September 28, 2012

In Wall Street Journal, arena consultant Schwartz spins on prepaid parking, comparison to Madison Square Garden

Atlantic Yards Report

Arena Parking in Play, the Wall Street Journal reported last night:

Some Brooklyn parking garage owners are jacking up prices and preparing special event rates in preparation for the thousands of people who may defy the warnings of city officials and drive to the Barclays Center when it opens Friday.

Ok, but what about the plan to provide nearly 2,000 pre-apaid parking spots "seamlessly," as promised by Sam Schwartz, consultant to the arena.

The Journal reports:

Only about 650 on-site parking spaces—including 150 for VIPs—were set aside, with the purpose of discouraging driving to Nets games, concerts and other events at the 18,000-seat capacity arena. Another 700 will be available through arrangements with private garages.

So there's a deficit, as I reported 9/6/12. (Also, there are only 541 on-site spots, by my count, unless they're counting spots at the Atlantic Center mall.)

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Posted by eric at 10:57 AM

September 27, 2012

Gridlock Sam's warning: don't drive to Downtown Brooklyn this weekend (but they're still selling arena-related parking)

Atlantic Yards Report

Carmageddon, Ratner-style!

Traffic consultant Sam Schwartz, aka Gridlock Sam, warns in his weekend column/press release, Don’t even THINK of driving in Downtown Brooklyn this weekend! Downtown Brooklyn Streets to be Jam Packed with Barclays Center Jay-Z Concerts Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Atlantic Antic Cuts Off Atlantic Ave. on Sunday.

That may be wise advice, but Schwartz also served as a consultant to the Barclays Center, which offers a link to pre-paid parking in and around Downtown Brooklyn, including along Atlantic Avenue, site of the Atlantic Antic.

And though the city Department of Transportation warns that Atlantic Avenue will be closed from 11 am through 6 pm Sunday, Schwartz warns that Atlantic Avenue "may not reopen fully until 7:30 p.m."

What does that mean for those buying remote parking along Atlantic Avenue, with arrival beginning at 6 pm and a shuttle bus along Atlantic supposed to begin at that hour? Unclear, but it seems likely there will be delays. The Barclays Parking web site does not warn potential purchasers of that possibility.

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Related coverage...

NBC New York, Gridlock Alert Near Barclays for Jay-Z Concerts

Anyone planning to attend the Jay-Z concerts marking the grand opening of the Barclays Center this weekend are urged to take public transportation there, and drivers in the area should be aware of a major gridlock alert there.

The new sports and concert arena in downtown Brooklyn is expected to draw almost 20,000 people to the busiest section in Brooklyn -- Flatbush and Atlantic avenues -- at the height of Friday's rush hour alone.

According to local traffic expert Gridlock Sam, drivers should avoid Flatbush Avenue from Tillary Street to Grand Army Plaza, and Atlantic Avenue from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to Bedford Avenue, as well as streets near the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, particularly from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

NY Daily News, Snarling traffic and high ticket prices for Jay-Z concert to christen Brooklyn's Barclays Center

Brooklyn may not have 99 problems, but on Friday night, it will certainly have two: affording a ticket to the first concert at the new Barclays Center and dealing with the traffic nightmare that the Jay-Z show will cause.

The rap superstar will christen the sparkling arena with the first of eight concerts — and the average ticket price has shot to $223, with floor seats selling for an average of $667, according to an analysis by SeatGeek.com, a ticket search engine.

The Wall Street Journal, Arena Parking in Play

Some Brooklyn parking garage owners are jacking up prices and preparing special event rates in preparation for the thousands of people who may defy the warnings of city officials and drive to the Barclays Center when it opens Friday.

One lot on the corner of Atlantic and Grand avenues—more than half a mile from the arena—is advertising a $30 flat rate for Barclays events, said owner Moe Rahmati. Another nearby garage on Washington Avenue will offer a special event rate, though the price hasn't been decided, said Megan Kian, a spokeswoman for Enterprise Parking Systems.
...

Brooklyn residents are still expecting the worst. Nick Baytler, 29, of Park Slope, said he plans to come home early every day from his job in medical sales to beat the Nets game crowds looking to park on his street. "I'm bracing myself," said Mr. Baytler, but added, "We'll survive because they'll leave when the game is over."

mcbrooklyn, Gridlock Alert for Downtown Brooklyn this Weekend

What with the Atlantic Antic and the Barclays Center concerts, "Gridlock Sam" (Sam Schwartz) has declared a Gridlock Alert for Downtown Brooklyn, along Flatbush and Atlantic avenues all weekend.

Posted by eric at 11:36 PM

Hey, you shouldn't go underground (and pay a subway fare) to get to the LIRR

Atlantic Yards Report

Great moments in urban planning!

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NoLandGrab: Hey, why make provisions for patrons to be able to connect underground when you could have them cross the half-dozen lanes of Brooklyn's Avenue of Death?

Photo: AYInfoNYC

Posted by eric at 6:10 PM

PHNDC: report concerns about arena impacts to Atlantic Yards Watch, 311, 911, and/or the 78th Precinct

Atlantic Yards Report

As the Barclays Center arena opens tomorrow, September 28, the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, a sponsor of Atlantic Yards Watch, reminds us that the impact on streets and sidewalks--traffic, crowds, drivers searching for parking--remain unknown.

To report concerns about the arena:

1) Call 911 (note complaint tracking number) to report any incidents that require immediate police attention. (Remember to note your complaint tracking number.)
2) Call 311 (note complaint tracking number) or the 78th Precinct (718-636-6411) to report any issues that are not emergencies but require attention the evening of an event, such as illegal parking, cars on sidewalks.
3) Go to Atlantic Yards Watch to file reports, ask questions, and upload video and photos, or call 760-569-6374. Incident reports are read regularly by the Mayor's Office liaison for Atlantic Yards, Empire State Development, and Forest City Ratner.

A calendar of arena events is available on the Barclays website. PHNDC will ask the Barclays Center to make the calendar more easily scannable for residents and develop other communications to keep the community informed about events and developments at the site.

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Posted by eric at 9:44 AM

September 26, 2012

Bike parking installed at southeast side of arena

Atlantic Yards Report

There should be 400 spaces, attended during events. The parking would be indoors only when Building 3 is constructed.

link

Photo: AYInfoNYC

Posted by eric at 12:12 PM

Barclays Center residential parking permit plan nixed by state lawmakers in surrounding neighborhoods

Prospect Heights residents say not enough done to encourage arena visitors to use mass transit

NY Daily News
by Reuven Blau

Still, city officials expect 2,500 cars to flood the area for each event.

“If you live in the neighborhood obviously you are going to have concerns about security and traffic. We are going to do our very best to be good neighbors,” said developer Bruce Ratner, who noted most concerts and basketball games will last around three hours.

“It's not like you are losing your space in front of your place forever,” he added.

Sure, you can just park in another part of town, and when the concert is over at midnight, go get your car.

But a Residential Permit Parking (RPP) bill has stalled in the state Senate, blocked by lawmakers representing neighborhoods outside the proposed protected area.

Those pols, including state Sen. Martin Golden (R-Bay Ridge), are worried their constituents won't be able to find spots during concerts and basketball games at the Barclays Center and will no longer be able to park downtown before they take the train to work.

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Posted by eric at 10:21 AM

September 24, 2012

Ambulance Hastens Carlton Avenue Bridge Reopening

Prospect Heights Patch
by Amy Sara Clark

The long-awaited reopening of the Carlton Avenue Bridge took place Monday morning just in time: not only for the Jay-Z concert at the nearby Barclays Center on Sept. 28, but also for an ambulance en route to the hospital.

As construction workers and officials from Forest City Ratner were holding a small ceremony at the site before officially opening the street, an ambulance drove up, said Pacific Street resident and neighborhood activist N. Wayne Bailey, who had come to the bridge to mark the occasion.

After a moment's hesitation, officials allowed the ambulance pass through, making it the first vehicle to cross the bridge since it closed in 2008 to facilitate construction on the Atlantic Yards' Barclays Center.

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NoLandGrab: Wonder how many Brooklynites in need of emergency response were not so lucky in the nearly five years that it took Forest City Ratner to rebuild the bridge.

Posted by eric at 8:39 PM

The Carlton Avenue Bridge has reopened, four days before arena opens

Atlantic Yards Report

Right on schedule 1,000 days late!

This is way, way beyond the original announced schedule of two years, but it does avert a traffic nightmare as of this Friday, Sept. 28, when the Barclays Center opens. The bridge is a key artery for drivers on Carlton Avenue, which borders the interim surface parking lot.

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Photo: AYInfoNYC

Posted by eric at 6:36 PM

September 21, 2012

A benefit from new subway entrance: easier passage between Q/B and 2/3/4/5 trains

Atlantic Yards Report

While the new Barclays Center subway entrance seems mainly designed to deliver people to the arena, it has some not insignificant ancillary benefits, the magnitude of which will become clear as people use the station more.

Because the entrance leads to a plaza south of Atlantic Avenue, it saves those going to the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station from crossing Atlantic and entering at the congested area connected to the Atlantic Terminal mall.

The arena is billed as being linked directly to nine subway lines, but as I explained earlier this week, it's effective really only for six lines: 2/3/4/5/Q/B.

(Those going to the D/N/R at (formerly) Pacific Street must travel up and down underground--useful during bad weather but indirect otherwise. As Benjamin Kabak of Second Avenue Sagas put it, "Via passageway, staircase, platform and another passageway and staircase.")

Also, as I experienced yesterday, the new configuration makes it far easier transfer between the 2/3/4/5 and the Q/B.

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Posted by eric at 1:27 PM

September 20, 2012

The Day: Speed Bumps Coming To Streets Near Barclays Center

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]
by Kyle Thomas McGovern

In advance of the Barclays Center’s Sept. 28 opening, the city Department of Transportation will install new speed bumps within a half-mile radius of the arena, Council Member Letitia James said in an announcement posted on the Washington Avenue/Prospect Heights Association Facebook page. Three of the new traffic-calming humps will be in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. You’ll see one on Ashland Place between Lafayette Avenue and Hanson Place; one on Carlton Avenue between Atlantic Avenue and Fulton Street; and one on Clinton Avenue between Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue.

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Posted by eric at 11:51 AM

Red and green messages from the subway globes

2nd Ave. Sagas
by Benjamin Kabak

As I took a walk around the outside of the new Atlantic Ave.-Barclays Center subway entrance on Monday afternoon, I chuckled to myself when I spotted a free-standing pole with a green globe on top of it. The subway globe strikes me as an iconic part of the subway system, albeit one that isn’t very old, and the globes themselves are supposed to broadcast a message to the public. These days, based on emails and Twitter comments I’ve received, no one really knows what they mean.

I’ve always associated the globes with the subway system and for good reason. Once upon a time, the globes were simply white with the word “subway” written through them. The color system in place today with red and green globes made their New York City debuts, so to speak, at around the same time I did. The MTA installed the globes in 1982, about a year before I arrived on the scene, and they were introduced as a safety measure.

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NoLandGrab: You'll have to click the link for the answer, but here's our guess — the green represents all the corporate welfare that enabled the building of the Barclays Center, and the red represents all the red ink that the taxpayers are stuck with.

Posted by eric at 10:48 AM

September 19, 2012

Wednesday Winners (and Losers)

Mobilizing the Region

Losers
...

Forest City RatnerAtlantic Yards Watch has revealed that the neighborhood near Brooklyn’s Barclays Center has been plagued by regulation-flouting trucks in the area on construction business, a condition that has reportedly grown even as project developer Forest City Ratner assumed control of an arena loading dock earlier this month. “With apparently no enforcement taking place,” AYW writes, “the consequence is a wide range of adverse impacts on the community: trucks idling for long periods; use of unauthorized truck routes; and blocking of bus lanes, bike lanes, no standing zones and travel lanes. Travel and the quality of life on Dean Street between Flatbush and 6th Avenue is particularly affected.”

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Posted by eric at 10:09 PM

September 18, 2012

Brooklyn Holds Court: Barclays Center To Impact Surrounding Traffic And Businesses

NY1
by Tara Lynn Wagner

While business owners hope to turn sports fans and concert-goers at the new Barclays Center into customers, local residents are concerned about overcongestion. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.

Selling out the Barclays Center is good news for Jay-Z but not necessarily for local Brooklynites. They say crossing the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush Avenue is already dangerous on foot and can take 20 minutes in a car.

"It's just going to be a nightmare because cars are going to be bottled up," says resident Julia Pacetti. "There are no really good sidewalks in that area to speak of. They are very narrow. I just don't think the roads and the sidewalks are going to be able to accommodate the cars and the people."

Greg Yerman, on the other hand, says he's happy to accommodate the new crowds. As the owner of two restaurants on Flatbush Avenue, he expects that an influx of 18,000 people will spice up business.

"If we can get even a small percentage of those butts in our seats, it would be a significant coup for us," he said.
...

While restaurant and bar owners prepare to cash in, other small business owners fear the new economic climate could force them to move out.

Their problem is that as the arena went up, so have the rental rates.

"Rental rates just about a year ago were in the $75, $80-a-foot range and we're now seeing rents approach $200 a foot in the immediate vicinity to the stadium," [commercial realtor Geoffrey] Bailey says.

article [with video]

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, NY1: residents may worry, but businesses mixed/optimistic about arena opening

Norman Oder sums up the story...

The gist:

  • a resident worries about traffic
  • a restaurant owner is hopeful
  • a commercial real estate broker says rents have gone up and more food-related businesses are coming
  • a barber thinks he'll be priced out
  • the Chamber of Commerce CEO promises cross-promotion with local businesses (though that hasn't been announced)

Missing: the reason this is a strain for neighbors is that the state overrode city zoning to place an arena within 200 feet of a residential district.

NoLandGrab: If only Oder could be that succinct with his own stories!

Posted by eric at 1:23 PM

Videos show short path from subway to arena plaza; straightest shots are Q/B and 2/3 northbound

Atlantic Yards Report

It's undeniable: public transportation is a very good way to get to the Barclays Center arena, and it must be a dream for the arena developers: it will deliver event-goers to the front door.

Below, some videos shot during yesterday morning's soft opening, tracking the rather brief path--at least, without a crowd--from some subway platforms to the surface, and back.

The concourses are wide, and, as Benjamin Kabak points out in Second Avenue Sagas, this will significantly improve pedestrian safety.

There are only two escalators--will they be going in just one direction before events?

Note that there's direct access to the Q/B/2/3/4/5 lines. Those aiming for the D/N/R have to go underground along a platform and then upstairs. Most likely, unless the weather's horrible, they'll take the streets.

Similarly, those heading for the Long Island Rail Road have a more direct route on the street, and would have to pay a fare--or use an unlimited ride MetroCard--to make it through the subway platforms.

Click through for some videos of the new station.

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Posted by eric at 1:11 PM

Ahead of the arena, a new subway entrance for Atlantic Ave.

2nd Ave. Sagas
by Benjamin Kabak

Subway nerd (and we mean that as a compliment) Ben Kabak reviews the brand-spanking-new Atlantic Av.—Pacific St. subway entrance.

Amidst little fanfare on Monday afternoon, the MTA opened up a new subway entrance. This isn’t just any old subway entrance. Rather, it is the subway entrance that leads to the Barclays Center, an arena that sits atop rail yards handed over by the MTA Board to Bruce Ratner for a well-below market rate of $100 million.

Over the years, the Atlantic Yards debacle has garnered more than its fair share of debate (and a very thorough website devoted to tracking the project in all its glory), but one element that has seemingly flown under the radar until recently concerns traffic, transportation and pedestrian flow around the arena. Simply put, the arena is in a terrible spot for pedestrian safety.

On its north side is a six-lane road that features cars speeding by at all hours of the day, and on the other side is a six-lane road that features cars speeding by at all hours of the day.

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Posted by eric at 12:52 PM

September 17, 2012

Truck violations increase while enforcement stays away

Atlantic Yards Watch

Atlantic Yards Watch publishes an extensive rundown of the traffic and trucking nightmare also known as the Barclays Center.

Over the last month changes to the way truck deliveries take place at Barclays Center have increased meaningfully the number of violations of NYC law, the Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments and Barclays Center Truck Delivery Rules and Requirements. With apparently no enforcement taking place, the consequence is a wide range of adverse impacts on the community: trucks idling for long periods; use of unauthorized truck routes; and blocking of bus lanes, bike lanes, no standing zones and travel lanes. Travel and the quality of life on Dean Street between Flatbush and 6th Avenue is particularly affected.

The violations have steadily increased through the summer, first as the method for processing construction trucks became impractical and at times impossible, and second with the introduction of truck deliveries to facilitate arena operations. Although no new rules for truck behavior have been posted on the ESDC website or listed in the bi-weekly construction alerts, trucks now queue and stage on a public street with residences instead of the privatized section of Pacific Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt Avenues.

A key change occured a week or so ago when FCRC took control of the arena from construction contractors and began operating the loading dock. The photos above and to the right from Thursday, September 12th show On-site Environmental Monitor Adam Schwartz directing a delivery truck backward into the arena site while an ambulance with flashing lights waits.
...

NYPD officers appear not to be ticketing trucks idling or parked illegally, and one traffic enforcement officer elsewhere on the site, shown a truck parked in a bike lane, challenged this writer to tell her exactly what trucks are supposed to do: "after all, the area is under construction."

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Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Atlantic Yards Watch documents Culture of Cheating: increased truck violations, with no enforcement, as arena construction hits crunch time

As the completion of the Barclays Center arena hits the final stretch, procedures aimed at protecting the community fall off even faster.

Last week, as I wrote, Forest City Ratner CEO Bruce Ratner went on Bloomberg television and insisted that his firm was following construction protocols in building the arena.

I suggested the truth was otherwise, and Atlantic Yards Watch, in Truck violations increase while enforcement stays away, offers exhaustive documentation.
...

A warning for the future

The record bodes ill for actual operation of the arena, as residents have been told that delivery trucks will be scheduled to avoid idling in the street.

However, as Atlantic Yards Watch reports, "drivers either wait near the arena or drive to the closest location they can find to pull over, regardless of its proximity to residences. They then sit in their trucks to wait, sometimes with their engines idling."

Not only is there no capacity for trucks to queue, the drivers tell AYW they "are given little or no instruction before they come or once they arrive."

NoLandGrab: This giant clusterf**k is brought to you by the letters F, C and R — and E, S, D & C.

Posted by eric at 12:38 PM

The Culture of Cheating: Forest City's effort, through Kruger, to get taxpayer money to rebuild the Carlton Avenue Bridge

Atlantic Yards Report

Remember how a Forest City Ratner executive, asked in July 2009 if the would seek more subsidies, responded, “Forest City does not expect to ask for more subsidy?" Not only did Executive VP later request $10 million more in housing subsidies, so too did Executive VP Bruce Bender try to get state funds to repair the Carlton Avenue Bridge the developer was supposed to fund.

The corruption charges that surfaced in March 2011 against then-state Senator (and now-imprisoned) Carl Kruger portrayed a chummy relationship between Kruger and Bender, who not only tried to get money for the bride but also for the Lakeside Center project in Prospect Park. (Bender's wife is on the Board of Directors of the Prospect Park Alliance.)

Though the conversation between Kruger and Bender occurred in December 2010, the charges cast in new light some of Kruger's over-the-top support for Atlantic Yards, including his Brooklyn aria at an August 2006 environmental review hearing and his accusation in May 2009 of Metropolitan Transportation Authority intransigence regarding a renegotiation of the Vanderbilt Yard deal.

And they showed Forest City's relentless--if, in this case, unsuccessful--push to offload its obligations on the public. That's savvy business, but its closer to the "culture of cheating" than to "civic developer" status that Bruce Ratner professes.

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Posted by eric at 12:00 PM

September 14, 2012

First look at the $76 million Barclays Center subway station

A new station where Flatbush meets Atlantic in downtown Brooklyn will connect subway travelers on nine lines to the Barclays Center.

NY Daily News
by Jason Sheftell

Life is about moments. So is New York City. The first time you see a doorman in a top hat and tails in front of the Plaza Hotel. When you lay eyes on the Statue of Liberty. Every time you take the Long Island Expressway to the Midtown Tunnel and the skyline opens up before you. Yankee Stadium. Landing at LaGuardia.

There’s a new one. Opening this Monday at 8 a.m., subway travelers on nine lines will be able to walk up the stairs of a new station where Flatbush meets Atlantic in downtown Brooklyn and see the rusted metal oculus of Barclays Center spread before them like a moment in a science-fiction film. It’s as grand as Lincoln Center, as Brooklyn as the Boys of Summer, and as New York as a skyscraper.

No hyperbole there.

When empty, the new subway station feels like a movie set. Think “Planet of the Apes.”

You damned, dirty Ratner!

“We want this to be magical,” says Gilmartin, who has been with FCRC since 1994 and handles its key negotiations and development execution. “The canopy, oculus, all of this is part of what will define Brooklyn for the next century.

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NoLandGrab: The next century? It's already rusting. If arena's were built to last a century, Madison Square Garden would still be in Madison Square.

Photo: Jeff Bachner/NY Daily News

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Daily News gets first look at new subway entrance opening Monday, accepts Forest City's claims about budget and timing; exec claims they don't want anyone driving to arena

Sycophantic Daily News Real Estate correspondent Jason Sheftell gets the exclusive look at the new subway entrance serving the Barclays Center arena that opens Monday morning--yes, it's an impressive addition, but a clearly self-serving one, especially given the revisionist mythology described below.

And Sheftell delivers.
...

He continues:

It cost $76 million. No, it’s not paved in gold. But not a cent of it came from taxpayers’ pockets. Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC), the developer of the arena, the housing around it, MetroTech and Atlantic Center Mall, agreed to pay for the station as part of financing in return for the air rights from the MTA above the arena’s plaza, where one day a world-class commercial building could stand.

Hold on. Maybe Forest City spent $76 million, in their accounting. The contract for the station is $57.8 million, according to a report from the construction monitor for arena bondholders.
...

And of course taxpayers helped: Forest City's commitment to build this was part of why the MTA accepted a $100 million cash bid for development rights for the Vanderbilt Yard--not just the area above the plaza--at less than half the appraised value.
...

Sheftell quotes Forest City Executive VP MaryAnne Gilmartin: "The new entrance is the key component to making this arena work. Under no circumstances do we want anyone driving to the arena, ever.”

Ever? Is that why the Barclays Center website includes a link to prepaid parking?

NLG: And why they're building a giant surface parking lot on Dean Street?

Posted by eric at 12:13 PM

September 10, 2012

Carlton Avenue Bridge expected to reopen on or around Sept. 24

Atlantic Yards Report

The Carlton Avenue Bridge will, in fact, reopen before the Barclays Center arena opens--offering key traffic flow but still leaving a bad taste for those who remembered that, when it closed in January 2008, the timetable was two years.

On or around September 24, 2012, Carlton Avenue will re-open to vehicular traffic as a two-way roadway between between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street. Drivers can turn left or right on Atlantic Avenue.

After Carlton Avenue reopens, Pacific Street between Carlton and Sixth Avenue will change from one-way westbound to a two-way roadway.

As shown in the map below, an eastbound turn onto Pacific will be permissible only for those accessing the surface parking lot associated with the arena. For more information, see www.esd.ny.gov/AtlanticYards or www.atlanticyards.com.

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Posted by eric at 2:13 PM

As Carlton Avenue Bridge proceeds toward completion, a "September is Just the Beginning" banner waves nearby

Atlantic Yards Report

The reconstruction of the Carlton Avenue Bridge, which has to be open before the Barclays Center arena opens on Sept. 28, is nearly finished.

But even before it's done, a "September is Just the Beginning" banner appears down the block on Carlton Avenue, right above a sign that announced the bridge closing, which began in January 2008.

Yes, there are banners on Carlton Avenue, even though they mysteriously appeared and were removed within 24 hours on equally residential Dean and Pacific streets.

What's going on? We don't really know, and we're still waiting for the Barclays Center Community Affairs Manager to be hired, so there's no single point person for the arena.

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NoLandGrab: Forest City Ratner promised in January 2008 that the bridge would be closed for just two years. That was four years and nine months ago.

Posted by eric at 10:53 AM

September 7, 2012

Brooklyn residents last gasp complaints over Barclays arena traffic and garbage before opening Sept. 28

Prospect Heights complain and worry about what's about to happen to their neighborhood

NY Daily News
by Reuven Blau

Residents near the Barclays Center lashed out at Forest City Ratner officials Wednesday over anticipated parking and trash problems before the arena opens in three weeks.

More than 150 angry Prospect Heights locals showed up at a meeting to complain about how the neighborhood was soon going to be taken over by thousands of cars and revelers expected for each basketball game and concert.

“You put an arena in a residential area and that's what's going to happen,” said Anthony Reves, 30, as he walked home after the meeting started at Latin Evangelical Free Church at 506 Bergen St.

FCR official Ashley Cotton told the audience the bright lights outside the arena would be turned off from 1 to 5 a.m. night and delivery trucks would be assigned to a specific route on main roads in an effort to reduce traffic down residential blocks.
...

Before the meeting started, community activist Tracy Collins, 48, stood outside reminiscing about the six year struggle. “I don't expect much to come of this,” he said.

Asked if he'd be attending events at the arena, he responded, "I don't envision myself paying money to see something at Barclays. I feel like I've already paid enough."

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NoLandGrab: Wow, a whole four hours! We're surprised they didn't start out at two hours and say they'd been merciful.

Related coverage...

threecee via flickr, 2012 Barclays Center Arena Neighborhood Protection Plan Meeting

Speaking of Tracy Collins...

Posted by eric at 11:16 AM

September 6, 2012

Residents to Barclays Owners: You Have the Clout to Protect Our Neighborhoods

If Ratner has the power to build the arena, it has the pull to ensure adequate police and sanitation services, those living near Atlantic Yards said at public meeting.

Park Slope Patch
by Amy Sara Clark

You know you're in trouble when you're relying on Forest City Ratner to protect your neighborhood.

Frustration bubbled over last night at a public meeting discussing how to handle illegally parked cars, litter-strewn yards and other anticipated problems once the Barclays Center opens later this month.

Of the some 100 people who came to Bergen Street’s Iglesia Latina Evengelica two blocks from the arena, there seemed to be a number of new faces along with the seasoned regulars leading to fresh reactions to familiar responses from Forest City Ratner, which is developing the Atlantic Yards site.
...

But for such issues as residential parking permits, rats and double-parked cars, Ratner officials said they didn’t have jurisdiction outside of their property to help with such matters and directed residents to consult with the the NYPD and Department of Sanitation.

While this response is expected by repeated meeting attendees, several newer participants at last night’s meeting responded with pique, saying that if Ratner has the political pull to get the arena built, they had the influence to get resident-only parking permits passed in Albany and to make sure the police and sanitation departments have enough manpower to provide adequate enforcement and services.

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Posted by eric at 9:51 PM

Wary neighbors express concern about arena's operating impact; Council Member Levin suggests "facts on ground" after opening will spur changes; FCR nudges position on permit parking

Atlantic Yards Report

A wary, worried audience of Barclays Center neighbors--perhaps 120 people--came to a Prospect Heights church last night to hear two Forest City Ratner executives explain how the arena will interact with and impact neighbors and to provide an update on a proposed Neighborhood Protection Plan (NPP).

The latter was proposed by three civic groups, the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, the Boerum Hill Association, and the Park Slope Civic Council, and includes such things as increased trash pickup, a dedicated hotline for community concerns, and residential parking permits (RPP).

Despite the cordial presence of Forest City’s Ashley Cotton and Jane Marshall, the developer has bent only a little; for example, it will fund garbage pickup on key corners on Dean and Pacific streets on the path to the Barclays Center from the on-site parking lot, but will not address the routes arena-goers will take to local subway stations.

The question of parking

The biggest issue, clearly, is parking, with residents facing an already competitive search for on-street parking fearful that an influx of arena-goers seeking free parking will flood the neighborhood, despite exhortations to use mass transit and pre-pay for spaces area parking lots.

"It's going to wreck our neighborhood," one attendee exclaimed.

Council Member Steve Levin, a supporter of the NPP and so-far nixed residential permit parking (RPP), gave a philosophical prediction: “I think the facts on the ground are probably going to be significant enough that a lot of things are eventually going to be adopted.”

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Posted by eric at 1:10 PM

While there may be enough offsite parking lot spaces to meet demand, too few, for now, are part of the pre-paid inventory

Atlantic Yards Report

Will there really be enough off-site parking lot spaces to serve demand for the Barclays Center?

There should be enough spaces, at least according to a consultant's memo, but only one-third of the facilities listed in a memorandum (also at bottom) are currently part of the "seamless" pre-paid parking system aimed to steer drivers directly to the parking lots rather than meander Brooklyn streets.

Forest City Ratner VP Jane Marshall explained last night that parking vendors may be waiting to see how arena parking demand evolves, but more should be joining the Click and Park inventory. That's plausible, but it sure reinforces the notion that the first few months of arena operations will be something of an experiment.

And the brownstone residential neighborhoods nearest the Barclays Center will be the petri dish.

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Posted by eric at 12:52 PM

August 28, 2012

Barclays center

Gna Galisem

Our comprehensive parking and transportation services include front door service, customer service ambassadors, valet parking, traffic/parking garage management in Barklays center Stadium. Event Rate $16 Tax Included. Indoor Parking. Reserve Parking Now with Parkright.com and Call us now at (718) 797-1967.

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NoLandGrab: Are you really going to trust your car to someone who calls it the "Barklays center Stadium?"

Posted by eric at 8:51 AM

August 25, 2012

Meet the Owner: Calvin Clark of Mo's Fort Greene

Talking about the bar's first year in business and the opening of Barclays Center.

Fort Greene-Clinton Hill Patch
by Paul Leonard

After a more than a year in business and with the potentially game changing opening of Barclays Center only weeks away, Patch decided to check back in with Clark—who also owns the Brooklyn club Langston's—to get a sense of the year that was and the year yet to come.
...

Patch: Barclays Center is opening on Sept. 28 with Jay-Z's first concert. What are you expecting to happen as far as your business' bottom line after the arena opens?

Clark: [Laughing] I'm hoping to get at least 30 or 40 people from that stadium every time they have an event. It's kind of up in the air—I'm not sure how it's going to affect the community. Barclays Center—rightfully so—they are trying to keep as many dollars inside the stadium as possible with bars and clubs. And I don't know how much of that is going to spill out into the community. Fort Greene has the advantage of being one of the hot new neighborhoods—not new, but it's hot and it's happening. And that might give us an advantage. I'm just hoping that we get 30-40 people spilling from the stadium every time they have an event. It would be great. I talked to the owner of 67 Burger and he was saying pretty much the same thing—Scopello's as well. We're three blocks away from the stadium and it could make all the difference. People might not want to walk that extra block.

Patch: In terms of parking, crowds and that kind of stuff, do you have any trepidations about the opening of the arena?

Clark: Parking is going to be a nightmare. We already have traffic snarling along Atlantic and Flatbush Avenue. They haven't even finished the parking. I've heard that they are going to be bussing people down from the end of Atlantic Avenue by the river. It's going to be a nightmare. I don't care which way they spin that.

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Posted by eric at 9:52 AM

August 24, 2012

In Brooklyn, Working Out Nets Stadium’s Police Beat

MetroFocus [Thirteen.org]
by John Farley

“When the arena opens there are going to be changes to people’s quality of life,” Capt. Michael Ameri, standing next to City Councilmember Letitia James, told a roomfull of people at Brooklyn’s 78th Precinct, where he is the commanding officer. The public meeting on how the new Barclays Center and surrounding area would be policed drew approximately 60 area residents on Wednesday.
...

Because the arena’s footprint sits within three police precincts — the 77th, 78th and 88th — the city went for efficiency and unofficially selected the 78th Precinct to cover Barclays Center, as well as the Atlantic Mall and Atlantic Terminal, last March. On August 13, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly sent a letter to City Council requesting approval for the redrawn boundary 78th Precinct, which will also expand to cover a triangle wedge of residential streets between Flatbush, Atlantic and Vanderbilt avenues. The Council has 60 days to respond to the request, but permission has been tacit as the stadium will open on September 28 with a Jay-Z concert and the 78th has already been preparing for its expanded beat, which will include a special “arena detail” and considerable overtime for many of its officers.

That overtime, said James (D-35), is going to be covered by the taxpayers of the City of New York.

“I believe Forest City Ratner should cover the overtime costs, but at this point, it’s the taxpayers. Which is why I opposed it [Atlantic Yards] from day one,” James added.

Echoes of that frustration, after years of legal battles, pervaded the room, but the point of the meeting was clear: to work out how the police are going to deal with a huge influx of people (the arena has 18,000 seats).

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Related coverage...

Park Slope Patch, Traffic Biggest Concern, Not Crowds, After 78th Precinct Takes Over Barclays Center

“To be honest with you, that's my biggest concern with this arena is traffic,” [78th Precinct Commanding Officer Captain Michael Ameri] said to a room filled with about 60 residents from Park Slope, Fort Green and Prospect Heights. “We will have beyond sufficient number of traffic agents and we will pull cars away from the arena so cars close to the area can leave.”
...

“We will set the tone early — we will flood the area with traffic agents and tow trucks. We want the word out that if you break the law, you’ll not only get a ticket, but you’ll get towed,” Ameri said, explaining that on opening day tow trucks will be there. “Once the word is out that you’ll get towed, people will be scared.”

Posted by eric at 10:32 AM

August 23, 2012

As arena opening approaches, neighbors express worries about traffic, parking; NYPD commander says they can handle large crowds, but admits challenges

Atlantic Yards Report

So, what happens when an arena hosting more than 18,000 event-goers opens at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, major arteries but a very tight fit with nearby residential blocks?

Neighbors from Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, and elsewhere got a chance to vent their anxieties last night at a meeting held at 78th Precinct on Bergen Street and Sixth Avenue a block from the arena site. The precinct has been assigned--though the move is not yet official--to police the arena site, as well as the rest of the Atlantic Yards project and Forest City Ratner’s malls across Atlantic Avenue.

(The arena opens Sept. 28, and the City Council may not have voted on the boundary change by then, but presumably the 78th will be in charge.)

The commanding officer, Captain Michael Ameri, expressed confidence that the NYPD, and this precinct, can handle large crowds. He had previously policed CitiField and the U.S. Open, and the 78th Precinct has experience with large crowds at Prospect Park.

Council Member Letitia James, who called the meeting (she was joined briefly by Council Member Steve Levin) urged constructive comments, not a “griping session,” and the 60+ people mostly complied.

The fundamental issue of siting the arena still resonated. One resident asked about the impact of unauthorized vendors, who set up on the fly and deal in cash, on the neighborhood.

Ameri said NYPD would address ticket scalpers and other illegal sellers, though certain items--books--are considered freedom of speech. Such vendors are at every event, such as at Madison Square Garden.

Then again, as one resident pointed out, near MSG, they’re not in a residential area.

Most vendors, Ameri suggested, will be in close proximity to arena. So too are residences, though.

(Note to myopic New York Times reporters who have reported that “die-hard opponents are still resisting” or that “opponents [have] fresh reason to complain.” A large majority of the people in the room have not been active in the Atlantic Yards opposition. They just live there.)

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Posted by eric at 10:59 AM

August 21, 2012

Task force addressing quality-of-life issues won't emerge until Sept. 6, after liquor license meeting, rather than before, as once requested

Atlantic Yards Report

There will be a task force addressing quality-of-life issues regarding the Barclays Center arena, but it did not meet, as Community Board 6 initially requested, before the State Liquor Authority (SLA) held a hearing on the arena liquor license, nor will it meet before the SLA board votes on the license.

(There is a meeting tomorrow night at the 78th Precinct regarding somewhat more narrow public safety issues. A quality-of-life committee presumably would also address things like parking and sanitation, among other things.)

As part of its conditional support for the Barclays Center liquor license, Brooklyn Community Board 6 requested in May "that the applicants establish a community advisory task force whose purpose would be to meet periodically and on a regular basis to monitor and discuss quality of life impacts that the arena will have on its surrounding communities."

Such a task force could come out of an existing entity such as the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet, stated the letter, which stressed that the advisory body "should be appointed and convened without delay and we believe it should meet at least once prior to the 500-foot hearing we are expecting the SLA to schedule on this application."

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Posted by eric at 12:26 PM

August 20, 2012

Pre-paid parking module for Barclays Center finally works, but only seven lots (plus on-site lot) now available; goal is 20

Atlantic Yards Report

The Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, though released last week, is still a work in progress. For example, the module to pre-purchase offsite parking finally works, after a significant delay, but only seven public parking facilities have been incorporated so far.

That means that, not only have people who already bought hundreds of thousands of tickets to arena events were not able to buy parking seamlessly, there are fewer spaces available than previously suggested. (No total is now listed.)

The draft TDM plan identified 20 other public parking facilities within ½ mile of the arena block, but now it lists "approximately 20." Vendor "Click and Park will make efforts to incorporate as many as possible of the 20 off-site facilities," the final plan states.

So far, as the map [at right] indicates, there are only eight facilities available, including 752 Pacific Street, which is the surface parking lot associated with the arena.

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Posted by eric at 11:50 AM

August 17, 2012

An SUV, apparently driven by a construction worker, speeds south the wrong way on Carlton Avenue

Atlantic Yards Report

What's wrong with this picture? Carlton Avenue in Prospect Heights is a one-way street, northbound.

The black vehicle, apparently driven by a construction worker--coming from the official Atlantic Yards staging area and wearing a reflective vest--drove southbound yesterday afternoon, speeding, from Pacific to Bergen streets, according to Atlantic Yards Watch.

That, understandably, alarmed drivers and pedestrians.

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Posted by eric at 10:29 AM

Community meeting set for September 5 on effort to establish Neighborhood Protection Plan around arena

Atlantic Yards Report

Beyond the meeting at the 78th Precinct regarding Barclays Center security issues, set for August 22, the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council announces another community meeting:

Neighborhood Protection Plan meeting with Forest City Ratner
When: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 7:00pm
Where: Iglesia Latina Evengelica, 506 Bergen Street (between 6th and Carlton Avenues)
What progress has been made toward the goals of the Neighborhood Protection Plan sponsored by local elected officials and civic groups representing communities surrounding the Barclays Center arena?
Join us for a discussion of what's left to be done with Ashley Cotton of Forest City Ratner and other invited guests, and bring your questions and concerns.

As I wrote recently, there have been a couple of quiet meetings regarding the plan--which requested garbage cans, new signage, and funding for two parks positions nearby, among other things--but no results yet. Council Member Steve Levin said it was essential to address traffic, crowd management, and sanitation issues before the arena opens.

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Posted by eric at 10:19 AM

August 16, 2012

Business as usual? Idling 18-wheeler parks on Pacific Street sidewalk, blocking residence; driver says, "I must wait for the arena"

Atlantic Yards Report

This is what happens when you cut corners and no one official takes charge.

From Atlantic Yards Watch: a tractor-trailer waiting to make a delivery to the Barclays Center on August 14 was parked, idling, on the sidewalk of Pacific Street between Sixth and Carlton avenues, near the Newswalk building.

The photographer confronts the driver and gets a "for the arena" defense.

Here's the timing for key moments, with quotes from the driver:

00:20 “I've been here all f-ing day I wait here & I can't move!
02:30 "I must wait for the arena"
03:38 "the arena security guard say to me, just stay here"
07:16 other illegally idling & parked arena trucks in ‘Red No Standing’ zone leave when they are being taped
07:29 resident on bicycle complains that the truck is in her way
08:35 cameraman calls cops
08:50 other parked trucks leave

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NoLandGrab: Why didn't they just call Jay-Z?!

Posted by eric at 5:50 PM

Atlantic Yards transportation plan Q&A: no remedies if goals aren't met; some on-site parking not pre-reserved; developer need not pay for transit service; arena website being updated; no signage to highlight residential area

Atlantic Yards Report

As I wrote yesterday, the mildly tweaked Atlantic Yards/Barclays Center final Transportation Demand Management Plan is far less interesting than the long Response to Public Comments document, which, despite the knotty problem of promoting prepaid parking that is not yet "seamless," not unexpectedly deflects nearly all the community concerns raised.

Here are some highlights, described further below:

  • there are no remedies if performance goals to reduce driving aren't met
  • sidewalks may be smaller than assumed, but they're still OK (according to an unreleased memo)
  • the Carlton Avenue Bridge may open with temporary street lighting/railing
  • there's no option to have farmer's market or other programming in the surface parking lot
  • only VIP and HOV slots at that 541-space on-site surface parking lot will be pre-reserved; some more expensive slots will be available for drive-up
  • no measures directly address on‐street parking
  • Forest City Ratner need not deploy all the money saved by not providing free MetroCards into promoting use of transit
  • the developer will not pay for increased transit service
  • "Barclays Center is in the process of updating and refining its website" regarding transportation issues
  • meters on area streets may be extended past 7 pm to deter arena-goers from parking all night
  • no special signage is planned to remind arena-goers they're in a residential area
  • "No Honking" signs are not considered effective and won't be installed
  • a traffic study examined 41 intersections, but a post-opening study will look at 56, including those facing traffic from BQE north of arena
  • "measures as necessary [will] address traffic and pedestrian conditions" while towers are built next to the arena.
  • those going to the 2/3 train from the new subway entrance will find a straight shot, while those going to the Q or 4/5 will have to climb additional stairs
  • event-related buses may be staged at the Brooklyn Navy Yard
  • Brooklyn‐bound gap trains will start at Whitehall Station or from a spur north of DeKalb Avenue
  • trucks staged from the Navy Yard won't be able to use Flushing Avenue, as once stated, but "will avoid traveling on secondary, neighborhood streets whenever possible"

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Posted by eric at 5:40 PM

August 15, 2012

The audacious timing of the Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management plan: prepaid parking not working (but no consequences); two important documents released after comment period

Atlantic Yards Report

The final Atlantic Yards Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, and the Response to Comments were both made public today, about two weeks after they should have been released, by Empire State Development (ESD), the state agency overseeing the project.

