Thursday, September 17, 2015

At community meeting, ESD concern about employees "hounded"; unresolved concerns about illegal parking

Near the end of last night's Community Update meeting on Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park issues, Nicole Jordan, Community Relations Director for Empire State Development, delivered a forceful if oblique expression of concern.

She cited Greg Lynch, "my field staffer," noting that "he takes photos" of construction issues but "he does not give instruction" to construction workers. "His job is to see things through the community's eyes. At no time do we want to put our employees in a position where they are hounded."

"At no time should they feel that coming into this neighborhood, someone would accost them when they're just doing their job," she said, saying the same goes for contractors working for ESD, the state agency that oversees/shepherds the project.

She did not reference any specific incident or person involved, but later added that "the notion of people going up and being belligerent to our staff is inappropriate."

Illegal parking

North Park Slope resident Steve Ettlinger, who regularly documents illegal parking and idling during Barclays Center events, asked if Lynch would be taking pictures of illegal parking.

No, said Jordan.

All the illegal parking, Ettlinger noted, "happens when a number of responsible parties are not working," as on-foot parking enforcement agents don't work after 8 pm. "What can we do about that?"

"Our job is to monitor the project," replied Jordan, defining project as construction, which typically ends in mid-to-late afternoon and sometimes extends to weekends. Parking complaints, she said, should be referred to 311 and posted on sites like Atlantic Yards Watch.

Resident Peter Krashes said "we're grateful to have Greg" and said it was "distressing that he would be uncomfortable." He noted that, on some other projects, a storefront is next to the site for oversight, and suggested "having more accessibility is key."

Forest City executive Ashley Cotton said that, as the New York Islanders begin at the Barclays Center, "we're pushing public transit, there are new behaviors to be learned." In other words, it might take a while for hockey fans, at least some coming in from Long Island, to be weaned off cars.

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