Skip to main content

Will there be accountability? Waiting for new AYCDC, as project leads to narrowed streets, idling trucks, concert noise, delayed fire trucks

Narrowed Dean Street leads to congestion
The Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation, promised to be active this month, now has its first meeting delayed until January 30.

It was supposed to enhance oversight, even if it it has just an advisory role, but the delay suggests construction trumps accountability.

Its members should be consulting--and enhancing--Atlantic Yards Watch, where neighbors post incident reports. Here's a round-up of some recent ones.

A delay for fire trucks

This report, regarding a mid-afternoon incident on 12/8/14, describes how congestion on Dean Street, compounded by the closure of Sixth Avenue between Bergen and Dean Streets, stalled a fire truck in Dean Street traffic for more than two minutes.

In recognition of the fire truck's siren and honking, several drivers on Dean--already narrowed for construction on adjacent Block 1129, with the sidewalk constrained by construction on part of the south side--pulled their cars up on the sidewalk to make room for the fire truck, not all could do so.




Pedestrians used closed sidewalk

There were--at least of 12/18/14--no "sidewalk closed" signs on the crosswalks across Dean Street and Vanderbilt Avenue at their intersection, according to the incident report:
The closure seems anyway to count on pedestrians to behave themselves and not walk along the construction fence, which if experience is a guide, they will do. It is hard to fight natural pedestrian behavior. When the north side of Dean Street between Flatbush and 6th Avenue was closed to build the arena people simply walked along the construction fence.
The Dean/Vanderbilt intersection is busy and I think planners are going to have to be more thoughtful if they want to stop people from walking in travel lanes and using closed crosswalks, if that is possible at all. The only signs on the construction fence advertise the work in progress, (see videos). The sign has small print and will tend to draw people across the street which is obviously not desirable. 
Note in the video how pedestrians walk south on the Vanderbilt bike lane along the construction fence, generating honking from passing cars, then cross Dean Street. (And here's another report on narrowed Vanderbilt.)



Light from Barclays Center parking lot

This 12/18/14 incident report indicates light inside the Barclays Center parking lot, which is used as a staging area for construction:
A new light has been installed inside the Barclays Center parking lot. The light is pointed straight toward my building. At first I did not notice it. But, then, I opened my eyes. Light was flooding my bedroom. All night long it illuminates room. I could barely sleep. The light is so intense I can cast a crisp shadow on my back wall (see attached photo).
A truck blocks a sidewalk

According to this incident report, posted 12/14/14, the Sixth and Atlantic avenues crosswalk, already closed in part, was "functionally closed" by a truck unloading at the west crosswalk. The pipes on the truck may be part of the work on the underground West Portal.

The video shows the truck blocking the crosswalk for more than two minutes. At about 1:30, a boy walking southbound must weave through the gridlocked traffic to pass around the truck.



Why the green roof is needed: noise still escapes arena

This 12/14/14 incident report indicates that noise from the Justin Timberlake concert could be heard halfway down Dean Street at the Dean Playground between Carlton and Sixth avenues: "It was not just the bass. If I knew his music I would have been able to name the song."

In other words, the measures taken so far--no acoustical panels, a sound concierge--aimed to keep noise from escaping the building have only limited success, and the under-installation green roof is really necessary.

An idling concert bus

That same night, 12/14/14, a bus bringing guests to the concert parked on the sidewalk at the corner of Pacific Street and Sixth Avenue and idled for at least three minutes, according to this incident report and video.



An idling tractor-trailer

This 12/14/14 report concerns an 18 wheel tractor-trailer that idled for more than two hours on Sunday morning, parking in the B65 bus stop and the southwest corner of Dean Street and Sixth Avenue.


Double-parking on Dean Street

This one doesn't have to do with Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park directly, but shows the precariousness of the street system, as double parking on Dean Street between Sixth and Carlton avenues, adds congestion, which is exacerbated down the block by the narrowing of Dean Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues because of a construction fence.

The incident report is from 12/21/14:
Temple of Restoration church double parks even in B65 bus stop creating more traffic impacts & congestion for residents.

Comments

  1. Anonymous9:36 AM

    If you are going to change the name of a project don't you think the state should also change the name - http://esd.ny.gov/subsidiaries_projects/AYP/AYAboutUs.html

    Ya think the employees at the state have not realized what the new name is? Or, do you think it's because of inertia when it comes to staff at ESDC assigned to this project?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's because all the official approvals are for Atlantic Yards, so they'd have to reissue them. It's easier to be "Atlantic Yards dba Pacific Park."

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:00 AM

      Doing great work, from minutiae to macro issues of importance to other proposals as a cautionary tale. You should be paid for all of this work, work that our elected officials should be doing!

      Delete

Post a Comment

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…

At 550 Vanderbilt, big chunk of apartments pitched to Chinese buyers as "international units"

One key to sales at the 550 Vanderbilt condo is the connection to China, thanks to Shanghai-based developer Greenland Holdings.

It's the parent of Greenland USA, which as part of Greenland Forest City Partners owns 70% of Pacific Park (except 461 Dean and the arena).

And sales in China may help explain how the developer was able to claim early momentum.
"Since 550 Vanderbilt launched pre-sales in June [2015], more than 80 residences have gone into contract, representing over 30% of the building’s 278 total residences," the developer said in a 9/25/15 press release announcing the opening of a sales gallery in Brooklyn. "The strong response from the marketplace indicates the high level of demand for well-designed new luxury homes in Brooklyn..."

Maybe. Or maybe it just meant a decent initial pipeline to Chinese buyers.

As lawyer Jay Neveloff, who represents Forest City, told the Real Deal in 2015, a project involving a Chinese firm "creates a huge market for…

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…