Even with the delay, ESD and Forest City Ratner could not obscure a significant glitch: a cornerstone of the plan to deter arena-goers from seeking on-street parking, an online parking reservation system, still isn't ready. (The Q&A promises that "full implementation [is] expected in the week of August 13.")

In other words, arena operators have sold hundreds of thousands of tickets without being able to sell parking at the same time. Now it's possible that many of them will try to buy parking later, but the promised "seamless" process simply isn't in place.
...

No way to comment

The Q&A document cites two important documents that were released after the comment period ended July 3, thus precluding public comment.

For example, an assessment of arena-area sidewalks "by Philip Habib & Associates in August 2012 identified a number of locations where sidewalk widths will likely be narrower" than previously assumed, though the locations "are still projected to operate at acceptable levels."

However, no one's seen that document, so it's impossible to evaluate.

Meanwhile, in early July, the city Department of Transportation released a study recommending against a residential parking permit system around the arena. There was no way to submit comments to ESD, though the study had many flaws.

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Posted by eric at 9:50 PM

Final arena Transportation Demand Management plan has a few tweaks: 20%/$5 HOV discount; no Dean Street entrance to parking; Click and Park still hasn't signed up all garages

Atlantic Yards Report

Today the Empire State Development Corporation posted not only a long Q&A on the Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, but also a revised TDM plan.

The Q&A is a more interesting document, because it mainly deflects community concerns about such things as parking on neighborhood streets; I'll have more on it tomorrow. The revised TDM plan, however, contains relatively few changes from the draft issued in May, so I'll focus on them now. (Both documents are also posted below.)

Click through for Norman Oder's rundown of the changes.

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Posted by eric at 9:38 PM

FCRC removes trees planted by residents, shrinks landscaping around arena parking lot

Atlantic Yards Watch

Bruce Ratner's "civic development company" just ripped out yet more trees in Prospect Heights.

 

An existing area of greenery planted and maintained by community members was removed yesterday by FCRC. To the left above is the work in progress on Carlton Avenue between Pacific and Dean Streets. To the right is the former appearance of the block. The sidewalk forms the western perimeter of what will be the new arena patron parking lot.

If the plantings had been allowed to remain, the area may have been the single place around the arena patron parking lot to meet the 7 foot landscaped perimeter standard required of other parking lots in NYC. Instead, the landscaped perimeter will apparently be reduced to 4 feet on Carlton Avenue like the other sidewalks surrounding the lot.

The arbor vitae were planted in that location three years ago. They were paid for by the private contributions of the residents of the block and a grant from the Citizen's Committee. They replaced similar plantings installed in the same location years earlier by the developer Boymelgreen. As part of the grant, and also at the community's request, NYC Parks placed a number of street trees along the street in that location.
...

FCRC and the State have rejected calls from local residents and the New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects for the site to meet NYC DCP guidelines for the landscaping of surface parking lots. Features of the lot that have already been built, such as the setting of the fence line only 4 feet inside the property line, already do not conform.

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Posted by eric at 10:20 AM

The final Transportation Demand Management plan should emerge today

Atlantic Yards Report

I wrote yesterday about the delay in the Atlantic Yards Transportation Demand Management plan.

Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, for Empire State Development, said late yesterday that the plan should be posted today.

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NoLandGrab: Kinda feels like Christmas morning, doesn't it? Hope you wanted a lump of coal.

Posted by eric at 9:47 AM

August 14, 2012

When is final Transportation Demand Management Plan coming? It was due in the "beginning of August"

Atlantic Yards Report

The Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan for the Barclays Center, aiming to dissuade driving and stress use of public transportation, was delayed for months, with a draft initially due last December but issued only in May.

So maybe it's not surprising that the final TDM plan is a week or two late. A message from Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, for Empire State Development (ESD) promised an early August release:

The public has until July 3, 2012 to submit comments and questions on the draft TDM Plan to AtlanticYards@esd.ny.gov. ESD will coordinate with other agencies to compile responses to all questions and will post the final TDM Plan along with responses to all questions by the beginning of August.

We're just about two weeks into August by now, so I checked yesterday with Hankin about the timetable.

I haven't heard back yet.

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Posted by eric at 11:02 AM

August 10, 2012

As "impending storm" of arena opening approaches, worries about foot traffic, talk about Neighborhood Protection Plan, and the need for community vigilance

Atlantic Yards Report

There's "an impending storm" regarding the opening of the Barclays Center September 28, according to Council Member Steve Levin, and while he expressed measured optimism that preparation and coordination can alleviate problems, and perhaps even lead to elements of the proposed Neighborhood Protection Plan, some residents at the same meeting expressed much more dismay.

One sign of progress, described at a monthly meeting Levin holds with constituents to address potential impacts: the assignment of the 78th Precinct to police the arena, as well as the rest of the Atlantic Yards footprint. Then again, issues, like police parking on the street, remain unresolved.

Limited line-up

Though officials from the mayor's office, and Empire State Development (ESD), the state agency overseeing the project, were invited to the August 8 meeting, those presenting were limited to NYPD officials and Chris Hrones of the Department of Transportation.

(At the meeting, held at the YWCA at Third and Atlantic avenues, Forest City Ratner sent an intern in the audience to take notes.)

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Posted by eric at 12:59 PM

Barclays Center pre-paid parking is still not ready; no comment from Forest City Ratner

Atlantic Yards Report

I wrote August 1 how, despite promises in May from a Forest City Ratner consultant that arena event-goers would find prepaid parking "seamless with the Barclays Center software," arena operators hade sold hundreds of thousands of tickets to upcoming events without being able to offer that option.

I also reported that, according to a phone representative of Click and Park, which offers prepaid parking for venues like Yankee Stadium and Wrigley Field, its web page linked to the new Brooklyn arena would be ready by August 6.

It wasn't. I called August 7, and was told it should be ready by today. It's not, though the day is long. I couldn't get a comment from either Forest City Ratner nor its consultant Sam Schwartz Engineering.

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Posted by eric at 12:54 PM

Traffic signal, street lights back at Sixth Avenue and Dean Street intersection after being out for a few nights (at least); why didn't anyone official step up sooner?

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder follows up on the dangerous situation at Dean Street and Sixth Avenue.

An update on Atlantic Yards Watch August 7:

the lights were out again last night (August 7, 2012) around 11pm. Still no signs, no traffic agents. Still dangerous.

Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, Empire State Development, responded earlier today to my query:

Just got word that DOT repaired this issue last night. They repaired a defective cable.

The lingering questions: How long was this out? Why did it take even a few days to repair? And if the intersection was dangerous, why didn't anyone official or working nearby--including the police department, the Department of Transportation, and Forest City Ratner and its contractors--set up a safety protocol?

After all, according to Atlantic Yards Watch, while the light was out, there was an accident, apparently, though it's not clear exactly what happened.

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NoLandGrab: Surely this has nothing to do with the headlong rush to complete construction of Bruce Ratner's basketball palace by September 28th.

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, At edge of area block, Sixth Avenue becomes dangerous: two accidents in recent days

The corner of Sixth Avenue and Dean Street, at the southeast corner of the arena block, has been disturbingly busy lately--not only were streetlights and traffic signals out, now back, apparently, there was a significant accident recently, caused, perhaps, by the lack of a traffic signal.

One block north, at Sixth Avenue and Pacific Street, an errant construction vehicle did major damage to a pole with a traffic signal, causing pedestrians to walk in the street, not the safest path.

Anyone observing the chaos has to wonder: what would be the ripple effects if such impacts occurred when the arena next door were up and operating, generating far more traffic?

Posted by eric at 12:39 PM

August 8, 2012

Traffic Signal, Street Lights, Crosswalk Signals all out at 6th Avenue & Dean Street

Atlantic Yards Watch

Someone's going to get killed at the intersection of 6th Avenue and Dean Street, but surely the giant arena being built right there has nothing to do with the power outages, right?

Location:
Intersection of 6th Avenue & Dean Street

When:
August 6, 2012 - 11:10pm

311:
3225943

Very dangerous. Walking back home tonight I saw a near accident with 2 cars. Very dark. No police or other city agency official was at the intersection when I walked by. Another neighbor I met nearby said that the lights go out at this intersection nightly.

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Related coverage...

threeCeeMedia via YouTube, Traffic signals and street lights out at 6th Avenue & Dean Street, Prospect Heights

This was shot on August 6, 2012 at 11pm. It is very dark video because the street lights and traffic signals were out. There were no NYPD or other officials here. It has apparently been happening nightly, according to a resident who lives nearby.

The Barclays Center Arena is in the background.

It is dangerous.

Posted by eric at 10:52 AM

Thanks to (disruptive) overtime, Carlton Avenue Bridge is now on schedule to reopen before arena

Atlantic Yards Report

Will the Carlton Avenue Bridge, a key connection between Prospect Heights and Fort Greene and one route to the adjacent arena surface parking lot, open before the Barclays Center does on September 28?

Yes, say developer Forest City Ratner and the state official overseeing the project--and this time, unlike in previous months, that pledge is backed up by reports from the state's construction monitor.

To get the bridge open, and avoid traffic chaos, the builders were considering opening the bridge with a temporary pier, not a permanent one. But even that won't be needed, thanks to overtime work, part of an accelerated schedule that caused considerable collateral damage to neighbors.

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Posted by eric at 10:38 AM

August 1, 2012

Parking snag? Despite promises of prepaid parking, system still not live yet, though many tickets sold (also, a map of parking and the shuttle bus)

Atlantic Yards Report

Despite promises in May from a Forest City Ratner consultant that arena event-goers would find prepaid parking "seamless with the Barclays Center software," arena operators have sold hundreds of thousands of tickets to upcoming events without being able to offer that option.

Though Barclays Center operators have been quiet about this glitch, the company Click and Park, which offers prepaid parking for venues like Yankee Stadium and Wrigley Field, won't finish its web page linked to the new Brooklyn arena until Aug. 6, a representative stated when I called to inquire.

Indeed, as indicated at right, one version of the webpage is just a placeholder, though another, below, is nearly ready.

What do you do now?

Nor can event-goers easily prepay for parking, say, for that first weekend of Jay-Z concerts, beginning Sept. 28. (See maps of garages, including remote parking, at bottom.)

I called the garage at 700 Pacific Street, listed as part of the Click and Park inventory, and was given rather confusing information on whether and how parking might be prepaid.

What does arena operator Forest City Ratner say? I twice queried representatives of the developer, but got no response. One question: will ticket-buyers be sent a reminder when these sites go live?

Another, which I didn't ask: can the large numbers of people buying tickets on the secondary market be informed?

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NoLandGrab: Fortunately, most people had to sell their cars to afford the originally $29.50 Jay-Z tickets on the secondary market.

Posted by eric at 8:16 PM

July 25, 2012

New Bump in the Road to Calm Barclays Traffic

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]
by Kyle Thomas McGovern


Work on a second Washington Avenue speed bump between Gates and Greene Avenues began today.

The Barclays Arena opens in two months, but the city Department of Transportation is already telling drivers to slow down.

Earlier today, the DOT constructed a second speed bump on Washington Avenue between Gates and Greene Avenues to regulate traffic patterns in the area, which are expected to change dramatically once the 18,000-seat stadium opens on Sept. 28.

“Safety is DOT’s number one priority,” a DOT spokesman wrote in an e-mail. “The agency installed a second speed hump on Washington Avenue between Gates and Greene Avenues today as part of an effort to implement additional speed humps and other traffic calming measures around the Barclays Arena prior to its opening later this year.”

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Photo: Kyle Thomas McGovern/The Local

Posted by eric at 11:34 AM

Barclays Center Arena Satellite Uplink Parking Lot

Our Streets — Our Stories
The Dean Street Block Association (6th Ave. to Vanderbilt Ave.)

26.6% of the land in New York City is made up of public streets and sidewalks. Incredible opportunity exists to envision these narrow spaces as places of engagement and not just as conveyor belts for car and people.

The proposed vision for a sidewalk design at the corner of 6th avenue and Dean street demonstrates that even small interventions can serve an important purpose while beautifying our neighborhoods. The proposal includes colorful planters with season plantings, a high-quality metal fence and some street trees.

Directly across the street from this rendering on 6th Avenue a new plaza is proposed for the Atlantic Yards Barclays Center Arena. By adding a couple of benches and some planters the street is now captured by flanking public spaces providing a social amenity to the community.

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NoLandGrab: Thank you, Bruce Ratner!

Image: Tricia Martin of WE Design

Posted by eric at 11:25 AM

Who knows what the Barclays Center will bring?

Brooklyn Daily Eagle
by Raanan Geberer

It is now only a matter of months before the Barclays Center opens, changing the face of Downtown Brooklyn forever.

We’re used to audiences pouring out of shows by modern dance companies or a symphony at BAM, but that's nothing compared to the huge crowds that will be coming to the huge 19,000-seat venue for Nets games or to see such blockbuster acts as Rush, Neil Young or The Who. And it will be even busier if the Islanders decide to relocate there.

What will the scene be outside the arena after the events? Will “Gridlock Sam” Schwartz’s transportation plan work? Will Barclays’ security plan work?

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Posted by eric at 11:15 AM

July 21, 2012

So, what firm is in charge of prepaid parking for Brooklyn arena-goers? ParkWhiz gets some press, while official operator Click and Park seems not quite finished with its plan

Atlantic Yards Report

There was an odd article posted yesterday on Capital New York headlined A Chicago parking company prepares to take advantage of a 'bad situation' at Barclays Arena, since it focused on what is apparently an upstart competitor to the Barclays Center's planned parking partner, with no mention of the latter.

After sketching the neighborhood demand for residential permit parking and the arena operators' emphasis on mass transit, the article states:

Meanwhile, a Chicago-based company that allows drivers to find nearby parking lots online and book spaces ahead of time, is preparing to capitalize on the chaos.

"We want to be here to help people make the best of a bad situation," said Justin Baker, the marketing manager of the company, ParkWhiz, which positions itself as the Expedia of the driving world and connects drivers with millions of parking spots via its website.

...In April, the site began marketing parking spots in two private lots within walking distance of the arena: the Prospect Heights ParkRight at 315 St. Mark's Avenue, between Underhill and Washington avenues, about 10 blocks from the stadium; and the Downtown Brooklyn ParkRight at Gold and Tillary streets, also about a 10-block hike. Six more are expected to go live before Jay-Z's opening show in September.

By the way, the lowest prices at the more distant ParkWhiz lot, at Gold and Tillary, are quite reasonable: $7.70 (with fees) for a show. It is a hike down Flatbush Avenue, perhaps worth a subway or bus ride. And it would become less attractive in colder weather.

Where's Click and Park?

The article seemed based on a press release or tip from ParkWhiz, not ongoing coverage of Atlantic Yards.

As I commented, ParkWhiz has a national competitor called Click and Park.

Since May, Barclays Center operators have said they're working with Click and Park to sign up most of the parking garages close to the arena and that arena goers will be able to reserve parking space when they buy tickets on the arena web site.

While the Click and Park website does not mention the Barclays Center connection, it does operate a website called BarclayParking, which is not quite ready for prime time, since, as shown below, the "General Information" section contains placeholder latinate.

Nor is it possible to buy parking--or "parking permits"--at this point.

However, as the map above indicates, Click and Park has signed up several garages, including at Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Center mall and at the Newswalk building at 700 Pacific Street. No pricing is yet available.

link

Posted by steve at 5:52 PM

July 20, 2012

As a parking lot for TV vans emerges on Dean Street and Sixth Avenue, how to make it work for neighbors? Testimony from the Dean Street Block Association suggests adjustments

Atlantic Yards Report

TV vehicles serving the Barclays Center arena will be parking in a residential neighborhood. Does that mean any adjustments in the fence, the restoration of street trees, and the monitoring of impacts? Unclear.

Yesterday, the Department of Transportation held a hearing on a "revocable consent" for Forest City Ratner to run cable conduits from the Barclays Center arena under Sixth Avenue between Dean and Pacific streets to the parking lot at the northeast corner where six vans and a truck could park.

This broadcast support area, which would complement space under the arena for TV trucks, was not mentioned in the 2006 environmental review or 2009 update, but, in December 2010, an outline of the plan emerged in a graphic ([right]).

The lot was created by combining an existing empty lot with the space created by the demolition of two townhouses purchased by Forest City Ratner.

The three adjacent houses on Dean Street, officially designated as part of the project footprint and originally supposed to be part of a larger lot used for construction staging and ultimately a 272-foot tower, remain privately owned and subject to eminent domain at a later date.

article

Posted by eric at 11:16 AM

July 17, 2012

City: No on-street parking permits for arena neighbors

The Brooklyn Paper
by Natalie O'Neill

The folly of driving to the Barclays Center would be even more obvious if the city would implement Residential Parking Permits.

The city is putting the brakes on a parking plan that would give neighbors of the soon-to-open Barclays Center an edge over car-driving hoops fans heading to the arena for games and concerts.

The Department of Transportation rejected a proposal to sell residential parking permits near the new arena, saying the stadium’s great public transit access and the abundance of available on-street parking mean there are enough spots to go around — and there would be little support for a pay-for-permit plan that doesn’t guarantee anyone a space.
...

The city’s decision frustrates some politicians who say the permits are needed as a preventative measure.

“[The city] does not feel it’s needed to protect our community — I disagree,” said Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene).

article

Posted by eric at 11:22 AM

Initial Feelings About the Barclays Center

Broad And Pennsylvania

No one should take my opinions on the Barclays Center too serious- yet. None of us have been inside. With that said, on Saturday I decided to take a ride into Brooklyn to see the new home of the Nets. I have a few very quick, basic observations about the arena, from the outside.

1. The neighborhood is very nice, and not what a lot of outsiders will think they are going to. There's lots to do there. Atlantic Avenue will prosper from this.
2. It's really hard to get to the place. You can get off of 278 and go on Atlantic Avenue, but that will be a nightmare. That requires taking 278 far into Brooklyn, and it requires going down a normal street. The other option is to come in from Manhattan on Flatbush. Good luck with that.

Or leave the car at home? Fortunately, Rich is a quick learner.

3. I would suggest mass transit. The subway will literally stop there.

link

Posted by eric at 11:14 AM

July 16, 2012

DOT Study Rejects Residential Parking Permits For Stadium Neighborhoods

Streetsblog
by Noah Kazis

The Department of Transportation has rejected neighborhood demands to implement residential parking permits around the Barclays Center and Yankee Stadium, according to a DOT report released last Friday. DOT cited the availability of on-street parking spaces during Yankee games, the large number of non-residents parking on the street for purposes other than visiting the stadium, and the heavy costs of administering and enforcing an RPP program.
...

At last year’s [RPP] hearing, DOT representatives allowed that if residential parking permits belonged anywhere, they belonged around stadiums, and announced that the agency was in the process of studying RPP around Yankee Stadium and the Barclays Center. Now complete, that study has led DOT to believe that parking permits don’t belong there, either [PDF]. Another parking management tool is still on the table: DOT is considering modifying the parking meters near the Barclays Center to charge more or extend later into the evening, according to Norman Oder at Atlantic Yards Report.

article

Related coverage...

The Epoch Times, Parking Permits Around Stadiums Unneeded, Report Says

Posted by eric at 10:50 AM

July 15, 2012

Sen. Squadron: city DOT's rejection of residential parking permits is "troubling"

Atlantic Yards Report

State Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn) called the New York City Department of Transportation's rejection of residential parking permits (RPP ) near the Barclays Center and Yankee Stadium "troubling," pointing to the "overcrowded streets surrounding New York City's stadiums and major business districts." (Also see coverage in Patch.)

He noted that the Downtown Brooklyn Council found that more than 40 percent of on-street parked vehicles in Downtown Brooklyn are commuter cars.

The problem is that Squadron's legislation, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Velmanette Montgomery in the Senate and sponsored by Assemblymember Joan Millman in the Assembly, as run up against Brooklyn Sen. Marty Golden, who has vowed to oppose it.

link

Posted by steve at 7:00 PM

Is the Barclays Center area like the Bronx around Yankee Stadium? Poking holes in the city's rejection of residential permit parking

Atlantic Yards Report

Credit Streetsblog and its commenters for following up on the city's curious rejection of residential permit parking for the areas around Yankee Stadium and the Barclays Center arena, and a demolition of the city's implicit comparison between the two venues.

I'd already pointed out that Yankee Stadium is a warmer weather venue, while the arena is the opposite (at least for Nets games). The most cogent comments, to my mind, regard other points of difference: the Barclays Center would be used more than twice as much; drivers can reach the stadium via non-local streets; and a higher crime rate in the Bronx.

Beyond that, one commenter noted that a good number of people in the Bronx simply park on sidewalks, with impunity.

Comments Jonathan:

  1. The study has a narrow scope, which is "to better understand the parking conditions around Yankee Stadium and Atlantic Yards", but infers from that scope that "a Residential Parking Permit (RPP) Program would be problematic for residents, drivers, and city government", an opinion that is not supported by the work in the study.
  2. The study identifies that Yankee Stadium is used on about 100 days a year, but does not mention or address the fact that Barclays Center is planned for more than double that.
  3. The study identifies that both areas have significant off-street parking available, but does not identify that most drivers arriving at Yankee Stadium are directed to the off-street parking without passing residential neighborhoods, while at Barclay's Center virtually all drivers will be arriving on the residential and mixed-use study streets.
  4. The study assumes that "the objective" of an RPP program would be to prevent event attendees from using on-street parking spaces, whereas in fact a more important objective would be to prevent attendees from trolling for parking spots on narrow residential streets.
  5. The report presents findings from parking studies conducted around Yankee Stadium and Atlantic Yards, but does not evaluate the successful RPP programs that exist in virtually every other large North American city, including but not limited to: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Berkeley, Boston, Calgary, Cleveland, Columbus, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Denver, Edmonton, Evanston, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Louisville, Madison, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Montreal, Nashville, New Orleans, Oakland, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Sacramento, Seattle, San Jose, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Toronto, Tucson, Vancouver BC, and Washington DC.
  6. The study does not compare or address crime rates in the two neighborhoods identified, which may act as a deterrent to on-street parking.
  7. The study does not address the fact that in the neighborhoods closest to Barclays Center, on-street availability is significantly less than at Yankee Stadium, casting doubt on the applicability of finding #3 ("Fans parking on-street do not necessarily prevent residents and others from finding on-street spaces").
  8. The study collected data on the percentage of "resident" vs. "non-resident" parkers, but does not provide a fine enough grain to identify the significant differences found. Even a brief qualitative analysis could have addressed the potential origins and destinations of the non-residents and drawn obvious conclusions.
  9. The study only assesses the need for RPP due to game days. In fact, there is already a need for RPP, due to drivers parking here to use the subway, and this additional load merely acerbates the problem.
  10. The study opines that "Given the city's population and vehicular density, RPP would be little more than a "hunting license", continuing to allow residents to compete with one another for parking but without guaranteeing availability". The study states that while "some" may be willing to pay for RPP, "many" of us living on the blocks close to the arena are likely to question it. How about asking us?

link

Posted by steve at 6:50 PM

City Rejects Call For Barclays Area Parking Permits

New York Times via The Local
By Matthew J. Perlman

Mayor Bloomberg to car owners in the Atlantic Yards area: You’re on your own.

The city has rejected local calls for a residential parking permit system that would deny outsiders the ability to park, while selling locals something city residents have never before needed to pay for: parking on residential streets.

The rejection of the so-called RPP plan came after the Department of Transportation compared the parking situation at the soon-to-open 18,000-seat Barclays Center to the 50,000-plus seat Yankee Stadium.

Both abut residential neighborhoods — but that’s where the similarities end, local supporters of a permit plan say.

“I seriously question the analysis,” said Councilwoman Letitia James. “Factors on the ground are totally different.”

link

Related coverage...

Prospect Heights Patch, Residential Parking Permits Not Needed Near Barclays, City Says

A new study by the city Department of Transportation says there’s plenty of parking around the soon-to-be-opened Barclays Center, and that residential parking permits won’t be needed.

...

Tom Boast, vice president of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, an organization that has long supported residential parking permits, said the point was not to guarantee parking for residents, but to discourage people from driving to the arena.

"We still don’t see any disincentives to drive," he said. "At every turn, there’s more incentives to drive. ... When you read the study that’s your conclusion: 'Oh, there’s free parking there.'"

Posted by steve at 6:24 PM

July 13, 2012

From the District Service Cabinet meeting: "Day Two” task force; report on hiring; construction timing; plans for parking for TV trucks

Atlantic Yards Report

The big news at yesterday’s Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting concerned the city’s preliminary rejection of residential permit parking and the still unresolved plans for the first residential tower, B2.

But several other issues came up at the Borough Hall meeting, including a “Day Two” task force, a progress report on hiring for part-time jobs, plans for parking to serve TV trucks, and updates on ongoing issues.

Unresolved issues

For example a final Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan is due in early August, said Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, for Empire State Development, the agency overseeing the project. “We received a number of great comments” and are “trying to figure out the best way to tweak the plan.” Comments and responses are should be posted with the final plan.

Also, a plan to re-order police precinct boundaries--the arena likely will be policed by a supplement to the 78th Precinct (nearby) or 88th Precinct--is in the works. A letter from the Police Commissioner has been sent to the mayor, who then must get it approved by the City Council within 60 days, which is a close deadline, given that the arena opens on Sept. 28.

The State Liquor Authority’s final hearing on the Barclays Center liquor license is still not scheduled; a report from the administrative law judge who heard testimony is not expected until July 25. (That’s also a hearing day; I’m not sure if the report could be delivered on the day of the hearing.)

article

Posted by eric at 12:04 PM

DOT study claims residential-permit parking isn't needed for Barclays Center, Yankee Stadium

The Brooklyn Blog [NYPost.com]
by Rich Calder

A new city study has put the breaks on efforts to bring residential-permit parking to neighborhoods closest to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and Yankee Stadium in The Bronx – claiming there’s more than enough on-street parking available.

“Throughout most of the area around Yankee Stadium, parking occupancies remain low enough that residents generally have spaces available to them during Yankee games,” the Department of Transportation study says.

It then claims on-street parking will be even less of an issue at Barclays Center when it opens in September because it “will have a smaller seating capacity and even better transit accessibility.”

“Try telling that to anyone who has to circle for hours looking for parking spaces in Park Slope,” said resident Al Modine, 34, who lives near the Nets future arena.

Others were just as shocked by DOT’s findings.

“DOT missed the boat,” said Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council. “The permits aren’t about entitlement or guaranteeing parking for residents. They’re about discouraging people from driving to games.”

article

Posted by eric at 11:59 AM

July 12, 2012

NYC DOT recommends no residential permit parking for Barclays Center, based on Yankee Stadium patterns; some Brooklynites question analysis, comparison

Atlantic Yards Report

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) has released its study (also embedded below) of the potential for residential permit parking (RPP) around Yankee Stadium and the Barclays Center, concluding that the available parking spaces around the arena, as well as the pattern of use in the Bronx, suggest that such permits would not work--though the agency will revisit the issue after real-time usage figures are available.

The findings provoked dismay from Council Member Letitia James, who said the impact on parking is the most frequent fear/complaint she hears from constituents. And they provoked pushback from some locals at the bimonthly Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet Meeting, who questioned the DOT’s methodology.

For example, if only 10% of those driving to Yankee Stadium try on-street parking, that doesn’t necessarily apply to the area near the arena, pointed out Rob Witherwax, 2nd Vice Chair of Community Board 8, because drivers are more likely to walk relatively long distances from parking garages if the weather’s warm and the event’s during the day. (Chair Nizjoni Granville reminded me that a parking garage near Yankee Stadium has actually failed.)

For night games and event in colder weather, he suggested, drivers would seek spots on the blocks closer to the arena site. RPP would preserve on-street free parking for local residents, though they'd have to pay a fee. (With a Community Benefits Agreement in Los Angeles, the developer helped pay for five years.)

article

Posted by eric at 11:18 PM

July 10, 2012

Some art screening for the broadcast parking lot right next to residences (but no rendering of the trucks that will occupy it)

Atlantic Yards Report

Empire State Development has posted renderings of "public art screening" for the lot at the northeast corner of Dean Street and Sixth Avenues that will house broadcast trucks covering events at the arena across Sixth Avenue.

The aim is to make the perimeter more aesthetically pleasant, and it certainly improves an empty lot, but those trucks are going to stick out a lot more. I doubt many such broadcast support lots serving other arenas are flush against row houses. The three adjacent houses are privately owned, though subject to eminent domain as the project moves forward.

The two lots flush against Dean Street, in the rendering above and at the bottom right of the rendering below, were occupied by houses that Forest City Ratner demolished in 2008. The rest of the property was an empty lot.

link

Posted by eric at 10:49 AM

July 9, 2012

Spike Lee: "I’m not going to get into the politics of the Barclays Center; the thing is, it’s up, it’s a reality" (but "I just hope people take mass transit")

Atlantic Yards Report

From Will Leitch's interview in New York Magazine's Vulture with a famous Brooklyn-born Knicks fan, Spike Lee Talks Obama, the End of Mookie's Brooklyn, and the Hollywood Color Line:

Q. Your offices are three blocks from the Barclays Center. Do you think the Nets will change Brooklyn?
A. I am happy for Brooklyn, but I’m not leaving my beloved orange and blue. And I just cannot wait. One of the biggest nights in New York City sports history is going to be the first Knicks-Nets game in Brooklyn. That is going to be huge. That is going to be war.

Q. What do you think of the stadium?
A. I do not know the specifics about how people got moved out and all that stuff. I’m not going to get into the politics of the Barclays Center; the thing is, it’s up, it’s a reality, and that’s just that. It’s here; you have to deal with it. Negative and positive; I can deal with it. Jay-Z is going to christen it in September with his concert: you’ve got Barbra Streisand coming. The Nets will be playing there in the next NBA season, and Brooklyn has their first ­major-league team since the Dodgers fled after the 1957 season, the year I was born.

I'm not going to get into the politics of the Barclays Center is an understandable and not uncommon hedge, but given that Spike Lee had gotten into the politics of so many things it's a bit of a dodge.

Exactly. In the interview, Spike gets into education politics, city politics, Presidential politics, race politics, gay-marriage politics — but he doesn't want to talk about land-grab politics. Cop out.

Warnings about traffic

Lee continued with a warning:

But I do know this: I just hope people take mass transit. I hope they take it when they are coming from Long Island, because you know you have the Manhattan Bridge and you have the Brooklyn Bridge. The Manhattan Bridge comes [begins drawing on a napkin] … If you come up the bridge right on Flatbush ­Avenue, you come off the Brooklyn Bridge, you make a left on Tillary, and you are on Flatbush Avenue. Flatbush and Atlantic is the Barclays Center. I predict traffic is going to be so jammed that you are going to be on Canal Street in Manhattan trying to get over the Manhattan Bridge. It is going to be crazy. People have to use public transportation.

Well, yes, but people have been saying that for years.

article

Related content...

Vulture [New York Magazine], Spike Lee Talks Obama, the End of Mookie’s Brooklyn, and the Hollywood Color Line

Will Leitch's interview with Spike Lee is well worth reading. It's a real shame that the otherwise outspoken and thoughtful Lee took a pass on the Atlantic Yards fight.

Posted by eric at 11:02 AM

July 4, 2012

Brooklyn Residents Less Than Thrilled About Atlantic Yards Congestion

NY Observer
by Sarah Grothjan

The residents in the neighborhoods bordering Barclays Arena will almost certainly be stuck with congestion and beer-swilling visitors, but at least they may be spared a multi-level nightclub.

The landlord is evicting Kemistry Lounge’s owners for non-payment of rent, putting a halt (if only a temporary one) to their clubbing brainchild, Brownstoner reports. That’s good news for those nearby the lounge’s would-be home at 260 Flatbush Avenue.

The prospect of the nightspot drawing a loud, young intoxicated crowd to an area that is likely to already be highly-trafficked by loud, young and intoxicated people left many in Community Board 6 unenthusiastic about its arrival.

link

Related coverage...

Bronwstoner, Kemistry Lounge’s Future in Question

Posted by eric at 9:39 AM

July 3, 2012

Second manhole fire within a block of Barclays Center site snags traffic, knocks out nearby subway for 80 minutes

Atlantic Yards Report

Actually, the folks building the Barclays Center seem intent on demolishing it themselves. Unless, of course, this is just coincidence.

For the second time in three days, a manhole fire has stopped traffic within a block from the Barclays Center site and drawn emergency personnel from the New York Fire Department on Con Edison. This time the fire stopped the subway for 80 minutes.

On July 1, it was a manhole fire on Flatbush Avenue. Today, shortly before noon, there was a manhole fire at Sixth Avenue and Bergen Street, right near the 78th Precinct.

Sixth Avenue was blocked off between Dean and Bergen, and Bergen was blocked off between Sixth and Flatbush, thus forcing westbound traffic on the latter to turn onto Sixth.

link

Video: Raul Rothblatt

Related coverage...

Park Slope Patch, Update: Power Restored to 78th Precinct, Subway, Some Customers After Second Bergen Street Fire

For the third day in a row, residents, businesses and the 2/3/4/5 lines have lost power at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Bergen Street.
...

Con Edison still does not know the reason for the repeated fires but are working to get power back up as soon as possible.

Posted by eric at 3:08 PM

From AY Watch: construction vehicles on Sixth Avenue sidewalk force pedestrians into street; no one takes charge to diminish hazardous conditions

Atlantic Yards Report

Those traversing Sixth Avenue at about 3 pm yesterday adjacent to the Barclays Center site had to contend with some hazardous conditions, as documented on Atlantic Yards Watch. There was no passageway on the west side of the street, as a construction fence extends to the sidewalk.

On the east side of the street, a dump truck was parked on the sidewalk, forcing pedestrians walking north, including women pushing baby carriages, into an area of the street set off from traffic by construction cones, then cutting past a parked earth mover. No one directed pedestrians.

Later, as seen in the first video below, some pedestrians were forced outside the cones by parked cars, apparently from construction workers. And, as seen in the second video, some pedestrians walking south along the east side of the street found themselves on a precarious path in between the construction fencing and the traffic.

link

Posted by eric at 1:56 PM

July 2, 2012

City Planners Set July 3 Deadline for Barclays Center Traffic Plan Feedback

Live Near Atlantic Yards? The public has until Tuesday, July 3 to submit comments on Forest City Ratner's plan to manage traffic once the area opens in September.

Park Slope Patch
by Amy Sara Clark

Love it or hate it, if you've got something to say on Forest City Ratner's plan to control traffic around Atlantic Yards once the Barclays Center opens in the fall, you've got until tomorrow to have your say.

The deadline for submitting comments is Tuesday, July 3 at 6 p.m.

The main gist of the plan is that the developer and the MTA will encourage people to take the train instead of driving by adding extra trains and through public education about the joys of public transit.
...

But critics say the plan's of parking surcharges and residential parking permits mean there's no "real disincentives" to convince people to leave their cars at home.

You can read the full Barclays Traffic Management Plan and a Q & A on it and send your comments to AtlanticYards@esd.ny.gov by 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3.

link

Posted by eric at 10:33 PM

Pending questions regarding the Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management plan (deadline tomorrow night): residential permit parking; lessons from Chicago and L.A.; Carlton Avenue Bridge timing; who pays for transit service?

Atlantic Yards Report

According to Empire State Development, the public has until July 3, 2012 (midnight) to submit comments and questions on the draft Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan to AtlanticYards@esd.ny.gov.

ESD will coordinate with other agencies to compile responses to all questions and will post the final TDM Plan along with responses to all questions by the beginning of August. A preliminary Q&A (below) was posted last week.

WNYC has coverage this morning, focusing on the lack of residential parking permits.

I suspect various individuals and organizations will post questions; here are some from me.

article

Posted by eric at 11:40 AM

How about that: the first Community Benefits Agreement, the purported model for Brooklyn, contained a residential permit parking program

Atlantic Yards Report

The pioneering Staples Center Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) has long been portrayed as an inspiration for the Atlantic Yards CBA, as shown in the article at right from the short-lived 2005 Brooklyn Standard promotional "publication."

However, the CBA in Brooklyn was signed only by allies of the project, as opposed to a broader coalition in Los Angeles, as has long been pointed out.

Where's parking?

And, as I wrote in June 2011, the Staples CBA concerned several issues ignored in the Brooklyn document, including a residential permit parking program.

Given the concern about the latter in evaluating the Atlantic Yards Transportation Demand Management plan, its worth a look at what was promised to Los Angelenos: developer support for the enactment of RPP, and funding--up to $25,000 a year for five years--to defray the costs.

The CBA also touched on issues of traffic and security, though not in such detail. But it's still notable that "community protection" was not considered antagonistic to "community benefits." In Brooklyn, those certainly can seem in tension.

article

Posted by eric at 11:34 AM

Parking Woes Still Dog New Brooklyn Arena

WNYC/Transportation Nation
by Janet Babbin

Residents concerned about traffic and congestion around the new soon-to-be-opened Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn have until Tuesday, July 3, to submit written comments to Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing the project.

“These streets will just be absolutely clogged with on street parking, and the [transportation plan] doesn’t address that,” Gib Veconi said. He is with the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development council and complained there will be a lack of on-street parking for the thousands who will drive to shows at the arena after it opens this fall.

According to surveys conducted by the project’s developer, Forest City Ratner, about 2,500 carloads are expected to drive to each Barclays Arena event — and there are 220 events so far scheduled at the arena during its first year in operation.

Empire State Development extended the comment period to give residents more time to respond. ESD said it’s confident that the neighborhood will be able to absorb the influx of visitors because many will take public transportation to the Prospect Heights facility.

article

NoLandGrab: As, more or less confident than they were about the whole project being built in 10 years?

Posted by eric at 10:41 AM

June 29, 2012

Getting some answers from ESD on transportation plan: is cutting parking a disincentive? will parking change be studied? where will savings on "NetroCards" go?

Atlantic Yards Report

The draft Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan was presented to the local community and elected officials on 5/22/12 (my coverage), as noted by Empire State Development, and the public has until July 3, 2012 to submit comments and questions to AtlanticYards@esd.ny.gov.

ESD has prepared a document (also below) that answers several of the questions already raised. I highlight a few.

Parking disincentive

The key question is below, though it could be formulated in multiple ways. How can the reduction by half in on-site parking is an effective disincentive, according to the question, when there's sufficient off-site parking elsewhere nearby?

The answer is that "[p]roviding fewer parking spaces in an area with robust transit service is clearly a disincentive to driving." But the presence of free, on-street parking will be an incentive to driving, at least for some (and initially).

article

Posted by eric at 10:31 AM

From the Arena Operations presentation: views of the Haier Store, loading dock, and parking lot

Atlantic Yards Report

The Empire State Development has posted the Barclays Center Arena Operations presentation unveiled at the June 26 public meeting concern security, sanitation, and parking, and the full document is also posted below.

Below, I highlight several issues, including the Haier Store, the loading dock, and the parking configuration.

article

Posted by eric at 10:27 AM

June 28, 2012

You Still Have Time to Complain About Barclays Center Traffic

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]

The public comment period on the Barclays Center traffic and transit mitigation plan has been extended to July 3 — giving you another week to lodge your complaint or register your support.

The long-overdue draft plan was presented in May — and promised fewer parking spaces for cars, and more mass transit, to discourage driving.

Still, many issues remain to be resolved — so read the plan and send your comments to the Empire State Development Corporation at AtlanticYards@esd.ny.gov by July 3.

link

Posted by eric at 10:38 AM

June 22, 2012

Effort to reduce required parking in Downtown Brooklyn moves ahead, supported by Forest City Ratner, other developers

Atlantic Yards Report

Forest City Ratner, among other developers, supports a cut in required parking in Downtown Brooklyn, a possible precedent for a similar cut in parking attached to the Atlantic Yards housing planned nearby.

Streetsblog reported yesterday, in Developers, CB 2: Let’s Repurpose Downtown Brooklyn’s Empty Parking:

Parking reform in Downtown Brooklyn doesn’t go far enough, said developers at a public hearing last night, and the land use committee of Brooklyn Community Board 2 agreed. They want reduced parking requirements to apply not only to new buildings, as proposed by the Department of City Planning, but also to existing buildings and developments under construction. This would allow developers to convert empty floors of parking into retail, housing, or office space.

