Skip to main content

On Dean Street, post office trucks, illegal worker parking, and giant green wall compound hazards, frustration

And see the Twitter exchange here.

Since January, residents of Dean Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues have been frustrated by postal trucks parked at the Dean Street curb, late-night deliveries and workers parking illegally, which stalls traffic, compounding hazards, and causes noise.

The proximate cause is the siting of a postal carrier annex--moved from Atlantic Avenue at Times Plaza--which requires significant deliveries on a block that has become more residential than commercial.

But a fundamental factor is the giant green wall that encroaches south onto Dean Street to enclose part of the Pacific Park site, which has eliminated street parking on both sides of the street and narrowed traffic lanes.
via Dean Street Block Association 
Given a limited turning radius, that also means that only smaller delivery trucks can be accommodated--which means more frequent trucks.

Frustrated residents

"We've spent six months working with the post office," said Anu Heda, president of the Dean Street Block Association. "They kind of placate us, and say 'we're working on it,'" blaming Washington for picking the location and saying that many of the 50 or so employees come from so far away it's not feasible to take mass transit.

The Brooklyn Paper, which reported on the issue 6/30/17, quoted a postal service rep as saying it would "redouble its efforts to monitor the distribution and use of these placards,” she said. But Heda said about eight employees make no attempt to find legal parking but instead use placards that say official postal service businesses or even put their hats on the dashboard.

He said the block association has raised the issue to the New York Police Department's 78th Precinct, without results. (I'd observe that the NYPD could easily write many tickets in the orbit of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project, given worker parking and drivers to events, but focuses on crime.) They've also brought the issue to Rep. Yvette Clarke's office.

Dealing with constraints

Narrowed Dean Street, Heda said, contains a bike lane and is the route of the B65 bus. When a bus trails a bicyclist, rather than unsafely overtaking him/her on the narrow street, that causes a traffic jam. Some "people say it's dangerous because cars are backed up."

"Pre-wall, Dean had alternate side of the street parking on both sides of the street," Heda said, with some 70 spots. "Conceivably, larger delivery trucks could come and could make that turn... and employees could find a spot on these blocks."

“I’ve started wearing ear plugs to bed,” resident David Richman told the Brooklyn Paper. “I can be awakened by a truck coming in at one, two, three, four in the morning — it’s literally around the clock.”

Beyond moving the post office out--a spokeswoman told the Brooklyn Paper it's lease wasn't renewed on Atlantic--Heda said that the removal of the wall could restore parking, and also reduce the number of delivery trucks, allowing them to park off-street in internal bays.

However, requests to Empire State Development, the state authority overseeing the project, have been met with responses that it's impossible to move the wall. The wall has been reduced outside the two finished towers, 550 Vanderbilt and 535 Carlton, but remains outside two building sites, B11 and B12. 

Developer Greenland Forest City Partners in September 2015 announced a design for B12, known as 615 Dean Street, but has not moved forward with the building. It has sought new investors for that site and two others. 

Also, Forest City Realty Trust, which owns 30 percent of the project going forward with Greenland USA, last November said--presumably speaking for the joint venture--it would pause development, given the glut in luxury units, among other factors. That extends the wall indefinitely.


Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

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…