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Neighbors still confounded by (partly) giant fence used to block (for now) nonexistent noise, dust

The July 18 bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting, held at 55 Hanson Place, also aired updates about the murky status of future construction.

The giant green fence on Dean Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues, which encroaches significantly on the travel lane, bunching bikes and vehicles together and further constrained by illegal but unticketed parking, was again a topic for criticism.

Part of the fence has been lowered, but not moved back.
Another section, not pictured, has been moved back.
As Prospect Heights resident Gib Veconi pointed out, the 16-foot-high fence, twice the height of typical fences and moved into the street to accommodate bracing, were required as mitigations for construction impacts, notably dust and noise.

But there's no construction going on, he said, echoing critiques made by the Dean Street Block Association. "It's not a mitigation, and it really ought to be moved," he said. "It was never anticipated that residents of that area would have to live with an arbitrary street impediment like that without construction going on for an indeterminate amount of time."

Speaking personally and on behalf of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, Veconi said the fence should be moved, "because the only thing that's happening between the property line and the fence is vehicles parked for construction workers. There's no justification for using the space in that way."

Behind the fence, parking, not construction
Indeed, I wrote last month that evidence suggests that the fence is used to provide worker parking. See photo at right.

The state response

Tobi Jaiyesimi, Atlantic Yards project manager for Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority overseeing and shepherding the project, noted that, at the June meeting of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation, the advisory group for which she serves as executive director, it was agreed to reassess the fence in six months, by December.

By then, it was assumed, it would be clear whether new construction had begun, and whether the fence would be needed. While a 2015 start was anticipated for another building on that block, the developer has delayed construction because of a glut of competition, including other factors.

One resident asked why the fence was required, and Jaiyesimi said it was required by the state. "The height was required, not the middle of the street," he said.

"The height requires where it is, because there are six feet of braces," Jaiyesimi replied.

"That's phony, those braces could be back on the sidewalk," he responded.

"Not if it's going to allow for cranes," interjected Ashley Cotton, representing Greenland Forest City Partners, the developer.

"That's the builder's problem," he replied and, indeed, that's part of the issue. A smaller project would require a smaller fence, and a smaller construction footprint.

Jaiyesimi responded that the "six-foot base is required to support a 16-foot structure," to ensure space for vehicles and equipment and staff. Given that the fence is "on this six-foot cement structure," it "is a construction activity in itself... it’s not something that can just be pushed back."

That didn't convince people, given that, as one resident noted, part of the fence was rather promptly moved back to accommodate the turning radius for post office trucks.

Asked the developer's take on this, Cotton deferred to the state.

More issues

Cotton said the partial open space adjacent to the 535 Carlton and 550 Vanderbilt towers would be finished by August.

She said that Citi Bike and the Department of Transportation intend to put a bike share station on the northeast corner of Carlton Avenue and Dean Street, adjacent to 535 Carlton.

Also, she said, there will be several changes to the road striping near that block. All the areas on Carlton between Dean and Pacific streets will include high-visibility crosswalks and bike lane markings.

Also, on Dean, west of Carlton, restriping will clarify the line between parking and the travel lane. Further, the bike lane will be more clearly marked on Dean. And crosswalks at the intersection of Dean and Vanderbilt will be restriped.

The construction for the LIRR West Portal should be completed this year, she said.

Veconi asked if there had been communication with the city Department of Transportation on how Atlantic Avenue will be rebuilt east of Flatbush Avenue. Cotton said no. Presumably that meant "not yet."


  1. Anonymous12:19 PM

    Could this be the ongoing problem @ ESD? more turnover

  2. This is the replacement I presume for Jeremy Cooney who was recently hired and then recently departed.


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