...Indirectly, making parking reform retroactive could also allow future developments to be built without parking, despite the continued existence of parking minimums. Existing buildings could rent out no-longer-required spaces to satisfy the parking requirements for new projects going up nearby, confirmed Purnima Kapur, director of DCP’s Brooklyn office.

The call for retroactively reducing parking requirements was echoed by representatives from Two Trees Management Company, Forest City Ratner, 388 Bridge and The Hub. Between all of their Downtown Brooklyn projects, hundreds of parking spaces could be repurposed.

article

Posted by eric at 12:33 PM

June 20, 2012

Comment period on Transportation Demand Management plan extended to July 3, from June 22

Atlantic Yards Report

For those aiming to get comments on the Atlantic Yards/Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan in by the previously announced June 22 deadline, there's some breathing room.

Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, for Empire State Development, explained that the comment period was being extended to July 3 to accommodate comments raised at an upcoming June 26 meeting on arena operations. The latter was itself pushed back because of the State Liquor Authority hearing tomorrow.

"We expect folks who attend on the 26th will want to have some time to submit comments on the information presented at that meeting since it relates to TDM," Hankin said.

A notice about the extension is being sent out today. Comments can be sent until midnight July 3 to AtlanticYards@esd.ny.gov.

link

Posted by eric at 10:42 AM

June 18, 2012

DOB orders stop work on Barclays Center parking lot

Atlantic Yards Watch

The Department of Buildings has issued a stop work order for construction on block 1129. The stop work order is dated June 15th and describes the violations as "various." The address cited is 583 Dean Street, which is the address under which FCRC has submitted the plans for the surface parking lot on block 1129. The order states the work on the "full site" is to be stopped "except to make site safe."

Community members have complained about the work on the block 1129 for multiple reasons, most seriously recently for vibrations on buildings in the historic district along Carlton Avenue. Several incident reports from that area have been filed on this website about vibrations over the last several weeks, including a ceiling collapse.
...

The work on the lot for the last month has appeared to exceed the scope and impact of the approved work.

article

Posted by eric at 11:30 AM

American Society of Landscape Architects calls for sustainable design for Barclays surface parking lot

Atlantic Yards Watch

The New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (NYASLA), an organization of landscape architects in New York City, Long Island and Westchester, has submitted a letter to ESDC CEO Kenneth Adams about the plans for the surface parking lot for Barclays Center patrons on block 1129. NYSLA expresses "dissatisfaction" with the proposed plans, and calls for a more sustainable plan that benefits NYC "through vegetation, shade, a minimized carbon footprint, stormwater management and pervious parking surface materials." The heart of their recommendations is that the lot meet NYC DCP standards, and that it be constructed using green technology.

The group writes that it finds the proposed design "troubling, potentially dangerous to long-term public health, averse to maintaining environmental quality and inconsistent with NYC’s intent to strengthen the economy, combat climate change and enhance quality of life through thoughtful and environmentally beneficial design."

article

Posted by eric at 11:26 AM

Landscape architects' organization says Atlantic Yards parking lot ignores sustainability; calls for increased greenery, better use of stormwater, programming when space is unused

Atlantic Yards Report

Forest City Ratner's plan to not meet Department of City Planning standards for the surface parking lot associated with the Barclays Center--thanks, according to the developer, to a state override of zoning*--has generated extensive criticism, not only from Atlantic Yards Watch, but more recently from a leading professional organization, which warns of "higher-than-average temperatures in the neighborhood as a result of the heat island effect."

In a letter sent 6/12/12 to Kenneth Adams, President/CEO, Empire State Development Corporation, the state agency overseeing the project, the New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (NYASLA) commented that the parking should be more sustainable, adding "vegetation, shade, a minimized carbon footprint, stormwater management and pervious parking surface materials."

"Such an approach is more respectful of the quality of life of adjacent residents and businesses," wrote NYASLA President Denisha Williams and Past-President, Policy Committee Tricia Martin.

*The letter notes that the exemption from city guidelines is because of the lot's status as a temporary lot--but it could last for more than a decade.

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NoLandGrab: The next time Forest City Ratner is "respectful of the quality of life of adjacent residents and businesses" will be the first time Forest City Ratner is respectful of the quality of life of adjacent residents and businesses.

Posted by eric at 10:52 AM

June 12, 2012

Report: schedule indicates Carlton Avenue Bridge delayed, but could meet arena opening date thanks to overtime; ESDC says "mitigation plan" reference incorrect; arena still on schedule for September 5; transit connection slips to mid-AugustThe report, dat

Atlantic Yards Report

The Carlton Avenue Bridge is still scheduled to be completed on 10/3/12, five days after the first event at the Barclays Center, but, according to a report from the construction monitor for the arena bond trustee, Forest City Ratner is paying overtime to meet the completion date, and also has asked the city Department of Transportation for the OK to open the bridge with temporary street lighting and railing.

The report, dated 6/4/12 and based on a site visit 4/26/12 and a later document review, was issued by Merritt & Harris, which reports to the bond trustee, developer Forest City Ratner, and the Empire State Development Corporation.

The report also states, "Nevertheless, the Empire State Development (ESD) has requested that FCRC propose a mitigation plan to control and alleviate the traffic flow congestion for the first event at the arena, scheduled for September 28, 2012."

Is that so? Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, ESD, told me the report was wrong. Merritt & Harris, she suggested, might be referring to the Transportation Demand Management plan (TDM) developed by Forest City.

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NoLandGrab: September 28th, October 3rd. Tomato, tomahto. Whatever the date, it's clear Forest City Ratner hasn't cared about "f**king the bridge."

Posted by eric at 10:24 AM

June 8, 2012

Why is there so much airplane noise on this bright sunny day?

Brooklynian

notsayin posted the following response:

Mystery solved. Twitter user @yankees368 somehow tracked the helicopter reg N666NY to one hovering 5,600 ft over Atlantic and Flatbush last night.

A little Googling connected the registrant's address to Sky River Helicopters in NJ, who confirmed to me it was their Robinson R44 (and possibly a second helo taking turns) doing an evening-long traffic study for the DOT.

I'm checking to confirm, but guessing it's arena-related. Sky River had no idea, but they were super nice and forthcoming.

We can take our tinfoil hats off (for now!) - and probably thank Bruce Ratner for the excitement.

And then this:

Confirmed. Baseline study of traffic conditions pre-arena opening for DOT.

Beats aerial drones or black helicopters any time though.

link

NoLandGrab: Given the absence of a coherent security plan for the very-close-to-major-avenues arena, let's maybe not give NYPD any ideas about aerial drones.

Posted by eric at 12:19 PM

June 6, 2012

City Planning proposes slashing Downtown Brooklyn parking minimums; could impact Atlantic Yards arena-goers and required residential parking

Atlantic Yards Report

It's too soon to predict the impact on Atlantic Yards parking--both for arena-goers and future residents--but it's notable that the Department of City Planning now aims to slash mandatory parking in Downtown Brooklyn, an area adjacent to--and technically including slivers of--the Atlantic Yards site.

As Streetsblog reported 6/4/12, in DCP Proposal Will Cut Downtown Brooklyn Parking Minimums in Half:

Downtown Brooklyn’s mandatory parking minimums would be cut in half for new development and eliminated outright for affordable housing under a plan from the Department of City Planning. The change is significant — the first rollback of the costly and car-ownership inducing requirements under the Bloomberg administration — but doesn’t go far enough. Even by DCP’s own roundabout admission, the reduced parking minimums will still create an unnecessarily large supply of parking.
...

AY Impact?

Despite the state's pattern of overriding city zoning (including zoning of the slivers in the top map) in numerous ways to enable the Atlantic Yards project, the Empire State Development Corporation has not, as of yet, overridden the parking minimums assumed for the residential portion of the project.

The ESDC, which had previously mandated 1,100 on-site parking spaces, will apparently revise that, given plans to provide only 541 on-site spaces to arena-goers.

One explanation is that there is more off-site parking available than previously analyzed and, indeed, the new DCP report suggests an "excess parking supply."

Then again, the impact of the arena is yet unclear.

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Posted by eric at 10:22 AM

June 5, 2012

Arena Community Impacts Meeting

Prospect Heights Patch

The next Arena Community Impacts Meeting with Councilmember Levin will discuss the newly-released transportation plan.

Additional speakers include a guest official from the department of sanitation.

25 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217 (Pacific Street Library - Brooklyn Public Library)
June 6, 2012
6 p.m.

link

Posted by eric at 1:03 PM

Atlantic Avenue Subway Station Will Be Crowded

From Russia with Dunk
by Raphael Astrow

Transportation to the Barclays Center will be unusual for many years to come. Brooklyn community leaders have helped prevent the Nets from building parking lots. As a result, there will only be 550 parking spaces available each night. So, Nets fans should plan to get accustomed to the Atlantic Avenue Subway Station. The MTA plans to have plenty of additional trains to take fans to Nets games. The station will look different by opening night because the Nets have paid to construct a subway connection right by their arena.

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Posted by eric at 12:23 PM

June 4, 2012

Baseline study to measure success of TDM program begins

Atlantic Yards Watch

Automatic Traffic Recorders and manual counters have been sighted at some of the intersections in the vicinity of the arena in the last few days. The photo to the right shows a counter in a green safety vest at Vanderbilt Avenue and Dean Street Saturday, June 2nd at 8:15 PM.

They are a sign the baseline study is currently underway that will provide one set of data later to be used to assess the success of Sam Schwartz Engineering's Transportation Demand Management Program. Apparently at least some data in the FEIS will still be used as well because the baseline study includes a smaller study scope than the FEIS.

The idea of a baseline study was disclosed to the public in the fall of 2011. Its final version was released in April. It includes 56 intersections that will be assessed using manual counts. That information will be supplemented with 51 automatic traffic recorders (ATRs). The manual counts will provide vehicle turning movement volumes, pedestrian crossing volumes and bicycle volumes. The ATRs will provide a continuous count of vehicle volumes over the course of 9 days. The study also includes "travel time runs." They will assess the speed and amount of time it takes for vehicles to travel along Flatbush Avenue, Atlantic Avenue, 3rd Avenue, and 4th Avenue.

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Posted by eric at 11:11 AM

June 3, 2012

Around arena, black boxes aim to count vehicles for baseline traffic study

Atlantic Yards Report

Update: I'm told these counters are gone. It's unclear whether they were put up as a test, or will return.

Wondering that the block box is at right, seen at around the Atlantic Yards site at the northeast corner of Dean Street and Sixth Avenue, the northeast corner of Pacific Street and Sixth, and the southeast side of Atlantic Avenue and Sixth?

It's a vehicle counter, from Miovision, which offers a portable video-based system to provide two typesof traffic studies: standard ones that monitor anonymous traffic movements and also license plate recognition studies.

Surely this is for the former:

Automatically count vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists to collect traffic data for a corridor study, traffic impact study, traffic volume study, amongst other studies.

As city Department of Transportation rep Chris Hrones explained last December, the agency asked Forest City Ratner to gather updated data regarding traffic conditions around the site, a baseline for a post-opening study of traffic conditions, to help guide additional mitigations.

link

Posted by steve at 10:52 PM

June 2, 2012

Transportation Demand Management documents released: nothing about Wrigley; HOV parking questions; the effectiveness of free MetroCard and other giveaways (that would cost Forest City Ratner) as incentives

Atlantic Yards Report

Late Friday afternoon, some ten days after public meetings regarding the Atlantic Yards Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, the Empire State Development Corporation released documents behind the plan.

It's notable that the draft of the plan, from Sam Schwartz Engineering, rely on best practices from CitiField in Queens, the Prudential Center in Newark, and CenturyLink Field in Seattle, but make no mention of the significant example of Wrigley Field in Chicago, which has been an inspiration for the proposed Neighborhood Protection Plan, which aims to fill in gaps in the TDM plan.

I'll point to a few lingering questions.

link

Posted by steve at 6:58 PM

June 1, 2012

From Atlantic Yards Watch: blocking the curb at Pacific Street; dump trucks on Bergen Street; tractors on Dean Street

Atlantic Yards Watch

When the NYPD sets such a fine example, this is what we get.

Why's there a need for a Barclays Center Neighborhood Protection Plan, to discourage driving, add signage, and beef up sanitation and traffic enforcement, among other things?

Because the arena's encroaching on a residential neighborhood, and violations of construction rules and local laws continue to take their toll on the streets around the Atlantic Yards site.

From Atlantic Yards Watch: Contractors and workers at the Atlantic Yards site continue to park on the sidewalk at Pacific Street and Sixth Avenue, increasing danger to pedestrians and even damaging the curb. The blue pickup truck, according to AY Watch, is owned by The Laquila Group.

link

Posted by eric at 10:12 AM

When police parking shifts to Bergen Street, the sidewalks get blocked

Atlantic Yards Report

The loss of parking on Sixth Avenue between Dean and Pacific streets, and in the adjacent lot that is to become the satellite uplink parking lot, along with the general desire for police at the 78th precinct to park their vehicles near the stationhouse at Bergen Street and Sixth Avenue, has led to to the situation pictured below.

Police vehicles are now parked on the sidewalk on Bergen Street directly in front of the south entrances to the Dean Street playground.

This is one block south and (about) a third of a long block east of the arena site.

As the pictures, contributed by a community member, show, those with carriages and walkers face hazardous situations. Even before the arena construction began, police used sidewalks along Sixth Avenue to park their vehicles.

Now the ecosystem is ever more delicate. It's another argument for taking seriously the proposed Barclays Center Neighborhood Protection Plan, which asks policymakers to look at the examples of sports facilities in residential neighborhoods, notably Wrigley Field in Chicago, as models.

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NoLandGrab: "Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect?"

Posted by eric at 9:58 AM

May 31, 2012

Protecting Neighborhoods from an Oncoming ‘Onslaught’

Civic News
by David Herman

The Park Slope Civic Council, the Boerum Hill Association, and the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council have created a Barclays Center Neighborhood Protection Plan (NPP) that sets up a series of guidelines to minimize the impact of the oncoming arena on surrounding communities.

“Long-standing and historic residential neighborhoods in the immediate vicinity of Barclays Center (Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, Park Slope and Prospect Heights) need protection from the onslaught of vehicular traffic, patron activity and negative externalities caused by this type of magnet destination,” the plan states. The NPP was needed because various planning documents for the Atlantic Yards megaproject “only minimally address mitigation of the operation of the arena on adjacent neighborhoods.” (You can download a PDF of the plan here.)

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Related coverage...

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Neighbors want protection from Barclays hordes

“I used to visit my brother in Wrigleyville, Chicago, right next to Wrigley Field, and I was amazed at the orderliness of the neighborhood as a whole after events there. That’s because they have an active neighborhood protection plan there,” said [City Council Member Steve] Levin.

Many of those who who attended yesterday's event felt that Sam Schwartz’s recently unveiled traffic management plan, officially sponsored by the Barclays Center, was incomplete.

Brownstoner, A Summary of the Barclays Neighborhood Protection Plan

Posted by eric at 12:40 PM

May 29, 2012

Atlantic Yards’ Transportation Perception Management Plan

Prospect Heights Patch
by Gib Veconi

This one eluded our grasp last week.

In Chicago, the City Council passed a “Neighborhood Protection Plan” ordinance that governs on-site and remote parking for Wrigley Field, shuttle bus service, and residential parking permits for neighborhoods near the stadium. The New Jersey State Legislature enacted a “Special Event Parking Surcharge” to discourage patrons of Newark’s Prudential Center from driving to events.

In Brooklyn, we get Forest City Ratner’s Transportation Demand Management Plan (known as the TDM), presented yesterday in meetings at Borough Hall by the developer’s traffic consultant “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz.

Mr. Schwartz is one of the most respected traffic engineers in the country. He was the NYC Commissioner of Transportation in the Koch administration. But at his presentation to the community last night, Mr. Schwartz seemed a little like the Wizard of Oz.

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Posted by eric at 10:09 PM

Evaluating the arena transportation plan based on AY Watch's list of questions: lots of unknowns remain (hence push for more in Neighborhood Protection Plan)

Atlantic Yards Report

Today, at a press conference, community groups involved in Atlantic Yards Watch (Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, the Park Slope Civic Council, and the Boerum Hill Association) will, along with local elected officials, unveil the Neighborhood Protection Plan.

The goal? Address issues ignored by Forest City Ratner in its release of the draft Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, as well as other arena-related issues not yet addressed.

I've already pointed out unresolved issues in the TDM plan and would remind readers that the issue that's generated the greatest concern is the protection of residential streets from those seeking free on-street parking.

But let me evaluate it based on the list of questions posed by Atlantic Yards Watch before its release. Below, I've reproduced the meat of the questions, with my scorecard in italics. Lots of questions remain unresolved.

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Posted by eric at 10:42 AM

May 26, 2012

Winners and Losers

Your weekly guide to heroic and villainous actions in tri-state transportation and development.

Mobilizing the Region

Losers

Forest City Ratner—The long-awaited transportation demand management plan for Brooklyn’s new Barclays Center arena, which sits at the site of one of the borough’s busiest transit hubs, leaves much to be desired. The plan does not adequately discourage driving, does not include the free subway fare for Nets ticketholders that was promised in 2009, and offloads the price of increased MTA service—necessary to move the area’s huge crowds—onto the New York taxpayer.

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Posted by eric at 10:16 AM

Deeming transportation plan inadequate and other issues not addressed, local officials, PHNDC will propose "Neighborhood Protection Plan"

Atlantic Yards Report

There's lots of reason to think that the Transportation Demand Management plan announced this week by developer Forest City Ratner will not do enough to discourage drivers from seeking free, on-street parking. And there's much reason to wonder how other arena operations will be handled.

In the absence of such plans, the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, backed by several elected officials on Tuesday will propose a nine point "Neighborhood Protection Plan."

I haven't seen the details, but presumably it draws in part on the example of Wrigley Field in Chicago.

As I wrote three years ago, in 2004, in exchange for being able to play 30 rather than 18 night games, the City Council approved the Wrigley Field Neighborhood Protection Ordinance. The Cubs agreed to "fund and operate expanded remote parking, print residential parking permits, and expand trash pick-up in and around Wrigley Field, as detailed in the annual report (also below).

Press conference details

From the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council:

Press conference announcing Barclays Center Neighborhood Protection Plan
Atlantic Yards
Start Date:
May 29, 2012 - 9:30am
Sponsored By:
Council Members Stephen Levin, Letitia James, Senator Velmanette Montgomery, other elected officials and community leaders
Location:
Corner of Atlantic Avenue and South Portland Ave., Brooklyn
Description:
Elected officials and community leaders will propose a nine point "Neighborhood Protection Plan," and will call on Mayor Bloomberg and developer Forest City Ratner to meet and endorse plan to protect the communities around the Barlcays Center arena.
Where:
Corner of Atlantic Avenue and South Portland St, Brooklyn
Why:
The Barclays Center arena is opening in less than four months and there is still no acceptable plan to mitigate the impact of the arena and its thousands of patrons on the surrounding neighborhoods. We have put together a 9-point “Neighborhood Protection Plan” to address what our neighborhoods need to mitigate the impact of Barclay’s Arena. The Bloomberg Administration and Forest City Ratner have not explained to our communities how the impact of foot traffic and neighborhood disruptions will be handled after Barclays events. We have not heard a real plan to address parking and transportation needs. Council Members Levin and James are calling for a public meeting with the Mayor’s office and Forest City Ratner to present the Neighborhood Protection Plan and allow for the community to have real input in the decisions that will forever change our communities.

link

Posted by eric at 10:09 AM

May 25, 2012

Gridlock Sam goes rogue: "Don't even think of driving" to arena, but Barclays Center website offers driving directions (though parsimonious parking info), and Ticketmaster didn't get the message

Atlantic Yards Report

Thanks to some uncurious and ahistorical reporting, mainly from the New York Times (and those who relied on it), Forest City Ratner's belatedly-released Transportation Demand Management plan for the Barclays Center was treated as a wise solution rather than an expected tactic with enduring question marks.

And paid consultant "Gridlock Sam" Schwartz was treated as an "expert" rather than an "expert" "consultant" delivering for a client.

Yes, we've known for years that they would emphasize public transit, and provide some increased subway (and train) service. And we've known since the beginning of this month that the number of spaces in the surface parking lot would be halved, a concession more to reality--surface capacity--than to public policy. (In other words, they aimed to build 1,100 spaces, but the oft-discussed use of stackers would have caused delays, as Schwartz's firm had warned.)

But the six-month delay in releasing a plan with little new--and even less than promised, given the loss of the free MetroCard--was obscured by some headlines that treated the smaller parking lot as a solution in itself.

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Posted by eric at 10:42 AM

May 24, 2012

Beat the Barclays Center Traffic Blues: Use Mass Transit

Huff Post New York
by Ellen Freudenheim

I'd never heard of Samuel I. Schwartz before this morning's coffee and The New York Times.

But, Samuel I. Schwartz, I'm blowing a kiss your way.

While Forest City Ratner, with its detail-free "Transportation Demand Management" Plan, is blowing smoke somewhere else.

I care, because I live in a nearby Brooklyn neighborhood, Park Slope, a 10-minute walk from Barclays Center. And the arena promises to spring into action this autumn, boasting a Madison Square Garden-like schedule of 200 annual events (that's an average of three per week) including such blockbusters as Barbra Streisand and Disney on Ice.

I'm coming down with a case of anticipatory road rage from being stuck in stadium traffic.

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Posted by eric at 10:34 PM

Worth follow-up from the transportation meeting: disincentives, penalties, missing parking data, impact of tower construction, security, and truck routes

Atlantic Yards Report

Following up my coverage of the May 22 public meeting on the Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, I want to focus on some exchanges that deserve more analysis, given that the questions didn't quite get full answers.

I already wrote this morning about one seemingly inadequate answer: whether the halving of on-site parking, and other changes, should have triggered revision of project documents. The answer was no, but the evidence seems otherwise.
...

Disincentives

One of the biggest issues looming: What disincentives will prevent people from circling neighborhood streets to look for free, on-street parking? When Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman read the question, there were some titters from the crowd.

Forest City Ratner consultant Sam ("Gridlock Sam") Schwartz answered incompletely, stressing incentives: to use the parking reservation system that will direct them to nearby garages, and to “intercept drivers” so they use remote lots--at 50% of the rate of lots closer to the arena--near the BQE and use a shuttle bus along Atlantic Avenue.

He didn't discuss disincentives such as residential permit parking.

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Posted by eric at 11:43 AM

Barclays Will Have Little Parking For Cars, Lots For Bikes

Gothamist
by Garth Johnston

We already knew that the Barclays Center over at the Atlantic Yards was going to have half the parking it originally promised, but yesterday officials came together to try and explain why that is actually a good thing. And also to talk bike parking, animal marches and the not-surprising death of the dream of "Netrocards."

As you might remember, when the 19,000-seat arena was first proposed, officials were mulling the idea of giving free Metrocards to attendees as a way to ease traffic. Yesterday former Koch traffic commissioner Sam "Gridlock Sam" Schwartz, who is working on the arena's traffic plan, explained that, "We find that the people who were driving to the arena, what they were facing was a $30 charge for parking versus a $2.50 MetroCard. Giving them the free MetroCard was not the incentive." Schwartz went on to say that the arena's plan was to "scare drivers away from the arena. I will be advising people on opening day, don’t even think about driving to the Jay-Z concert."

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Related coverage...

NYMag.com Daily Intel, Please, Please Do Not Drive Your Car to Barclays Center

500-some-odd spots near the arena seems destined to have a bunch of dopes driving around Park Slope looking for spots. Even here, to quote Singles, people love their cars.

Ditmas Park Corner, What Do You Think About All the Barclays Hubbub?

From Jay-Z to Babs to the Biebs, from basketball to hockey to horses, and possibly now from traffic to traffic changes to even more traffic, the saga of the Barclays Center has been exhausting from the word go. And even though we’re a good 15 minutes from the future arena, there’s no denying that it will impact us in some way.
...

So as someone who doesn’t live there but who does pass through regularly, how do you think transportation around the Barclays Center is going to be? Do you anticipate packed subways cars, backed up traffic on Flatbush Avenue, and a pedestrian mash on your evening commute? Or do you think there won’t be a noticeable difference?

Take the poll — so far, disaster is outdistancing confidence in Forest City's TDM plan by a 12-to-1 margin.

Posted by eric at 11:12 AM

Can state/Forest City cut on-site parking and tweak driving disincentives without amending project documents? Officials said yes, but it looks doubtful

Atlantic Yards Report

Update: I queried the ESD yesterday about the answer below, and Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, responded this morning: "We will post a corrected answer to this question as soon as we can."

At the meeting May 22 on Transportation Demand Management, officials were asked if, given the changes in the plan, notably the offering of only 541 on-site parking spaces instead of the promised 1100 (driven by the inability to use once-planned stackers), revisions were required to project documents.

Several officials said no, but that deserved a lot more explanation, given that the parking change, as well as other changes, clearly depart from previous agreements and disclosures. Then again, changing some of the documents might have meant delays, including potential additional environmental review.

(State officials and developer Forest City Ratner are currently fighting a court ruling that requires a Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement to examine the potential for a 25-year project buildout. Shouldn't a smaller parking lot have triggered additional review?)

The documents cited were the 2009 Modified General Project Plan (MGGP), the 2009 Master Development Agreement (MDA), and the 2009 Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments (MEC).

The first was approved by the board of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), the state agency overseeing the project, while the other two are contracts between the ESDC and developer Forest City Ratner. Two other documents I've identified also would merit modification.

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NoLandGrab: Ever notice that the Atlantic Yards project has more acronyms than the U.S. military?

Posted by eric at 10:23 AM

Forest City Ratner's savings from scrapping the MetroCard bundled with ticket: perhaps $2 million to $3 million a year

Atlantic Yards Report

“We might be able to put a ticket on a MetroCard, but we might not be able to put a MetroCard on a ticket," Forest City Ratner executive Jane Marshall said at a public meeting in May 2011.

And the plan was part of the suite of strategies promised in the Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments the developer signed with the Empire State Development Corporation.

But Forest City Ratner officials and consultant Sam Schwartz yesterday said it would be impractical to link a MetroCard to a ticket, that it would not serve as a practical incentive, and that many arena-goers already have unlimited ride MetroCards.

All of those are plausible, but another angle on the issue should be clear: scrapping the plan would save Forest City Ratner a lot of money.
...

So, is Forest City Ratner just keeping the cash, or spending the money to otherwise deter driving?

link

NoLandGrab: Three guesses — and the first two don't count.

Posted by eric at 12:25 AM

May 23, 2012

More Trains, But No Free MetroCards or RPP in Barclays Center Plan

Streetsblog
by Noah Kazis

The MTA will be adding extra transit service on Barclays Center game nights. But past promises of free or discounted MetroCards for arena-goers did not materialize in the transportation demand management plan revealed yesterday by developer Forest City Ratner, which local advocates are calling “too little, too late.”

Under the plan to reduce the number of people who drive to the arena, developed by Sam Schwartz for Forest City, more 4 and Q trains will run at the end of a Nets game, according to Norman Oder at Atlantic Yards Report. LIRR trains will run from to Jamaica every 15 minutes, rather than every 25. Nine subway lines already run directly to the now-renamed Atlantic Avenue/Barclays Center station.
...

But the plan goes neither as far as the developer had promised, nor as far as arena neighbors and sustainable transportation advocates would like. “The plan released today doesn’t even include the free subway fare for Nets ticketholders promised in 2009,” said Kate Slevin, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign and a member of the BrooklynSpeaks coalition, in a press release. As recently as last year, free or discounted transit fares were being discussed by Forest City Ratner. Now it looks as if riders will have to pay full freight.

Slevin also pointed to the cost to the MTA of providing additional service on event nights. “The TDM assumes the public will bear the cost of adding transit capacity after arena events,” she said. “Instead, the developer should be paying for service enhancements.”

article

Related coverage...

The Brooklyn Paper, A rail solution for Nets games

Forest City Ratner also said it has abandoned a plan announced last year to offer free subway rides to ticket-holders on game nights, saying technological glitches are standing in the way.

“We did look at that but the technology isn’t there,” Schwartz said.

NoLandGrab: Yes, we can put a man on the moon, but we can't get MetroCards into the hands of Barclays Center patrons.

Posted by eric at 5:06 PM

Whatever Happened to ‘Net-roCards’? Barclays Transit Promise Disappears

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]
by Kyle Thomas McGovern

A broken Atlantic Yards promise? Now there's a shocker.

Barclays Center officials have quietly abandoned a proposal to offer reduced-fare MetroCards to Nets ticket buyers to discourage them from driving to the basketball arena.
...

The MTA was tight-lipped on the deminse of the so-called “Net-roCards.”

“It was an idea that Forest City Ratner put forward that they are no longer putting forward,” said agency spokesman Adam Lisberg.

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NoLandGrab: An idea that was put forward sounds like bait, and that idea being no longer put forward sounds a lot like switch.

Posted by eric at 4:59 PM

Meeting on TDM plan is cordial, constructive, and frustrating; distrustful faces suggest residents not convinced plan will work; first phase sure to be an experiment

Atlantic Yards Report

Schwartz (aka "Gridlock Sam") and others fielded numerous questions from the public, read by Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman and culled mainly by CB 2 District Manager Rob Perris. In the audience was Brooklynite Kenneth Adams, CEO of Empire State Development (ESD), the state agency overseeing the project and his top aide Justin Ginsburgh.

And while Hammerman called the meeting “extremely healthy and constructive,” the emphasis on getting people to use public transit, without specific disincentives (or even incentives like a free MetroCard) led Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council to grouse, “It’s a marketing plan,” not a true plan to deter drivers.

(See Veconi's comments on Patch's live-blog coverage, also emphasizing the lack of details about the surface parking plan, and the PHNDC's Danae Oratowski's comments about the lack of community leverage, as well as comments by CB 2's Perris observation that the plan is "a good starting point," which should eventually lead people to realize they shouldn't drive.)

“It’s our job to make this work as best we all can,” Hammerman said, leading off the Q&A session. “There's no longer an us and them... I need to represent that building. I need to make sure it works.”

How well it works, however, remains in question. Two follow-up studies are planned for 2013, portending tweaks and changes in the transportation plan. And it will take weeks if not months, most likely, for the use-transit message to sink in.

That suggests that the first season of Barclays Center operations will be an experiment, and the neighborhoods around the arena will bear the brunt of that experiment.

Click through for much more, including video of the presentation.

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Posted by eric at 12:16 PM

Arena transportation plan released, emphasizes additional transit service after events; BrooklynSpeaks calls it "too little too late," as drivers will seek free parking on residential streets

Atlantic Yards Report

While the MTA and LIRR will add transit service after Barclays Center events to encourage use of the adjacent transit hub, and arena operators are trying hard to educated and encourrage event-goers to use such transit, the long-delayed Transportation Demand Management plan released today by developer Forest City Ratner still left arena neighbors worried.

Without residential parking permits or other disincentives to drive, “I think the risk to the community has been elevated,” commented Peter Krashes of the Dean Street Block Association after the bimonthly meeting of the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet, which involves agency stakeholders.

While the reduction in the on-site surface parking lot--to 565 spaces (including 24 for the NYPD) from a potential 1100 spaces (with stackers)--”is a good thing,” Krashes said, there’s no “insurance” that the reduction won’t lead to more people seeing free parking. (The reduction, announced early this month, was driven significantly by the surface capacity and the inability to use stackers.) He pointed to construction workers who tear down “No Standing” signs and police vehicles parked on sidewalks.

How can the plan be held accountable, asked Council Member Steve Levin. “Are there any penalties if offsite lots are underutilized?”

Forest City executive Jane Marshall pointed to required follow-up studies that should improve the plan, but sidestepped the issue of penalties.

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Related content...

Empire State Development, Draft Transportation Demand Management Plan

The public has until June 22nd to comment on the proposed Transportation Demand Management Plan, after which we expect Empire State Development and Forest City Ratner to summarily ignore the comments, as they did with the Environmental Impact Statement. Comments can be emailed to AtlanticYards@esd.ny.gov.

Posted by eric at 12:03 PM

Atlantic Yards’ Transportation Demand Management Plan is too little too late

BrooklynSpeaks

The BrooklynSpeaks sponsors expressed frustration with the Atlantic Yards Transportation Demand Management Plan (TDM), released today nearly six months after its initially scheduled announcement, and only four months before the opening of the Barclays Center Arena. The TDM as presented by Sam Schwartz Engineering emphasized marketing of transit use to prospective arena patrons over disincentives to drive, and reduced the scope of the demand management strategies previously agreed between Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) and the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) in December of 2009.

“Effective demand management is a lot more than advertising,” said Ryan Lynch, Policy Director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “But the plan released today doesn’t even include the free subway fare for Nets ticketholders promised in 2009. The TDM assumes the public will bear the cost of adding transit capacity after arena events. Instead, the developer should be paying for service enhancements.”
...

“It appears that the TDM is still primarily geared to the 40 Nets games planned each year, with adoption of its elements for the other 180 events at the discretion of Forest City Ratner,” said Jo Anne Simon, Democratic Leader of the 52nd Assembly District. “With little more than four months before the arena opens, Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg need to get in the game. Government must play a constructive role in making demand management of streets around Barclays Center accountable to the public. It’s time to put politics aside and do what’s necessary to implement meaningful demand management strategies—like residential parking permits—so that arena patrons will leave their cars at home.”

link

Posted by eric at 11:54 AM

Live Blogging: Barclays Center Traffic Mitigation Plan Public Meeting

Park Slope Patch
by Amy Sara Clark

Patch was covering the blow-by-blow last night.

6:15 p.m.: The ESDC's Arana Hankin is introducing the plan to a room of several dozen community members and reporters. The powerpoint presentation of the plan will be on the Empire State Developmen Corporation's website later tonight, she said. 7:22 p.m.: Hankin just provided us with a working link.

Forest City Ratner's senior vice president Jane Marshall: "We look forward to working with all the stakeholders … to come up with the best possible plan to get people out of their cars and onto public transportation."

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Posted by eric at 11:48 AM

A Brooklyn arena rises and so do transportation worries

2nd Ave. Sagas
by Benjamin Kabak

Last night, the major stakeholders in the project gathered in Brooklyn to discuss the infrastructure impact the project will have. Led by Sam Schwartz, the traffic and transportation consultant for the project, Forest City Ratner officials and local politicians led a meeting and discussion on transportation demand. While transit use remains the focus for arena-bound patrons, it’s unclear if the plan goes far enough to avoid an influx of congestion in the area, and a call for a residential parking permit program has stalled in Albany.
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What to do with the cars though remains an issue. Schwartz said the number of spaces near the arena has been chopped from 1100 to 541, and those who will drive are being encouraged to park in remote lots. Free shuttle buses will ferry patrons from those lots to the arena as unloading areas around the arena on Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues will be extremely limited. Still, though, parking rates will not be raised to discourage driving, and more importantly, a residential parking plan has stalled in Albany.

The latter point, as Council Member Letitia James noted, is a problem. Even if the bill were to move forward tomorrow, it would likely be another year — and a full basketball season — until the parking passes become a reality, and residents will have to contend with game-bound drivers seeking out a free space. Even with a public outreach effort discouraging drivers, enough temporary arena visitors will cruise Prospect Heights, Park Slope and Fort Greene to cause problems. “I just don’t think there’s enough disincentives,” James said. “I believe cars will flood our residential streets.”

Finally, pedestrian safety is a problem too. While the new subway entrances will siphon arena patrons to the building’s front plaza, crossing Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues in that area isn’t fun on a good day. The city hasn’t been willing to institute many traffic-calming measures around the arena during construction, and there are none on the table for after. It remains, according to Schwartz, a work in progress that will be reassessed periodically.

So I am left wondering how flexible these plans will be. We do not know who will foot the bill for added post-event transit service, and a plan floated in 2009 that would have provided free MetroCards to Barclays Center guests has died a death due to unknown causes. Has Forest City Ratner done enough to discourage parking? Will the conditions on the street disincentivize driving after a few weeks? The Barclays Center arena is one of the most accessible around, and it’s in a neighborhood with little room for additional parking. Transit will be a part of the equation, and how patrons embrace that element will impact how residents come to view the return of professional sports to Brooklyn.

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Related coverage...

The Wall Street Journal, New Arena's Traffic Impact Under Debate

But that Mr. Schwartz indicated there was a need to educate people about public transportation troubled Council Member Stephen Levin. "It makes me worry that you're worried that people are still going to drive," Mr. Levin told him.

Transportation Nation, Parking Slashed By Half In Plan For Barclays Center In Downtown Brooklyn

Schwartz says another way of keeping vehicles out of the heavily congested area will be to encourage drivers to park at a half-priced lot a mile away near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, and take a free shuttle bus.

However, the arena’s website makes clear that suite-holders will get priority parking: ” You will have a reserved spot within a one to two block radius from the premium entrance. Important to note that our parent company controls parking both on the Arena site and surrounding areas that will enable us to deliver the most convenient parking access possible to our suite customers,” according to the Arena website.

The New York Times, Traffic Plan for a Brooklyn Arena Cuts Parking Slots by Half

“We will scare drivers away from the arena,” Mr. Schwartz said in an interview. “My message to New Yorkers is, Don’t even think of driving to the Barclays arena.”

The goal, he said, is for visitors to travel instead by subway and the Long Island Rail Road, which is to add extra trains to accommodate the fans. But his assurances were met by intense skepticism from several panel members, including the City Council members Letitia James and Stephen T. Levin of Brooklyn.

“If you live in Canarsie or Marine Park, you’re never going to take the train,” Councilman Levin said. “Much of Brooklyn and most of Queens and Staten Island are not accessible by train.”
...

Peter Krashes, head of the Dean Street Block Association, whose members live near the arena, said he wished that Mr. Schwartz had proposed residential parking permits to reserve on-street spaces for residents. “It’s definitely a concern that those who aren’t provided parking on site will circle the streets looking for parking,” he said.

NY Daily News, Free MetroCard plan for Barclays Center arena scrapped

Officials have scrapped a plan to give free MetroCards to patrons at the new Nets arena to discourage them from driving.

Developer Forest City Ratner had vowed to give free subway fares to fans who would otherwise drive, but officials dropped that idea from a transportation plan presented Tuesday - saying it wouldn’t make any difference in preventing a traffic mess.

And it would mean them having to give away free subway fares.

“You sort of have to follow the money. That was a tangible contribution they were going to make to get people to ride transit, and that’s fallen by the wayside,” said Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council. “I think that’s kind of outrageous.”

NY Post, Barclays fouls out on plan to provide MetroCards

There will be no free rides to the new Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn.

The arena’s developer, Forest City Ratner, has scrapped its plan to offer MetroCards to ticketholders for Nets games or other events at the 18,200-seat arena, which opens Sept. 28, in order to encourage people not to drive.
...

It left many residents and elected officials fuming that the plan potentially creates more headaches — including jacked-up parking-garage rates that could drive away shoppers in local business strips — while doing little to prevent traffic nightmares.

Prospect Heights Patch, Barclays Center Planners to Public: Don't Drive

Jo Anne Simon, Democratic Leader of Brooklyn's 52nd District and longtime critic of the project, was not impressed by the plan.

"One of the big problems is not whether you can get people to the arena site," she said, "but can you get them home again."
...

"It's going to be as bad as everybody fears. I'd like to be proven wrong, but I don't think I will."

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill], Big Transit Boost for Barclays Center, But Costs are Unknown

Brooklyn Speaks, a coalition of opposition groups, called the transportation plan “too little, too late.”

“Effective demand management is a lot more than advertising,” said Kate Slevin, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “But the plan released today doesn’t even include the free subway fare for Nets ticketholders promised in 2009. The [plan] assumes that the public will bear the cost of adding transit capacity after arena events. Instead, the developer should be paying for service enhancements.”

WPIX, Parking still an issue with new Nets stadium [Video]

NY1, Barclays Developers Push Mass Transit As Residents Worry About Parking [Video]

Residents said one of the best ways to discourage drivers is to issue residential parking permits for the neighborhood.

"That eliminates free parking for arena patrons near the arena at the time of arena events," said Tom Boast of the Carlton Avenue Association.

The possibility is being studied but Department of Transportation officials warn that it will take some time.

NoLandGrab: And approval in Albany, which has never yet been forthcoming.

Brownstoner, Barclays Center Transportation Plan Revealed

Posted by eric at 11:04 AM

Why was arena transportation plan delayed six months? FCR consultant Schwartz dodges the question; state official cites cut in parking spaces, agency signoff, need for surveys

Atlantic Yards Report

Forest City Ratner and its transportation consultancy, Sam Schwartz Engineering, released the long-delayed Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management plan, which, depsite the long delay, was shockingly short on details.

Norman Oder kicks off the coverage.

Transportation consultant Sam Schwartz (aka Gridlock Sam) is well-respected, and for good reason: he has a distinguished career in the public sector and the private sector.

But he also works for his clients, and they come first. And this morning, when, on behalf of Forest City Ratner, he unveiled the long-promised Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, he wouldn't acknowledge that it was six months late.
...

Querying Schwartz

After the meeting of the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet, when Schwartz took questions, I pointed out that the plan was initially due last December. I asked why it was delayed.

