Skip to main content

At meeting, residents' frustration about trucks in neighborhood gets "compliance is so high" response

Last night's Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park "Quality of Life Community Update Meeting," held at 55 Hanson Place, was one with no headline announcements nor major resolutions, just some project updates punctuated by disgruntlement of the few dozen people who attended, which got a "we're doing our best" response from the developer and involved agencies--at least those that showed up.

Forest City Ratner's Ashley Cotton, representing the Greenland Forest City Partners joint venture, said they had no update on plans for Site 5, where they hope to move the bulk of the B1 tower assigned to the arena plaza across Flatbush Avenue to build a huge two-tower project. Nor are there redesigns for Atlantic Avenue, where residents hope for medians to make it easier to cross.

Nor did the developers have any update on plans for 664 Pacific, the market-rate rental tower east of Sixth Avenue between Dean and Pacific streets, as the developer is still in litigation with the owner of an adjacent property, 497 Dean Street. Regarding designs for the middle school planned for that building, Cotton said interested parties should contact the School Construction Authority.

Frustration

Resident Robert Puca pointed to regular posts on social media--mainly Instagram, as of now, tagged #BCIZA, for Barclays Center Impact Zone Alliance --that show trucks illegally idling or improperly using neighborhood streets. Are there any penalties or consequences, he asked.

Two tractor trailer trucks associated with B3 are illegally located on Dean east of Vanderbilt. Both are off of any legal truck route. In addition one is parked in a bus stop. I spoke to the drivers who were the ones to identify they were associated with B3. They said they were hauling containers. The contractor told them to leave the site and find parking in order to return. They were given no further instructions. The contractor told them there is no space in the immediate vicinity of B3. This is s violation of NYC regulations because they are both off designated truck routes and blocking a bus stop. It is also a violation of ESD's designated truck protocols. Photos August 29th at 10:19 am. #bciza #pacificparkbk @nycmayorsoffice @nyc_dot @nypd78thpcc @hdr_inc @STV_Group @EmpireStateDev @atlanticyards_pacificpk_report
A photo posted by @pplegacy on

"I don't look comprehensively at social media," Cotton responded. "Compliance is nearly 99%." She said that the developers were in regular contact with Empire State Development (ESD), the state agency that oversees/shepherds the project. "They torture us. The compliance is so high."

That may be so (though let's see the data, since ESD reps didn't follow up).

Still, given the tight fit of the project in a residential neighborhood, even a relatively small level of non-compliance can pose a major burden, as the shown in the photo above and video below.



Cotton apologized for noisy, disruptive work tearing up pavement for new water mains, as they've found cobblestone and concrete under some pavements rather than typical dirt, thus requiring a demolition machine called a Brokk.

"Newswalk is massively shaking," Puca said of that condo building, between Sixth and Carlton avenues on Pacific Street. Forest City officials could not pin down whether the building is being monitored for vibrations.

More updates and delays

The fences around the 535 Carlton and 550 Vanderbilt construction projects may be down by November, Cotton said, and officials behind those towers as well as 461 Dean, the modular building flush to the arena that should be the first to open, are working on getting TCOs, or Temporary Certificates of Occupancy.

Regarding a long-announced "app"--or digital solution--to log all project-related incidents, Empire State Development official Marion Phillips III said "we're still in the research phase."

Regarding a community request to aggregate all 311 complaints related to the project, he said the city is still working "on their end." Tobi Jaiyesimi, who represents both ESD and the advisory Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation, said the difficulty is because the city codes incidents by zip code, not by project.

The developer's demolition of the "bump" buildings, jutting into the railyard below Atlantic Avenue east of Sixth Avenue, remains delayed, as it's been noticed in at least the last seven two-week Construction Updates. Cotton said that any question about the delay should be posed to the Department of Buildings.

Sewer work on Pacific Street near the project site--relining, not installation- has not yet begun, but it will be noisy, Cotton reminded the group.

Enforcement and parking

While the Department of Transportation's Leroy Branch noted that Atlantic Avenue is used for VIP parking at Barclays Center events, he said his agency is not in charge of enforcement. While representatives of the New York Police Department briefly attended the meeting, they weren't there to respond to the community call for enforcement.

Several local residents expressed frustration about the continued loss of parking spaces to project construction as well as parking by police officers and--behind construction fences, astoundingly--construction workers.

How many parking spaces has the neighborhood lost from project construction (as well as other projects)? DOT reps couldn't say, but the DOT's Abigail Ikner said she'd try to product an estimate.

But when she said the EIS--environmental impact statement--should delineate how many parking spots should be available during various phases of construction, Peter Krashes of the Dean Street Block Association said the "EIS is irrelevant," as the current state of the project was never studied.

Asked about compliance with the requirement for project construction workers to wear color-coded stickers, Cotton said it was not 100%, but they've gotten no complaints about worker behavior.

Residents also raised frustration regarding the yellow-jacketed pedestrian managers who are supposed to steer traffic and smooth passages during arena events, saying they were too often ineffective and some even increased hazards.

There were a few dozen people in the room, despite, as Krashes pointed out, the agenda for the meeting was sent out only at the end of the day last Friday, far too late for most people to make plans. Empire State Development's Nicole Jordan said it wasn't intentional.

The next AY CDC meeting

Because of a lockout at Long Island University, one of the few local entities that has the capacity to hold and webcast a public meeting, the next meet of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation, on Sept. 20 at 3 pm, will be held at ESD offices in Manhattan.

Presumably a notice will be sent out reminding visitors to RSVP a day earlier, so as to get into the building.


Comments

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.

The previous graphic, from August 2017 (without the ghost B1)

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 Matzav.com 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…

Not quite the pattern: Greenland selling development sites, not completed condos

Real Estate Weekly, reporting on trends in Chinese investment in New York City, on 11/18/15 quoted Jim Costello, a senior vice president at research firm Real Capital Analytics:
“They’re typically building high-end condos, build it and sell it. Capital return is in a few years. That’s something that is ingrained in the companies that have been coming here because that’s how they’ve grown in the last 35 years. It’s always been a development game for them. So they’re just repeating their business model here,” he said. When I read that last November, I didn't think it necessarily applied to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, now 70% owned (outside of the Barclays Center and B2 modular apartment tower), by the Greenland Group, owned significantly by the Shanghai government.
A majority of the buildings will be rentals, some 100% market, some 100% affordable, and several--the last several built--are supposed to be 50% market/50% subsidized. (See tentative timetable below.)

Selling development …