Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Carlton Avenue residents face bolts falling into front yards, trucks scraping trees on narrow street, paint-like substance drifting in

Elisabeth Martin holds bolt;
coincidentally, Marion Phillips III of
ESD wipes his forehead at table;
photos by Norman Oder
This the third among articles based on the 9/20/16 meeting of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC), set up to advise Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority overseeing/shepherding Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park. See also coverage of Site 5 plans and project delays.

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park construction has become hazardous for some of the nearest neighbors.

At the end of the meeting, during the public comment period (at 50:50 of the video below), Elisabeth Martin, who lives in a house on the west side of Carlton Avenue between Dean and Pacific streets, told the board of the persistent issues faced by her and her neighbors.

"This is not a joke, this is not frivolous, this a serious problem," she said, citing impacts from construction of 535 Carlton, a 17-story rental building, across the street.

She hefted the end of a bolt, which she said was among others cut off the 535 Carlton facade, which lacked screening. "I heard something heavy falling," Martin said, and later discovered the bolt in her front year. A neighbor found others. "This could have killed somebody," she said.

"Would you like me to pass it around?" she asked.

She didn't get takers at first, but then did.  "This is pretty heavy," acknowledged board member Daniel Kummer.



"This is why we are afraid for our lives," Martin said. Martin addressed ESD executive Marion Phillips III., who also serves as AY CDC President (which means the advisory board he heads is advising himself).

Endangered tree on Carlton Ave.
"Mr. Phillips, I am sorry to say, when I made the comment about fearing for our lives"--she referred to a tense exchange she had with him at a meeting a week earlier--"this was not disrespectful.... Because if you were walking on my block, I would be fearing for your life."

The public comment period is not a Q&A session, so there was no opportunity for the building's developer to either confirm or deny Martin's report.

Trees endangered by narrowed street

Martin also pointed out that Carlton Avenue, narrowed to some 11 feet wide by a giant construction fence (that has since been lowered but not moved in), has become quite hazardous.

First, northbound drivers must shy slightly left, as the fence is not uniformly straight.

Then trees that have long leaned out toward the street frequently get "hit by huge trucks that are basically not supposed to go on our block, but they take the shortcut to avoid the traffic jam," she reported.
Narrowed Carlton Avenue

Residents have put up orange netting and metal shields around trees, but the latter in one case lasted two days, Martin reported.

Whose trucks?

Later in the meeting, Jennifer Bienemann of HDR, the state's environmental monitor, said "we have rarely seen project related trucks on Carlton between Dean and Pacific."

If so, that suggests a much greater role for enforcement by city agencies.

Bienemann said that the project site has signs reminding drivers to follow truck protocols, but not to direct trucks, because every site has a different approved truck route.

Note the photo below left, at Carlton near Pacific Street. It does remind drivers of requirements but does not, as Bienemann said, warn about potential fines. (That message may be at other location.)

Warnings to truck drivers: Carlton Avenue near Pacific Street

Construction damage reported

Martin also said that several buildings on the block have been shaken by construction, with cracking of the walls and falling ceilings.

Phillips said he would ask ESD staffer Greg Lynch to look into it and add such incidents to the agency incident log.

There was no discussion of sanctions, though.

The problems continue, as noted on Instagram

Yesterday, some white, water-soluble paint-like material appeared to drift from 535 Carlton into the yards of the row houses and interiors of across Carlton Avenue between Dean and Pacific streets, staining metal work and garbage cans. It could be inhaled by passers-by. This has to be some kind of violation.


Trucks at 535 Carlton last Saturday left a lot of dirt on the ground, as shown in the photo below. Spraying and wheel washing are supposed to diminish dust.

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