“I don’t see this as being delayed," Schwartz replied. "I see this as being very timely. A lot of work went into it in the past year. Doing it 130, 140 days before we even have a concert at the arena is a reasonable time to get all of our ducks in a row. And in fact, the participation of the MTA administration, all of their divisions, the participation of the Police Department, the DOT, has been key to this. So I don’t find this not to be timely at all."

There are only 30 days for public comment, and elected officials like Council Member Steve Levin have warned that the delayed release was too late to truly incorporate public input.

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Posted by eric at 10:57 AM

May 22, 2012

Disincentives to drive? Many questions raised by Atlantic Yards Watch before meeting tonight on arena transportation plan

Atlantic Yards Report

There's a big meeting tonight at 6 pm at Borough Hall for the public to respond to the belated release about the Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, and Atlantic Yards Watch points out many questions to raise about fitting an arena into a residential area.

How much will we learn from Forest City Ratner consultant Sam Schwartz and associated government agencies? Unclear. But some questions might be answered earlier in the day at the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting at 9:30 am at Borough Hall; I hope to have at least a preliminary report up by the afternoon.

Disincentives to drive?

The biggest questions regard disincentives to drive, which have not been mentioned so far in official plans: will Forest City, and the involved city and state agencies support an arena parking tax surcharge? will they support residential permit parking? how will they otherwise restrict arena patrons from parking on streets near the arena?
...

AYW lists several questions and issues, which are expanded on in their post:

  1. Does the TDM program apply to all arena events at all times of day?
  2. Setting of real performance goals.
  3. Parking controlled by FCRC.
  4. Protection of local streets.
  5. On-going monitoring and enforcement.
  6. Stronger data collection.
  7. Effective transit incentives.
  8. Utilization of shuttle and other buses.
  9. Bicycle incentives.
  10. Cross-marketing plan.

link

Posted by eric at 11:22 AM

The Day: Everything the Traffic Will Allow

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]

Today’s another big day in the Atlantic Yards project, with the state releasing its long-awaited “Transportation Demand Management plan” for the Barclays Center. The details will be unveiled this morning at a meeting of local pols at Borough Hall, then later at a public hearing also at the people’s house. Norman Oder’s Atlantic Yards Report provided the deepest preview (but, hey, what else is new?), but our Kyle Thomas McGovern is on the case and will file later today.

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Posted by eric at 10:45 AM

May 21, 2012

Questions to ask about Barclays Center's Transportation Demand Management Plan

Atlantic Yards Watch

On Tuesday, May 22nd FCRC and their traffic consultant Sam Schwartz Engineering will present their long-delayed Transportation Demand Management program (TDM). PHNDC (an Atlantic Yards Watch sponsor) has developed some questions we'd like to hear answered during the presentation.

FCRC is required to implement a TDM as part of the 2009 Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments (MEC) between FCRC and ESDC. The specific TDM actions required by the MEC are reprinted at the end of this article.

Robust TDM plans include both incentives and disincentives to discourage driving and parking. (AYW has already written about the need for disincentives.) The known details of FCRC’s TDM plan only include incentives. Disincentives such as Residential Parking Permits and an arena parking surcharge can only be implemented with the assistance of the City and State.

Read on for some questions to which answers have thus far proved elusive.

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Posted by eric at 11:41 PM

May 18, 2012

What to expect from big Barclays Center transportation meeting next Tuesday--and what's missing (and why the first year may be a risky experiment)

Atlantic Yards Report

Coming Tuesday, May 22, as noted in the announcement at right, is the belated meeting on the Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, at 6 pm at Borough Hall.

Beyond consultant Sam Schwartz, who works for developer Forest City Ratner, representatives of several government agencies will be present, including the Metropolitan Transportation, Long Island Rail Road, and Department of Transportation. The meeting should focus on incentives to use public transit or at least to not drive to the arena area.

We should learn how the MTA and LIRR will increase service, how Forest City Ratner will use incentives (like a free MetroCard with ticket and remote parking lots with shuttles) to encourage use of public transportation, cross-marketing with area businesses, how bike parking will be run, perhaps even how they rationalized cutting the surface parking lot to fewer than 550 spaces, and whether the incentives will be used for other large events beyond Nets games.

The plan was supposed to be released last December, and the delay--let's hope for a clear explanation why--is seen by elected officials like Council Member Steve Levin as precluding effective public input. (Maybe we'll also get a straight answer about the likelihood of the Carlton Avenue Bridge reopening before the arena opens, given that the current schedule puts it about a week late, portending traffic chaos.)

The missing disincentives to drive, and the risks

Indeed, what we apparently won't learn, as representatives of Atlantic Yards Watch have pointed out, are any plans for parking disincentives, such as a surcharge on area parking lots (as in Newark) and residential permit parking (as in several other cities with sports facilities).

And that runs the risk of a rough first year of operation, before policies are revised.

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Posted by eric at 11:12 AM

May 15, 2012

THIS JUST IN: Big Barclays Transportation Meeting Next Week

The Local

Set your calendar for the most important meeting of the spring: Tuesday’s release of the transportation mitigation plan for the 18,000-seat Barclays Center.

Community members have been long awaiting this plan, which was supposed to have been revealed in December. The delay has frayed nerves for residents of the low-rise, residential communities around the basketball arena and proposed 16-tower development.
...

Transportation Demand Management Plan hearing at Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street between Adams and Court Streets in Downtown, (718) 596-5410, May 22, 6 p.m. For info, contact Arana Hankin, director of the Atlantic Yards project for the Empire State Development Corporation, at AtlanticYards@esd.ny.gov.

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Posted by eric at 11:02 AM

May 14, 2012

Will the TDM plan be only a half a plan?

Atlantic Yards Watch

Community groups learned from Empire State Development Corporation CEO Kenneth Adams on May 2 that less than half of the 1,100 parking spaces required for arena patrons in ESDC’s 2006 and 2009 development agreements with Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) would be available at the opening of Barclays Center. FCRC and ESDC appear to believe their Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan will be effective enough to revise expected demand for arena patron parking on-site down by 50%.

Robust TDM plans include both incentives and disincentives to discourage driving and parking. We’ll know more about the TDM plan for Barclays Center on May 22 when FCRC, its transportation consultant, NYCTA and LIRR present it. But the details of the TDM plan in the 2009 Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments include only incentives, and the draft scope of the TDM plan FCRC’s consultant presented to community groups in January did not include some effective disincentives.

Barclays Center still appears to guarantee reserved parking to all suite-holders. Its web site includes the following information on its FAQ page:

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Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, About that Transportation Demand Management plan: where will the suiteholders go? Where are the disincentives to drive (as opposed to incentives for public transit)?

After Empire State Development announced that the Block 1129 parking lot would be cut at least in half from 1100 spaces, I asked the agency's Arana Hankin what would happened to the 600 spaces promised (in the Memorandum of Environmental Commitments) for HOV (high-occupancy vehicles) at the Project site.

I got no answer.

Similarly, there's been no public statement about where the suiteholders will park. Have they all be moved to the Atlantic Center/Terminal parking that is closer to the arena?

As noted today on Atlantic Yards Watch, the suites and boxes can hold 1,179 people. In Will the TDM plan be only a half a plan?, Tom Boast points out that Forest City Ratner "has committed to demand management incentives like remote parking lots and free round trip subway fare for Nets games."

What it hasn't committed to are disincentives:
--parking management, via residential parking permits, as in the areas around baseball stadiums in Chicago and Washington, DC
--a parking surcharge, as in the area around the Prudential Center in Newark

Posted by eric at 4:55 PM

Public meeting May 22 on Transportation Demand Management plan for Barclays Center

Atlantic Yards Report

As previously reported, there will be a public meeting on May 22 at Brooklyn Borough Hall to hear presentations on the Atlantic Yards/Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management plan, aimed to reduce driving to the arena.

The plan is about six months late, presenting a schedule that concerned elected officials, like Council Member Steve Levin, say is too tight. The plan will first be unveiled publicly that morning, at a bi-monthly meeting of the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet, scheduled for 9:30 am at Borough Hall.

Representatives of developer Forest City Ratner, namely consultant Sam Schwartz, will make a presentation, and representatives of the MTA and LIRR, though not on the notice below, were said by state officials to be presenting.

The meeting is sponsored by Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing Atlantic Yards, in association with Brooklyn Community Boards 2, 6, & 8.

Community residents will have 30 days to file comments, after which state officials promise a response in 30 days.

link

Posted by eric at 11:27 AM

May 11, 2012

A caution on the Gridlock Sam admiration society: the consultant still has to satisfy his clients; he and his client already have failed to deliver the transportation demand management plan promised for December

Atlantic Yards Report

The New York Observer's Matt Chaban this week penned an interesting and admiring portrait of former government official, consultant, and all-around New Yorker "Gridlock Sam" Schwartz, headlined May the Schwartz Be With You: Gridlock Sam Wants to Turn New York Traffic On Its Head—the Same Thing He’s Done for 40 Years.

Schwartz deserves attention for his not-quite-congestion-pricing plan, which would toll East River bridges, improve highways, add pedestrian bridges, and generally try to treat New Yorkers equitably while removing glaring inequities and their inevitable consequences.
...

However, unmentioned, Schwartz has no small seduction left for Brooklyn. On May 22, he and his colleagues will unveil--six months late--the long-promised Atlantic Yards Transportation Demand Management plan.

The general contours of the plan have been well-known, the details not so much. Only this month did we learn that there would be fewer than 550 surface parking spaces on Block 1129, the southeast block of the project site, but we don't know where, if at all, the spaces previously designated for HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) and suiteholder parking would go.

Yes, Schwartz is an able presenter. But he's already sacrificed some credibility. As I wrote 5/5/12, Schwartz, during a 6/4/11 Q&A (video) at a forum on Atlantic Yards traffic changes/mitigations, answered a question about bike parking by saying, "That's over the next six months when we come back to you figuring out how we're going to get people out of their cars."

At that point, the TDM plan was due in December 2011. They didn't "come back to you." The plan was delayed multiple times, for reasons obscure. Did Schwartz really underestimate the schedule by six months? Or was he hampered by his client?

The upshot is that, four months before the arena opens, there will be 30 days for public comment. That's too little time, as Council Member Steve Levin has observed, for public input.

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Posted by eric at 12:03 PM

May 9, 2012

Contradicting state agency, report says Carlton Avenue Bridge would not be finished before arena opens; as Forest City aims for speed-up, agency suggests plan to mitigate likely chaos

Atlantic Yards Report

So, is the Carlton Avenue Bridge on schedule?

Only if the state flunks transparency.

Last week, Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project for Empire State Development (ESD), assured those at a community meeting that "I'm more than confident that the bridge will be open before the first public event at the arena." That's a September 28 Jay-Z concert.

However, the regular site observation report issued yesterday by Merritt & Harris, the construction monitor for the arena bonds, predicted that the bridge would be completed five days later, by October 3.

At the meeting May 2, Hankin and agency CEO Kenneth Adams made no mention of that schedule, though it was surely known to them. While the October 3 date was referenced publicly in the report issued yesterday, it comes from a schedule dated March 30.

"The Developer is optimistic they can reduce the completion date by 2 weeks," states the report issued yesterday.

So it's possible the bridge will open on time. But the word "optimistic" indicates less certainty than Hankin's "more than confident" phrasing.

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Posted by eric at 1:42 PM

What are the consequences of a change in parking? If we had an SEIS, we'd know.

Atlantic Yards Watch

But how many cars can block 1129 really hold? Documents submitted to the NYC Department of Buildings describe a lot area that is 144,501 square feet. Using a calculation provided by an architect with experience in the design of parking facilities, dividing the available square footage of the lot by 300 square feet per car will provide the approximate number of spaces a parking lot including driveways can fit. 144,501 square feet divided by 300 results in 482 spaces.

However, the area described in the DOB application does not include perimeter plantings. The 2010 Technical Memo describes no less than a four-foot landscaped perimeter around the lot set in from the property line, and although the documents submitted to DOB do not include perimeter landscaping, CEO Adams confirmed some would be implemented. Reduced by 4 feet of perimeter landscaping only, the lot would be 139,493 square feet and fit approximately 465 spaces.
...

In July of 2011, the New York State Supreme Court found that ESDC's 2009 approval of the MGPP violated State environmental law, and ordered the agency to prepare an SEIS. ESDC and FCRC appealed the ruling, but were denied by a unanimous decision of the Appellate Division in April 2012. ESDC has not yet stated when or if it plans to comply with the court order for an SEIS that is now almost three years late. In the meantime, plans for parking continue to shift, reducing the parking for arena patrons by half with no formal study released to the public of the impact to traffic and on-street parking in local neighborhoods. Nor has it assessed the long term environmental impacts on the community of a lot that does not meet NYC's own guidelines for the landscaping of surface parking lots.

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Related coverage...

Prospect Heights Patch, Is Reduced Parking at Barclays a Good or Bad Thing? [POLL]

What do you think? Is reducing the number of parking spaces a good or bad thing?

Posted by eric at 1:34 PM

May 8, 2012

Welcome to Brookyn’s Barclays Center: (practically) NO PARKING

Meadowlands Matters [NorthJersey.com]
by John Brennan

Sage advice for Jerseyites (and everyone else) from the Bergen Record's sagacious John Brennan.

Good news or bad news?

The word understandably is being welcomed in the neighborhoods surrounding the Nets’ $1 billion arena, as residents fear nightmarish traffic on game nights – which would regularly occur at least twice a week from November until April. The site is the most “urban” in the NBA, in terms of the number of residents who live within a couple of full-court heaves from the arena.

But it’s just another reason for me to push North Jersey Nets fans even harder to give up on the idea of driving to Brooklyn for a game (especially on a weeknight). My compromise idea in the article, since North Jerseyans do love their cars, is to drive to Secaucus Junction and park there. Then take any of numerous trains to New York Penn Station (hey, that’s Madison Square Garden! Too bad the Knicks are always sold out) then the 2 or the 3 subway line to the arena (about a 22-minute ride).

From north and west, Secaucus is about as far as you’ll get with decent hopes of avoiding major traffic on the way.

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Posted by eric at 12:50 PM

May 7, 2012

Bike-Parking Promise Broken at Nets Stadium

The L Magazine
by Henry Stewart

Last year, we heard that the Barclays Center—where the Nets will play basketball, and where Jay-Z and Leonard Cohen will play concerts—would feature a bike-parking facility that could hold up to 400 bicycles. This morning, we hear that's no longer the case. Developer Forest City Ratner admitted last week that accommodations for 400 bikes, for the foreseeable future, will be made with racks on the sidewalks, Streetsblog reports—even though "one of the commitments the developer made was to 'provide any ticketholder traveling to the arena by bicycle with free indoor bicycle storage in a secure, manned facility designed to accommodate at least 400 bicycles on the arena block.'"

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Photo: New York Bicycling Coalition

Posted by eric at 10:48 AM

May 5, 2012

Bike parking at the Barclays Center will be outdoor bike racks: will it be secured and sheltered?

Atlantic Yards Report

What's going on with bike parking at the Barclays Center?

Streetsblog reports, in Bad News: Forest City Breaks Bike Parking Vow; Good News: Less Car Parking:

The bad news first: Forest City no longer plans to keep its much-touted promise to build a staffed indoor bike parking facility in time for the arena opening. Instead, for the foreseeable future, the bike parking will consist of plain outdoor bike racks.
In the December 2009 Atlantic Yards Amended Memorandum of Environmental Concerns, Forest City promised to implement a number of measures “prior to the opening of the arena” to encourage people to leave their cars at home when traveling to the Barclays Center. One of the commitments the developer made was to “provide any ticketholder traveling to the arena by bicycle with free indoor bicycle storage in a secure, manned facility designed to accommodate at least 400 bicycles on the arena block.”
That bike parking, Streetsblog has learned, won’t be available for opening day or anything close to it. Arana Hankin, the director of the Atlantic Yards project for Empire State Development, said in an e-mail that while there will still be room for 400 bikes at the arena, it will be provided via outdoor bike racks for the foreseeable future. The bike parking will be indoors once the project’s “Building 3,” located at the northwest corner of Sixth Avenue and Dean Street, is complete, at which point it will be located in the basement, Hankin said.
There’s currently no public timeline for the construction of Building 3, and Hankin didn’t respond to a Streetsblog inquiry about when the building might be complete.

The Streetsblog account is ambiguous about whether the outdoor bike racks would be staffed, and some commenters took that to mean it would not be staffed and thus not secured.

If so, that seems to contradict what Forest City consultant Sam Schwartz said last June, that it would "always be secured during the arena events," with an operator.

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Posted by steve at 6:56 PM

Parking Lot Scaled Back While Transit Booms at Atlantic Yards

Mobilizing the Region
By Sam Handler

The Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) has announced that the surface parking lot for the Atlantic Yards project has been scaled back. The lot for the northern Prospect Heights development—home of the Barclay’s Center—was initially going to accommodate 1,100 spaces, but it is now slated to have fewer than 550. The BrooklynSpeaks coalition has previously advocated for the reduction of parking by 50% and the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council called for the lot to adhere to New York City Department of City Planning regulations for surface parking lot design.

Critics have contended that ESDC and Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner, instead of focusing on adding more parking to the area, should develop a more comprehensive transportation plan for the arena site and surrounding neighborhoods. This message was reiterated at the recent Brooklyn Gateway transportation workshop, which was sponsored by New York City Council Member Tish James, Tri-State, the Boerum Hill Association, the Park Slope Civic Council, and the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council. Workshop attendees expressed concerns about traffic congestion, parking, pedestrian safety, and cyclist safety in their neighborhoods, along with the need for better transit options in the Brooklyn Gateway area ...

...

Despite the clear need for improvements, neither Forest City Ratner nor the MTA has identified how the Atlantic Yards’ transit network will maintain existing levels of service under increasing strain to the system. In fact, the developer has yet to release or finalize the long-delayed transportation demand management plan, which should outline how the area will handle increased traffic and other transportation challenges (the plan is due out on May 22). While an additional subway entrance is being built by the arena, more remains to be done.

link

Posted by steve at 6:43 PM

May 4, 2012

Residents Worry Whether Prospect Heights Can Accommodate Barclays Arena's Traffic

NY1
by Jeanine Ramirez

With the Barclays Center going up in the background in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, Peter Krashes measures the widths of the sidewalks that lead into and out of the arena. He and other members of the Dean Street Block Association worry about the crowds the 18,000-seat arena will attract.

"Our sidewalks, our streets don't have the capacity to accommodate all of those people," said resident Christine Schmidt.

"It's very, very close to our residences, the operation of it, the loading dock, the parking lot. They're all interwoven with our homes and our businesses and our churches," said Krashes.

The developer and the community both say they hope event-goers will use mass transit. But across from this stretch of the Prospect Heights Historic District, a parking lot will open for about 500 cars.

It is not likely to be enough for all those who decide to drive.

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Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Unresolved questions ventilated by NY1: sidewalks near arena have been measured as narrower than publicly announced, but Forest City says they've been approved

The response? NY1 reports:

As for sidewalk congestion, Forest City says there will be workers to guide pedestrians through main thoroughfares to and from the arena and that both state and city officials have approved the sidewalk capacity for the crowds.

That doesn't actually resolve the question. There still should be well over 1000 people using narrow Dean Street from the surface parking lot alone. It isn't a main thoroughfare.

And just because the city and state have approved the sidewalk capacity--I thought it was just the city--doesn't mean they've measured it correctly. That was the point of a whole, detailed effort by Atlantic Yards Watch.

Gothamist, Barclays Center To Initially Have Half The Parking It Promised

While Brooklyn Heights is now freaking out over potentially 2,500 people filling its streets when a new Fieldhouse comes to Brooklyn Bridge Park, residents around the Atlantic Yards have been freaking for ages now about the 18,000 people expected to flood the area when the Nets start playing the Barclays Center this fall. And for them, there is good news today! The arena will initially have less parking than originally planned.

Park Slope Patch, State Reduces Parking at Barclays Center Lot from 1,100 to 550

Councilwoman Letitia James, D-Prospect Heights, called the change of heart “good news for the community.”

“I had asked some time ago about the issue of stacking and I’m glad they’ve finally seen the error of their ways,” she said.

But Dean Street Block Association President Peter Krashes criticized the ESDC for shortchanging the community by not requiring developer Forest City Ratner to comply with city standards for surface lots, which he said would require a 7-foot fence around the lot and about 65 trees inside.

Posted by eric at 11:17 AM

May 3, 2012

ESD’s Adams: Surface parking lot spaces halved (concession to neighbors or reality?); governance entity possible (ditto); appeal unresolved in SEIS case; meeting on transportation plan set for 5/22, then 30 days for comments

Atlantic Yards Report

In his second meeting with Atlantic Yards stakeholders in eight months, Kenneth Adams, CEO of Empire State Development (Corporation), the state agency overseeing the project, last night had some welcome news: the planned surface parking lot for the southeast block of the project, which was estimated to have up to 1,100 spaces, would have fewer than half that amount, obviating the need for noisy stackers that could compound gridlock.

The news was welcomed, albeit somewhat warily, by the two dozen people at Borough Hall, representing various neighborhood and merchant groups in the orbit of the Prospect Heights project.

While the lot, according to state documentation, could hold up to 1,100 spaces, and an application to the city Department of Buildings said 722 spaces, the genial Adams, a Brooklynite familiar with nearly all of the two dozen people in the room, said it would be under 550 spaces.

Peter Krashes of the Dean Street Block Association called the result “good,” though he noted that the site, bounded by Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues and Dean and Pacific streets, could only accommodate about 520 surface spaces, according to calculations by local residents. “We've been expecting the number of 520 for some time.”

Follow the link for more about parking, and many other details of last night's meeting.

article

Related coverage...

NY Post, Nets’ Brooklyn parking plan hits the skids

The state has put the brakes on an unconventional parking plan at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn that critics feared would have created neighborhood traffic nightmares.

Stack-parking — a time-consuming process that uses hydraulic lifts to stack anywhere from two to four cars atop one another — won’t be used, as previously planned, at a surface parking lot under construction next to the Nets’ new home.

Posted by eric at 11:51 AM

May 2, 2012

AYW: Not 1,100 parking spaces but 722 planned for Block 1129; many questions remain

Atlantic Yards Report

Though neither developer Forest City Ratner nor Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing Atlantic Yards, has seen fit to share plans or comment publicly, an application for the surface parking lot on Block 1129, the southeast block, indicates 722 spaces, according to Atlantic Yards Watch's Gib Veconi.
...

The application is still pending approval, and Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project for ESD, told AYW there will be an opportunity for public comment.

Veconi raises questions about whether, in fact, city zoning requirements have been overridden and also asks:

  • Where would the other 378 spaces be located?
  • Will stackers be used?
  • Will the Vanderbilt entrance be the only access to/egress from the lot?
  • What are the specifications for the perimeter fence and its buffer from the surrounding sidewalks?

link

NoLandGrab: What Arana Hankin means is that there will be an opportunity for public comment that will be summarily ignored by ESDC and Forest City Ratner.

Posted by eric at 12:09 PM

Application filed with NYC DOB indicates 722 cars to park on block 1129

Atlantic Yards Watch
by Gib Veconi

AYW has learned that Forest City Ratner's engineering firm Stantec has filed an application with the NYC Department of Buildings for construction of a surface parking lot on block 1129 (bounded by Vanderbilt Avenue, Dean Street, Carlton Avenue and Pacific Street) for Barclays Center patrons. The application specifies 722 parking spaces for the lot, and a 30 foot curb cut on Vanderbilt Avenue. The application documents indicate installation of 16 detention tanks for storm water management, presumably instead of planting areas that would otherwise reduce storm water runoff from the lot. The application also calls for fencing at the lot line, calling into question the four feet of planted space buffering the fence and the lot specified in the Technical Memo issued by ESDC in December 2010 in response to a court decision in litigation challenging the agency's approval of the 2009 Modified General Project Plan. As of May 2, the application is under review at DOB pending approval.

The application carries a legend "THIS SITE IS EXEMPT FROM COMPLYING WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE NYC ZONING RESOLUTION AS PER LETTER DATED DEC.20, 2011 FROM ESDC." The text of the letter is not available from the DOB web site, so it is not clear on what basis exemption is claimed. Atlantic Yards' 2009 Modified General Project Plan did not disclose an override to NYC zoning regulations for surface parking lots. AYW has argued that the lot should be designed to comply with City zoning requirements.

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Posted by eric at 12:01 PM

April 30, 2012

PHNDC asks Cuomo, Bloomberg to stop construction of arena parking lot before public input, notes plans have been delayed for nearly six months

Atlantic Yards Report

We've been asking for the whole project to get scotched for eight years.

In a last-minute effort, the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council (PHNDC) sent a letter today to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Mike Bloomberg asking them to suspend construction tomorrow of a planned arena patron surface parking lot on the southeast block of the project, bounded by Vanderbilt Avenue, Carlton Avenue, Dean Street and Pacific Street.

The organization includes several block and neighborhood organizations in Prospect Heights.

The issues include City Planning standards; storm water drainage; curb cuts; and the role of stackers or multi-story parking--and the continued delays regarding plans for the lot.

Continued delays

The letter notes that plans have delayed repeatedly:

Representatives of the Empire State Development Corporation [ESDC] and Forest City Ratner Companies originally stated that plans for the lot would be provided in December 2011 and that there would be a period of community review and comment. We have recently been notified construction of the surface parking lot will begin May 1 and that plans will be made public May 22. In the meantime, the parking lot will have been under construction for three weeks.

Residences surround the parking lot, and because it is separated from Barclays Center by two avenues, arena patrons and arena related vehicles will be channeled past bedrooms and playground using neighborhood streets and sidewalks.

article

NoLandGrab: Anyone care to guess what Status Cuomo's response might be?

Posted by eric at 10:15 PM

Reporter tests route from Jersey to Brooklyn; results may vary after arena opens

Atlantic Yards Report

The (Bergen) Record's John Brennan decided to test the route from longtime New Jersey Nets territory to the team's new home in Brooklyn.

Turns out that, after leaving at 5:10 pm from Paramus, he and a photographer managed to make it to Brooklyn, park, and be outside the arena at 6:30 pm—"a full hour before our imaginary tipoff and, frankly, a lot sooner than we expected."

He recognized, however, several caveats:

  • traffic will be a lot worse on a real game night
  • parking costs will rise
  • the "4,400 spaces" that the Nets say are within an “8 to 10 block radius” of the arena may be filled by others.

I'd add that the team has not exactly identified those spaces, as the long-promised Transportation Demand Management plan has been delayed yet again, until May 22.

Brennan noted that public transportation would take less than 90 minutes each way. Right now, that looks more costly--$12.50 each, plus $7 for parking--but I suspect it would be cheaper after parking prices in Brooklyn rise.

link

Related content...

Bergen Record, A guide for fans who would follow the Nets to Brooklyn

If you still want to see the Nets in their new home, there’s a way to get there within 90 minutes from our Westfield Garden State Plaza starting point — although it requires a compromise for car lovers.

Drive to the Secaucus Junction rail station, pay $7 to park at the Edison lot after 4 p.m., and buy an $8 round-trip ticket to New York Penn Station.

It’s easy and fast — a 10-minute ride, and at rush hour you won’t wait long for a train to take you there. Then take a 22-minute ride ($2.25 one way) on the No. 2 or 3 subway line to the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station.

Posted by eric at 11:34 AM

April 27, 2012

Will streets/sidewalks near arena be overwhelmed? Bloomberg responds confidently: "not really something that's going to happen"

Atlantic Yards Report

Mike Bloomberg, urban planner.

At this morning's press conference on jobs at the Barclays Center, Mayor Mike Bloomberg was asked a question that seemed animated by the recent report, from Atlantic Yards Watch, that the sidewalks near the arena were far smaller than as measured by the state--portending trouble for neighborhood and arena-goers alike.

"Many residents in the area say they're worried that the streets, the quiet brownstone tree-lined streets will be swamped with people on game days and other event days," asked New York Times reporter Joseph Berger, "and that the city and state have done very little to make sure the streets can handle both the car traffic and the pedestrian traffic."

Bloomberg answered confidently. "Well, most people here are going to be on the main streets. Most of the people are going to come by mass transit," he said. "This mass transit to this stadium is equivalent to the mass transit under Madison Square Garden."

"So I don't think those fears are going to be--I think people will realize that's not really something that's going to happen," Bloomberg said confidently, with no acknowledgment of the specific situation at hand.

link

Posted by eric at 1:49 PM

April 26, 2012

Barclays Center building aims for transparency, but Atlantic Yards project evades it: transportation plan, parking details delayed until late May

Atlantic Yards Report

The buzzword for the Barclays Center arena, insists developer Bruce Ratner in the New York Post exclusive video below, is transparency: transparency from the street, where passersby will be able to see the scoreboard, and from the concourses, where attendees will not be obstructed from the action at hand.

However much transparency may be a design feature, it is most assuredly not a feature of the overall Atlantic Yards project.

Release of the Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, aimed to push arena attendees toward public transportation rather than cars, had been delayed yet again, to May 22, given the re-scheduling of the planned Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting from May 3.

No explanation was issued for the rescheduling. That means, for example, that Forest City Ratner's plans for the interim surface parking lot, on which construction starts May 1, will not be revealed until three weeks later.

Forest City can build a lot up to 1,100 spaces, but the larger capacity would require stackers, which neighbors believe would add noise and delay. (I asked the developer yesterday for an update, and was told it would be issued at the meeting.)

Dismay over delay

Local elected officials and community stakeholders have already expressed dismay over the delays--and this adds to that.

The TDM plan was originally supposed to be released in December, then was delayed until February, then delayed until May--early May.

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NoLandGrab: If anyone can come up with a promise kept by Forest City Ratner, please let us know.

Posted by eric at 10:51 AM

Concerns Mount Over Barclays Center Sidewalks

Recently released survey of Atlantic Yards project finds less space for crowds than originally thought.

Prospect Heights Patch
by Paul Leonard

Much worry has already been expressed about the expected crush of passenger cars in the wake of Barclays Center's planned opening in September.

But now longtime critics of the project are sounding the alarm over another potential traffic jam—this time of the pedestrian kind.

Atlantic Yards Watch posted the results of a survey Tuesday finding that Barclays' Final Environmental Impact Statement may have overstated the width of sidewalk at several key areas of egress at the 18,000-seat arena.

Among the sidewalk locations found to be narrower than previously disclosed were areas abutting Barclays' Dean Street entrance, around a walkway leading to city subways and those leading to the arena's off-site stacked parking lot.

article

Related coverage...

mcbrookyn, Botched Sidewalk Widths Could Mean Crowd-Control Nightmare for Barclays Center

A critical measurement used in the formula to assess sidewalk capacity was regularly used incorrectly in the FEIS, according to AYW. As a result, the capacity of more than 86 percent of the sidewalks in the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) are overstated.

For example: The sidewalk on Dean Street that will be used by arena patrons to walk from the arena parking lot to the arena has an effective width of 3.2 feet instead of the 11.5 feet disclosed in the FEIS. This margin of error is typical, not the exception.

NoLandGrab: The real question is whether the sidewalk measurements in the FEIS were truly an error, or a fraud.

Posted by eric at 10:38 AM

April 25, 2012

Dean Street Squeeze (and more) documented: Atlantic Yards Watch shows width of sidewalks was overestimated, says narrow nature requires response

Atlantic Yards Report

Yes, the sidewalks around the Atlantic Yards project site are quite narrow, and that could be a problem.

Atlantic Yards Watch has compiled some thorough research, illustrated with a video and photos (by David Power) on how Overestimated sidewalk widths may spell trouble for arena patrons and residents alike.

(I wrote about the Dean Street Squeeze in June 2010, pointing out how it was clear the sidewalks were too tight for crowds, but AY Watch has done much more analysis.)

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Posted by eric at 11:23 AM

April 24, 2012

Overestimated sidewalk widths may spell trouble for arena patrons and residents alike

Atlantic Yards Watch

If you ever had any doubt that AKRF was hired to produce the Atlantic Yards Environmental Impact Statement for any reason other than that they would produce a document greasing the skids for the project, let this put that notion to rest.

Unlike nearly every other arena and stadium in the country, Barclays Center is fit tightly inside residential neighborhoods. It is largely surrounded by one way local streets and residential-width sidewalks, not the highways and commercial-width sidewalks that serve most other facilities of its kind.

Changes to the project have resulted in less capacity for travel lanes, lay by-lanes and sidewalks than was originally analyzed in the project's environmental impact statement. Now, a survey by AYW confirms the sidewalks in the vicinity of Atlantic Yards also have less capacity for pedestrians than the project's environmental analysis anticipates. The study finds that a critical measurement used in the formula to assess sidewalk capacity by the State was regularly used incorrectly in the FEIS. As a result, the capacity of more than 86% of the sidewalks in the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) are overstated, often by significant margins.

This is a concern because sidewalks created to accomodate local residents and patrons of small scale retail businesses will now have to handle the surging crowds of an 18,000-seat arena. Narrower effective widths mean a higher risk of vehicle/pedestrian accidents on the streets surrounding the project exists than the FEIS identifies. And the sidewalks will simply be less desirable to use.

article

Related coverage...

NY Daily News, Sidewalks around Atlantic Yards project too narrow for Barclays Center crowds, report finds

Sidewalks around the Atlantic Yards project are too narrow to hold massive crowds from the new Nets arena, advocates charge.

They found in a new report that 86% of the sidewalks are actually narrower than state officials claimed when they approved the project.

“We took a tape measure and went down exactly the same sidewalks and measured them, and we came up with totally different numbers,” said Peter Krashes of Atlantic Yards Watch, which measured 22 sidewalks and found they were an average of 4.5 feet narrower than the state claimed in its environmental analysis. “The assessment is wildly off.”

State officials have said they used maps to come up with their numbers, rather than doing physical measurements.

But fear not, folks — the Empire State Development Corporation is satisfied.

Arana Hankin, Atlantic Yards director for the Empire State Development Corporation, said the agency’s consultants recently analyzed sidewalks around the arena site. “The analysis determined that pedestrian conditions operate at acceptable levels of service,” she said.

Posted by eric at 11:23 PM

From the latest Construction Alert: construction of surface parking lot to start May 1, but no details offered

Atlantic Yards Report

The latest two-week Atlantic Yards Construction Alert, dated 4/23/12 (and embedded below) and released yesterday by Empire State Development after preparation by Forest City Ratner, contains little dramatic information but comes with one big gap.

Construction on the surface parking lot is to start 5/1/12, within this two-week period, and there was not detail offered beyond this bland description within a summary of work on Block 1129, the southeast block of the Atlantic Yards site:

Contractor work related to digging test pits for soil sample classification took place from March 12 through March 14th. There is no other work currently on-going or scheduled prior to the construction start date of May 1, 2012 for surface parking lot.

That also appeared in the previous alert. Below are excerpts from the latest report. I've bolded the notable changes from the previous alert.

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Posted by eric at 12:05 PM

April 6, 2012

Transit connection to arena now said to be less delayed than was reported last month. How so? Construction monitor fudged the timetable.

Atlantic Yards Report

Forest City Ratner is moving the goalposts so much on construction you'd think they were building a football stadium rather than a basketball arena.

Barclays Center bondholders take note: they moved the goalposts again regarding project construction. And while that may not make it less likely you'll get the interest you expect, it sure raises questions about the credibility of the reports you're getting.

Once a month, real estate consultant Merritt & Harris, the real estate consultant that "strives to be the leader in providing consistently excellent construction-related services to the real estate lending and investment community," issues a Site Observation Report report to the arena PILOT Bond Trustee (Bank of New York Mellon), Forest City Ratner, and the Empire State Development Corporation.

In the latest report is dated 4/2/12 and based on a visit of 2/23/12 and documents made available 3/20/12, Merritt and Harris began fudging the schedule for the new Transit Connection.

In other words, as with the arena, Merritt and Harris declared the Transit Connection less behind schedule than previously estimated, all because it extended the schedule, with no real explanation.

article

Posted by eric at 11:23 AM

April 4, 2012

Down to the wire: Carlton Avenue Bridge could reopen "before asphalt paved"; state official contradicts consultant's report that bridge is behind schedule

Atlantic Yards Report

I have an article in Streetsblog today, Barclays Center Mysteries: Three Big Unknowns About Arena Transportation, about the delays and uncertainty plaguing three aspects of Barclays Center plans: the Transportation Demand Management plan, the surface parking lot, and the reopening of the Carlton Avenue Bridge.

While careful readers of this blog know a good deal of the story, what's new is further evidence of delays--and evasion--regarding the Carlton Avenue Bridge.

There's huge pressure to get the bridge reopened before the first event at the Barclays Center arena, the September 28 Jay-Z concert. So developer Forest City Ratner is considering cutting corners: opening the bridge before the asphalt is paved.

On schedule--really?

Moreover, Empire State Development (ESD), the state agency overseeing the project, has continued to obfuscate on whether the bridge is delayed.

article

Related content...

Brownstoner, Big Questions About Transportation Near Barclays Center

Posted by eric at 1:40 PM

Barclays Center Mysteries: Three Big Unknowns About Arena Transportation

Streetsblog
by Norman Oder

In less than six months, toward the end of September, the Barclays Center will open and throngs of visitors will descend on the streets of Prospect Heights and nearby Brooklyn neighborhoods. While numerous concerts and sports events have already been booked, the transportation picture remains fuzzy even this close to opening day. Three big unknowns:

  • The plan to encourage arenagoers to use transit, originally due last December, is now expected in May.
  • Developer Forest City Ratner hasn’t revealed the size of the surface parking lot next to the arena, even though construction begins next month.
  • The long-closed Carlton Avenue Bridge (below), a key conduit between Prospect Heights and Fort Greene and a critical link in the Brooklyn bike network, is now due to reopen just before the arena debuts, and state officials don’t acknowledge that the bridge is behind schedule.

The arena location — next to Brooklyn’s biggest transit hub, with nine subways and the Brooklyn terminus of Long Island Rail Road — means, as Streetsblog suggested last June, that “the fundamentals for a smart solution are there.” Indeed, the arena website proclaims, “Public transit is the fastest, most convenient way to travel here.” A new subway entrance, leading to the plaza outside the arena, is under construction.

It’s not clear, however, how persuasive the inducements to ride transit will be. The promised Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan for the arena — which would define transit incentives, catalog nearby parking facilities accessible via shuttle buses, and present a cross-marketing program with local businesses — is behind schedule. At first, Empire State Development (ESD), the state agency overseeing Atlantic Yards, “anticipated” that the plan would be available by December 2011. That goal was nudged back to February 2012, and then to May – limiting the opportunity for public input promised by ESD.

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Posted by eric at 12:46 PM

March 21, 2012

BK Gateway Transportation Workshop March 31 aims to address existing challenges and future ones, including those posed by Barclays Center

Atlantic Yards Report

New York City Council Member Letitia James, the Boerum Hill Association, the Park Slope Civic Council, the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, and The Tri-State Transportation Campaign are sponsoring the BK Gateway Transportation Workshop on March 31. RSVP required.

The announcement

The neighborhoods of Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, downtown Brooklyn, Carroll Gardens, Red Hook, Northern Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights face significant transportation challenges. Existing traffic and parking congestion, demands on transit service and dangerous roads for cyclists and pedestrians already pose hurdles for residents, businesses and the environment.

The opening of the Barclays Center at Atlantic Yards will further compound these challenges. The BK Gateway Transportation Workshop will lay the groundwork for developing community driven solutions to the transportation issues facing the area.

· Discuss transportation issues affecting your neighborhood
· Share ideas with transportation experts
· Learn about strategies to increase pedestrian and cyclist safety, reduce congestion, and improve transit
· Help develop a plan for the future of transportation and transit in our community

Click below for additional info.

link

Posted by eric at 10:47 AM

March 19, 2012

No interim report yet on arena Transportation Demand Management plan, originally due in December, now planned for May

Atlantic Yards Report

Jobs, Housing, Hoops and a Transportation Demand Management plan?

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting on March 15 covered a lot of ground, but one key issue related to the Barclays Center arena remained shunted to the side, despite promises last year it would have been on the table well before this month.

Where's the Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, the multi-faceted effort--free MetroCards, cross-marketing with local businesses, remote parking, etc.--to get fewer people to drive to the arena and instead choose public transit?

Only with a robust TDM plan can the interim surface parking lot--between Dean and Pacific streets and Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues--but shrunk from the now-planned 1100 spaces, which would require (potentially noisy and unwieldy) stackers, to a more manageable, greener configuration.

City Council Member Letitia James asked for an update on the plan, and Forest City Ratner agreed, but the issue was dropped and no discussion surfaced during the meeting, which lasted less than 90 minutes.

article

Posted by eric at 11:32 AM

Remote parking garages near Atlantic Avenue? How about LICH and One Brooklyn Bridge Park?

Atlantic Yards Report

So, where might those remote parking garages be located, where those attending Nets games in Brooklyn can park and take shuttle buses to the Barclays Center arena?

At the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting on March 15, Forest City Ratner executive Jane Marshall said the company had identified two garages for remote parking, "focused on Atlantic Avenue" and "right off the BQE [Brooklyn-Queens Expressway]."

