Skip to main content

Uh-oh: Dean Street sidewalk at B2 construction site, adjacent to arena entrance, will narrow to five feet; crowds already cause overflows

The current sidewalk: 13'11"
In presenting plans last night for B2, the 32-story residential tower slated to be the world’s tallest modular building, developer Forest City Ratner and its partners sounded like they had thought through almost every issue.

[See a full report on the meeting.]

They stressed that, by building most of the components inside a factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, there would be less noise, fewer deliveries, and a faster construction schedule--all of which should add up to a decreased impact on neighbors near the tower bordering the Barclays Center at Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue.

After an arena event, on Dean Street
The plan (full presentation)

But construction also means that, for one year, the sidewalk on the north side of Dean east of Flatbush--already periodically overburdened by crowds streaming to and from the arena entrance on Dean-- will narrow to just five feet, a situation that left some Prospect Heights neighbors incredulous.

That would leave only one lane of traffic on Dean Street.
Construction site in background on right

The current width, according to a memo by state consultants, is as narrow as 13’11”, with an effective width--minus obstructions and “shy distance”--of 9.4 feet.

(That would be the sidewalk condition when the building opens.)

With only five feet, that's a significant decrease.

Once the building is finished, the permanent effective width, however, could be functionally even more narrow, according to Peter Krashes of Atlantic Yards Watch, because the sidewalk will continue to be narrow while the demands on it will be increased -- in part because of retail on the ground floor.

As Krashes wrote, "the width of the sidewalk adjacent to B2... may now have a permanent effective width of 3.5 feet, hardly substantial enough for a busy sidewalk supporting a large arena entrance, a loading dock and a lay-by lane."

A 10-foot walkway will be maintained on Flatbush, with a five-foot walkway on Dean, Forest City construction chief Bob Sanna said last night at the meeting, held at Borough Hall. At the Dean Street entrance, a covered platform will protect the arena pedestrian entrance.

Can it work?

Crowds outside arena entrance where sidewalk bulges out
Questions from the audience, written on index cards, were read by the moderators, Rob Perris, District Manager of Community Board 2 and Craig Hammerman of Community Board 6. How can that volume of traffic be accommodated--were any pedestrian counts done?

"They were all approved by the DOT [Department of Transportation], so they were responsible for doing the studies and determining that this is appropriate," responded Ashley Cotton, Forest City’s head of external affairs.

“You think five feet will be enough to accommodate arena patrons?” queried Prospect Heights resident Robert Puca incredulously, from the audience. "How is that possible?"

“Well, we believe it's possible, and so does DOT, and that's who approves it," Cotton replied.

“Ashley, you see what happens after games,” Puca responded, before he was quieted by the moderators for speaking out of turn.

(As Atlantic Yards Watch showed in a video, after a recent Nets game, crowds overflowed the Dean Street sidewalk and streamed into the street.)

Later, a question was raised: has any pedestrian count been taken after arena events?

“Not to my knowledge,” responded Marshall.

Perhaps, but there have been people with clipboards apparently counting monitoring pedestrians on Dean Street.

On video

[Note that the audio is out of sync--I will try to fix. Video shot by Jonathan Barkey.]

Adjustments coming

After the formal Q&A concluded, Cotton took the microphone. “Let's talk a little about sidewalks, and the crowds coming out of the arena,” she said. “To put it in a more human way, first of all, DOT says it's fine. We think it's going to be fine. But as you've seen over last two months, we adjust very well to arena occurrences."

“We're going to have look very closely at this, and get ready for a new model, and so we admit that,” she said. “We spend a lot of time with arena operations. They understand what's coming. We will monitor crowd control in a whole new way, with this adjustment. Clearly it's an adjustment. We don't want to pretend it's not.

DOT trying to cope

From the audience, DOT official Chris Hrones got up. “I don't know if I would use the word fine.” he said. “I think this is the best we can do. We worked closely with Forest City to try to get as much pedestrian space, to try to keep impacts off Flatbush Avenue. Five feet for construction is our minimum requirement. Would we have liked to have more? Absolutely... [but we] couldn't make it work.”

He said the arena is expected to pro-actively manage pedestrian flow. He noted that, for fire safety reasons, the Barclays Center can't keep the Dean Street entrance closed, so they’ll be “actively directing people to other entrances” to minimize the flow when they exit the building.

“I kept hearing DOT thinks it fine,” Hrones said, a little sheepishly. “I know what you're trying to say, but I just want to clarify, it's not our ideal, it does meet our minimum standards... but obviously, I can understand what people's concerns are, it's the best we can do... We're going to have to work as we go through it on measures that will help manage that pedestrian flow.”

Cotton said “we agree completely,” adding that “our partners in the police have been excellent... we understand your concerns and will monitor it," just as they've done in the past two months.

Truck routes

The modules, no greater than 50 feet wide and between 20 to 50 feet in length (and typically closer to 30 feet), will be shipped by truck during the day. Eight to 23 modules will be delivered between rush hours, taking a route from the Navy Yard to the site, down Flatbush Avenue.

One module will be delivered at night and stored overnight, so early morning crews can work on it. No night work is expected.

Sanna was a bit fuzzy on what happens to the trucks after the delivery. He first suggested that they could turn either right or left on Sixth Avenue to reach either Flatbush or Atlantic avenues. One of his colleagues corrected him, saying the only permissible route is a left on Sixth to Atlantic.

“That's a two-way street,” uttered Puca. "How can a truck possibly make a left turn?"

“We've done the truck turning radius, and it can be done,” responded Forest City executive Jane Marshall. “It's entirely possible to do.”

What about bike lane?

“Even with the [Dean Street] bike lane?” Puca asked. "What happens to the bike lane?"

“The bike lane is shared in the construction period with the drive lane,” Marshall responded.

"Is the bike lane on Dean maintained, or do cranes take up that space?" read Hammerman.

“It's maintained, but as a shared bike line,” Cotton added.

It will be only 12 feet wide.


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…