Thursday, June 12, 2014

That'll work? State reveals Times Plaza, in middle of major intersection, to be improved to provide open space for workers

Beyond the changes in monitoring Atlantic Yards construction, the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact (Final SEIS), issued by Empire State Development (ESD) and slated for approval by the authority's board at a meeting this morning, contains few substantive changes and perhaps none in response to community concerns, the Executive Summary shows.

One change announced is that ESD has chosen Times Plaza, the tiny triangle formed by Flatbush Avenue, Atlantic Avenue, and Fourth Avenue--with a skylight for the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center subway station--among three spaces for improvement to provide open space for workers in the area.

(The other two places under consideration were Lowry Triangle, bounded by Atlantic Avenue, Underhill Avenue, Washington Avenue, and Pacific Street, and Cuyler Gore Park, bounded by Fulton Street, Carlton Avenue, and Greene Avenue.)

It remains questionable why workers--whether in construction or from nearby offices--would want to hang out in a major traffic intersection rather than, say, use the quieter and greener Dean Street Playground, which is officially barred to adults who are not accompanying children but has periodically been used by construction workers for smoke breaks.

But the Executive Summary States:
Since the issuance of the [Draft SEIS], ESD has identified Times Plaza as the plaza to be improved in order to address the prolonged impact on the passive worker ratio in the non-residential study area because of the proximity of Times Plaza to the Phase I non-residential passive open space users. Subject to the review and approval of NYCDOT and, if applicable, the New York City Public Design Commission (PDC), the project sponsors will promptly plan, design, implement and fully fund improvements at Times Plaza, which will consist of the addition of seating, plantings and other open space amenities approved by NYCDOT and, if applicable, PDC. If practicable, the project sponsors will implement these improvements in coordination with restoration of the adjoining segment of Atlantic Avenue affected by the construction of the portal between the LIRR rail yard and Atlantic Terminal.

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