That would allow shuttle buses to follow MTA bus routes along Atlantic Avenue and, presumably, do a drop-off along Atlantic Avenue outside the arena rather than along Flatbush Avenue or the narrower lanes of Dean Street or Sixth Avenue.

Where might they be?

After the meeting, Rob Perris, District Manager for Community Board 2, and Jim Vogel, an aide to state Senator Velmanette Montgomery, both Brooklyn residents, gave it their best guess:

  • Long Island College Hospital (LICH), now part of Downstate Medical Center
  • One Brooklyn Bridge Park, a luxury condo building

Both certainly fit Marshall's description.

link

Posted by eric at 11:27 AM

March 16, 2012

Deck is stacked against stack-parking plan for Barclays Center

The Brooklyn Blog [NYPost.com]
by Rich Calder

A top official for the developer building Brooklyn’s Barclays Center said today it’s her “mission” to reduce hundreds of spaces at a parking garage going up next to the NBA Nets' future home to avoid using controversial stack-parking spaces there.

Jane Marshall, an executive vice president at Forest City Ratner, told community leaders and city officials at Borough Hall yesterday that the company “is doing everything we can to avoid it” and the potential traffic problems such a system could bring.

Who wants to wager that Jane comes up a little short of fulfilling her "mission?"

As the Post reported in February, stack parking spaces -- which use hydraulic lifts to stack anywhere from two to four cars atop one another -- are currently in FCR's playbook for operating the 18,000-seat arena. But these spaces are a huge concern of neighborhood residents, who fear they would slow the entry and exit of cars from the lot and create major traffic jams.

No current New York pro-sports venue uses stack parking.

The concern, neighborhood residents say, is that hydraulic systems and valet service associated with stack parking slow the entry and exit of cars from the lot, potentially creating bumper-to-bumper traffic on surrounding streets and sending antsy drivers to seek the area’s few remaining curbside spaces.

article

Related coverage...

The Real Deal, Barclays Center parking should be pre-paid, not stacked: Forest City

Posted by eric at 2:50 PM

March 14, 2012

Partial crackdown on Carlton Avenue parking, but construction worker's car apparently gets a pass

Atlantic Yards Report

Remember how some construction workers have apparently snagged free parking on Carlton Avenue just north of Atlantic Avenue?

Well, according to video posted on Atlantic Yards Watch, police are ticketing cars parked illegally along that block, but... they gave a pass to a vehicle where a construction vest was visible, indicating the driver's work.

Without an all-day cam, we can't be sure what happened--did the driver somehow luckily stop back at his vehicle when cops were coming through? But the evidence raises questions about selective enforcement.

link

NoLandGrab: Looks like "professional courtesy" now extends to the construction trades.

Posted by eric at 10:43 AM

March 10, 2012

Construction workers create more free parking: "No Parking" signs on Carlton Avenue covered so vehicles can park; then signs are un-covered when workers leave

Atlantic Yards Report

Remember a construction worker, most likely working at the Barclays Center/railyard site, created his own free parking in January by brazenly uprooting a "No Standing" sign on Pacific Street?

Now Atlantic Yards Watch contributor 700PacificW has captured another episode of self-created free parking, this time just north of the railyard site on Carlton Avenue above Atlantic Avenue.

This time the chicanery is more subtle: rather than get rid of a no-parking sign, the worker has covered at temporary "No Parking" sign during the period of time he needed it for his car. Such signs have been added because of the construction nearby on Atlantic Avenue.
...

At about 00:47 of the video, shot yesterday afternoon at 4:48 pm, the worker approaches his SUV and ultimately removes his reflector vest. At about 1:20, he approaches the covered sign, then removes the cover, so the spot is reserved for the next participant in the scheme.

At 01:34, the driver exits his vehicle, apparently having concluded that that the sign is tilted incorrectly. He straighten it, then returns to his vehicle, and drives off.

There's been no announced prosecution of the worker in the January episode, but such evidence, as well as the evidence in the new video, seems blatant. Presumably the police will be asked about it at the next Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting, to be held at Borough Hall on March 15 at 9:30 am.

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NoLandGrab: Thanks, Forest City and ESDC! This kind of blatantly illegal, antisocial and selfish behavior is really making us look forward to the day the Barclays Center brings 18,000 people into the neighborhood.

Posted by eric at 11:44 PM

March 9, 2012

Greening the Planned Barclays Center Surface Parking Lot

The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council presented a proposal for greening the massive surface parking lot planned for a large swath of Dean Street, which Atlantic Yards Watch covered last month, at last night's Atlantic Yards Transportation Focus Group meeting.

The presentation opened with a time-lapse video of Dean Street shot nearly two years ago by Tracy Collins, which shows a street that definitely is not going to be improved by the presence of 1100 cars coming and going to arena events.

Dean at Carlton from tracy collins on Vimeo.

You can download a copy of PHNDC's very sensible suggestions here.

Posted by eric at 3:01 PM

Arena traffic: study of pre-opening conditions coming; aim is to set baseline for potential changes; residents still worry about street closures and surface parking lot

Atlantic Yards Report

City officials and Forest City Ratner are taking steps to assess traffic in the area around the Barclays Center arena, and plans for both a pre-opening study, as well as a post-opening study, have drawn both constructive criticism and civic wariness.

The plans, which are aimed to spur helpful changes, were discussed last night at a meeting of a Transportation Focus Group, involving representatives of community groups and block associations in the arena's orbit, held at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

The 2006 environmental review for the project identified 25 intersections where there’d be significant adverse impacts, but the long delay since that time period necessitated a new baseline study, to be conducted over the next month or two.

That's necessary for comparison with the post-opening study of traffic and pedestrian conditions, to be conducted in the winter/spring of 2013, that was requested of the developer by the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT).

Recent changes

The DOT's Chris Hrones noted that DOT already implemented a “major round of mitigations” last summer, including barring left turns onto Flatbush Avenue from northbound Fourth Avenue. “Every time you make changes, there are going to be some adjustments,” he said. “We hope the benefits outweigh the impacts.”
...

Some skepticism

Sandy Balboza of the Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association, expressed skepticism: once analysis is conducted, she warned, “it sounds to me like you're going to make it more of a highway.”

“I don't think there's an adequate plan for getting people not to drive,” she said, alluding to the much-delayed Transportation Demand Management study, which is due in May after being promised for December. “I think we're in big trouble.”

article

Posted by eric at 2:47 PM

March 2, 2012

Classon Avenue is Latest Atlantic Yards Battleground

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]
by Jessica Thomas

Residents of Classon Avenue are calling for a ban on left turns from Atlantic Avenue onto the northbound roadway in hopes of cutting off a likely escape valve for fans leaving the Barclays Center after the 19,000-seat venue opens in September.

The Classon, Lexington and Quincy multi-block association believes that many drivers will use Classon — rather than Flatbush or westbound Atlantic Avenue — as a route to the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway after attending events at the arena. To prevent that, the group collected more than a thousand signatures on petitions calling for a ban on left turns.

It is unclear how many Barclays Center-goers will drive to the arena at the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues. A 2006 study estimated that 35 percent of fans would arrive in a car — a conservative estimate that would nonetheless translate to more than 2,300 extra vehicles in the already packed area.

Residents fear that many of those cars will end up on Classon Avenue because the city has already banned left turns onto Vanderbilt and Washington Avenues from Atlantic Avenue citing unsafe conditions for pedestrians at those intersections.
...

A full study of post-game transportation flow is expected to be revealed in May, months overdue. It is unclear if it will fully address the problem of post-game traffic; the Atlantic Yards project’s final environmental impact statement in 2006 did not address traffic concerns on Classon, which was deemed outside the study area.

article

Posted by eric at 11:07 AM

February 23, 2012

Planned parking-free apartments near Barclays Center stoke fear

The Brooklyn Paper
by Daniel Bush

A developer promises he’s doing the community a favor by not including parking at his planned 55-unit apartment building across the street from the Barclays Center, but Prospect Heights residents say he’s only making things worse.

Martin Domansky claims he wants to do away with required on-site parking at his proposed apartment building on Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street to discourage car owners from moving to the traffic-clogged streets near the soon-to-be-finished home of the Brooklyn Nets.

“We want to make it a better neighborhood,” said Domansky, who is planning a $20-million five-story luxury rental complex that will replace the blue, triangle-shaped Bergen Tile factory, which closed in 2008.

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NoLandGrab: Domansky is exactly right. A parking-free building will attract people who don't have or want to own cars. Build parking, and the cars — and congestion — will follow.

Posted by eric at 11:12 AM

February 20, 2012

What's going on here? Your basic truck carrying unknown cargo idling on a residential street on the way to the arena site

Atlantic Yards Report

What's going on here? As Atlantic Yards Watch documented on the morning of Friday, 2/17/12, flaggers on (privatized) Pacific Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues apparently let a delivery truck bound for the Barclays Center site advance onto residential Pacific Street west of Carlton.

It idled more than 20 minutes in the street, as if double-parking. The contents? Apparently "unknown barrels of chemicals."

link

NoLandGrab: Conversely, they might just be getting ready to test the arena's deep fryers.

Posted by eric at 10:43 AM

February 13, 2012

Barclays To Boast One Of NYC’s Biggest Parking Lots

CBS New York

The Barclays Center under construction at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn will become the home of the NBA’s Nets, and the fans will need somewhere to park their cars.

Two long avenues from the arena on the residential corner of Vanderbilt Avenue and Dean Street is what will be one of New York City’s largest parking lots.
...

“I think the lot should comply with New York City zoning regulations,” said Peter Krashes, president of the Dean Street Block Association. “They’re changing the lot to make it work for the developer. Why don’t they take some input from the community?”

link

Related coverage...

Fort Greene-Clinton Hill Patch, Coming Soon to Atlantic Yards: Stacked Parking Spaces?

Worried about the threat of traffic problems during basketball games, concerts and other major events at the arena, community groups and some local elected officials are pushing for a permit parking system for the neighborhoods surrounding Atlantic Yards.

However, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, D-Cobble Hill, doubted that necessary approval by state legislators for the permit parking plan would happen anytime soon.

NoLandGrab: If you're a real estate developer, the state will order staffers to work through the Thanksgiving weekend to give you what you need. If you're a community facing a traffic onslaught, on the other hand, well, uh, sorry.

Posted by eric at 10:07 PM

The peril of car stackers on the arena parking lot, Forest City's modular alternative, and delays in (and questions about) the transportation demand management plan

Atlantic Yards Report

The Post quoted Forest City spokesman Joe DePlasco as saying that reducing on-site parking is “important," and they are “conducting an analysis" to try to avoid stackers.

Translation: use a modular system that's never been tested. And that was discussed more than eight months ago, though no formal plans have never been announced.

According to an October 2011 report to Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing Atlantic Yards, HDR, the agency's Atlantic Yards mitigation monitor, met with Forest City's transportation consultant, Sam Schwartz Engineering (SSE), and reported:

On-site parking on Block 1129 was discussed in detail, in particular the use of strategies of avoiding extensive vehicle queues on the local street network due to the use of vehicle stackers for parking. Concern was raised especially for the post-event period, when potential excessive wait times would be experience by many event attendees as event staff retrieved vehicles parked in the stackers. To mitigate this concern, SSSE recommended investigation of the feasibility of constructing the use of a temporary parking stucture sold by MORE PARK, LLC, in lieu of the stackers. The temporary parking structure would consist of standard structural steel and precast concrete members and would be installed over a paved surface, without a foundation. SSE is to perform a detailed queue analysis utilizing the MORE PARK system to ensure optimal performance. FCRC and its consulting engineers will study code compliance with NYC Department of Buildings and FDNY.

I wrote last August that More Park was said to have been chosen for the arena lot, but it was unclear whether the company's modular model had been tested in the United States, though it has been used in Europe.

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Posted by eric at 12:40 PM

What if the Barclays Center parking lot was required to meet NYC design standards?

Atlantic Yards Watch

 

Residents of the streets surrounding the Atlantic Yards Project have numerous concerns about impacts that will follow the opening of Barclays Center arena, but few are greater than the effect of a new surface parking lot planned for the block bordered by Carlton Avenue, Vanderbilt Avenue, Dean Street and Pacific Street. The block is known as block 1129.

Following FCRC's renegotiation of the project plan in 2009, the duration of use of block 1129 for surface parking was extended, the number of spaces were increased, and up to two cars were assigned to each space using stackers. In addition, for the first time all the parking planned for the arena was concentrated there. Originally scheduled to be an "interim" surface lot in place for perhaps four years, it is now likely the full block of parking will be in place for at least 12 years, by which point the developer is required to start the construction of one residential building on the block. The remainder of the site can remain a parking lot for as long as 25 years or more since the project's development agreement allows further extension under certain conditions.

The picture on the left above commissioned by AYW is an illustration of the lot configuration and stackers necessary to provide the 1,100 parking spaces specified in the 2009 Atlantic Yards Modified General Project Plan. Given the density and number of parking spaces, the lot would not comply with New York City's design standards for surface parking lots. For comparison, the picture on the right shows a possible design for parking on block 1129 based upon City standards. (Click on the pictures to enlarge.)

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Lot illustrations: Joel Stipano

Base photo and arena illustration: Jonathan Barkey and Tracy Collins

Posted by eric at 12:31 PM

Barclays Center in Brooklyn will create parking and traffic problems

Fury at B’klyn arena parking plan

NY Post
by Rich Calder

An unconventional plan for parking at the new Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn has critics predicting a neighborhood traffic nightmare.

Stack-parking spaces — which use hydraulic lifts to stack anywhere from two to four cars atop one another — are expected to fill roughly half of an 1,100-spot parking lot going up next to the NBA Nets’ arena in Prospect Heights, according to renderings commissioned by project critics based on approved plans.

With nearly a square block— bordered by Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues, and Dean and Pacific streets— designated to be the only on-site event parking lot for many years, the renderings show what many feared: It’s mathematically impossible to fill a state-mandated 1,100 spots there without stacking spaces.

No current New York pro-sports venue uses stack parking.

The concern, neighborhood residents say, is that hydraulic systems and valet service associated with stack parking slow the entry and exit of cars from the lot, potentially creating bumper-to-bumper traffic on surrounding streets and sending antsy drivers to seek the area’s few remaining curbside spaces.

“Getting cars up and down after events and in and out of the lot will be a time-consuming, major undertaking that’s never been studied,” said Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, one of three civic groups that commissioned the renderings.
...

New surface parking lots of this size require tree-lined medians to absorb heat and storm water, but that city law doesn’t apply here because it’s considered “temporary parking.” Under a scenario where the medians were enforced, the lot would only be able to hold about 500 spots, according to additional renderings.

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Rendering: BrooklynSpeaks/Original Photo: Jonathan Barkey

Related coverage...

Brownstoner, Worries Aired About Stack Parking Next to Arena

A rep for Forest City says the developer is “conducting an analysis that we hope will allow” the firm to avoid using stack parking.

NY1, Report: Parking Woes Stack Up Outside New Brooklyn Arena

A possible parking plan at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn has critics fearing a traffic nightmare when crowds emerge from an event all at the same time.

The Real Deal, Critics predict Barclays Center parking nightmare

Posted by eric at 12:04 PM

February 12, 2012

Atlantic Yards Watch gets results: signs nailed to trees are removed

Atlantic Yards Report

A day after Atlantic Yards Watch reported that there were temporary "No Parking" signs nailed to trees on Pacific Street, they were removed.

link

NoLandGrab: Please tell us they removed the signs and not, per their usual m.o., the trees.

Posted by eric at 11:25 PM

February 10, 2012

Exclusive: the Carlton Avenue Bridge is delayed one month, setting up breakneck pace to achieve completion before arena opens; officials have not acknowledged delays

Atlantic Yards Report

Though neither Forest City Ratner nor city/state officials have said so, the reconstruction of the Carlton Avenue Bridge, a crucial connector between Prospect Heights and Fort Greene, is lagging a month behind schedule, state documents confirm.

The delay has sparked a breakneck construction pace to meet the new completion date of late September 2012, just before the first official Barclays Center event, a sure-to-be-sold-out Jay-Z concert on 9/28/12.

Just yesterday, Empire State Development, the state agency in charge of the project, announced that work to finish the bridge could go as late as 3 am on weekdays through September.

That means that painfully bright (to some) floodlights will illuminate the Vanderbilt Yard until 3 am--and, as experience has shown, likely even longer. And if the bridge doesn't get done in time, nearby streets would face confusion and chaos on event days, at least initially.

(February 2010 photo by Tracy Collins)

Key connection

The bridge, closed since January 2008 to enable renovation work in the below-ground Long Island Rail Road's Vanderbilt Yard, not only offers a key artery, it borders the planned surface parking lot, a magnet for up to 1100 vehicles.

The $40 million bridge reconstruction is an Arena Opening Condition, a requirement in a document Forest City signed with Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing the project.

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NoLandGrab: And if you think failure to meet that "Arena Opening Condition" will actually keep the arena from opening, we've got another bridge to sell you.

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Watch, Railyard construction extended to 3:00 AM weekdays

Construction work hours in NYC normally are allowed 7 AM to 6 PM weekdays. Recently work in the railyard has been extended to begin at 6 AM and end at 11 PM weekdays, and from 7 AM to 11 PM Saturdays. Arena work hours have been extended as well.

Complaints about the use of lights have occurred with some regularity on Atlantic Yards Watch recently. The lights were originally not to be used for construction. According to the Project Director the contract between FCRC and LIRR was to be revised to enable the contractor to use the lights for construction, not just operation and repair as originally intended. The supplemental alert warns the lights may now be used until 3:00 AM.

Posted by eric at 11:03 AM

February 9, 2012

Construction hours extended to 3 am to get Carlton Avenue Bridge done; flood lights will be on

Atlantic Yards Report

Apparently, Forest City Ratner is feeling the time pressure, as it plans work at Vanderbilt Yard as late as 3 am on weekdays to get the Carlton Avenue Bridge done, and will keep the lights on.

According to a Supplemental Report to the biweekly Construction Update issued today by Empire State Development (after preparation by Forest City):

Commencing on Thursday, February 9th, Yard construction hours have the potential to extend until 3:00 AM Monday through Friday. These extended hours will remain in place through the completion of the Carlton Avenue Bridge replacement, as needed. Additionally, to facilitate early start and late finish of work, Yard Flood Lights will be turned on at 6am and from dusk to 3:00 am, during double shifts through the completion of the Carlton Avenue Bridge replacement, as needed.

link

NoLandGrab: Wait, we must've missed something. Didn't Forest City Ratner tell everyone early in 2008, when the bridge was closed, that a new bridge would be ready in two years? And didn't ESDC reassure everybody in December 2008 that there were "no changes in the schedule at this time." Guess they really did f**k the bridge. Not to mention the people of Brooklyn.

Posted by eric at 6:27 PM

February 8, 2012

Brooklyn Looks to Slow Zones to Curb Speeding

The Brooklyn Ink
by Cristabelle Tumola

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) launched a Neighborhood Slow Zone program this fall that reduces speed limits from 30 mph to 20 mph and adds safety measures, such as speed bumps, within a select area. The first and currently only existing Slow Zone in the city was created in the Claremont section of the Bronx in late November. A 20 mph zone program in London has already proven to reduce vehicle speeds and accidents by as much as 40 percent. Now several neighborhoods in Brooklyn are applying for their own Neighborhood Slow Zones, hoping for the same results.
...

The aim of Slow Zones, in addition to lowering the number of accidents, is to reduce noise and traffic in residential neighborhoods, says [DOT spokesman Scott] Gastel. Cut through traffic—cars taking short cuts to avoid busier streets—have plagued some Brooklyn neighborhoods, such as Prospect Heights, which are near major Brooklyn roadways and the Atlantic Yards construction site, the future home of the Barclays Center.

article

Posted by eric at 11:06 AM

January 30, 2012

What's going on here? Noisy, chaotic congestion during (unannounced) overnight work at Atlantic and Sixth avenues

Atlantic Yards Report

It was a very busy Saturday night at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Atlantic Avenue, but the street closure, noise, confusion, and heightened danger were not predicted in the latest two-week Atlantic Yards Construction Alert, dated 1/16/12, that was distributed by Empire State Development (after preparation by developer Forest City Ratner).

Though no weekend third shift work was announced, the documentation appears in two postings on Atlantic Yards Watch.

On Saturday afternoon, January 28, trucks dropped off transformers that were later to be lowered into the Vanderbilt Yard. The trucks positioned themselves on the south side of Atlantic, east of Sixth Avenue, thus taking up a lane used as a bus stop.

Uh, normally used as a bus stop.

As noted in the video below, which begins at about 11 pm, the congested traffic led to some untoward consequences.

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NoLandGrab: Good practice for what it will be like every time there's an event at the Barclays Center of Brooklyn™.

Posted by eric at 3:20 PM

With transportation plan delayed, Nets finally survey fans about transportation options regarding Barclays Center attendance

Atlantic Yards Report

What a coincidence: a day after a public meeting in which officials revealed delays in the long-awaited Transportation Demand Management plan for the Barclays Center, Nets Basketball on January 27 sent "an important online survey about our move to Barclays Center in Brooklyn next season" to those on its mailing list.

The survey, which offered the opportunity to win "autographed merchandise, courtside seats to a NETS game or a NETS Fan Experience package!," seemed designed to alert people to the extensive public transportation options and deter them from driving.

However, should word-of-mouth or advertising attract drivers to non-arena-related garages or to residential streets in search of free parking, that will hamper the effort to promote transit use.

Last week, Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, for Empire State Development suggested that the delay in the NBA season hampered development of the plan. Perhaps, but there's no reason why those on the Nets' mailing list could not have been previously surveyed.

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Posted by eric at 11:21 AM

January 28, 2012

Street changes near arena site: planned "pedestrian refuge" on Atlantic Avenue at South Portland/Sixth provokes concern about eliminating turn from Atlantic

Atlantic Yards Report

At two meetings January 26, Chris Hrones of the New York City Department of Transportation described two planned changes in nearby roadway configurations that were not part of the Atlantic Yards plan, but are relevant to neighbors--and got some pushback about one.

Atlantic Avenue going west of Flatbush/Fourth

At Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush, there are four lanes going west on Atlantic, with one right turn-only lane. The original plan was to make another lane right-turn only.

But that would fuel congestion on Atlantic Avenue, as multiple lanes narrow to two lanes west of Flatbush (and Fourth Avenue). Now, Hornese said, the plan is to to create a 100-foot merge lane on Atlantic west of Flatbush/Fourth, thus extending an existing bus stop space (115 feet) by eliminating five or six parking spaces.

No left on South Portland on Atlantic going east

The other plan is to create a "pedestrian refuge" (mini-median) in the middle of broad Atlantic Avenue at the intersection of South Portland Avenue/Sixth Avenue, across from the northeast corner of the arena block. That would eliminate the eastbound left turn from Atlantic onto South Portland--a turn currently not available because of construction-related traffic changes.

There still would be an eastbound left turn at Fort Greene Place, he said, and one will be restored at Carlton Avenue. (This was also noted on Patch.)

The plan provoked some pushback from Jim Vogel, a representative of state Senator Velmanette Montgomery. "Fort Greene Place is demapped," he said, noting it was privatized for Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Center and Atlantic Terminal malls. "In terms of utility to the community, it's more important to have a left turn on South Portland. Eliminating a turn on a through street to favor a private shopping road is going to raise a lot of waves."

Hrones said it was an issue of pedestrian safety, and there was no other opportunity to create that refuge. As for Fort Greene Place, "Forest City is required to keep it open to the public," he said.

Rob Perris, District Manager of Community Board 2, said he agreed with Vogel: "South Portland, the way it connects with the street network, is a much higher utility route than Fort Greene Place or Carlton Avenue."

link

Posted by steve at 5:37 PM

January 27, 2012

Delay in transportation plan for arena dismays residents, CM Levin; lack of info about area garages hampers efforts to reduce surface parking lot in residential neighborhood

Atlantic Yards Report

The delay in the release of the long-awaited Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, from once-promised December to now-promised May, has distinct real-world consequences, notably stalling the efforts of Prospect Heights residents to argue for a reduction in the size of the planned 1100-space parking lot on Block 1129, bounded by Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues and Dean and Pacific Streets.

The availability of parking garages elsewhere might buttress their case, but more than five years after the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was completed, Forest City Ratner contractors are newly analyzing available spaces in parking garages near the project site.

During meetings yesterday of the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet (made up of affected agencies and elected officials) and the Transportation Focus Group (including neighborhood and civic groups), representatives of Sam Schwartz Engineering (SSE) did not discuss the emerging plan in great detail, but described the research process (e.g., surveys of attendees), the plan to select a vendor to manage parking, and shared how incentives for mass transit, including marketing, had reduced the number of drivers at other sports facilities, such as the Prudential Center in Newark and CitiField in Queens.

The pre-sale of parking spaces in local garages, plus parking in remote garages (with free shuttle buses), is aimed to steer drivers away from residential streets.

However, several residents expressed qualms about the effect in neighborhoods around the Barclays Center, given the failure, for example, to establish residential permit parking (RPP), which would deter out-of-area drivers looking for free on-street spaces.

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NoLandGrab: They've had more than eight years to work on this. Is it any wonder residents around the arena site have zero confidence in the efficacy of the "plan?"

Posted by eric at 11:46 AM

Atlantic Yards Update: No Left Turn on S. Oxford, State Says No to Resident Veto, More

Residents also learn that only 11 percent of apartments in first tower are slated to have two or more bedrooms, compared to the 50 percent promised.

Park Slope Patch
by Amy Sara Clark

Here are a few highlights from yesterday’s meeting of the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet, a group of Ratner, state and elected officials that meets bi-monthly:

No Left Turn for S. Oxford

To the chagrin of anyone trying to get to Fort Greene when driving east on Atlantic, there will be no left turn on S. Oxford Street. However, there will be a left turn onto Carlton (once it re-opens) as well as onto Fort Greene Place.

The Department of Transportation has eliminated that turn lane in favor of a pedestrian “refuge” for those who can’t cross all the lanes in one light.

No Resident Veto Power on Traffic Plans:

Afraid of the traffic onslaught when Barclays Arena opens in the fall, neighborhood groups have asked for more input into the traffic management plan.

In response, the Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing the construction, set up a Transportation Focus Group that will give civic groups and block associations to give early input on the plan directly to ESDC and Ratner officials.

Skeptical that the input would have an impact, at last month’s meeting, the groups asked for veto power on the plan. The ESDC’s Arana Hankin said in December the agency would consider the request, but came back this morning with firm no.

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Posted by eric at 11:39 AM

Transportation Demand Management plan for arena, originally due in December, then pushed to February, now expected in May; state official: "I think we're going to be OK"

Atlantic Yards Report

The long-awaited Transportation Demand Management plan for the Barclays Center arena has been pushed back a second time, marking a delay of at least five months, officials revealed today at the bimonthly Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting.

So the expected release in May leaves a much shorter window of opportunity for area residents and other stakeholders to offer constructive criticism before the arena opens in late September.

Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, for Empire State Development, acknowledged that her agency, responding to a question at a public meeting last June about the TDM plan, "anticipated" that developer Forest City Ratner would present the plan "to the public for comment in about six months."

The plan involves incentives to reduce use of cars, free MetroCards, cross-marketing with local businesses, remote parking, and more.
...

How worrisome is the delay, I asked Hankin.

She pointed out that staffers from consultant Sam Schwartz Engineering (SSE), the firm Forest City hired to work on the plan, had described how they put together a successful plan for the new arena in Newark, the Prudential Center, in ten weeks. "I think we’re going to be OK," she said.

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NoLandGrab: As one-time NBA center Joe Barry Carroll once said, allegedly, to a referee who had whistled him for an infraction and, when Carroll protested, told him he thought he'd committed a foul: "don't be thinkin', be knowin'."

Posted by eric at 11:28 AM

Forest City Ratner: Carlton Avenue Bridge "projected completion" early September; arena on schedule (no mention of report on delays); facade company catching up after temporary closure

Atlantic Yards Report

At yesterday's Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting, held at Borough Hall, Forest City Ratner officials gave several assurances about the timetable for ongoing work--but also left some questions lingering.

Carlton Avenue Bridge

Construction chief Bob Sanna provided an update on the Carlton Avenue Bridge, which is supposed to be reconstructed before the arena opens in September, thus reopening a long-closed connection between Prospect Heights and Fort Greene.

"The bulk excavation is 95% complete, there’s an extensive storm retention system that’s below the tracks. We have two of the three detention tanks now complete," he said. "The north abutment is about 60% complete, we started working on the south abutments."

"We expect to be able to cut over the yard, transfer trains into the newly laid track in February, and cover the trains over in May," he said, "which will allow us to complete the bridge in the early part of September. So the projected completion of the bridge... is the early part of September.”

That doesn't give them a lot of slack, given that the arena is supposed to open September 28, following several pre-opening events. I wrote earlier this month about the possibility of the schedule slipping, and the non-punitive penalties--a stall on starting a new tower--facing Forest City.

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Posted by eric at 11:22 AM

January 13, 2012

Two Atlantic Yards Meetings January 26th

Atlantic Yards Watch

There will be two meetings addressing Atlantic Yards issues taking place at Brooklyn Borough Hall on Thursday, January 26th.

The next Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet will meet from 9:30 am to 11 am. Members of the public may observe the meeting. The agenda has not yet been announced, but given the meeting's timing, it is likely to focus on the transportation demand management plan for Barclays Center.

The second meeting is a follow-up to the December 12, 2011 meeting on traffic issues related to Atlantic Yards. The meeting has the format of a roundtable discussion in which invited community groups can each appoint one representative to participate. Representatives of FCRC and NYCDOT will join the group. The meeting will begin at 6 pm.

Both meetings will be held in the Community Room at Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street.

link

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, From AYW: Two Atlantic Yards on January 26: District Service Cabinet and transportation group

I'd add that there was considerable concern at the meeting last month over the content and timing of the much-promised Transportation Demand Management plan.

Posted by eric at 11:31 AM

POLL: Should Prospect Heights Become a "Slow Zone"?

Designation could cut down on accidents and through traffic using speed bumps and 20 mph speed zones, but it would also mean the loss of some parking spots.

Prospect Heights Patch
by Amy Sara Clark

In the two days it's been live, more than 250 people have signed an online petition to turn Prospect Heights into a “Neighborhood Slow Zone.”

The designation would be granted by the Department of Transportation.

The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council is spearheading the effort, saying that drivers are speeding down the side streets, which they're using instead of Flatbush and Atlantic in order to avoid Atlantic Yards construction.
...

But there is a downside: there would also bea loss of several dozen parking spaces where signs and striping would alert drivers to the zone.

article / sign the petition

NoLandGrab: God forbid we sacrifice a few parking spots when the only benefit will be saving lives.

Related coverage...

Daily Heights, Will “Slow Nabe” Status Make Prospect Heights Safe for Pedestrians?

Block associations and Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council want to turn Prospect Heights into a “Neighborhood Slow Zone.” The speed limit will drop to 20 mph (down from 30 mph), new speed bumps would be installed, and “slow zone” signs and striping would be painted at neighborhood boundaries.

“Once the Barclays Center opens in September, the influx of “cut-through” traffic from cars avoiding major roads will only make the situation worse,” Danae Oratowski wrote regarding the potential slow zone for Prospect Heights.

Posted by eric at 12:04 AM

January 11, 2012

The Village Voice's "100 Most Powerless New Yorkers" includes Markowitz, de Blasio, AY-area car owners, and, I'd argue, should include the Voice itself

Atlantic Yards Report

The Village Voice has been getting some deserved play for its admittedly arbitrary list of "The 100 Most Powerless New Yorkers," including:

8. Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate

De Blasio is the holder of the most useless office in the city, a position so powerless, it was first held by Mark Green. Since it was created, its budget has been cut nearly in half, and there are repeated calls to abolish it altogether. And though second in line to succeed the mayor, no former occupant has yet to move into Gracie Mansion.

64. Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn borough president

Brooklyn beep Markowitz fancies himself the Most Important Ambassador from Brooklyn the World Has Ever Seen. (Indeed, he has told the courts he needs to promote the borough as far away as Turkey, and we've personally witnessed the aftermath of his glad-handing in Haifa, Israel.) But Markowitz is so powerless, he can't get Apple to build a store in the borough with perhaps the most concentrated population of Mac users in the universe outside of California, and his decision to bring his wife, Jamie (or, as he calls her, "The First Lady of Brooklyn"), abroad with him cost Markowitz $20,000 in fines.

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Posted by eric at 6:38 PM

100 Most Powerless New Yorkers

A 'power list' for the rest of us

The Village Voice
by Steven Thrasher

87. Car-owners in Fort Greene

It's not easy to park a car anywhere in New York, but it has gotten especially difficult in Fort Greene. Once the Barclay's Center opens next fall at Atlantic Yards with a mere 1,100 parking spots to accommodate its 19,000-seat capacity, expect streets in Spike Lee's home 'hood to become gridlocked with cars looking for nonexistent parking spaces during some 200 planned events a year. A plan to grant street-parking permits for residents is considered dead on arrival in Albany.

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Related coverage...

Fort Greene-Clinton Hill Patch, Fort Greene Car Owners No. 87 on List of '100 Most Powerless NYers'

Attention car owners endlessly circling the block for an open space in Fort Greene: you are in good company.

Unfortunately, come September when the Barclays Center is scheduled to open, things are only going to get worse. And there's little, if anything, that you can do about it, according to a list published in this week's Village Voice.

Posted by eric at 11:26 AM

January 10, 2012

After vandalism of street sign, a replacement installed, but no concrete response by NYPD and FCR; ESD would like FCR to put in place new measures

Atlantic Yards Report

Fear not — Atlantic Yards maintains its perfect record of zero accountability.

So, after a driver and construction worker--quite likely working at Atlantic Yards, but that's not confirmed--uprooted a "No Standing" sign on Pacific Street between Sixth and Carlton avenues on January 6, what's the aftermath?

No concrete action--other than the installation of a replacement sign, as noted on Atlantic Yards Watch--and a lot of questions.

First, the New York Police Department, which presumably had the driver's license number, has not issued a statement, and I have not received a response to an inquiry posed yesterday afternoon.

State and FCR response

Are there any measures Empire State Development (ESD) can or will take regarding this, I asked Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, for ESD, the state agency overseeing the project.

"ESD does not condone this behavior and will request that FCR [Forest City Ratner] take disciplinary action with this particular worker and put in place measures to prevent it from happening again," Hankin responded.

FCR, however, is not there yet, perhaps because the identity of the worker and his association with the project has not been publicly confirmed. Spokesman Joe DePlasco said that "our response to that was that the information and video should be shared with the police."

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Posted by eric at 11:41 AM

January 9, 2012

Will Carlton Avenue Bridge reopen in time for arena? Maybe, as double-shift work continues. But evidence suggests it's delayed, and penalties are toothless.

Atlantic Yards Report

Evidence--including a delayed start and a search for funding--suggests that the reconstruction of the Carlton Avenue Bridge is behind.

And that's provoked an accelerated, double-shift pace (as announced in the 12/19/11 Construction Alert) to complete the work by the time the Atlantic Yards arena is deemed substantially complete by 8/30/12.

Maybe it'll get done, even as deadlines for the arena and site work have already been pushed near their limit.

But if it doesn't--a potential "surprise" that I predicted last week--the impact likely would hit the local community far more than it would damage developer Forest City Ratner, which faces no direct penalties.

The hazards

If the arena opens without the bridge, that would set up some hazardous, frenzied conditions in Prospect Heights, notably two-way traffic on narrow Sixth Avenue bordering the Barclays Center and a bottleneck on Carlton Avenue.

Sixth Avenue, which for years was a one-way street, was converted to two-way service when the Carlton Avenue Bridge was closed.

Sixth Avenue is supposed to be converted back to one-way service will remain two-way, and the burden will be greater, obviously, if the Carlton Avenue Bridge doesn't reopen.

The question is when that reopening will happen.

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Photo: Tracy Collins

Posted by eric at 11:11 AM

January 6, 2012

Caught red-handed on video: Atlantic Yards construction worker uproots newly installed "No Standing" sign on Pacific Street

Atlantic Yards Report

Ok, city and state officials overseeing Atlantic Yards, get a load of this.

There's a No Standing sign on the south side of Pacific Street, between Sixth and Carlton avenues, that doesn't sit well with construction workers looking for convenient parking at the nearby Barclays Center and railyard sites.

They apparently uprooted one sign in mid-December. A week later, its replacement was again uprooted (photo at [right] from Atlantic Yards Watch).

But documentary evidence compiled this morning shows exactly how it's done. Late yesterday afternoon, AY Watch contributor 700PacificW commented on the newly installed sign (photo at right):

Newly installed MTP "red no standing" sign could be destroyed within 1 day of installation again.

That prediction was quite accurate.

This morning's vandalism

As shown in the video posted below, at about 6:15 am today, a construction worker--as noted wearing a hardhat in a photo posted to AY Watch--parked next to the sign.

(Is he definitely working at the Atlantic Yards site? I can't be absolutely certain, but this is where AY site workers seek to park, and hundreds of others workers seen on that block work at the site. A witness saw this worker walking toward the arena site.)

He got out. At 1:10 of the video, he began rocking the sign with his hands, ultimately dislodging it.

At 3:16 of the video, he began moving the sign to the north side of Pacific Street near the MTA's Vanderbilt Yard, as shown in the screen shot at left.

And now he has free parking.

article

Related coverage...

In tearing down the sign the worker creates 4 or 5 illegal spaces used by Barclays Center construction workers on a regular basis.

Streetsblog, How to Make Your Own Free Parking Near the Atlantic Yards Site

...here’s a variety of parking scofflaw that we’ve never come across before on Streetsblog.
...

And you thought placards were the ultimate in free parking entitlement.

Prospect Heights Patch, Video Catches Driver Pulling Down 'No Standing' Sign Across From Atlantic Yards

The videographer caught the man's SUV's license plate number, and we're waiting to hear back from the police about whether they are trying to track him down.

Posted by eric at 1:02 PM

January 5, 2012

Carlton Avenue/Pacific Street signal light knocked down for at least the third time

Atlantic Yards Watch

 

For at least the third time since construction began on Barclays Center, a signal light at Carlton Avenue and Pacific Street has been knocked down. The photo above left is from last week. To the right is a photo of the signal light damaged (but not knocked down) in July. At the bottom of the story is a sequence showing an Atlantic Yards construction delivery truck in July working its way around the corner with the assistance of flaggers.

The signal light is a victim of trucks using Carlton Avenue to enter Pacific Street instead of at Vanderbilt Avenue as is described in the Barclays Center Delivery Truck Rules and Regulations. Carlton Avenue is not a designated truck route, but Atlantic Yards construction trucks often use it. The intersection at Pacific Street is too narrow to provide an adequate turning radius for many longer-length trucks, putting the signal at risk.

article

Posted by eric at 12:04 PM

December 30, 2011

A traffic light down at Carlton Avenue and Pacific Street; trucks regularly ignore the staging area and use Carlton improperly

Atlantic Yards Report

As if saying goodbye to 2011, Atlantic Yards Watch reports that the traffic light on the southwest corner of Carlton Avenue and Pacific Street was knocked down December 28, apparently by one of the several trucks that ignore the Pacific Street staging area and improperly use Carlton Avenue, then make a left.

link

Posted by eric at 11:03 AM

December 29, 2011

Brooklyn's largest subway hub will be co-named (not re-named) for Barclays arena (timing, name not yet announced)

Atlantic Yards Report

To clarify a report on About.com (picked up by the Brooklyn Eagle) that Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street Station Goes Corporate, Will Now Be Renamed Barclays Terminal, the MTA confirms that it will be a co-naming, not a renaming.

Neither a precise name nor timing have been announced, but I doubt the co-naming would occur until the arena opens. The official opening date is 9/28/12, but there should be a soft opening in August.

The first-ever sale of station naming rights was announced in 2009, for $200,000 a year over 20 years--a bargain, I'd contend.

link

Related...

About.com, CORRECTION/UPDATE: Happy 2012...and Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street Station Goes Corporate, Will Now Reflect the Name Barclays

Posted by eric at 10:25 AM

December 21, 2011

Residents Brace for Barclays Center Traffic With Concern and Trepidation

The Brooklyn Ink
by Cristabelle Tumola

Atlantic and Fourth Avenues in Brooklyn have at least two things in common.

First, both are among the most dangerous roads for pedestrians in downstate New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, according to a 2010 report released by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a non-profit organization committed to reducing car dependency.

Second, both streets bound the Atlantic Yards project, the future home of the Barclays Center and the New Jersey (soon to be Brooklyn) Nets. That has made the streets the subject of still more ills, among them clogged traffic, illegal parking and noise. And that is only since the arena construction began in March 2010. Local residents fear much worse after the arena opens in September 2012.

They have plenty reason for concern.

article

Posted by eric at 11:50 AM

December 19, 2011

Miami Marlins Risk Dropping the Ball on Transit

The Atlantic Cities
by Eric Jaffe

The Miami Marlins, who may have defrauded investors in building their new ballpark, are also sans transportation plan less than four months from opening day. And, oh yeah, there's no transportation yet for the Barclays Center, either.

