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February 25, 2010

At meeting on street closings, information (Forest City's planned major ramp-up) and evasions; tension but little conflict; questions left unanswered

Atlantic Yards Report

Some significant information--and evasion--emerged during last night's meeting on street closings and transportation changes for Atlantic Yards, sponsored by three City Council Members and held at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Fort Greene.

It drew more than 120 people, well more than half project supporters, as well as opponents, local elected officials (and their staff members), and representatives and officials of the three local community boards. (Planned for closing are Fifth Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic avenues, and Pacific Street between Flatbush and Sixth avenues and Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues.)

For example, officials announced tweaks in the traffic plan and claimed political resistance has caused a delay in formation of a Transportation Working Group, which was first announced in May 2007.

A Forest City Ratner (FCR) executive gave evasive answers about the delays in the reconstruction of the Carlton Avenue Bridge (now tied to a previously-unannounced four-phase plan for railyard construction), the cost of a lease for the streets (city taxpayers lose $3.7 million), and the reason VMS (variable message signs) announcing street closings were left on for more than two days even after the closings were delayed.

That executive, Jane Marshall, indicated that, once a ruling approving condemnation of streets and other property emerges, the developer plans a huge increase in activity at the Atlantic Yards site, fostering construction of the arena. (That ruling was initially expected January 29, but was put on hold by a judge after property owners mounted an unusual opposition.)

While Marshall said such a ramp-up could begin in 24 hours, no one could promise how much advance notice would the community get about street closings, which were put on hold last month, and presumably are a significant part of the construction plans. (Council Member--and project opponent--Letitia James recommended two weeks.)

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Posted by eric at February 25, 2010 10:53 AM