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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park infographics: what's built/what's coming/what's missing, who's responsible, + project FAQ/timeline (pinned post)

Water and sewer work around project site now projected to start in fall, last 3 years. Aimed to support new buildings, which open next year. At least city agency will have onsite liaison.

The NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) last night made a presentation to Brooklyn Community Board 8's Environment, Sanitation and Transportation Committee on what's called Pacific Park Project Phase I, involving a combined sewer installation and water main replacement, expected to start this fall and last three years. (I first wrote about it last month.)

Some key details were scarce, but it seemed clear that work along Dean Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues, and then up Dean one block and Vanderbilt up two blocks, would intersect with, and impact, construction in the neighborhood.

Though one reason for the project is to support newly constructed buildings, it won't be completed until well after the B12 and B13 towers (615 Dean/595 Dean) open in mid-2023, raising questions about why it didn't start sooner. (Update: those buildings will rely on existing infrastructure installed by the developers; this new work will add support.)

A DDC rep said she'd bring that question to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which instigated the project. Stay tuned.

Moreover, the work will also intersect with operations of the expanded garage associated with 535 Carlton, which currently has 303 underground spaces and will get 455 more under the two new buildings, all accessible from the sole entrance on Dean Street just east of Carlton.

Not only has the project start date been nudged to fall (from, as previously reported, a tentative late summer date), the budget is $15 million, not a previously suggested $5 million-plus. 

The source of the funding wasn't announced, but it seems likely this comes out of city coffers and should be counted as a subsidy for the project; there was no mention that costs would be shouldered by the project developers.

Work hours will be 9 am to 4 pm weekdays, with possible Saturday work 8 am to 6 pm. The contractor hasn't been announced yet.

The presentation

DDC's Carmela Smith, Analyst, Intergovernmental & Community Affairs, explained that her agency implements projects for other agencies, rather than initiates them.

In this case, it's a DEP project aiming to provide residents with sufficient capacity for sanitary discharge and storm water, upgrade water mains for peak demands, and improve fire safety protection.

The project involves a new 48" combined sewer--a significant increase from 18"--on Dean St. between 6th Avenue and Vanderbilt Avenue, and Vanderbilt Avenue between Dean Street and Pacific Street.

It also involves new 8", 12", and 20" distribution water mains in Dean between Carlton and Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt between Dean and Atlantic Avenue, and Carlton between Dean and Pacific Street.

Construction, as the slide above left shows, includes preliminary work, such as staging of materials, significant work under ground, and then work above ground, such as trench restoration and replacement of fire hydrants. 

As the slide below shows, the streets will be torn up.

During construction, the contractor will be required to maintain sidewalk as well as pedestrian access to buildings.

Travel lines may be reduced, intermittently, and there may be full roadway closures, again intermittently.

All buses will be routed off Dean Street and, presumably, off (part of?) Vanderbilt Avenue. That said, after the workday, the streets will be opened back up, though the amount of continuing constraints is unclear. 

But that means, for example, that people driving to an evening arena event might be able to park their cars at the underground garage at 535 Carlton.

There have already been significant backups at Dean and Carlton, with drivers waiting to enter the garage and, presumably, a garage with increased capacity but the same entry bottleneck could provoke even more backups.

Impacts and mitigations

As the slide below shows, the contractor is required to work within noise code regulations, ensure continued water service during temporary shutdowns, and control for rats. A typical water shutoff could be between 8 am and 3 pm.

Parking may be temporarily restricted. Garbage pickup "may be affected and will be coordinated with appropriate stakeholders," according to a slide.

DDC's Office of Community Outreach and Notification (OCON) will work with stakeholders, and DDC will assign a Community Construction Liaison (CCL) as "the dedicated on-site point person."

That means that contact information and a field office will be provided. That said, attendees said they hoped for more details about the pace and scope of construction over the three-year period, so they can be prepared for when it impacts specific blocks.

Community outreach

That CCL not only will maintain an on-site presence and distribute a weekly newsletter, that person also should "identify, resolve, and/or proactively address issues and inquiries." 

That sounds significantly more ambitious, and civically responsible, than current Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park oversight. 

Remember, the developer's Community Liaison Office is now virtual, with an answering machine and email address, rather than a dedicated staffer.

And Empire State Development's Atlantic Yards team has no one assigned to be an on-site liaison with the public. The state authority, which oversees/shepherds the project, does have personnel and contracted consultants on site regularly, but they are not accessible to the public.