Next season the Miami (nee Florida) Marlins will move into a new $634 million baseball stadium. Judging by its most recent player acquisitions, the team is willing to spend whatever it takes to lure fans into the seats. They recently signed shortstop Jose Reyes to a $106 million contract. They followed that up with a $58 million deal for left-handed pitcher Mark Buehrle. Although they lost out on free agent prize Albert Pujols, the team's offer — north of $200 million — was not exactly shabby.

Exactly how those fans will get to the seats is a another matter. With the season just a few months away, the stadium's transportation plan remains noticeably incomplete. Most fans will drive: roughly 5,000 garage spaces are intended for season ticketholders, and another 4,000 or so offsite spots will be available nearby. Still parking alone can't fill the 37,000-seat stadium, and the team expects a considerable number of fans to arrive by public transportation; its executive vice president of ballpark development recently said as much: "Everyone wants people to use public transit." But as of right now the team's transit strategy has received far less financial attention than its free agent signings.
...

Considering the poor state of the stadium transit plans, the team's assertion that a large percentage of fans will arrive by public transportation strikes Transit Miami blogger Tony Garcia, who was at the October meeting, as "downright dishonest."

I have to wonder why these people believe that anyone would go through the trouble of transferring two or three times to get close to the stadium, to then walk a mile from Culmer or Civic station or take a shuttle. Are they nuts? Both of the closest stations are about a mile, without taking into account the treacherous 3′ sidewalks, dangerous intersections, and completely lacking pedestrian amenities along the way.

article

Posted by eric at 9:54 AM

December 16, 2011

Barclays Center traffic changes screwed Boerum Hill, residents say

The Brooklyn Paper
by Daniel Bush

The city’s efforts to tinker with the traffic flow around the Barclays Center to reduce congestion near the under-construction arena have not only failed, area residents say — they’ve actually made things worse on Third Avenue in Boerum Hill.

The city started tinkering with the traffic lights on Third Avenue between Atlantic and Flatbush avenues in August, when traffic on the stretch increased after changes were made to traffic flow to accommodate the coming Prospect Heights arena.

Residents said that the adjustments — including shunting Flatbush Avenue-bound Fourth Avenue traffic to Pacific Street or Third Avenue — has resulted in massive backups not only on Pacific Street, but all the way to State and Schermerhorn streets.

“In order to cross, you really have to weave in and out of traffic,” said Martha Kamber, the executive director of the YWCA on Third Avenue. “There’s also a lot of honking and cars regularly run red lights. It’s very messy.”

Messy, and perhaps unsolvable.

There may simply be nothing that the city can do, given the amout of traffic that is trying to get into and around Downtown.

article

Related coverage...

Carroll Gardens Patch, Efforts to Reduce Congestion Around Barclays Center Are Not Working, Residents Say

Posted by eric at 11:32 AM

December 13, 2011

At community meeting on Atlantic Yards transportation issues, call for "buy-in" on Forest City Ratner's (delayed) plan, frustration that so little is in place, new study of baseline issues announced

Atlantic Yards Report

Funny that Forest City can put double- or triple-shifts on for construction (keeping nearby residents up all night), but the same urgency is absent when it comes to completing a transportation plan that might be those residents' only chance of avoiding an arena-generated traffic nightmare.

A long-awaited meeting last night on community input regarding Atlantic Yards transportation issues--a prelude to a Transportation Working Group (TWG)--generated significant community frustration that so little was in place less than ten months before the Barclays Center arena begins operations.

“This project, and its arena, opens in ten months,” declared Gib Veconi, an activist in the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council and BrooklynSpeaks. “We just heard we haven't figured out where the satellite parking lots would be. By the same token, we don't know what happened with the sidewalk plan that shows narrower sidewalks, fewer travel lanes... We don't know what the parking plan for Block 1129 is, which is in the middle of a residential neighborhood..”

He further asked how Traffic Enforcement Agents (TEAs) would be deployed, and how the three police precincts that touch on the site would divide their work.

“Early next year,” responded Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, for Empire State Development, the state agency in charge of the project. About 30 people attended the meeting at Brooklyn's Borough Hall.

But Hankin faced considerable criticism that too little had been revealed, and that a crucial Transportation Demand Plan (involving incentives to reduce use of cars, free MetroCards, cross-marketing with local businesses, remote parking, and more) would be made available “in the first quarter,” rather than, as promised earlier this year, by the end of 2011.

Community approval?

Indeed, Veconi galvanized the audience by proposing that the Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan--which, unlike the forthcoming arena security and operations plans, requires approval by ESD and the city Department of Transportation (DOT)--be subject to community buy-in.

Many in the audience clapped, and Veconi suggested that the vote could be by those present, or by nominees of elected officials representing the neighborhoods around the project site.

“We can think about it,” Hankin said with a smile, in response to Veconi’s initial proposal.

article

Related coverage...

Park Slope Patch, Civic Groups Ask DOT, State for Veto on Atlantic Yards Traffic Plan

Atlantic Yards-area civic leaders asked state and city agencies to give them veto power over Forest City Ratner’s plan to help reduce the traffic onslaught when Barclays Arena opens next fall.

The request came after area community groups were invited by the Brooklyn Borough President’s office to participate in an Atlantic Yards “transportation working group.”

Posted by eric at 1:33 PM

December 11, 2011

At Borough Hall tomorrow, an invite-only meeting on AY-related transportation issues (and, apparently, without Forest City Ratner)

Atlantic Yards Report

Remember how City Council Member Letitia James and others have asked, at the bi-monthly meetings of the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet, for a once-promised Transportation Working Group?

Well, there's a meeting tomorrow at Borough Hall that seems to be a start, though it looks like a one-off, and without the participation of developer Forest City Ratner.

Luke DePalma, Transportation Policy Analyst in the Brooklyn Borough President's Office recently sent a notice to community organizations in the areas near the Atlantic Yards project site:

Your organizations are invited to participate in a meeting with elected officials (or their representatives) and Empire State Development to discuss community transportation concerns associated with the Atlantic Yards project / Barclays Center.

In the interest of keeping the meeting productive with so many participants, please designate only 1 representative from each of your respective groups to participate in the round-table discussion and RSVP to me...

I was told the meeting was open to the press but not, as with the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meetings, open to cameras.

link

Posted by steve at 10:08 PM

December 6, 2011

From street trees to illegal parking; photos show Atlantic Yards' adverse effect on 6th Avenue

Atlantic Yards Watch

They cut down paradise and put up an (illegal) parking lot.

Illegal parking on sidewalks, primarily by 78th Precinct employees, has replaced street trees on 6th Avenue between Dean and Pacific Streets. The photos above are one example of how Atlantic Yards construction has reversed the development progress of some areas of the community adjacent to the project site. The photo on the left was taken in December 2007. The photo on the right was taken November of 2011.

In March 2008, prior to the start of water main and sewer work, the Parks Department gave Forest City Ratner approval to cut down 86 trees adjacent to the project footprint in order to facilitate construction. The trees, like most street trees, were public property overseen by the Parks Department's forestry division.

The now empty tree beds are currently still visible under the tires of the 78th Precinct employees' cars. Because there are currently no plans to replace these trees until construction is complete, this area may not see them restored until Building #15 is built. In the 2006 project plan, Building #15 was anticipated to be the sixth non-arena building completed, and would have been finished less than three years after the opening of the arena. Under the current Project Agreements FCRC can take 25 years to complete Building #15.

article

Photos: Tracy Collins (L) & N. Wayne Bailey (R)

Posted by eric at 1:05 PM

December 5, 2011

What's going on here? Trucks keep idling on Pacific Street rather than wait in staging area

Atlantic Yards Report

OK, the video below, as published on Atlantic Yards Watch, does not represent the most scintillating viewing.

But it provides yet another example of trucks idling on a residential street when they should be in a staging area.

Three dump trucks are filmed at 6:30 am, across the street from a residential building, on the middle of Pacific Street between Sixth and Carlton avenues. The arena site is a half-block away, and the railyard site is around the corner.

In both cases, they're supposed to be staged on Pacific between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues, a formerly public street demapped and turned into a staging area. For example, at 4:43, a construction worker seemingly gives directions to the drivers, two of whom leave at 9:37, and the third at 10:20.

What happened? As noted on AY Watch, either the trucks were released too soon from the staging area, or they avoided it completely, bypassing the truck route and entering Pacific Street from Carlton Avenue.

Why? Because there's too little oversight and/or the drivers and their bosses don't think it matters.

Who loses out? People who are living there.

link

Posted by eric at 10:21 AM

November 28, 2011

Permit Parking Splits Brooklyn Politicians

City Hall News
by Stephen Witt

Yes, even that Stephen Witt can play it straight when he wants to.

[Councilmember Letitia] James, who has long advocated permit parking in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, argued it is needed more than ever, with out-of-district drivers sure to be looking for parking during events at the Barclays Center arena when it opens at the Atlantic Yards development site.

But [Councilmember Al] Vann said permit parking would hurt the bordering working-class neighborhoods.

“I fear that residential parking permits for the area directly surrounding Atlantic Yards would have a significant negative impact on neighborhoods slightly further away, like Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights,” Vann said in a statement. “It would create an incentive for commuters to park in these neighborhoods as an alternative, and would also open the door to requiring New Yorkers to pay for parking in their own communities and throughout the entire city.”

article

NoLandGrab: Had Al Vann thought of that earlier, maybe he could have spoken out against Atlantic Yards and the traffic and parking problems it will surely create.

Posted by eric at 11:31 AM

November 23, 2011

Restore some LIRR service

Newsday

The Long Island newspaper's editorial board thinks the MTA should use a small current-year fiscal surplus to move basketball fans.

Looking down the tracks, certainly there will be a need to restore service to Brooklyn after midnight. The borough is bustling and a new arena opens in the fall at the Atlantic Yards terminal.

article

Posted by eric at 9:47 AM

November 21, 2011

On transit improvements at Atlantic Yards

2nd Ave. Sagas
by Benjamin Kabak

At the crossroads of Atlantic Ave. and Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn rests one of the borough of Kings’ busiest subway stations. Over the next few years, it’s only going to get worse, but proposals to expand and adapt the station to new uses from the Barclays Center and, eventually, Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards complex have yet to see the light of day.

The brouhaha over the Atlantic Yards is a well-covered story. Under heavy pressure from local politicians, the MTA, as we know, sold out the air rights over the Vanderbilt Rail Yards to Bruce Ratner for well below-market.
...

So what happens when the Barclays Center and, eventually, the Atlantic Yards complex opens? Right now, the station has a variety of entrances from various street corners. There’s an entrance to the 4th Ave. platform at 4th Ave. and Pacific St., an entrance to the LIRR and the local Manhattan-bound IRT station in the Atlantic Center and an entrance to the Brighton Line off of Hanson Place. It isn’t perfect, but it works.

Meanwhile, changes are in store. As the renderings for the Barclays Center show, work on the arena includes a new street-level entrance to the Atlantic Ave./Pacific St. station that will go from the plaza outside of the arena to, well, somewhere, and the fact that the “somewhere” is undefined is concerning. Over the past few weeks, I’ve asked the MTA for renderings of the subway improvements, and although the arena and work on subway access has been long-planned and will open in ten months, the MTA doesn’t yet have renderings. They have only schematics that have yet to be released to the public, and we have no idea how the flow of people will be improved or addressed at a major subway location in Brooklyn.

When the Atlantic Yards project was first negotiated, transit improvements were part of the deal. To add so many people to a small area right on top of an already-busy subway station was simply inviting transit capacity disaster, and Ratner pledged to improve the Atlantic Ave./Pacific St. subway station and also the LIRR terminal. So far, all we know for sure is that the subway stop will bear Barclays’ name when the arena opens. Anything else is conjecture.

article

Image: SHoP Architects

Posted by eric at 12:26 PM

November 17, 2011

B/Q Service Announcements

Brooklyn Community Board 14

Bruce Ratner brings transit-riding Brooklynites a different kind of "Black Friday."

Shuttle buses will replace all B & Q subway service between Pacific Street and Prospect Park from 10:00 pm Friday, November 25 until 5:00 am on Monday, November 28th. This is due to ongoing construction work for the Atlantic Yards Arena. Check www.mta.info for further updates.

link

Posted by eric at 12:24 PM

November 14, 2011

Traffic barriers and signs on Pacific Street are restored

Atlantic Yards Watch

After nearly six months, missing traffic barriers, parking regulation signs and traffic signs have been restored to Pacific Street between 6th and Carlton Avenues. The "MPT" (Maintenance and Protection of Traffic) measures were the victim of the heavy use of that block by Atlantic Yards related construction trucks. The parking regulation signs were apparently removed to enable illegal construction worker parking.

The barriers and signs are "temporary" measures implemented for the period the Carlton Avenue Bridge is closed. They are designed to delineate for drivers the current mid-block shift of Pacific Street from a westbound one-way to a two-way between 6th Avenue and the entrance to the LIRR ramp into Vanderbilt Railyards. LIRR vehicles must enter the ramp from the west due to its angle to the street. With the re-opening of the Carlton Avenue Bridge, Pacific Street between 6th Avenue and Carlton Avenue will be returned to a two-way for the full-length of the block.

These measures have had to last longer than anticipated because the Carlton Avenue Bridge, originally anticipated to be closed for two years, will have been closed for four and a half years if it opens on the current schedule. They were restored because a community member raised the issue with NYCDOT. Although NYCDOT approves MPT measures associated with Atlantic Yards, it is FCRC's contractors who install and maintain them.

article

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Atlantic Yards Watch: Finally, NYC DOT restores missing traffic barriers, parking signs to Pacific Street

If there weren't an Atlantic Yards Watch and watchful Atlantic Yards neighbors, how much oversight would there be?

After all, only activism from the latter has restored "missing traffic barriers, parking regulation signs and traffic signs... to Pacific Street between 6th and Carlton Avenues," according to Atlantic Yards Watch.

Who's responsible for the vandalism? Apparently construction workers trying to find convenient parking by breaking the rules.

Posted by eric at 7:45 PM

November 11, 2011

Millman: Parking Permits 'Not Coming Anytime Soon'

Champion of legislation in Albany clearing the way for RPPs predicts a long road ahead.

Fort Greene-Clinton Hill Patch
by Paul Leonard

Golden to Arena Neighbors: "Drop Dead!"

If there were any doubts that the already heated debate over the prospect of Residential Permit Parking in Brooklyn was just beginnning, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, D-Cobble Hill, dispelled them at Wednesday night's Community Board 2 monthly general meeting.

"It's not so cut and dry. If it has to happen, it's not happening for awhile," said Millman, who first proposed legslation in the Assembly clearing the way for RPPs in Brooklyn Heights in 2008.

Millman's remarks made it increasingly unclear about whether any parking permit system would be in place in time for the scheduled opening of Barclays Center in September.
...

This week, state Sen. Martin Golden, R-Bay Ridge, joined other legislators from South Brooklyn in slamming the idea of parking permits on Brooklyn streets.

article

Posted by eric at 11:00 AM

November 10, 2011

Potential Roadblock for Permit Parking Plan

State Sen. Marty Golden and other southern Brooklyn pols are against the idea of permit parking for residents.

Park Slope Patch
by Jamie Schuh

The plan for residential permit parking, lauded by some residents who live near the Barclays Center arena, may not have a chance in Albany, if state Sen. Marty Golden, R–Bay Ridge, has his way.

The Brooklyn Paper reports that though City Council approved the proposal, Golden has called the idea of a voluntary permit parking system “another tax on our communities.”

article

NoLandGrab: Marty Golden, however, was more than happy to spend a billion dollars of taxpayer money on Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project.

Posted by eric at 10:55 AM

November 8, 2011

Daily News opposes residential parking permits, but would consider an Atlantic Yards exception

Atlantic Yards Report

In an editorial this morning headlined City council parking permits might turn out to be ‘hunting licenses’ that impose a fee for what is now free, if annoying, the Daily News came out against residential parking permits (RPP) for pretty much the same reasons the Department of Transportation (DOT) is wary, but allowed for an exception:

In very limited cases, something like neighborhood permits might make sense: as in the immediate orbit of huge arenas like Yankee Stadium and the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which will get flooded with cars on game nights. The city Transportation Department is studying the feasibility of reserving some curbs in those areas for residents and expects to have the results, including pros and cons, in January. Never mind, we can’t wait, says the City Council — which has passed a home-rule message asking Albany for permission to make the change.

Will Albany agree? Not if Republicans like Brooklyn Sen. Marty Golden have their way.
...

But anyone opposing RPP around crowd magnets like sports facilities has to come up with a better plan, not just say no.

article

Related content...

NY Daily News, City council parking permits might turn out to be ‘hunting licenses’ that impose a fee for what is now free, if annoying

The latest brainstorm for reengineering city streets, most of which already work just fine: Why, I know — whaddya say we grant people residential parking permits?

NoLandGrab: If the Daily News's editorial writers actually believe that most New York City streets "already work just fine," they really ought to get out from behind their windshields once in a while.

Posted by eric at 10:07 AM

November 7, 2011

More gridlock in the North Slope--and some after rush hour

Atlantic Yards Report

Wonder what streets in North Park Slope and Flatbush Avenue near the Atlantic Yards site look like during and after rush hour? Check out these videos filmed on the morning of Wednesday, 11/2/11--a follow-up to a video filmed about two weeks earlier.

Here's one of them — "A 'wall of traffic along Flatbush,' about 10 am":

link

Posted by eric at 10:42 AM

City Council Takes to the Streets

Gotham Gazette
by Gail Robinson

The Wonkster tackles residential permit parking.

The other bill — a home rule message actually — could set in motion a plan for residential parking permits in the city. In some other parts of the country — Washington, D.C. — for one, residents of a particular neighborhood purchase a parking sticker that gives them priority for parking places close to their homes. The impetus for the resolution, SLR14, came from people living near the new Barclay Arena at Atlantic Yards, who worry they won’t be able to find parking once the Nets begin playing there next year, as well as residents of the Yankee Stadium area who already complain of difficulty parking.
...

Councilmember Letitia James, who represents areas near Atlantic Yards, said the parking could serve as a “disincentive” for people to drive to the new arena. “Individuals who come to Barclays Arena should use mass transit,” she said.

article

Posted by eric at 10:37 AM

November 4, 2011

Full Council approves ‘pay-to-park’ plan

The Brooklyn Paper
by Daniel Bush

The full City Council overwhelmingly approved a controversial plan on Thursday to sell parking permits to neighbors of the Barclays Center arena, despite objections from southern Brooklyn lawmakers who say that charging for residential street parking amounts to a tax for something that has always been free.

The Council’s 40–8 vote came one day after the legislature’s State and Federal Legislation Committee approved the measure, which supporters say will prevent basketball fans and other arena-goers from hogging parking spaces in neighborhoods around a 19,000-seat arena that will have parking spaces for just 1,100 cars.

article

NoLandGrab: How's this for the height of arrogance: State Senator Marty Golden and City Councilmember Lew Fidler shilled for Atlantic Yards though it's miles from their districts, yet they oppose a measure that might provide a little bit of relief to the people who will bear the burden of the traffic the arena will generate.

Related coverage...

Park Slope Patch, POLL: Residential Parking Permits for Brooklyn?

What do you think?

Would you like to see resident-only parking come to your neighborhood?
a. Yes, we need to stop commuters and sports fans from using our streets as parking lots
b. Yes, but only during game days
c. No, it's a backdoor tax and my friends won't be able to park when they visit

Bayside Patch, Would You Pay to Park on Your Block?

“I can tell you right now, I am very much opposed to the street parking permit because it’s just another way the city will be taxing middle class homeowners,” said [Bob] Friedrich, who is President of Glen Oaks Village.

NLG: We're going to go out on a limb and guess that Bob Friedrich from Glen Oaks Village in Queens never attended any Atlantic Yards hearings, signed any petitions opposing Atlantic Yards, or donated any money to DDDB's legal fund. Are we right, Bob?

F**ked in Park Slope, CITY MIGHT OFFER BARCLAY CENTER VICTIMS PARKING PERMITS

Parking in the slope is already a bitch, yet some fear that with Bruce Ratner's revenge the Barclay Center on it's way to completion, shit will get a whole lot worse. The city projects that the new arena, with more than 200 events planned a year, will bring in about 5,000 additional cars into the area. And they're all going to want to park somewhere for free.

Posted by eric at 10:52 AM

Councilmember Lander's Statement on Dire Need for a Residential Parking Program for Atlantic Yards

BradLander.com

Brooklyn badly needs a residential parking program in place for the area surrounding Atlantic Yards before Barclay's Center opens next year. That's why I'm pleased to support a resolution discussed at a City Council hearing today in support of legislation in Albany that would authorize the City to create such a program.

The area around Atlantic Yards is already gridlocked much of the time, especially at rush hours. This problem will grow dramatically worse on Nets game, concert, and other event nights at Barclay's Center, when thousands of people head there. Even the environmental impact statement prepared by the developer projects a traffic nightmare.

Without RPP, thousands of people are likely to drive to games and events, seeking free parking on neighborhood streets. Traffic will choke local streets, and nearby residents will find it impossible to park.

A residential parking program won't solve the problem, but it will help.

article

Posted by eric at 10:47 AM

November 3, 2011

Council Member James: Cuomo must muscle support from Golden (and state Senate) for residential parking permits

Atlantic Yards Report

Despite the success yesterday at a City Council hearing for advocates of residential parking permits (RPP), the effort faces a major roadblock: state Senator Martin Golden, a Republican from southern Brooklyn who told the New York Post it was "just another tax" and that the Republican-controlled Senate would not accept it.

And while the measure has significant backing, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, once a supporter (as part of his congestion pricing package), is on the fence, according to the Post. Similarly not taking a position is Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner, as well as the agency in charge of Atlantic Yards.

“As I left the hearing, ironically, I ran into Bruce Ratner outside, who indicated to me he was agnostic on the plan," Brooklyn Council Member Letitia James, an advocate for RPP, said at this morning's Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting, a bi-monthly gathering of affected agencies, held at Brooklyn's Borough Hall.

"Five minutes later, I ran into state Senator Martin Golden, who said it was dead on arrival," James continued. "I would urge ESDC [Empire State Development Corporation] to work with the governor to bypass the objections of Senator Golden to get residential parking permits implemented. DOT yesterday indicated they were willing to do it in two communities, in and around Atlantic Yards and Yankee Stadium."

James appeals to Cuomo

"This is the time for the governor to basically negotiate this bill and use his popularity to get this bill passed. Senator Golden's objections basically were that this is a backdoor tax," James said. "I just want you to know that 95% of the constituents that have emailed me, called me, stopped me on the street, support this, and are willing to accept a minimal fee and hopefully we can work out provisions for those who are on fixed incomes or low incomes... and some of the businesses that have expressed concerns."

"Right now, our major obstacle to getting this passed is the Republican and Tea Party Senator Golden," James concluded. "I hope that ESDC will join me in moving him out of the way.”

article

NoLandGrab: Or Bay Ridge voters could do us all a favor and send this clown to retirement.

Posted by eric at 1:30 PM

Keep circling

Pol: I’d KO parking permits

NY Post
by Rich Calder, Joe Mollica and Bob Fredericks

There already wasn't much good to be said for South Brooklyn pol, and Bruce Ratner stooge Marty Golden, who's been an outspoken booster of Atlantic Yards. And now this...

A Republican lawmaker vowed yesterday to kill a proposal that would make it easier for New Yorkers to find a parking spot in their neighborhoods.

“I have serious concerns and can’t support it,” said Brooklyn state Sen. Marty Golden about a plan that would require drivers to pay for a permit to park their cars on the streets where they live.

“I see this as just another tax and you shouldn’t be taxed for the privilege to park your car in New York City,” said Golden, who said the idea would never get through the GOP-controlled Senate. “You should be able to park wherever you want. It’s picking the pockets of drivers.”
...

The parking permit plan -- which the City Council will take up today -- would also extend to other residential neighborhoods where residents wage daily battles with commuters and visitors for precious parking.

“This bill should not be killed in an Albany back room. Communities that want [permit parking] will get it, and those that don’t, won’t,” the bill’s co-sponsor, state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn Heights), responded to Golden’s vow to quash it.

article

Posted by eric at 1:14 PM

Residential permit parking passes Council committee, with support from most arena neighbors, but not without DOT opposition (to bill, not concept)

Atlantic Yards Report

A packed City Council committee hearing room yesterday was evidence that parking problems--especially but not merely linked to Yankee Stadium and expected Barclays Center crowds--frustrate a lot of New Yorkers.

To the satisfaction of many in the crowd--though not the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), which urged caution--a Council committee approved a resolution requesting the New York State Legislature to pass bills that would authorize a residential permit parking (RPP) program in New York City.

RPP, for a not-yet-established fee, would restrict up to 80% of non-metered residential street parking to residents during certain hours, thus preventing commuters and event-goers from monopolizing already scarce space. It would not guarantee a space, and commercial streets would be excluded.

“It’s not enough, but it's one meaningful policy step,” suggested Council Member Brad Lander, who called the traffic and parking situation around the arena “already a nightmare.” He urged that RPP be put into effect before the arena opens next fall.

The full Council will consider the resolution beginning today. The state bills were introduced by Senator Dan Squadron and Assembly Member Joan Millman, both of Brooklyn.
...

Bronx Council Member Helen Foster, who chaired the hearing, began by saying “my constituents can't find parking, and parking lots around Yankee Stadium are going bankrupt." Not only do fans monopolize street parking, she said, they are not ticketed when they park on sidewalks or at hydrants.

Fisher thanked Brooklyn Council Member Letitia James, who represents the arena site and a good part of its surroundings, for putting the issue back on the table.

article

Related coverage...

The New York Times, Plan to Issue New Permits for Parking Is Debated

Nine blocks from the steel shadow of Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, Gib Veconi circles Prospect Heights nightly in his 13-year-old Volvo wagon looking for a parking spot, like a buzzard scouring for a meal.

Parking can be a blood sport in New York City, nowhere more so than along the crowded streets around the half-built Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, centerpiece of the Atlantic Yards project. When it opens next fall for concerts and Nets basketball, the competition will get fiercer.

Jiminy Crickets, New York Times. Once and for all, Atlantic Yards is not in Downtown Brooklyn.

Fearing for pedestrian safety and pollution, while hoping to preserve the scarce parking spots left, local leaders like Mr. Veconi, the treasurer of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, have long advocated residential parking permits, or R.P.P. The cost of a permit has yet to be determined.

“It is a problem that is already a significant one, and by putting an arena on top of it, it would absolutely cause the streets to burst open with cars,” Mr. Veconi, 48, said. “If R.P.P. is not implemented by the time the arena opens, there’s going to be an outcry from those neighborhood associations like something you’ve never heard before.”

Park Slope Patch, City Council Moves Forward on Residential Parking Permits

“Sometimes I get home from work and I have to wait two hours to get a parking spot,” said a woman from Prospect Heights who lives on Dean Street a block from the construction. “This is going to get worse and worse. There’s going to be noise, air pollution. I have 21-month-old twins. This is going to be ridiculous.”

The Brooklyn Paper, Parking permitted! Council panel approves ‘pay-to-park’ plan for Barclays neighbors

Meanwhile, lawmakers in southern Brooklyn, where car ownership is far more widespread, lambasted the plan as a tax on drivers, who have always enjoyed free on-street parking.

“The idea that someone would have to pay to park in front of their own home is ludicrous,” said state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge). “This is nothing more than another tax on our communities.”

The plan was criticized along similar lines by Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park), who lobbied unsuccessfully to postpone Wednesday’s vote.

NoLandGrab: Both of these unrepentant hypocrites Golden and Fidler, whose districts are nowhere near the Barclays Center, were outspoken supporters of Atlantic Yards. Of course.

Posted by eric at 12:05 PM

Pedestrian Struck on Classon Avenue

Incident occurred at the intersection of Flushing Avenue Wednesday morning

Bed-Stuy Patch
by Paul Leonard

A vehicle struck a pedestrian at the corner of Classon and Flushing Avenues earlier this morning.

According to the New York City Fire Department, the victim was found lying on the ground at 10:23am and transported to Woodhull Hospital.

The victim suffered minor leg injuries, fire officials said.

Increased commercial traffic down Classon Avenue from the Atlantic Yards construction has been the subject of concern in recent weeks, as many residents have begun to complain about noise, safety and obstruction.

link

Posted by eric at 11:33 AM

November 2, 2011

Council Committee Endorses Residential Parking Permits Over DOT Objections

Streetsblog
by Noah Kazis

The budding nightmare also known as the Barclays Center of Brooklyn™ was the primary impetus behind today's City Council hearing on Residential Parking Permits.

A City Council committee took the first step toward bringing residential parking permits to New York City neighborhoods this afternoon. Details haven’t been worked out yet, but committee members signaled their desire to move forward on a system that would restrict a portion of curbside parking space to use by local residents.

While most council members wanted to see residential parking permits brought to neighborhoods across the city, the Department of Transportation opposed RPP except perhaps in the areas immediately around stadiums.
...

Letitia James, whose district includes the Atlantic Yards site, said that RPPs would ease congestion, protect pedestrians and reduce air pollution.

article

Related coverage...

WNYC, Residential Parking Permits Get Nod from Council Committee

An Albany bill that would allow the city to establish on-street parking permits for neighborhood residents has won the support of the City Council's transportation committee.

Brooklyn councilmember Letitia James, who represents neighborhoods around the Atlantic Yards development, said drivers from outside the city are taking up too many parking spaces, and the problem is going to get worse when the Barclay's arena opens next year.

"A residential parking permit program would discourage all-day parking by commuters who use neighborhoods, as is the case in downtown Brooklyn, basically as a parking lot," she said.

NY1, Parking Concerns Rise Alongside New Brooklyn Arena

Trying to get a parking spot around Downtown Brooklyn most of the time is futile, but ask residents and they will say it's nearly impossible.

"It used to be we could always find a spot on our block a few years ago. And now it's pretty rare," said one Park Slope resident.

With the Barclays Arena set to open next September, residents are bracing for even more gridlock. More than 200 events are planned at the arena every year.

"With more people coming, more people working in the area, it's just going to get worse," said one Park Slope resident.

Posted by eric at 6:45 PM

Fearing Atlantic Yards arena traffic crunch, locals seek neighborhood parking permits

City Council hearing on parking permit bill set for Wednesday

NY Daily News
by Erin Durkin

Neighbors around the Atlantic Yards project are pushing for residential parking permits to deal with the thousands of cars set to flood the area when the new Barclays Center arena opens.

The permit system, which needs approval from city and state lawmakers, could start with pilot programs in the blocks around Atlantic Yards and Yankee Stadium, sources said.

Most of the spaces in the area would be set aside for motorists who live in the neighborhood and pay a modest annual fee.

Residents and advocates say parking has already gotten scarce and streets have become more congested around the construction site, and predict the situation will only get worse when the arena opens.

“If nothing changes, we know that there are going to be about 6,000 cars driving to the arena. If they’re human, they’re going to be looking for free on-street parking first before they go to a parking lot,” said Danae Oratowski, chair of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council. “What we’re concerned about is the incredible amount of congestion.

“If you look at arenas in major cities all around the country - Chicago, Washington, D.C., Boston - they all have residential permit parking as a way to deter cars from driving into the neighborhood,” Oratowski said.

The City Council is set to hold a hearing Wednesday on a state bill that would allow the city to mandate parking permits.

article

Related coverage...

Carroll Gardens Patch, Atlantic Yards-Area Residents Get Hearing on Residential Parking Permits

The Barclays Center, which is scheduled to open in September 2012, will attract “as many as 5,600 cars” from visitors who drive to the arena, according to the Empire State Development Corporation.

"If nothing is done before to mitigate this volume of traffic, there will be an increased risk of vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle accidents that already make Atlantic Avenue Brooklyn's most dangerous road," said Councilwoman James in a news release.

Posted by eric at 10:59 AM

November 1, 2011

Reserved parking

Pols eye permits for neighborhoods

NY Post
by Rich Calder

City residents may soon get the exclusive right to park on the streets where they live.

After years of false starts, state and city legislators are seriously looking at a plan to establish residential parking permits in the Big Apple.

Drivers who live in designated neighborhoods and pay for a permit would be the only ones allowed to park in 80 percent of the spots.

The latest push came after Brooklyn residents began complaining that people attending events at the Barclays Center in Prospect Heights, which is set to open next year, would monopolize most of the parking spaces in their neighborhood.

The new 18,000-seat arena will only have 1,100 designated parking spots — and parking is already tight in the surrounding area.

But the push isn’t limited to those living near the future home of the Brooklyn Nets.
...

Sources said that with the arena close to opening, there is now a groundswell of support for the council to back the plan after years of indifference by many of its members on the topic.

Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Brooklyn), who arranged the hearing, said the permits are crucial in neighborhoods near the arena like Fort Greene and Park Slope because they would discourage arena patrons from driving to events -- thus reducing traffic congestion.

article

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, On Wednesday, a City Council committee hearing on residential permit parking

The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council alerts us to a hearing on residential permit parking, to be held tomorrow, November 2, at 10:30 am by the New York City Council Committee on Federal and State Legislation.

The location: 250 Broadway 14th Floor (allow time to go through security).

NBC New York, Residential Parking Permit Plan Revived

“Permit parking is long overdue in downtown Brooklyn, western Queens, upper Manhattan and other communities where residents must circle for hours trying to find parking near their homes,” state Sen. Daniel Squadron told the Post.

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, Speak up in support of residential permit parking around the Barclays Arena

Got a car? Walk the streets and sidewalks? Breathe the air? Then this hearing and issue impacts you.

Posted by eric at 11:37 AM

October 31, 2011

Speak up in support of residential permit parking around the arena

Atlantic Yards Watch
by Danae Oratowski

WHAT: Hearing of the New York City Council Committee on State and Federal Legislation

WHEN: Wednesday, 11/2 at 10:30AM

WHERE: 250 Broadway, 14th Floor

According to the Empire State Development Corporation, when the Barclays Center opens in September 2012, an expected 35-40% of arena patrons will arrive for events by car. That means as many as 6,100 cars travelling to the site for each of the more than 200 events anticipated to be held each year.

This barrage of traffic is expected to cause significant delays at more than half of the intersections within a half mile of the arena. It will add to the vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle accidents that have already made Atlantic Avenue Brooklyn's most dangerous road. And it will result in up to 3,000 arena patrons taking curbside parking spots5 in Park Slope, Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, and Prospect Heights, clogging already-congested residential side streets.

Among all of the impacts to neighborhood character and quality of life that will come from locating Atlantic Yards' arena within residential communities, none are of greater consequence to more residents than the traffic generated by arena events. But there is a way to reduce the demand for our local streets. It's called "residential permit parking," or RPP, and it's been effective in other cities, like Boston and Chicago, where sports facilities are located in densely-populated areas. By limiting on-street parking during arena events to local residents, RPP will create a disincentive for arena patrons to drive, reducing congestion and making streets safer.

New York City requires authorization from the State legislature before it can implement RPP. On Wednesday, 11/2 at 10:30AM, the City Council will hear testimony on legislation authorizing the City to enact residential permit parking programs in the five boroughs. The Atlantic Yards Watch sponsors urge you to participate in this critical hearing and make your voice heard.

link

You can also sign a petition supporting RPP here.

Posted by eric at 11:07 PM

From Atlantic Yards Watch and CLEXY Block Association: concern over "Future Stadium Event Traffic on Classon Avenue"

Atlantic Yards Report

A message on Atlantic Yards Watch, headlined Future Stadium Event Traffic on Classon Avenue, from CLEXY Block Association (Classon, Lexington, and Quincy):

Over 500 people have signed the petition to address the traffic issues on Classon Avenue created by the Atlantic Yards.
Classon Avenue is clearly being targeted as the main means of egress for future event traffic to the BQE. Classon Avenue is almost exclusively a residential street, yet current levels of illegal truck usage from the Atlantic Yards (Classon is not a truck route [map excerpt above], Bedford Avenue is the designated truck route) are creating serious health and safety risks for all who live, work and travel on Classon Avenue. These unsafe conditions will be greatly exacerbated by the increased traffic associated with the Atlantic Yards events. The CLEXY Block Association is petitioning for:
1. No Left Turn designation from Atlantic onto Classon Avenue
2. Clear and prominent signage along Atlantic designating Bedford as the route for the eastbound stadium traffic to access the BQE.
3.Addition of signage reinforcing Classon Avenue as prohibited to all truck and traffic excluding those making local deliveries.
4. Addition of a bike lane on Classon Avenue from Bergen to Dekalb.

Here's coverage on Brownstoner and Patch. Below, a map for context.

link

Related coverage...

Brownstoner, Block Association Petitions for Street Safety on Classonlink

Bed-Stuy Patch, Block Assn. Wants Fewer Trucks on Classonlink

Posted by eric at 12:21 PM

October 25, 2011

Developer Removes Crossing Signal Obstruction At Atlantic Yards

Forest City Ratner also identifies other problem signals elsewhere at the massive construction site.

Fort Greene-Clinton Hill Patch
by Paul Leonard

Pedestrians can now cross one of Brooklyn's busiest throughfares with a bit more confidence.

In response to our story Monday on construction netting blocking a crossing signal at Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner sent workers out this morning to investigate the issue.

"We did find that there were problems with visibility... so we made changes," said a Forest City spokesman.

On a visit to the highly trafficked intersection Tuesday, those changes included cutting out a section of the construction barrier to allow the crossing signal to be clearly seen by commuters, students and shoppers heading southbound across Atlantic Avenue.

article

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, After Patch points out sidewalk crossing problem caused by Atlantic Yards construction, FCR makes a fix

Posted by eric at 10:59 PM

Don't Walk: Crossing Signal Obscured at Atlantic Yards

Construction netting latest hazard for pedestrians at busy intersection.

Park Slope Patch
by Paul Leonard and Amy Sara Clark

Pedestrians crossing Atlantic Avenue southbound at Flatbush Avenue are already used to dealing with cars, trucks and construction equipment streaming past one of Brooklyn's busiest thoroughfares.

Now they have to deal with yet another obstacle: black construction netting obscuring a crossing signal at the notoriously tricky intersection.

That means southbound pedestrians such as Crown Heights resident Sandra Marshall crossing Atlantic Avenue at Flatbush were essentially "walking blind"—with the signal at the southeast corner of the intersection either completely or partially covered by the top portion of a construction barrier installed by workers at the quickly-rising Barclays Center site.

"It makes you feel like you have a death wish trying to cross here," Marshall said. "I just try to run as fast as I can."

article

Posted by eric at 12:04 PM

October 21, 2011

Traffic Calming Measures on Classon Avenue Inch Forward

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]
by Mary Shell

Over the last several months, members of the Classon, Lexington, and Quincy Block Association, known as CLEXY, have noticed with mounting concern the new signs indicating no left turns off Atlantic Avenue onto Vanderbilt and Washington Avenues – leaving Classon Avenue as one of the few Clinton Hill streets to remain open to traffic coming from Atlantic.

“It has become clear,” said Laura Benko, president of CLEXY, at the group’s meeting last Thursday evening, “that Classon Avenue has been targeted as the primary means of egress for future Atlantic stadium traffic.”

After Community Board 2’s Oct. 12 approval of traffic calming measures on Classon Avenue, CLEXY members said last Thursday that they still worried about traffic from the planned Barclays Center arena on Atlantic Avenue, pedestrian safety, and signage on Classon Avenue.

article

Posted by eric at 11:43 AM

October 20, 2011

Surveyors near arena blocks: are they measuring sidewalk capacity?

Atlantic Yards Report

As noted on Atlantic Yards Watch, workers have been surveying the sidewalk on streets in Prospect Heights, mainly those that would serve as pathways between the planned surface parking lot and the arena. Below, Pacific Street between Sixth and Carlton avenues.

Beyond that, work was spotted on Dean Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues; on Carlton between Dean and Pacific; and on Vanderbilt (west side) between Dean and Pacific. Only the latter, which constitutes the eastern border of the parking lot, does not constitute a direct path to the arena.

What's the purpose?

"This is not ESD," said Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project for Empire State Development, in response to my query.

I'd bet it's more likely consultants--working for Forest City Ratner or a subcontractor?--trying to test sidewalk capacity. As I've written, on Dean Street at least, it's a very tight fit.

link

Posted by eric at 12:52 PM

October 18, 2011

Gridlock on Flatbush, sluggish on Sixth: congestion wrought by AY changes (and an improper truck route)?

Atlantic Yards Report

Um, isn't Forest City Ratner supposed to be paying for additional Traffic Enforcement Agents?

Do traffic changes and congestion created by Atlantic Yards construction have spillover effects? One North Park Slope resident thinks so, and posted the video below, showing gridlock on Flatbush Avenue and Sixth Avenue yesterday morning.

The resident says that congestion on Flatbush, exacerbated by Atlantic Yards-related vehicles, has prompted additional traffic on side streets looking for shortcuts.

Moreover, the closing and demapping of Fifth Avenue north of Flatbush for the arena block has pushed additional traffic onto Sixth Avenue, which is now two ways north of Flatbush, as it always was below Flatbush.

Sixth Avenue a truck route?

