devoted to MPT Stage 6, a "sedum crane" for the green roof will be operating from April through June 2015, with sedum installation continuing through July.

Green Roof & West Portal Overview, Atlantic Yards, June 2014

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