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October 20, 2005

Lumi Rolley (PSCC Trustee), Open Spaces, Shadows & Reflection

My name is Lumi Rolley, Trustee of the the Park Slope Civic Council. I live approx 3/4 of a mile from the proposed project site in the heart of a historic Brownstone neighborhood.

Personally, I first became aware of the Atlantic Yards proposal at a forum held by the Park Slope Civic Council in February, 2004. I was compelled to go to the forum out of aesthetic curiosity to get a sneak peak of the Gehry-designed arena, I left troubled by the issues and controversies that confronted the community since this project was announced.

Tonight, we have heard many viewpoints. I am here to specifically address a couple items from the Park Slope Civic Council’s submission to the draft EIS scope.

Bears Garden
The EIS needs to study the impact of light, shadows, reflections, litter, and air and noise pollution on the Bears Garden. More than 20 years ago, long before Forest City Ratner had plans for the intersection of Atlantic & Flatbush, a group of community gardeners got together and turned a paved parking lot into a thriving 8,000-square-foot garden. In 1996 Forest City Ratner plowed over most of this plot to make way for the PCRichard and Modells.

Since the original announcement of the Atlantic Yards plan, the project site has been enlarged, crossing Flatbush into Park Slope, to include the PC Richards and Modells. Therefore has become imperative that the EIS study the effects of the project on the Bears Garden, a community resource that Brooklynites have fought hard to preserve.

Use of Public Space
Another serious concern for Brooklynites is that Forest City Ratner’s private agenda would govern the publicly accessible open space. The EIS needs to discuss types of possible uses for the open space including equipment, facilities, hours of operation, and opportunities for community input.

Modeling Shadows
The Atlantic Yards proposal is to be built between two historic low-rise brownstone neighborhoods. Because of the low-rise buildings, sunlight still reaches the narrow streets of these neighborhoods. The light is one of the great attractions that has helped these neighborhoods withstand economic bad times to be revitalized during the good times. The EIS must disclose the full effects of shadows by studying models that include the maximum extent of any shadows, rather than that limited to any designated study area.

Reflected Light
Frank Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall for the LA Philharmonic introduced a new environmental hazard that heretofore has not been addressed, the heat generated by reflections from the titanium panels.

Residents in the condos across the street from the Hall reported having to use air conditioning during winter months and feeling like they are sitting in a sauna” during the summer.

Passing motorists were blinded by the glare, while pedestrians had to cross the street to avoid the intense heat. Temperatures on sidewalks next to the concert hall reached higher than 136 degrees.

Given the Frank Gehry’s predilection for highly reflective building surfaces, and documented problems with some of the architect’s existing buildings such as heat energy transfer and glare, the EIS must analyze the effects of all reflected light within the study area.

Posted by lumi at October 20, 2005 08:36 AM