The resident said he's seen many large trucks now using Sixth Avenue, especially demolition trucks coming south from the Atlantic Yards site. A police officer told him that the rules had been changed due to Atlantic Yards and that residential Sixth Avenue is now a permitted truck route.

Well, the Department of Transportation (DOT) lists mainly arteries like Flatbush, Atlantic, and Fourth avenues as truck routes, as well as a small stretch of Fifth Avenue and Bergen Street near the arena site.

article

NoLandGrab: Don't worry, we're sure it'll be fine on game nights.

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Watch, Video captures morning gridlock in north Slope

Traffic appears locked at the intersection of Flatbush, Sixth Avenue and St. Marks Avenue. The cameraman then walks down Sixth Avenue to show further gridlock at the intersection of Sixth and Prospect Place. He reports these conditions have become an everyday occurrence.

Posted by eric at 12:51 PM

ESDC's flawed analysis of sidewalk widths highlights risk in privatizing arena planning and oversight

Atlantic Yards Watch

Rarely does a day go by that the Atlantic Yards Environmental Impact Statement, and corresponding reports, isn't proved increasingly worthless.

In response to an AYW story showing the effective sidewalk widths on the arena block are going to be narrower than ESDC's 2006 environmental analysis has assessed, the agency's environmental monitor HDR submitted a Technical Memorandum to the Department of Transportation revising effective sidewalk widths and reassessing the sidewalks' level of service.

But HDR's Technical Memorandum about the arena block's sidewalks is flawed as well. It incorrectly applies its own formula for assessing effective sidewalk widths. As a result of that mistake the Technical Memorandum overstates the effective widths of numerous sidewalks on the arena block by several feet. And HDR uses outdated pedestrian numbers from the 2006 FEIS even though the sidewalk conditions being analyzed should be based on the 2009 Modified General Project Plan.

As a result, the level of service calculations (which relate the number of pedestrians anticipated to use a sidewalk in a period of peak use to the sidewalk's capacity) are invalid and should not be accepted.

article

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, From Atlantic Yards Watch: "privatizing arena planning and oversight" leads to flawed analysis of sidewalk width, capacity

The problem: private planning

From AY Watch:

In arguing for the approval of FCRC's plans for bollards on the arena block at the DOT hearing October 5th, Assistant Vice President Sonya Covington stated that the plans followed two years of coordination with government agencies and that the Technical Memorandum had been produced to address changes to sidewalk widths from what was originally anticipated in 2006.

The reality is the opposite. At a critical time in which the operational, demand management and security plans for Barclays Center are being developed behind closed doors, the bollard plans provide a small window into how and who is shaping the plans.

We're still waiting for the Department of Transportation to respond, and for Empire State Development (Corporation) to convene the once-promised Transportation Working Group.

Posted by eric at 10:38 AM

Over 3,300 New Daily Visitors to Our Neighborhood?

My Little O [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]

The New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) is in the process of negotiating a 20-year lease to occupy six floors (400,000-square-feet) of the telecom building at 470 Vanderbilt Avenue. If approved, HRA will consolidate over 1,700 employees from two current locations (210 Livingston Street in Brooklyn, and 330 W. 34th Street in Manhattan).
...

In addition to the 1,700 staff, the two agencies will service about 1,600 clients each day. This will bring over 3,300 new daily visitors to the area. A presentation by representatives of HRA at last night’s Community Board 2 general meeting was not received well by both members of the board and the community. The primary concern is that the neighborhood’s infrastructure (parking and public transportation) is not equipped to handle the influx of that many daily visitors. CB2 board member, Mr. Andrew Lastowecky said, "The Clinton/Washington A and C subway stop cannot handle an additional 3,000 people each day during peak hours." If employees and clients do drive there are no parking facilities or roadside parking in the area to accommodate them either. Board members also expressed concerns about the potential traffic congestion that will occur if there's a significant increase in cars during the development of Atlantic Yards.

article

Posted by eric at 9:37 AM

October 12, 2011

470 Vanderbilt moves toward renovation; did the state really consider impact of workers and visitors to new offices?

Atlantic Yards Report

A New York Times article today on 470 Vanderbilt, Unconventional Financing Helps Deal for Brooklyn Space, casts new attention on the former tire factory and telecom space--circled in the Empire State Development Corporation map at right; click to enlarge--that is being renovated across broad Atlantic Avenue from the northeast section of the Atlantic Yards site:

But late last month, the New York City Human Resources Administration signed a 20-year, 400,000- square-foot lease for six floors of the 10-story building — the largest deal in Brooklyn this year and the culmination of more than two years of negotiations. Along with a second, smaller deal, 470 Vanderbilt is now 85 percent leased. In conjunction with a residential tower that the developers hope to build on an adjacent parking lot, it could speed the transformation of the area, which lies between Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.

Any impact on AY traffic or pedestrians?

The Empire State Development Corporation has claimed that the change in use would have no new significant adverse impact, in a document summarizing the 6/14/11 public meeting on traffic issues, posted and also embedded below. However, as I explain below, there are reasons for doubt.

article

NoLandGrab: We've obtained an exclusive photo of the AKRF team that compiled the Atlantic Yards Environmental Impact Statement.

Related coverage...

The New York Times, Unconventional Financing Helps Deal for Brooklyn Space

Posted by eric at 12:33 PM

October 6, 2011

At DOT hearing on bollard plan, a challenge to claim that an effective width of 5'2" would not create sidewalk bottleneck outside arena

Atlantic Yards Report

Clearly New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) hearings on "revocable consents"--permission to install structures on city property--are typically pro forma affairs, held in a small conference room in a Lower Manhattan building.

Well, yesterday's hearing, which included consideration of the bollard and street furniture plan for the Atlantic Yards arena block, was a little different. DOT staffers were faced with detailed testimony that took issue with a just-produced claim that a smaller sidewalk, with an effective width of 5'2", would make no difference to pedestrians.

After all, as testimony from the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council (PHNDC) indicated, the official analysis was based on 2006 pedestrian counts, not those generated by 2009 changes in the project plan which could deliver more people to the south side of Atlantic Avenue west of Pacific Street.

Will those comments make a difference? Unclear, but DOT will accept further comments through October 15 (via Emma Berenblit at eberenblit@dot.nyc.gov) and will review these in consultation with other DOT divisions or other agencies.

No deadline has been set for the agency's decision, though the latest Atlantic Yards Construction Alert indicated that a reconfiguration of Flatbush Avenue MPT (Maintenance and Protection of Traffic)--which recently began--would set the stage for bollard installation and facade work.

article

Posted by eric at 10:34 AM

October 5, 2011

Sidewalk bordering arena would have effective width of 5.2 feet, says ESD consultant, but that won't be a problem (really?)

Atlantic Yards Report

Would Forest City Ratner's plan to install security bollards around the Atlantic Yards arena block--subject of a hearing today at 2 pm--lead to a diminished effective sidewalk width compared with the width disclosed in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)? How would that affect pedestrians?

A memo produced by an Empire State Development (ESD) consultant, and submitted to the Department of Transportation, which is holding the hearing, offers the answers: yes, and not much.

In other words, even if the effective sidewalk width--the width minus obstructions--is just 5.2 feet on the south side of Atlantic Avenue west of Sixth Avenue, it's OK, people will manage. That will be interesting to see tested in reality.

article

Posted by eric at 12:09 PM

AY Check-In: Residential Build, Rats and Traffic

Brownstoner

Yesterday Community Board 2 sent out a comprehensive update on all things Atlantic Yards. A few things of note: the first residential building, which Forest City Ratner filed permits for in August, is currently known as “B2.” Design is under way, though there’s still no decision on whether it will be built using traditional or modular construction. As the Observer noted yesterday, Forest City says it will have something more to report by the end of the year, and construction is slated to begin shortly after. In response to previous rat complaints near the site, the city Health Department singled out three to four “hot spots” on Dean Street, between Sixth and Carlton avenues. There are also a few problem areas on Fourth Avenue and Pacific Street; the Pacific Branch Library, the Church of the Redeemer, and a catch-basin at that corner.
...

Finally, DOT reported on the traffic changes implemented this July and August. Traffic improved on Flatbush but slowed on 3rd and 4th avenues. DOT plans to adjust the signal timing on Fourth Avenue to reduce the jam of vehicles at Atlantic Avenue.
...

DOT is also holding a public hearing today, 2:00 pm at 55 Water Street, Room 707, on the revocable consent for the security bollards and other features surrounding the Barclays Center.

link

Posted by eric at 11:18 AM

October 3, 2011

Glut of parking spaces in city

Ancient zoning rules force developer to overbuild. But reforms could reduce number of empty parking spaces.

Crain's NY Business
by Jeremy Smerd

The Department of City Planning knows its 1950s-era parking requirements are outdated and is preparing to issue recommendations for Manhattan and “inner-ring” neighborhoods, such as those in western Brooklyn and Queens. But transportation advocates worry that reforms will fail to dent what they deem an oversupply of parking at large developments.

“We've asserted that limiting parking supply can be a valuable tool to encourage mass transit,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “[The city's] point of view is people will own cars and drive, no matter what.”
...

Transportation advocates worry that the glut at Yankee Stadium will be replicated at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, which is to have 3,670 parking spots when residential buildings are completed in the project's second phase. Until then, much of the space next to the site's arena, the Barclays Center, will be a blacktop parking lot.

“If the economic conditions change and phase two of the project doesn't go forward, you will have this big empty space in the middle of Brooklyn,” said Kate Slevin, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

article

NoLandGrab: All the more reason to a) significantly cut the number of parking spaces planned for Atlantic Yards, and b) divide the parcels up, set development guidelines, and auction them off to different bidders.

Posted by eric at 11:28 AM

September 27, 2011

6th Avenue to have fewer travel lanes than analyzed in the 2006 environmental impact statement

Atlantic Yards Watch

The 2006 Atlantic Yards Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) assumed 6th Avenue would be widened between Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues in order to "facilitate traffic circulation at the project site and provide an alternative route for traffic diverted as a result of the closure of 5th Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues." (FEIS, 12-65) [PDF]

However, it has emerged this summer that 6th Avenue from Flatbush to Atlantic will not be widened at the time of the arena opening as described in the FEIS. Instead, not only will there be fewer north-south travel lanes at the time of the arena opening than analyzed in the FEIS, there will actually be fewer north/south travel lanes through the project footprint than existed before the street closures that created it in 2010.

The change will surely affect traffic circulation around the arena block, and congestion in the vicinity of the arena may be increased....

It is unclear if the change is temporary or permanent.

article

Posted by eric at 1:06 PM

September 23, 2011

Not just Thursday: video from this morning shows trucks stacked up on Pacific Street and other violations

Atlantic Yards Report

Earlier today I described videos (posted on Atlantic Yards Watch) that showed trucks stacked up at the southeast corner of Sixth Avenue and Pacific Street rather than queuing a block away as required.

This morning the same thing happened, according to Atlantic Yards Watch, along with dump trucks illegally idling next to the Newswalk building on Pacific Street (see screenshot) and the continued failure to follow the "Stop Here on Red Light" sign.

Click through for video and more.

link

NoLandGrab: There's a reason they call it dope.

Posted by eric at 9:32 PM

Early morning violations of truck protocols contrast with FCRC statements at Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet

Atlantic Yards Watch

Lying was much easier before smart-phone cameras and the Internet.

The protocols for construction trucks described "as significantly improved" yesterday by FCRC's Adam Schwartz at the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet are documented being repeatedly violated earlier yesterday morning and today by multiple incident reports filed on this website.

Only hours before Schwartz spoke at Brooklyn Borough Hall, project-related trucks were advancing before the receiving gate was ready, idling, standing in no-standing and no parking zones, ignoring a stop sign, driving the wrong way on a one-way street, and not obeying NYCDOT designated truck routes.

At the District Service Cabinet FCRC's Schwartz stated, "the guard does not release trucks from our site until the gate is ready to receive them." The guard is located at Pacific Street and Carlton Avenue. In following this protocol the trucks enter the project site from Vanderbilt Avenue and line up inside the project footprint on the former Pacific Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt Avenues. This is apparently done in the hope of lessening impacts on the residents who live along the stretch of Pacific Street between Carlton and 6th Avenues that would not ordinarily be a truck route.

But this protocol was not followed.

article

NoLandGrab: We would ask "what are they smoking?" — but we know the answer already.

Posted by eric at 9:18 PM

Are new procedures "very effective" in managing truck traffic at arena site? Videos show cluster of trucks on residential street

Atlantic Yards Report

Yesterday, less than four hours before a Forest City Ratner official declared that new procedures had been "very effective" in preventing trucks from approaching entrance gates at the Atlantic Yards site before workers were ready to receive them, a resident shot videos that show exactly the opposite.

The videos shot beginning at 6 am were included in two postings (1, 2) on Atlantic Yards Watch made by a resident of the Newswalk building along Pacific Street between Sixth and Carlton avenues.

That stretch sits between the professed staging area--now a private street--on Pacific Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues and the arena entrance west of Sixth Avenue.

Clearly lots of trucks are jumping the gun--and ignoring both site rules and violating parking regulations.

Click thru for the videos.

link

NoLandGrab: Maybe it wouldn't be so hard to follow what would appear to be simple rules if they cut back a little on the wacky weed.

Posted by eric at 5:11 PM

September 21, 2011

How will congestion on Dean Street affect the firehouse? State document says police will step up when events are scheduled and that impacts "were discussed" (not quite)

Atlantic Yards Report

The other day I was at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Dean Street, catercorner from the in-construction Barclays Center arena.

A fire truck assigned to the firehouse just east of the corner--Engine 219/Ladder 105--was temporarily parked in the left lane of the street. Cars were parked along the right lane. A city bus tried to get through, but it was stymied.

It took more than a minute--probably more than two--to untangle the knot. So, what happens if the arena's open? It turns out the state is optimistic, as explained in 68 questions and responses from the 6/14/11 public meeting on traffic issues has posted (also embedded below) by Empire State Development (aka Empire State Development Corporation).

Traffic bottlenecks?

The question:

62. On Dean Street the church double parks every night. The police and fire department park on the sidewalk. You don’t take that into account. Where do these cars go? How does the fire engine company get out in an emergency?

The answer:

Enforcement of double parking prohibitions is the responsibility of the New York City Police Department, which will have an active presence in the Arena vicinity before and after Arena events. Potential impacts on emergency vehicles were discussed in Chapter 5 of the FEIS (e.g., pages 5-10 through 5-12).

How much enforcement is there now? Not much. Apparently ESDC is optimistic it will change.

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NoLandGrab: If ESDC's optimism is as fruitful as Bruce Ratner's hopefulness that the Islanders will play their home games at the Barclays Center, we're in big trouble.

Posted by eric at 12:21 PM

Lay-by lane capacity at Barclays Center to be less than analyzed in 2006 environmental review; change may increase congestion around arena block

Atlantic Yards Watch

At the time the Sam Schwartz mitigation plan was detailed to the public in June, AYW reported that Barclays Center will have less in place at the time of the arena opening than anticipated in the 2006 FEIS: "fewer travel lanes for traffic, fewer lay-by lanes, and narrower sidewalks for pedestrians."

Thanks to the bollard plans before NYCDOT, it is now possible to see more clearly how this is so in relation to the arena block. In publishing the bollard plans several weeks ago, we wrote about the reduced effective widths of many of the sidewalks around the arena. The state of the lay-by lanes at the time of the arena opening will be similar, with one permanently changed and others with no construction schedule.

The function of lay-by lanes is to take traffic stopped for loading or unloading out of travel lanes. Fewer lay-by lanes mean there is a higher degree of risk for vehicle/vehicle and vehicle/pedestrian conflicts. It also potentially means increased congestion around the arena block.

The original 2006 project plan included lay-by lanes accommodating approximately 61 vehicle spaces on the arena block. This included 14 spaces in two lay-by areas on Flatbush, 7 spaces on Dean Street, 6 spaces on 6th Avenue, and 34 spaces on Atlantic Avenue. An additional lay-by-lane was to be located on Pacific Street adjacent to Site 5 within one year. Soon thereafter, lay-by lanes were to appear nearby in the second phase of the project which was to be completed in ten years. But the timetable of delivery of lay-by lanes changed in 2009 when the project plans were renegotiated to provide the developer up to 12 years to complete its obligations on the arena block as part of the first phase of the project's development.

article

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, On the eve of AY District Service Cabinet Meeting, new information from AY Watch about reduced capacity of lay-by lanes

Will this be on the agenda of the meeting tomorrow? Can't say. The agenda's not publicly circulated.

Posted by eric at 11:55 AM

September 13, 2011

Truck deliveries procedures are revised at the site; a new system is introduced with a colored ticket required for entry at some truck entrances

Atlantic Yards Watch

Following months of reports on Atlantic Yards Watch about trucks driving illegal routes, idling, and traveling with uncovered loads in the neighborhoods around Atlantic Yards, a new system of organizing truck deliveries appears to have been put in place by Forest City Ratner this week.

The new system involves a colored ticket which is picked up by drivers on Pacific Street at Carlton Avenue. The drivers then proceed to the gate with the sign that matches the color of their ticket. The ticket is required to enter the gate.

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Posted by eric at 9:17 PM

September 2, 2011

After "continuing violations regarding truck protocols," state to issue first-ever "notice of violation" to Forest City Ratner, posing potential fines

Atlantic Yards Report

Is Empire State Development (ESD, aka Empire State Development Corporation), the state agency overseeing the Atlantic Yards project, finally cracking down on contractors and developer Forest City Ratner (FCR) not following the rules at the construction site?

Well, slightly, which in the context of widespread complaints marks a step forward.

Errant trucks

On 8/25/11, after I saw the Atlantic Yards Watch post, Not an isolated incident: truck use of residential Clermont Avenue is widespread, I asked ESD to comment.

Agency spokeswoman Elizabeth Mitchell responded two days ago, on 8/31/11:

In general, the identified instances of non-compliance have been corrected. ESD is able to fine the developer for persistent violations, but most violations have been episodic instances of non-compliance by one of the contractors working on the project. ESD plans to issue a notice of violation to FCR for several continuing violations regarding truck protocols.

What's that mean? Mitchell responded:

A “notice of violation” is a letter from us to FCRC stating that FCRC has not complied with the MEC [Memorandum of Environmental Commitments]. FCRC has 30 days to comply with the MEC, and if they do not, ESD is able to require them to pay a fine of $1,000 per day.

Yesterday she clarified that it was the first notice of violation.

Note that it's not clear what "several continuing violations regarding truck protocols" describes. It could refer only to the mis-use of truck routes, but it sounds broader. So it also might apply to the failure to cover trucks with a tarp to suppress dust or perhaps apparently improper deliveries.

What does it mean?

Given that there have been periodic--and seemingly persistent--blatant violations, with ESD calling them isolated incidents, it's notable that the state has finally, belatedly acted.

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NoLandGrab: Pardon our French, but what the f**k is so hard about throwing a tarp over a truck and not driving on streets you're not supposed to drive on? Or about actually enforcing those rules?

And we're supposed to count on these people to manage game-day traffic and other complex issues?

Posted by eric at 10:24 AM

September 1, 2011

Incentives to avoid driving to the arena? Transportation Demand Management Plan expected by mid-December; will it extend beyond Nets games?

Atlantic Yards Report

Today's question involves how the developer, city, and state will try to reduce driving to the Atlantic Yards arena.

We've known since 2006 about plans for remote parking and incentives for public transit, but the devil's in the details; note that, in 2006, transportation consultants criticized the plan for focusing on on Nets games rather than the panoply of arena events.

Transportation Demand Management

The question:

41. There is nothing about any type of strategy to control on-street parking by Arena patrons. The potential for a catastrophe of congestion on residential streets is frightening. What is your solution? FCRC and ESD should present a parking plan detailing the locations, number and pricing of spaces where Arena and non-Arena project-generated cars will park, as well as any shuttle services which will be provided. Consider these factors in developing interim traffic mitigations, roadway improvements and the demand management plan.

The response:

The FEIS requires the development and implementation of a Transportation Demand Management program for Arena opening. The Transportation Demand Management Plan under development per this FEIS commitment will include a comprehensive strategy to encourage the use of mass transit (and remote parking) by Arena patrons and a parking management plan for those who do drive. The plan will detail the specific locations of off-site parking garage, pricing of off-site and on-site parking spaces and the mechanisms for encouraging the use of off-site parking garages and remote parking. Remote parking will be encouraged with free shuttle service to the Arena and parking spaces priced at half the price of the market rate at garages closer to the Arena. The plan will also specify the routes by which shuttle buses will travel from remote parking locations to the Arena and the pickup locations for the return shuttle trip to the remote parking location. The Transportation Demand Management Plan will include a cross-marketing program with local businesses that would serve to stagger arrival and departure times, a 400 bike parking area adjacent to the Arena, and a requirement that at least 600 of the on-site parking spaces be HOV parking (requiring the purchase of three or more tickets). The Transportation Demand Management Plan is under development by FCRC, the Nets, and the Arena operations team and FCRC’s traffic and parking consultant Sam Schwartz Engineering (which has prepared these kinds of plans for Citi Field, among others). ESD and NYCDOT will be reviewing the Transportation Demand Management Plan as it is developed. It is anticipated that FCRC will be prepared to present the Transportation Demand Management Plan to the public for comment in about six months.

Surely some restaurants and bars will be eager partners and, thus, arena boosters. But if this covers only Nets games then how can it work?

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Posted by eric at 11:17 AM

Another Awful Thing About the Barclays Center: Its Sidewalks Will be Really Narrow

The L Magazine
by Ross Barkan

When you walk over to the Barclays Center to catch an inevitably disappointing Nets game, you might have to start tiptoeing on the sidewalk, or pinching in your elbows to avoid a tractor trailer. Forest City Ratner, never a community favorite, is still igniting local opposition. According to Atlantic Yards Report, in July FCR submitted a plan to the Parks Department to install 206 bollards around the arena, which revealed that several of the sidewalks surrounding Barclays will be much narrower than what FCR originally analyzed in their 2006 environmental impact statement that ultimately helped FCR win approval from the state.

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NoLandGrab: That the Department of Transportation, not Parks, but the point holds.

Posted by eric at 11:12 AM

August 31, 2011

Coming after the arena opens, a follow-up study about traffic conditions

Atlantic Yards Report

The Empire State Development Corporation has posted (also embedded below) 68 questions and responses from the 6/14/11 public meeting on traffic issues.

I've already highlighted some of the questions and responses, including the capacity of sidewalks on Dean Street, plans for the surface parking lot, and the impact of traffic on the Dean Street Playground.

Post-Arena Opening Traffic Study

The question:

3. When will the scope for a follow-up study be established? Will local Stakeholders (electeds, Community Boards and Community Members) have input into the scope? If there are additional changes that will affect traffic or pedestrian flow, what is the timeline for them and what processes will be used to consult the public?

The response:

As required by the FEIS, after the Arena opens, a traffic study will be done to provide information about traffic conditions in the area. The purpose of the study will be to optimize the implementation of the mitigation identified in the FEIS and to identify any further or different opportunities to improve traffic conditions. The study will evaluate the effectiveness of the Arena’s Transportation Demand Management Plan, an FEIS-required traffic mitigation measure that seeks to divert automotive traffic away from the Arena by encouraging the use of mass transit and parking at remote locations. The study will also consider the actual data about conditions after the Arena opening (the FEIS was able to consider only projected traffic conditions) to identify opportunities to improve traffic conditions and to optimize the implementation of any FEIS mitigation measures not implemented prior to the Arena opening. For example, in light of data about actual (rather than projected) traffic conditions after the Arena opens, it may be possible to improve upon signal timing recommendations made in the FEIS, as is common in other NYC projects that have a long lead time between the preparation of the FEIS and the construction of certain project elements. The study will also evaluate pedestrian issues in affected areas. This will be a public process, led by ESD and NYCDOT, and the public and other stakeholders will have an opportunity to review and comment on the scope of the study and its results and recommendations. At this time, FCRC is implementing most of the FEIS traffic mitigation for Phase I of the Project, while postponing implementation of certain traffic measures (such as the widening of 6th Avenue between Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue and the construction of additional lay-by lanes on 6th Avenue on the Arena block) at the direction of NYCDOT until after the Arena opens and data can be gathered as to how best to implement or improve upon the FEIS-required traffic measures. ESD has not approved changes to the FEIS traffic measures at this time.

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Posted by eric at 10:35 AM

Nets Fans Get No Assist From Atlantic Yards’ Shrinking Sidewalks

Streetsblog
by Brad Aaron

In June we wondered whether Forest City Ratner would make the most of the Barclays Center’s potential as a destination for pedestrians, transit riders and cyclists. Recent developments are less than encouraging.

Gib Veconi noted a couple of weeks back on Atlantic Yards Watch that a July proposal from Ratner to NYC DOT regarding bollard placement shows that sidewalks around the arena may be much narrower than what Ratner and the Empire State Development Corporation originally led the public to believe.
...

Veconi notes that the sidewalk on the south side of Atlantic Avenue east of the arena entrance now has an effective width of 5.5 feet, or 40 percent of the 13.5 feet presented in the EIS. “This sidewalk will presumably be traveled by large groups of arena patrons leaving the Atlantic Avenue exit en route to arena parking to the east, and borders busy Atlantic Avenue. No bollards are shown to be installed along this section of sidewalk.”

In addition, Veconi points out that the Dean Street bike lane will be situated between a thru-traffic lane and parking bays designated for pick-ups and drop-offs, putting cyclists in the path of merging vehicles.

article

Posted by eric at 10:24 AM

August 30, 2011

From ESD: increased vehicles/pedestrians on Dean Street not "anticipated" to provoke adverse effect on safety

Atlantic Yards Report

Empire State Development (aka Empire State Development Corporation) has posted (also embedded below) 68 questions and responses from the 6/14/11 public meeting on traffic issues. I've already highlighted some of the questions and responses, including the capacity of sidewalks on Dean Street and plans for the surface parking lot.

No problems from traffic/pedestrian increase?

This one jumped out:

10. Since the introduction of Astroturf to Dean Playground, activity at the playground has significantly increased. Will the increase in traffic and pedestrians make the playground less safe? Will parents still be able to watch their kids play from the sidewalk during league games on the weekends?

No adverse effect on safety in or around the playground is anticipated.

None? Is that why there will be extra cops and security guards around the perimeter of the arena and, presumably, adjacent streets?

As another response explains, there will be about 3000 additional pedestrians traveling between the accessory lot and the arena. It's unclear what fraction will use Dean Street, but it's a main route.

The word "anticipate," as I've documented, has a lot of flex to it.

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Posted by eric at 10:50 AM

August 29, 2011

Video shows that, after criticism was raised publicly, trucks as of August 26 stopped using residential street as shortcut

Atlantic Yards Report

I can't say the video below documents riveting action, but it does seem to confirm that those working at the railyard site finally paid attention to criticism aired on Atlantic Yards Watch and this blog: trucks previously seen using Clermont Avenue, a residential street, in violation of city law and site rules, as of Friday, August 26, were no longer doing so.

link

Posted by eric at 6:54 PM

August 26, 2011

Not an isolated incident: truck use of residential Clermont Avenue is widespread

Atlantic Yards Watch
by Danae Oratowski

More than a dozen videos, taken over the course of a single week, document repeated illegal use of Clermont Avenue by fully loaded dump trucks leaving the project site from the Carlton Avenue brige exit. As the videos show, trucks exiting the Carlton Avenue bridge site on to Atlantic make the first left on to Clermont, departing from NYC's designated truck route. Clermont Avenue is a residential street of three story townhouses and a public housing complex and is the location of two public playgrounds (one is part of the Atlantic Terminal Housing; the other, the Cuyler Gore playground, is at intersection of Clermont and Lafayette).

The videos were recorded on three days, August 15, 18 and 19 (There is an AY Watch incident report for each day; while each day's report documents mulitiple violations.) Most of the trucks had ‘LMC Trucking - USDOT: 1501837’ as vehicle identifiers.

The use of a residential street as a truck route violates NYC City law as well as the Barclays Center Delivery Truck Rules and Requirements, which is part of the project's of Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments, to be enforced by ESD and Forest City Ratner.

article

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, From Atlantic Yards Watch: trucks continue to leave railyard site and use residential street

Posted by eric at 11:17 AM

"Surface" parking lot to have a modular second floor deck?

Atlantic Yards Watch

NetsDaily reports that a company called More Park is claiming its prefabricated parking system will be used by the "Brooklyn Nets". More Park's web site describes its parking system as "the lowest-cost parking deck available," and a "green parking solution" that can be assembled (and disassembled) without heavy construction equipment.

A rendering of More Park's parking solution from its web site appears above left. The design of the platform would appear to be consistent with the renderings that were supplied by the ESDC in December 2010, which show a second level of cars parking on block 1129 visible above a fence on block 1129 along Dean Street and Carlton Avenue (below left).

The use of modular parking platforms on block 1129 may affect not only the impact of the facility on the surrounding streets (which are located in the Prospect Heights Historic District), but also the opportunity to landscape the interior of the lot. Although interior landscaping of surface parking lots is required under New York City zoning, Forest City Ratner has stated publicly that it believes it is exempt from such requirements.

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Posted by eric at 11:08 AM

August 25, 2011

Track outages in two weekends (September/October) due to "continuing construction work at Atlantic Yards"

Atlantic Yards Report

Speaking of changes in our transportation infrastructure, Bruce Ratner will be knocking out subway service for a couple weekends this fall.

Meanwhile, construction does have consequences: subway closures.

The latest Atlantic Yards Construction Alert provided this ambiguous information:

Track Outages (General Orders)

IRT and BMT Tunnel inspections have taken place and repair work will be implemented during scheduled NYCT track outages during evenings and weekends. An IRT GO is scheduled for Saturday, August 27th to perform ceramic tile work. The next BMT GO’s will take place in September and October and are currently being scheduled with NYCT. Minor repair and cleanup work will occur on selective evenings under scheduled NYCT flagging protection.

Brooklyn Community Board 14, recipient of a message from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, provides more detail:

Weekends of September 23-25 and October 14-16, 2011:
From Friday beginning at 10:00 PM to Monday ending at 5:00 AM, for these two weekends B & Q service will be suspended between Pacific Street and Prospect Park, due to continuing construction work at Atlantic Yards. Shuttle bus service will be provided at Pacific Street, 7th Avenue, and Prospect Park B & Q stations.

link

Posted by eric at 11:01 AM

Group Hug, Everyone: Girding for a More Crowded Brooklyn

The NYC Department of Transportation is making safety and mobility improvements, particularly in the growing, high-traffic areas of Atlantic Yards and downtown Brooklyn

Park Slope Patch
by C. Zawadi Morris

Over the last ten years in Central Brooklyn and its surrounding neighborhoods, housing and commercial development has accelerated at lightening speed.

As residents squeeze in tighter to make room for these changes, the New York City Department of Transportation is making safety and mobility improvements, particularly in the high-traffic areas of Atlantic Yards and downtown Brooklyn.

Details about these changes to the area at and around the intersections of Flatbush, Atlantic and Fourth avenues are posted on FCRC’s Atlantic Yards Web site. The changes are being made in accordance with steps detailed in the project’s 2006 Environmental Impact Statement.

Beginning July 31, 2011, the City began reviewing these measures and will continue to monitor these steps after they are implemented.

Click thru for a list of the changes.

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Posted by eric at 10:56 AM

August 22, 2011

Traffic, including bicycle lane, to be squeezed by Dean Street excavation between Flatbush and Sixth; new removable fencing to be installed to hasten work

Atlantic Yards Report

According to a Supplemental Report (below) to the two-week Atlantic Yards look-ahead dated August 15, prepared by developer Forest City Ratner and distributed by Empire State Development, some 40' to 60' of the 16’ high fence on Dean Street between Flatbush and Sixth avenues will be removed, and replaced by "temporary 8 foot tall barrier consisting of plywood on Jersey barrier."

The reason? A safer and more portable fence is needed, over 30 to 45 days, to be moved daily to accommodate excavation for water and sewer piping.

Given that the excavation for the water and sewer piping will require a 25-foot trench from the face of the foundation to Dean Street centerline, traffic will be squeezed.

The upshot: part of the bicycle lane will be displaced:

Temporary traffic controls signage will be provided to alert bicycles and vehicles to “share the road”. Some parking on the south side of Dean Street will be removed for the duration of the work.

The 16’ high fence will be reinstalled after the piping is installed.

link

Posted by eric at 9:48 PM

Barclays Center will be much closer than 20 feet from street above ground level (though more at sidewalk); also, new documents reveal bollard plan, suggest effective width of sidewalk less than disclosed, creating bottleneck

Atlantic Yards Report

A must-read on security and sidewalks from Norman Oder.

Newly revealed security-related transportation documents for the Atlantic Yards arena indicate that, contrary to previous suggestions that no bollards would be needed, 206 such bollards--178 fixed, 28 removable, one foot in diameter--would be installed at the facility's perimeter.

Moreover, despite previous claims by Forest City Ratner that the arena would be 20 feet from the street, new city documents confirm that the structure would be considerably closer--less than 12 feet--above ground level along Atlantic Avenue, a configuration ambiguously disclosed previously in state documents and obfuscated by the developer. (Click on graphic to enlarge.)

The above graphic, excerpted from a New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) document (below), shows the bollards and tree pits on the Atlantic Avenue sidewalk bordering the north side of arena. It also indicates that the arena's "overhead canopy" essentially meets the property line, which is 11'8" (11.5 ft) from the street.

Further complicating the situation, the new documents reveal that, in the strip of Atlantic Avenue sidewalk just east of the arena, the sidewalk is 9.5 ft wide. Given typical buffer zone subtractions, the effective width of the sidewalk would be 5.5 feet, much less than disclosed in the environmental review and likely a bottleneck for arena-bound pedestrians, as noted by Atlantic Yards Watch.

The DOT is accepting comments on the plans through Thursday, August 25 by email to Emma Berenblit at eberenblit@dot.nyc.gov.
...

The security issue

Would Brooklyn face a situation akin to Newark, where streets surrounding the Prudential Center are closed on game days? The ESDC said "there are no plans to close streets," which does leave some wiggle room.

As the New York Times reported 11/27/07:

[Forest City Ratner spokesman] Mr. [Loren] Riegelhaupt confirmed that this meant that at all points, the arena would be set back at least 20 feet from the street.

...That is the same distance as the Newark arena is from its neighboring streets. So what’s different about the Atlantic Yards arena? That, Mr. Riegelhaupt said, is a security question, to be directed to the Police Department. The Police Department has said that its policy is not to comment on such matters.

Riegelhaupt's answer may have been narrowly true--at all ground level points, the arena would be set back at least 20 feet from the street, but the question should be: what about when the arena is less than 20 feet from the street above ground level?

Forest City Ratner and the New York Police Department have surely had many high-level discussions on security. But shouldn't they explain, at least in outline, why the Brooklyn design is safer than the one in Newark? Or make the case that Newark is overreacting?

After all, plans have already changed. A NYPD spokesman told the 11/30/07 Brooklyn Daily Eagle that "the department doesn’t foresee any street or land closures, sidewalk widening around the arena or the instillation [sic] of bollards."

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Posted by eric at 11:32 AM

Article suggests Forest City has chosen low-cost, stackable modular system--perhaps untested domestically--for Block 1129 surface parking

Atlantic Yards Report

"Modular" — it's not just for 34-story apartment buildings anymore.

According to an 8/20/11 article in the Williamsport (PA) Sun-Gazette, headlined City authority explores new type of parking facility, Forest City Ratner is considering an inexpensive, fast-to-assemble pre-fab parking solution (which, I'd add, is apparently little tested domestically, if at all):

Williamsport Parking Authority is exploring a less all-concrete type of parking facility, designed to be demountable, semi-permanent and more environmentally friendly.

It's called More Park System, a "bump-up parking deck," which is made of removable pre-cast concrete platforms secured by galvanized steel beams that can be assembled in a few weeks - as opposed to several months of construction - and is available in airports in Europe and soon to be providing parking for the Brooklyn Nets, the NBA's new franchise team.

Neither the Nets (not a "new" franchise) nor Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner have made such an announcement, but it's plausible that the developer would aim to save money and time.

Could it be that Bruce Ratner's threatened promised 1100-spot surface parking lot could morph into a 2200-spot bi-level lot? This sci-fi/horror flick raises the possibility.

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Posted by eric at 10:58 AM

In contrast with 2009 statement by FCR, ESDC says surface parking lot will initially be used for arena events only, not to satisfy general demand (but there's an asterisk)

Atlantic Yards Report

The Empire State Development Corporation has posted (also embedded below) 68 questions and responses from the 6/14/11 public meeting on traffic issues. I've highlighted some of the questions and responses, including the capacity of sidewalks on Dean Street.

Parking lot open 24/7?

This one jumped out:

43. Is the parking lot open 24 hours – 7 days a week?

No. The on-site parking lot on Block 1129, in the Arena-opening condition, is for Arena events and will therefore be open only before, during and after Arena events. The parking lot hours may change as additional buildings are constructed on the Project site and the parking lot is used for the residential and office uses on the Project site.

That does not address the use of the parking lot in the pre-Arena-opening condition, when it could be open for construction workers on multiple shifts, and perhaps others. Also, the post-Arena-opening condition, as stated above, could increase hours.

So the answer "No" refers to a very specific time frame.

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Posted by eric at 10:29 AM

August 19, 2011

Arena block sidewalks proposed to be narrower than analyzed in 2006 environmental review

Atlantic Yards Watch

In July, Forest City Ratner submitted to the NYC Department of Transportation plans to install 206 bollards on the sidewalks surrounding the Barclays Center arena. The plans appear to mirror the renderings of Barclays Center submitted by ESDC in December 2010 with its response to a State Supreme Court remand order. However, the plans reveal for the first time that several sidewalks surrounding the arena, including one in front of an arena entrance on Dean Street, will have narrower effective widths than were analyzed for the 2006 environmental impact statement under which the project was approved.

Gee, there's a surprise.

The sidewalk along the south side of Atlantic Avenue east of the arena entrance has very narrow effective width in order to accomodate the site for Building 4 and a protective security wall and fence. The effective width of 5.5 feet is only 40% of the 13.5 feet anticipated in the 2006 FEIS, and is barely more than the U.S. DOT suggests for a sidewalk bordering a residential street. This sidewalk will presumably be traveled by large groups of arena patrons leaving the Atlantic Avenue exit en route to arena parking to the east, and borders busy Atlantic Avenue. No bollards are shown to be installed along this section of sidewalk.
...

The FCR plans also highlight a potential challenge for cyclists traveling to arena events. Cyclists coming from the west and desiring to park in the arena bicycle lot would presumably travel on Dean Street in the bicycle lane. Because the bicycle lane separates the lay-by lane in front of the Dean Street arena entrance from the roadway, cyclists on their way to the bike lot will need to stay alert while dodging cars dropping off arena patrons.

Click thru for diagrams and more info.

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Posted by eric at 11:52 AM

August 11, 2011

Atlantic Terminal at the end of an underground passageway from the Barclays Center? Not for suburban train passengers

Atlantic Yards Report

From the ever-arena-boosting Net Income, in Nets Daily, Could Atlantic Terminal Lure Isles?:

We haven't seen NHL commissioner Gary Bettman wandering around Atlantic and Flatbush in a construction helmet, carrying a measuring tape. Things have calmed down a bit regarding an Islander move to Brooklyn.

Still, there are some out there, like the Brooklyn hockey fans the Daily News found Tuesday, who want to see the Isles move 22 miles to the west despite a smaller capacity and questionable sightlines.

In the calculus, however, one thing isn't getting a lot of attention: the Long Island Railroad's new Atlantic Terminal, at the other end of an underground passageway from Barclays Center. Opened in 2010, it accommodates 25,000 LIRR passengers daily, many of whom switch in Brooklyn for subway rides to the Financial District. Some are suggesting that a return trip in the evening, with time out for a hockey game, could be a big lure for the Islanders and their fans.

One reason why it hasn't gotten a lot of attention is that the "underground passageway" is only for subway riders, not suburban train passengers.

That means those Long Islanders coming from work in New York City could get to the arena from the subway. However, they couldn't get to the LIRR from the arena. Nor could Long Island fans coming from home get to the arena from the LIRR.

article

Posted by eric at 9:55 AM

August 9, 2011

ESDC: new process to crack down on errant truckers began Friday; none have received "two strikes;" no answer to question about systemic problem

Atlantic Yards Report

I got some but not all answers today to questions posed last Friday regarding the Empire State Development Corporation's new plan to crack down on truckers who leave the railyard site uncovered.

My questions begin after the bullet points, and the ESDC's answers are interpolated:

  • When did the process go into effect?

Last Friday, August 5.

  • Is this one contractor, or more than one?

McKissack -- the site of the problem.

  • Have any truckers been removed? Are those individual drivers, or subcontractors?

No truckers have been removed because none have received two strikes.

  • And isn't it systemic, in a sense: if "Outgoing trucks shall be inspected at the gate," as per the environmental commitments memo, it seems to me there should be some leverage over the firm as a whole, not just the drivers. Does the firm, or whoever's in charge of inspections, face any penalties?

