Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Atlantic Avenue crane for arena green roof will block traffic for three times longer than initially projected

The Barclays Center green roof is certainly showing progress, as sedum is being laid on the new metal structure (see photo at left from yesterday, via Atlantic Yards web cam).

But the process is in some ways more delayed than ever.

Notably, the crane flanking the arena on Atlantic Avenue, which was only supposed to block traffic on that boulevard for three months--from August through October 2014--instead is expected to last some ten months. 

It was installed in late October last year and, we learned last night, is expected to persist through August of this year.

After Forest City Ratner Chief of Staff Ashley Cotton revealed that timetable at a Community Update meeting last night, I asked why the crane will have taken so long.

"I don't know" was the response. 

No one from Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing/shepherding the project, or the subsidiary Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation, aimed to provide some input if not oversight, expressed any concern.

But the Atlantic crane certainly affects traffic, as former ESD CEO Kenneth Adams observed publicly last November, calling traffic near there "a mess."

Flatbush crane delayed too

At the previous Community Update Meeting in February (aka Quality of Life Meeting), Forest City said the Flatbush Avenue crane was expected to be placed "probably towards the end of April."

That would have been five months late. Instead, it's coming this month. 

As I've pointed out, the Flatbush crane was supposed to be placed only after the Atlantic Avenue crane was removed.

Note that the Flatbush crane will necessitate the closing of a lane of traffic and likely additional traffic congestion.
Because workers did not take a winter break, as originally planned, Forest City caught up somewhat on the timeline. The installation of sedum began in April as originally planned.

But everything was supposed to be done by July. If the Atlantic Avenue crane remains until August, that's at least a month late.

Benefit to community?

At the meeting, Cotton was asked if the green roof had any benefit to the community.

"It depends on how you define community," Cotton responded. "It's incredibly beautiful, that's number one."

One resident noted that the roof can be seen partially from the street, though clearly construction of the towers around it will block some of the view.

Cotton called it "obviously a great amenity for residents" in the planned three residential towers, who won't have to look at a Barclays logo.

Also, she acknowledged, the addition of steel and sedum should tamp down noise from certain concerts that have leaked bass into the community, "if god forbid we ever have a concert that has that impact again." 

The arena has been fined for that and, beyond the green roof, Forest City has taken other internal and operational measures to reduce the likelihood of noise escaping.

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