Skip to main content

Council Members call February 24 public meeting on street closings; FCR and DOT reps will appear; Dean Street Block Association raises concerns

Those concerned about street closures (plan at bottom, by Forest City Ratner consultant Sam Schwartz Engineering( in the Atlantic Yards footprint will get another chance to query representatives of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and FCR at a public meeting at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, 85 South Oxford Street in Fort Greene on Wednesday, February 24, from 6-8 pm.

The meeting was arranged by City Council Member Letitia James, who represents the district (35) that includes the AY footprint, along with the Council Members who represent adjoining districts: Brad Lander (39) and Steve Levin (33).

It is co-sponsored by Community Boards 2, 6 & 8. Along with representatives of the developer and DOT, the Empire State Development Corporation's AY Ombudsman, Forrest Taylor, is expected to be in attendance

There have been two previous public meetings, one lightly publicized, and both held about a mile-and-a-half away: one before the Transportation Committee of Community Board 6 and the other before the 78th Precinct Community Council. The church is much closer to the site.

Closures on hold

At the meetings, held last month, representatives of both FCR and DOT assumed that the closures--Fifth Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic avenues, and Pacific Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues and Carlton and Vanderbilt Avenues--were on track for February 1.

However, a state judge put condemnations--and thus the closures--on hold, leading to significant confusion and misleading signs regarding whether the streets would actually close.

The dynamic of the February 24 meeting may depend somewhat on whether state Supreme Court Justice Abraham Gerges has ruled on the condemnations; it's possible that if he upholds the condemnations, the streets will be closed before the meeting.

[Update: A press release from James's office says streets "are now expected to close on March 1." That assumes that Gerges will rule in favor of condemnation before then.]

Concerns expressed to DOT

Some area residents, notably members of the Dean Street Block Association (DSBA), have expressed doubts about the strategies chosen and the level of consultation with the community.

In a letter (below) February 10 sent to DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, the Dean Street Block Association, 6th Avenue to Vanderbilt Avenue expressed dismay at the timing and called for "a meaningful period and process for public review and comment" in the future:
Although the plans had a projected implementation date of as soon as February 1st, our community board received these plans including their new details on January 8th. Only a delay in the implementation date of the plans has allowed us time to prepare comments. In the future it is essential the impacted community be provided a meaningful period and process for review and comment on all Atlantic Yards related transportation issues.
The letter called implementation of street closures premature but said that if they go forward, the plans could be improved.

78th Precinct Parking

The letter questioned the placement of of 24 parking spaces for the 78th Precinct and asked for the interim plans for the second phase to be released:
The developer has not released sufficient information across the first phase project construction schedule about the number and programming of surface parking units, or amount of interim open space in the second phase footprint, for the merits of the proposal to be gauged in any way. There is a high degree of risk interim surface parking will be in place longer than anticipated, and may lessen opportunities for the creation of interim open space.
New incentives?

Though there are incentives to reduce driving to the arena, the Empire State Development Corporation concluded that parking must be provided for construction workers:
This research concluded that a substantial number of construction workers would likely travel via auto, irrespective of the abundance of transit options in the area and the costs associated with driving. To avoid overtaxing nearby on- and off-street facilities, the project sponsors would provide on-site (southern half of Block 1129) parking for construction workers at a fee that is comparable to other parking lots/garages in the area.

Still, the DSBA asks:
We believe a meaningful program creating incentives to use transit is consistent with the project goals outlined to the public and should be made available to Precinct employees.
Move parking?

The letter also suggests that the 24 spaces be moved, possibly to the railyard bed or off-site and remote parking such as the Atlantic Center mall parking facility, the HPD parking lot on Dean Street and Metro Tech.

Pacific Street open?

Though the approved project plans state that Pacific Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt would be closed, ultimately for open space, the letter says the street should remain a public street and stay open for vehicles and parking.

Carlton Avenue Bridge

The letter states:
The Carlton Avenue Bridge was anticipated to be closed for eight months [AYR: actually nine months, then two years] , however the Department of Transportation has recently announced the bridge may be closed for as much as four years. No reason for this continuing delay has been provided. The total length of time the Carlton Avenue and 6th Avenue bridges together were to be closed was one year and eight months. The Carlton Avenue Bridge is a necessary route for emergency vehicles and a missing link for pedestrians, cars and bicycles. Reconstruction of Carlton Avenue Bridge should be initiated immediately.
Carlton Avenue and Pacific Street changes

The letter also states that Carlton Avenue between Pacific and Dean Streets should not be two-way for as long as two years but ratner Pacific Street should be turned into a one way westbound between Carlton and 6th Avenues.

Construction Traffic

The letter states:
Construction staging for the arena belongs inside the first phase footprint located directly off of two truck routes. Routing construction traffic west and east bound on the one way local Pacific and Dean Streets between 6th and Carlton is unnecessary and should be prohibited.
Street Signage

The letter points to incorrect signage:
The street signs and VMS [variable message signs] for the current street closure were put in place before community comment could be given in full. Incorrect street signs should be removed. VMS take up parking spaces. They should be removed until street closures are implemented.

Atlantic Yards Transportation Plan, by Sam Schwartz Engineering


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…

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.
Security issues came up several times at the meeting.
Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.
After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.
Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the …

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming (post-dated pinned post)

This graphic, posted in November 2017, is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. Note the unbuilt B1 and the proposed shift in bulk to the unbuilt Site 5.

The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change. The project is already well behind that tentative timetable.

How many people are expected?

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park has a projected 6,430 apartments housing 2.1 persons per unit (as per Chapter 4 of the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement), which would mean 13,503 new residents, with 1,890 among them in low-income affordable rentals, and 2,835 in moderate- and middle-income affordable rentals.

That leaves 8,778 people in market-rate rentals and condos, though let's call it 8,358 after subtracting 420 who may live in 200 promised below-market condos. So that's 5,145 in below-market units, though many of them won't be so cheap.


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…

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park in 2017: no new towers, unfilled affordable units, Islanders prepare to leave, project timetable fuzzy

My 2018 preview.

It was another wait-and-see year for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, with one big twist--the beginning of a slow goodbye for the New York Islanders--but continued delays for towers, a lost (mostly) 421-a subsidy for condos, and new skepticism about unfilled not-so-affordable housing units.

So ongoing questions linger regarding the project's pace, affordability, and even future ownership.

In my 2017 preview, I predicted--not exactly going out on a limb--that two and likely three more towers would open, though it would be unclear how fast they'd lease up and sell.

Indeed, we've learned that the middle-income below-market units at 461 Dean (which opened in 2016) and 535 Carlton have leased very slowly, while it's too soon to assess progress for commensurate units at 38 Sixth. (At 535 Carlton and 38 Sixth, middle-income units make up half the "100% affordable" buildings.) Meanwhile, many apartments are up for rent at the 550 Vanderbilt condo buildin…