[No answer was received.]

link

Posted by eric at 3:51 PM

August 5, 2011

Not isolated incidents: via Atlantic Yards Watch, more trucks seen to leave project site with material uncovered

Atlantic Yards Report

Though the Empire State Development Corporation on July 22 suggested that a truck leaving the Atlantic Yards site with its contents uncovered was an "isolated incident," the evidence, thanks to Atlantic Yards Watch, continues to mount that it wasn't.
...

On July 25, I wrote about how there appear to have been three additional violations that previous week.

On July 26, I cited three additional episodes over the course of two days.

The latest

Yesterday, two more instances were posted on Atlantic Yards Watch.

link

Posted by eric at 11:19 AM

August 2, 2011

Atlantic Yards Project Causes Traffic Woes

NY1

New Atlantic Yards traffic patterns are thus far a big hit with motorists.

Drivers at a busy Brooklyn intersection are dealing with a new traffic pattern because of the ongoing Atlantic Yards project.

Vehicles going north on Fourth Avenue can no longer turn left on Flatbush.

The idea was to reduce traffic tie-ups, but residents said Monday that it's making the problem worse.

"I would say the whole situation we have going on with the new sports stadium and the rerouting of the traffic and everything is a whole mess. It's terrible,” said one resident. “I'm a native of Flatbush, Brooklyn, and I hate it. I hate the whole Atlantic Yards project, it’s just a travesty."

link

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Upon first implementation, traffic changes at Fourth Avenue and Pacific Street are apparently confusing drivers

It's too soon to tell the full effects of the Forest City Ratner-devised, Department of Transportation-accepted plan to divert northbound traffic on Fourth Avenue so drivers can't make a left on Flatbush Avenue, but initial reports indicate confusion and frustration.

Drivers heading west must go left on Atlantic and right on Third Avenue to reach Flatbush, while those heading to the area around Atlantic Terminal must make a right on Pacific Street, which has reversed direction, then a hard left at Pacific Street.

Atlantic Yards Watch, An eventful morning around the Barclays Center construction site

During an overlapping period this morning, a major piece of Sam Schwartz's traffic mitigation plan was tested against weekday traffic for the first time, a job action disrupted construction work at the arena, and a lane of traffic on Atlantic Avenue was closed in order to conduct random radiation tests.

Brownstoner, New AY-Area Traffic Change Slowing Traffic?

Posted by eric at 12:45 PM

Incident Report Saturday documents steel deliveries to Barclays Center that ignore ESDC's published truck regulations and appear to violate NYC law

Atlantic Yards Watch

Another day, another example of Forest City's utter disregard for the law.

The video above from Saturday shows a Barclays Center construction-related truck disobeying both NYC traffic laws and the ESDC's published truck rules on Pacific Street between 6th Avenue and Carlton. The truck crosses the 6th Avenue intersection while the north/south traffic on 6th Avenue has a green light, attaches a load waiting in the travel lane and then drives against traffic to block 1129.

This one truck trip is part of a series of steel deliveries on Saturday that were not consistent with either the Barclays Center Truck Rules and Requirements made public by the ESDC, or NYC traffic law.

article

Posted by eric at 12:28 PM

August 1, 2011

New Traffic Patterns Cause Confusion Near Atlantic Yards Project

CBS New York

Some drivers in Brooklyn were left scratching their heads around the Atlantic Yards project after new traffic patterns went into effect Monday morning.

The most significant change is an end to northbound traffic on the one block of Fourth Avenue between Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues.
...

“Yet more problems in Brooklyn,” one driver said.

“I like to go straight, it’s more easier,” another driver said.

Click thru for the audio, replete with honking horns.

link

Posted by eric at 2:03 PM

July 28, 2011

Signs stating sections of Carlton Avenue and Pacific Street will be closed July 30-31 and August 6-7 from 8 am to 4 pm are incorrect; there will be no closures this weekend

Atlantic Yards Watch

Atlantic Yards Watch has corrected the street-closing information it posted earlier today.

The new temporary closures were due to renovations on the Newswalk building, not Atlantic Yards. Apparently, the closures have been suspended for this upcoming weekend because the contractor failed to meet public notification requirements. When further information is available, it will be posted here.

article

NoLandGrab: We're sticking with our original theory, however — Bruce Ratner is throwing neighborhood residents the block party to end all block parties. In fact, it's likely to be a superblock party.

Posted by eric at 11:56 AM

Police Begin Ticketing Illegally Parked Cars Near Atlantic Yards

Cops have given out 69 parking tickets in the past two weeks, the Daily News reports.

Park Slope Patch
by Amy Sara Clark

After months if not years of complaints, police have finally started ticketing some of the dozens upon dozens of illegally parked cars near the Atlantic Yards construction sites, according to the Daily News.

Cops have given out at least 69 parking tickets in the past two weeks for such violations as parking in a bus stop, on the sidewalk, in front of a hydrant and in No Stand Zones, the News reports.

link

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Watch, The Daily News reports the NYPD is now ticketing construction worker cars parked illegally

As part of what will be an ongoing initiative Atlantic Yards Watch will post a review of existing construction worker parking strategies in a few weeks.

Posted by eric at 9:53 AM

July 27, 2011

Police crack down on illegal parking around Atlantic Yards construction

NY Daily News
by Erin Durkin

Cops have finally cracked down on the rampant illegal parking around the Atlantic Yards construction site.

The Daily News reported this month that construction workers, city employees and others were parking illegally and using bogus placards around the busy project site with no fear of enforcement - but now the NYPD is handing out the tickets.

Cops have issued 69 parking summonses in the last two weeks in the blocks around the site, an NYPD spokesman said. The spokesman said the violations "run the gamut" and include parking at a bus stop, on the sidewalk, in front of a hydrant, and in No Standing zones.

Empire State Development Corp. project manager Arana Hankin said when she visited the site last week, she saw NYPD brass directing a ticket blitz.

"All the cars were being ticketed," she said. "They were being threatened that they would be towed." ...

Wayne Bailey, 56, who had complained about the parking problem, said in addition to the NYPD ticket blitz, the Sanitation Department has been targeting alternate side parking violators.

"I want to give credit where credit is due. They're doing a good job," he said. "They don't park on the sidewalk anymore. ... Our streets are getting cleaner."

article

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Daily News: parking summonses rise around Atlantic Yards site; now, what about cops themselves? what about trucks with contents uncovered?

Unclear is whether the actions of police officers themselves are being targeted.

What next?

The illegal parking was blatant, thus relatively easy to respond to. Equally blatant, it seems, is the periodic departure of trucks from the Atlantic Yards site without tarps covering dirt and dust, as required by the Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments.

Will Hankin's agency step up to stop that?

Posted by eric at 11:02 AM

July 26, 2011

"Isolated incident"? Two more instances yesterday (and one today) of trucks leaving Atlantic Yards site with contents uncovered, violating environmental commitments memo

Atlantic Yards Report

OK, it's time to shut this construction site down until they can demonstrate even the smallest shred of competence.

Though the Empire State Development Corporation last week suggested that a truck leaving the Atlantic Yards site with its contents uncovered--a violation of an environmental commitments memo signed by developer Forest City Ratner--was an "isolated incident," the evidence is mounting that it wasn't.

Yesterday I wrote about how there appear to have been three additional episodes last week.

Beyond that, the incidents continued, as new photos were posted on Atlantic Yards Watch yesterday morning and afternoon, as well as this morning.

Click thru for yet more photographic evidence.

article

Posted by eric at 11:42 AM

July 25, 2011

VIDEO: A Change Of Direction

Local residents respond to the new traffic patterns around the Atlantic Yards construction zone.

Park Slope Patch
by Patrick Conti

The streets, they are "a-changing"—direction, that is.
...

Anticipating voluminous crowds of cars and pedestrians at Barclays Center, developer Forest City Ratner proposed a series of changes to the area's traffic patterns. The first of those changes kicked off Sunday with the reversal of direction on Pacific Street, which went from one-way westbound to one-way eastbound between Fourth and Flatbush avenues.

link

Posted by eric at 1:24 PM

Some Atlantic Yards Traffic Changes in Place

Brownstoner

Yesterday some of the traffic pattern changes planned for the streets around Barclays Center had been implemented, with Pacific Street between 4th Avenue and Flatbush switched from a westbound to eastbound street. A new traffic light was also in place on the corner of Flatbush and Pacific. According to a traffic cop on the scene, the other big change—which involves turning 4th Avenue between Atlantic and Flatbush into a one-way, southbound road—will be in effect next weekend.

link

Related coverage...

All About Fifth, Changes to Traffic Near Atlantic Yards

It isn't clear how this will affect Fifth Avenue, but we thought we would pass this information on.

Photo: Brownstoner

Posted by eric at 12:27 PM

July 22, 2011

Atlantic Terminal Traffic Changes Go Into Effect Sunday

The major traffic changes are being implemented in anticipation of Atlantic Yards.

Prospect Heights Patch
by Georgia Kral

Will this weekend mark the start of Brooklyn's very own Carmaggedon?

In anticipation of car crowds at the new Barclays Nets arena, developer Forest City Ratner has proposed a series of changes to traffic patterns.

The major changes go into effect on Sunday and include:

  • Conversion of Fourth Avenue into a one-way street going southbound between Atlantic and Flatbush avenues only.
  • Reversing Pacific Street from one-way westbound to one-way eastbound between Fourth and Flatbush avenues.
  • Installation of a traffic signal at Pacific Street and Flatbush Avenue, as well as a crosswalk.
  • The ability for motorists to make a right or left turn from Pacific Street to Flatbush Avenue.
  • Truck traffic will be barred from Pacific Street. Northbound Fourth Avenue truck traffic will be diverted to Third Avenue via Atlantic to get onto Flatbush.

article

Posted by eric at 10:22 AM

July 19, 2011

Do you commute thru Atlantic Yards/Barclays Arena Project Footprint?

This news about a research project hit our in-box this morning.

311NYCX is looking for civic minded cyclists that commute thru the Atlantic Yards/Barclays Arena Project Footprint!

The funding & duration for this project is scheduled to continue until December 2014!

311NYCX is looking for 10 to 15 or more civic minded bike commuters willing to wear a helmet cam that holds 4-5 hours of video. Ideally we will start with 6 riders that travel thru 4th Ave to Washington via Dean Street with emphasis on the bike lane from 5th Ave to Vanderbilt anytime from 5am to 10pm and the same route via Bergen. You will exchange SD cards between 6th Ave & Carlton Ave on Dean St 24/7 so no need to upload to FTP etc.

Your participation will be totally anonymous if you desire.

There will be 1 mandatory training meeting, interested? Please send an email to 311NYCX@gmail.com with your contact info & your commuting route details.

Posted by eric at 11:51 AM

July 15, 2011

Brennan Ditches Push for More Atlantic Yards-Area Parking

After plans to draft legislation requiring more on-site arena parking, residents were upset the move would draw more vehicles to the neighborhood.

Park Slope Patch
by Kristen V. Brown

After Assemblymember Jim Brennan initially announced that he would introduce legislation to “compel” Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner to provide more on-site parking for the Barclays Center, after coming under fire from constituents and commenters on this site and others, Brennan has ditched any such plans.

“Mr. Brennan believes that the most important matter related to Atlantic Yards at this time is the lawsuit victory regarding the EIS,” said Lorrie Smith, the Legislative Director for Brennan’s office, reffering to Wednesday's decision that the ESDC, which oversees the project, needs to conduct another review of the project plan. “He will be urging ESDC not to appeal, but to perform a meaningful assessment of the area.”
...

“He does not want to leave the impression that he was encouraging automobile traffic to come to the arena. He will now be looking at mass transit alternatives to assist in bringing people to the area,” said Smith.

article

Posted by eric at 11:42 AM

July 14, 2011

Can sidewalks on residential Dean Street handle (some of) 3000 pedestrians coming from arena parking lot? "Sidewalks are expected to be sufficient," asserts ESDC

Atlantic Yards Report

The Empire State Development Corporation has posted [PDF] (also embedded below) 68 questions and responses from the 6/14/11 public meeting on traffic issues.

Over the next few days, I'm going to highlight some of the issues raised.

Sidewalks on Dean

This one jumped out:

31. Are sidewalks on Dean between 6th and Carlton sufficient to handle crowds coming from parking lot?

Pedestrians will use Pacific Street, as well as Dean Street. Sidewalks are expected to be sufficient.

Unlike in the rest of the document, the ESDC did not fall back on statements like "As disclosed in the FEIS [Final Environmental Impact Statement]," "The FEIS did not recommend," or "The FEIS did not assume."

Why? Because they never studied it.

Dean Street, not Pacific

Also note that Dean Street, not Pacific, has been considered the prime route, since there is an arena entrance on Dean Street, but not one on Pacific Street.

article

Posted by eric at 11:04 AM

July 13, 2011

Brennan Drops Plan for More Atlantic Yards Parking, Will Push Transit Instead

Streetsblog
by Noah Kazis

Assembly Member James Brennan has abandoned the idea of implementing additional parking minimums at Atlantic Yards. That plan would have led more people to drive to the arena while failing to keep on-street spaces open for area residents.

Wrote Brennan in an email to Streetsblog:

I understand the concerns raised about my idea of compelling Ratner to provide off-street parking. I agree completely that the correct policy is not to encourage automobiles coming to the area, so I am dropping any notion of initiating legislation on this subject. You should know that my intention was not to increase parking, but to compensate for the fact that the Empire State Development Corporation eliminated Ratner’s obligation to provide 2300 units of underground parking at the arena as part of the deal to delay completion of the project until 2035. My focus next session will be to find incentives for mass transit.

That’s encouraging news. Atlantic Yards is going up at the site of Brooklyn’s biggest transit hub — precisely the space not to induce more auto trips with government-mandated parking.

link

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, From Streetsblog: Brennan Drops Plan for More Atlantic Yards Parking, Will Push Transit Instead

Note that only 1100 spaces are supposed to serve the arena, with the rest of the approximately 3600 aimed at the apartments. In other words, there were never "2300 units" for arena-goers.

Posted by eric at 11:41 AM

Video and photography show dump trucks lining Pacific Street between 6th and Carlton this morning

Atlantic Yards Watch

Video and photographs showing dump trucks lining Pacific Street between 6th and Carlton Avenues were attached to incident reports submitted to this website this morning.

The two videos, titled "5:45 am Atlantic Yards/FCR no flaggers + illegal idling," and the photographs show a line of trucks waiting underneath the 170 unit Newswalk building to enter one of the Barclays Center truck entrances at Pacific Street and 6th Avenue.

The trucks are lining up on the wrong block of Pacific Street. The video and photography illustrates an ongoing problem long brought to the attention of ESDC and FCRC. If the protocols outlined in the Barclays Center Delivery Truck Rules and Requirements for the use of a flagger at Carlton Avenue and Pacific Street are not kept, the public Pacific Street between Carlton and 6th Avenues quickly becomes an extension of the construction site. The goal of the use of a flagger in this location is to avoid trucks lining up on this block.

The complaint details the trucks lining up for an hour beginning at 5:45 am, and the photos contain time tags placing them between 6:10 and 6:37 am. NYC law allows idling for no more than 3 minutes. Construction hours for the Barclays Center begin at 7:00 am.

link

NoLandGrab: Is it possible that everyone building this mess, from the ESDC and Bruce Ratner down to the guys filling and driving dump trucks, are just a bunch of incompetent dumbasses?

Posted by eric at 11:22 AM

July 8, 2011

Illegal parking rampant around Atlantic Yards construction zone in Brooklyn

NY Daily News
by Erin Durkin

Illegal parking and phony parking placards are rampant around the Atlantic Yards construction site, locals and advocates say.

A recent survey by a local block association and Transportation Alternatives found 87 cars in no-parking areas on about four and a half blocks near the arena - and only four had legitimate placards that allowed them to be there.

Of the 83 illegally parked cars, a dozen had construction equipment displayed in the dashboard and another 11 had phony placards from police, fire, and construction unions, the survey found. None of the cars had been ticketed.

Neighbors and advocates point the finger at the massive construction site and the nearby 78th Precinct - saying parking rules are almost never enforced.
...

Meanwhile, the illegally parked cars block sidewalks, bus stops and fire hydrants and make it impossible for streets to be cleaned properly, Dean Street Block Association president Peter Krashes said.

"It's bad for the community. It's unsafe," he said. "I've never seen any tickets given to anybody."

article

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Daily News follows up on "rampant" illegal parking around Atlantic Yards construction zone; AYR video shows NYPD placards on Sixth Avenue

The parking problem closest the Atlantic Yards arena site seems more the province of public safety agencies than anyone else--which means the Empire State Development Corporation and Forest City Ratner don't have much clout.

The video below, shot on Tuesday (7/5/11), shows most cars parked in front of No Standing and No Stopping signs on Sixth Avenue between Dean and Pacific streets had police department placards, with a few having fire department placards and some without any obvious placards.

Posted by eric at 11:48 AM

For the Really Bad Idea File: Jim Brennan Proposes More Parking for Ratner Arena

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

Yesterday Park Slope Patch reported on this really bad idea Assemblyman Jim Brennan is floating to force Ratner to provide more arena parking than the 1,100 spot surface parking lot the developer is already planning.

link

Posted by eric at 10:39 AM

July 7, 2011

Jim Brennan Wants to Force Ratner to Build More Atlantic Yards Parking

Streetsblog
by Noah Kazis

More on Jim Brennan's really bad Atlantic Yards parking idea.

According to Tonice Sgrignoli, a legislative aide for Brennan, the legislation is still being researched and no details are available at this point. According to Sgrignoli, ESDC eliminated a requirement to build underground off-street parking that had been in an earlier agreement with Forest City Ratner and this legislation would likely undo that change.

When Streetsblog asked why Brennan thought that Atlantic Yards should have more parking in the first place, Sgrignoli replied that “Anyone who’s ever tried to drive a car and park it in that area will understand why it’s important to provide parking.”

Hopefully, Brennan himself has a more sophisticated understanding of parking policy. As former Boerum Hill Association president Jo Ann Simon said, no conceivable amount of off-street parking is going to free up on-street spaces so long as they are cheaper than going to a garage and available to anybody. “If people drive there, they will always try and find something free on the street,” she said. What happens on-street — many in the area, including Simon, have long pushed for residential parking permits — Simon said, “is entirely irrelevant to whether there should be more off-street parking to serve the arena.”

Simon’s argument is borne out by the reality at Yankee Stadium. There, despite a whopping 9,000 off-street spaces, area residents still complain that on-street parking is impossible on game day, according to a Crain’s report.

Moreover, building extra parking will simply mean that more people are able to drive to the area instead. “Brennan’s proposal to compel more off-street parking in one of New York City’s most transit-accessible locations betrays a terrible lack of understanding regarding transportation and mobility,” said University of Pennsylvania parking expert Rachel Weinberger. “His idea will invite more traffic through his district, more traffic in adjoining districts, and by requiring all of that parking, other development is preempted.”

article

Posted by eric at 11:55 AM

Lessons for the Brooklyn arena from Streetsblog: don't make parking easier

Atlantic Yards Report

Now that Assemblyman Jim Brennan's thinking of requiring more parking near the Atlantic Yards arena, it's worth looking at an extensive 6/15/11 Streetsblog analysis, Can Brooklyn Build a Pedestrian-Friendly Arena at the Atlantic Yards Site?

Noah Kazis writes:

The fundamentals for a smart solution are there: The Atlantic/Pacific hub makes the area better-served by transit than almost anywhere else in the United States. Right now, though, the picture is more mixed. The state recently released its transportation plan for the arena, a plan largely in line with past promises from both the Empire State Development Corporation and the developer Forest City Ratner, which is intended to mitigate the increased traffic that the crowds heading to an arena event will bring to the surrounding neighborhoods. Many of the features, like free subway fares for certain Nets ticket holders and 400 secure bike parking spaces, will help make the Barclays Center more transit-oriented and bike and pedestrian-friendly.

But the developer is planning to build an 1,100-space surface parking lot, killing street life and inducing driving. And with some of the borough’s deadliest streets left in place as enormous traffic arteries, walking and cycling will remain overly dangerous, potentially keeping features like a temporary plaza from being much more than a hard-to-reach traffic island.

In other words, the argument is for fewer parking spaces, not more.

article

Posted by eric at 11:41 AM

Canadian truck carrying prefabricated Barclays Center seating blocks local street's bike lane while idling

Atlantic Yards Watch

A Canadian truck carrying prefabricated Barclays Center seating blocked the Dean Street bicycle lane at Vanderbilt Avenue for over an hour last night. The truck was headed to block 1129 where the seating is stored before being installed in the arena.

According to the local resident who supplied the video above, he first encountered the truck in the location shown in the video around 6:00 pm. The video was filmed over an hour later when he returned from dinner. At both times the truck was idling and sitting in the same place in the bicycle lane.

The truck was apparently violating NYC law. Not only is Dean Street not a NYCDOT designated truck route, in NYC trucks are only allowed to idle for 3 minutes. Blocking a bicycle lane is also not allowed.

article

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Video from Atlantic Yards Watch: idling Canadian truck carrying arena seating, improperly using Dean Street, blocks bike lane for an hour

The need for an Atlantic Yards ombudsman--er, community relations manager--remains, as Prospect Heights residents continue to notice apparently improper construction activities.

Shouldn't someone official be proactively responding, telling us, You're wrong, this isn't a problem, or Thanks for pointing this out, we're taking action so it doesn't happen again?

Posted by eric at 11:27 AM

July 6, 2011

More parking spaces for the Atlantic Yards arena? Brennan idea said to be "very preliminary," draws immediate fire; isn't the issue demand management?

Atlantic Yards Report

More parking spaces for the Atlantic Yards arena? According to Patch, Assemblyman Jim Brennan aims to introduce legislation that would “compel Ratner to provide more parking” near the site.

One commenter on Patch wrote:

Jim: You are wildly out-of-touch on this issue. Community groups have stated very clearly: We want residential parking permits and an extremely limited on-site parking supply at this new arena. This is the way to ensure less gridlock, pollution and cruising for parking on our neighborhood streets.

Maybe that's why a Brennan aide told Patch the legislation is “very preliminary.”
...

It's the job of Forest City Ratner and the Empire State Development Corporation, presumably in consultation with local bodies, to develop a demand management strategy, one that already has several element, as described below.

A refined version of the plan is due in about six months, with opportunity for public comment.

article

Posted by eric at 10:41 PM

Brennan to Push for More Atlantic Yards Parking

Assemblymember Jim Brennan plans to introduce legislation to force Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner to provide more parking.

Park Slope Patch
by Kristen V. Brown

This could be the worst Atlantic Yards idea yet, which, as anyone familiar with the project could tell you, is really saying something.

Those already drafting their contingency plans for a parking nightmare once Barclays Arena opens may soon have something to look forward to.

While the Department of Transportation is still only “considering” residential parking permits to cope with the impending parking pain once the 18,000-seat arena opens for the 2012 basketball season, Assemblymember Jim Brennan is drafting his own plan to keep game-goers from taking up precious neighborhood parking spaces.

Brennan is gearing up to introduce legislation that would “compel Ratner to provide more parking,” he said last week.

Brennan said that the 1,100 parking spaces Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner plans to provide for the arena is insufficient given the size of the space. Residents have long worried that on game days, parking in the neighborhood will be nearly impossible and have pressed the city to initiate residential parking permits.

“We’re going to force them to provide more off-street parking,” said Brennan. “There is no reason that Forest City Ratner should be allowed to not provide parking.”

article

NoLandGrab: Actually, there is every reason that Forest City Ratner should be allowed to not provide parking. If you build it, they will drive [PDF].

Posted by eric at 2:05 PM

July 4, 2011

The need for an ESDC ombudsman--er, community relations manager--and responses to Atlantic Yards Watch concerns about truck routes

Atlantic Yards Report

Given reports on Atlantic Yards Watch of apparent improper construction activities, the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) had better fill its job opening soon.

The ESDC has publicly posted the job opening (embedded below) for the position formerly known as Ombudsman, formally termed Manager – Community & Government Relations, Atlantic Yards Project.

The job description states:

The basic function of this position is to foster and manage communications and relationships with local elected officials and community groups/leaders within the Brooklyn community relating to the Atlantic Yards Project; and assist in mitigating the effects of construction by coordinating all relevant parties.

That may be an accurate description of the tasks faced by the former occupant, Forrest Taylor (who left last month after 3.5 years), rather than the formal definition of ombudsman, which is someone "who investigates complaints and mediates fair settlements."

article

Posted by eric at 11:09 AM

July 3, 2011

Barclays Center contractor Laquila regularly sends trucks down local streets and passed Dean Playground

Atlantic Yards Watch

Illegal Atlantic Yards contructions truck on Dean from tracy collins on Vimeo.

In the last week construction trucks have been sighted regularly on Dean Street between 6th and Vanderbilt Avenues. A resident of Carlton Avenue from Dean to Pacific Streets also states trucks have lined up there early in the morning.

The trucks on Dean Street largely appear to be associated with Laquila, a contractor working on Barclays Center. Many trucks are loaded with gravel and travel past Dean Playground, down Dean Street to Vanderbilt, turn left on Vanderbilt and left again into the former Pacific Street. They may be delivering gravel to a site on block 1129 where the gravel is sifted and loaded back on trucks.

According to a driver interrupted mid-trip at the intersection of Dean Street and Carlton Avenue on Friday July 1st, no information has been provided to Laquila drivers about the routes to take from the arena block.

article

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Watch, Lack of clarity about truck routes, rules and requirements may lead to unnecessary impacts for the local community

Besides recent complaints about truck traffic on Dean Street, this website has received multiple truck related complaints in the last two weeks including a flat bed truck idling twice in two consecutive days on Pacific Street between Underhill and Vanderbilt Avenues and cement trucks lining Dean Street between 5th and Flatbush Avenues. Another complaint located a stationary truck near an accident at Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues.

Lack of clarity about truck routes, rules and requirements may lead to unnecessary impacts for the local community. Current Barclays Center Delivery Truck Rules and Requirements [PDF] rule out queing anywhere except Pacific Street from Vanderbilt to Carlton.

For months the truck requirements on the ESDC website have been out of date, and the information in the construction alerts released every two weeks has had little useful relationship to the actual configuration of truck entrances around the perimeter of the project.

Posted by eric at 6:48 PM

June 29, 2011

Contentious meeting on traffic/parking issues around east end of AY site; ESDC says Forest City's "in violation" without daily on-site community liaison

Atlantic Yards Report

Note: I did not attend the meeting but listened to an audiotape and spoke with a couple of attendees.

Five nights after a contentious meeting (about rats) in the Soapbox Gallery on Dean Street, Prospect Heights residents gathered in the same space last night to express concerns about parking, traffic, and pedestrian issues in the eastern end of the site, notably the planned 1100-space parking lot in the block bounded by Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues and Dean and Pacific streets.

The two-hour meeting was periodically contentious, with residents expressing frustration at vague, incomplete answers, and promises of future solutions.

Beyond that, a representative of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) indicated that developer Forest City Ratner (FCR) was in violation of the Memorandum of Environmental Commitments by not having a daily on-site representative to interface with the community. (I'm waiting for the ESDC to say more.)

The meeting was sponsored by the Carlton Avenue and Dean Street Block Associations, with two ESDC and two FCR representatives present, along with an FCR contractor and a Department of Transportation rep. About 60 people attended.

Dan Schack of Sam Schwartz Engineering led off with the PowerPoint description of changes already announced, changes focused on the north and west edges of the project site. Attendees were far more interested in other issues.

Parking issues

Meeting host Peter Krashes of the Dean Street Block Association repeated the results of a survey of illegal parking around the site done with the help of Transportation Alternatives. Of 87 cars, all but four were parked illegally. Among the rest, twelve had some sort of construction gear. Others, including fire and police offers, had either phony placards or had parked improperly even with the placard.

Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project for the ESDC, said she's spoken to the local precinct at least five times and Forest City at least ten times. The issue of construction workers, she said, "we've tried to solve."

article

Posted by eric at 2:30 PM

Atlantic Yards: The Future

Transitional New York

The "Atlantic Yards area of Brooklyn?" Really? And the station is already there.

With the completion of the Barclays Center, the Atlantic Yards area of Brooklyn will no longer be just for locals but it will be a place for people of New York, New Jersey, and all visitors. In the development, a new station will arise, Atlantic Yards Barclays Center, which connects 9 lines and the LIRR becoming one of the most accessible venues in New York.

link

NoLandGrab: "Minutes from the Brooklyn Bridge?" Not on game nights, unless you're on a bike. And why would they lead with the bridge location when it's alleged to be "transit-oriented development?"

Posted by eric at 9:44 AM

June 28, 2011

The traffic on 4th Ave is so bad right now you'd think there's a game at the Barclays Center

@BrooklynSpoke via Twitter

link

Posted by eric at 10:30 PM

June 27, 2011

Despite nearness to major transit hub, Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Center mall shows contrast with European counterparts transit hub

Atlantic Yards Report

There's still too much parking around the Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street transit hub, right?

From a New York Times article today--the lead story in the both the national and New York edition--headlined Europe Stifles Drivers in Favor of Alternatives (and in print, more pungently, as "Across Europe, Irking Drivers is Urban Policy"):

Michael Kodransky, global research manager at the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy [ITDP] in New York, which works with cities to reduce transport emissions, said that Europe was previously “on the same trajectory as the United States, with more people wanting to own more cars.” But in the past decade, there had been “a conscious shift in thinking, and firm policy,” he said. And it is having an effect.

...It often takes extreme measures to get people out of their cars, and providing good public transportation is a crucial first step. One novel strategy in Europe is intentionally making it harder and more costly to park. “Parking is everywhere in the United States, but it’s disappearing from the urban space in Europe,” said Mr. Kodransky, whose recent report “Europe’s Parking U-Turn” surveys the shift.

Sihl City, a new Zurich mall, is three times the size of Brooklyn’s Atlantic Mall but has only half the number of parking spaces, and as a result, 70 percent of visitors get there by public transport, Mr. Kodransky said.

That should have been reported as the Atlantic Center Mall, Kodransky confirms with me, as it derives from a 3/17/11 blog post. (Forest City Ratner also operates the Atlantic Terminal Mall, and sometimes conflates the two under the Atlantic Terminal rubric.)

These issues, of course, also apply to Atlantic Yards, which includes a planned 1100 spaces for the arena and additional 2500 or so spots for the announced housing.

link

NoLandGrab: A less auto-centric newspaper might have headlined the story "Europe Prioritizes Pedestrians" or "For Europe, Urban Future is Now."

Posted by eric at 11:11 AM

June 21, 2011

Parking Permits for Atlantic Yards Area Still a Big ‘Maybe’

The city will divulge little detail on how seriously it's considering residential parking permits.

Park Slope Patch
by Kristen V. Brown

Parking in Brownstone Brooklyn is already a headache—and that’s without the extra traffic the Barclays Arena will bring to the area once the 18,000-seat arena opens for the 2012 basketball season.

To cope with the impending parking pain, residents have continually pressed the city to initiate residential parking permits—but the city has given locals little more than an ambiguous maybe.

“The community has expressed an interest in Residential Parking Permits for arena events and we are looking into a number of solutions to deal with the parking concerns in the area,” said Department of Transportation Spokesperson Scott Gastel.
...

“I just hope that this idea comes to fruition and it's just not a whole bunch of talk,” said Prospect Place resident Karla Andino, 25. “This stadium will be complete in no time and the city should always look out for the residents first.”

article

NoLandGrab: If Ms. Andino is not more careful in her word choice, she might get a condescending letter from Marty Markowitz explaining the difference between a "stadium" and an "arena." One thing she's sure to get? A neighborhood overrun by traffic.

Posted by eric at 10:44 PM

Third Avenue Shuffle

Atlantic Yards Watch
by Danae Oratowski

The biggest change last announced last week as part of the traffic plan developed by Sam Schwartz was the re-engineering of the intersection of Fourth, Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues, which seeks to untangle the knot of traffic that regularly forms when three of Brooklyn’s busiest traffic arteries converge. Sam Schwartz’s plan removes the northbound lanes of Fourth Avenue between Atlantic and Flatbush, the shortest side of the triangle. Cars going north down Fourth to Flatbush will now get diverted west on to Atlantic and will then turn right on to Third Avenue in order to reach Flatbush - to get to Lafayette. The changes are intended to keep cars moving, prevent them from getting stuck in the intersections and increase pedestrian safety. But in the estimation of many living on or around Third Avenue in Boerum Hill, the plan solves one set of problems by creating another.

Residents in the area believe that a significant number of cars will try to cut over to Third Avenue south of Atlantic, driving through smaller, residential streets along the way and increasing already dangerous conditions for pedestrians. They have reason to be concerned. Third Avenue just south of Atlantic already has high traffic volumes, a history of speeding and has been the scene several pedestrian and bicycle fatalities over the last several years. (Three of the children fatally struck are depicted with ghost-like transparency on a two-story mural that looms over Third Avenue and Butler Place.) According to the 2006 FEIS, there were 610 vehicles in the single northbound lane during morning rush hour. By comparison, there were 1217 vehicles in three lanes of northbound traffic on Fourth Avenue (FEIS, Figures C1-a and b). One resident of the neighborhood described the area as a “ring of fire,” where turning cars and cars stuck in intersections make crossing the street a frightening experience for pedestrians.

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Posted by eric at 10:40 PM

June 17, 2011

Sovereign Immunity, Reconfiguration of Brooklyn’s Traffic And The Peculiar Verisimilitude of Government Functions When Forest City Ratner Takes Over

Noticing New York

Here's an excellent Michael D.D. White piece on the abdication of the public role to Forest City Ratner and its consultants.

After I thought about seeing Sam Schwartz’s presentation at Borough Hall the other night it struck me that I had seen something very odd. Yes, the presentation was in the stately courtroom of Borough Hall, the carved woodwork, towering pillars and ornate ceiling conveyed the sense of governmental formality, but here was a man, a consultant hired by and working for a private developer, describing how, as a result of that developer’s project, traffic, was going to be rerouted by him all around the busiest most populous areas of the borough.

While flash animated videos showed the multitudinous streets involved (or at least those to which Mr. Schwartz was extending his formal consideration), Mr. Schwartz casually explained about the little blue stand-ins for real vehicles scooting around in the videos “did not represent the real volume of traffic flow” (which would in real life be considerably heavier) and were there only to demonstrate the sets of theoretical turn off choices drivers would have at specific streets and avenues. Perhaps, by the same token, it should be pointed out that, appearances aside, Mr. Schwartz, standing in Borough Hall showing how so much of the borough’s traffic would be reconfigured (without actually simulating the real volume of traffic flow), did not represent a real public official.

The Private Sector Without Sovereign Immunity

So this is what I am wondering: Although Forest City Ratner and Sam Schwartz as its engineering consultant may seem a lot like the government performing a government function, that is not what they are. Forest City Ratner and Sam Schwartz are private sector entities and however much they have intruded themselves into an assumption of what we would expect would be a government process they are no more actual government officials than a privately hired mall security guard.

So the question is: Can they be liable for their negligence if they do damage in this vastly extensive and impactful reorganization of the borough affecting so many neighbors? As sovereign immunity should not apparently apply to their actions, can these private entities be sued in court if the effect that the new arena and traffic patterns have is to slow response times for the police and fire departments resulting in deaths, physical injuries and property loss when their arrival is consequently delayed?

article

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Noticing New York on how it looks like Forest City Ratner and consultant Sam Schwartz are performing government functions

Michael D. D. White, in his Noticing New York blog, reflects on the real strangeness of the Forest City Ratner/Empire State Development Corporation session on traffic June 14, given that a private consultant hired by a private developer was explaining--at times not all too well--how public streets would be managed.
...

What if they're sued? White suggests:

If they are, it is probable that they would claim that, despite evidence to the contrary, they actually took no actions, that all the actions were taken by exclusively public agencies immune through sovereign immunity.

Posted by eric at 10:28 AM

June 16, 2011

Can Brooklyn Build a Pedestrian-Friendly Arena at the Atlantic Yards Site?

Streetsblog
by Noah Kazis

The excellent Streetsblog reporter Noah Kazis looks at the transportation issues surrounding the Barclays Center, and some best-practices from around the country.

Ready or not, come September 28, 2012, Brooklyn will once again be home to a major professional sports venue. The Barclays Center at Atlantic Yards is scheduled to open by next fall, while progress on the rest of Forest City Ratner’s mega-development is lagging far behind. In the words of local City Council Member Letitia James, “All we’re getting is an arena and a large parking lot.”

James’s conclusion is perhaps a bit premature, as Norman Oder has noted at the Atlantic Yards Report, but the basic premise is right: The arena is moving ahead while the rest of the project languishes, and for a while the arena may stand all alone. The primary transportation planning challenge facing the area is how best to move the tens of thousands of people who will want to watch a basketball game or concert to and from the site in a way that is safe, sustainable and appropriate to an urban environment.

The fundamentals for a smart solution are there: The Atlantic/Pacific hub makes the area better-served by transit than almost anywhere else in the United States. Right now, though, the picture is more mixed. The state recently released its transportation plan for the arena, a plan largely in line with past promises from both the Empire State Development Corporation and the developer Forest City Ratner, which is intended to mitigate the increased traffic that the crowds heading to an arena event will bring to the surrounding neighborhoods. Many of the features, like free subway fares for certain Nets ticket holders and 400 secure bike parking spaces, will help make the Barclays Center more transit-oriented and bike and pedestrian-friendly.

But the developer is planning to build an 1,100-space surface parking lot, killing street life and inducing driving. And with some of the borough’s deadliest streets left in place as enormous traffic arteries, walking and cycling will remain overly dangerous, potentially keeping features like a temporary plaza from being much more than a hard-to-reach traffic island.

Between developer Forest City Ratner, the Empire State Development Corporation and the city government, the capacity exists to make the Barclays Center a standard-setting example for urban arenas around the country, if only they have the will.

article

Posted by eric at 11:29 PM

Net nabe's 'park' perk

NY Post
by Rich Calder and Wilson Dizard

The dream of city residential-parking permits could become reality for neighbors of the planned Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Christopher Hrones, the Department of Transportation's Downtown Brooklyn coordinator, said the agency is looking to offer the permits as relief to residents living nearby the 18,000-seat Prospect Heights arena, which opens in September 2012 and will be the new home of the NBA's Nets.

The arena -- part of the Atlantic Yards project -- can accommodate just 1,100 cars, and neighborhood parking is already scarce.

"We need to explore how it would work. This is something we will be looking at now, and when the arena opens," Hrones said during an Atlantic Yards meeting at Borough Hall Tuesday night.

Hrones said there are no plans to look at offering the permits in other parts of the city, and it's still unclear how large an area will be studied. Any permit plan would need to be approved by the state Legislature.

link

Posted by eric at 4:43 PM

A Pile of Questions on Atlantic Yard Traffic Changes

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]
by Lisha Arino

After Tuesday’s public hearing on traffic changes around the construction at Atlantic Yards and the planned Barclays Center stadium, organizers collected a pile of questions from residents on index cards.

But some attendees complained that they left the meeting with few answers.

Peter Krashes, president of the Dean Street Block Association, said that he came with low expectations for the meeting, but was still disappointed by how it went.

“I brought quite a few questions and a host of them weren’t answered, and there were specific details about the plans that weren’t discussed,” he said.
...

Before the hearing ended, Arana Hankin from the Empire State Development Corporation acknowledged that many questions had been left unanswered. She said the answers to all the questions will appear on Empire State Development’s Web Site within the next week or two.

article

Posted by eric at 4:20 PM

June 15, 2011

At forum on traffic, new concerns about unintended consequences of traffic mitigations: spillover onto and around Third Avenue

Atlantic Yards Report

As per usual, Norman Oder has the definitive report on last night's presentation of Atlantic Yards traffic, ahem, mitigation plans, including lots of video and a rundown of all the Q & A.

Before the meeting on Atlantic Yards traffic mitigations last night, held by the Empire State Development Corporation and Forest City Ratner, the main objections expressed, via Atlantic Yards Watch and BrooklynSpeaks, were that the plans focused on Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, doing nothing to address traffic congestion on the eastern end of the project nor to control on-street parking by arena patrons.

Nor do the plans, which begin this month, fully acknowledge the impact of a much attenuated construction schedule.

And last night, as Forest City Ratner consultant Sam Schwartz described the previously announced plan to an audience of more than 100 at Brooklyn Borough Hall, significant new objections arose.

Schwartz also exhibited a shaky grasp of a few of the project's many details, such as the entry points to the planned surface parking lot.

article

Posted by eric at 10:47 AM

More Traffic Woes for Third Avenue, Courtesy Atlantic Yards

Park Slope Patch
by Kristen V. Brown

Get ready for gridlock.

Construction on a series of major traffic changes in anticipation of the 2012 opening of the Barclays Center arena will get underway as early as today, but residents in the arena’s footprint charge that plans to mitigate the thousands of new vehicles that will crowd the neighborhood on game days just doesn’t cut it.

In expectation of the car crowds the new arena will net on event days, developer Forest City Ratner has proposed a series of changes to traffic patterns – some slated to take effect beginning July 31.
...

At a hearing for the plan at Borough Hall on Tuesday night, residents were dumbfounded by the lack of plans for blocks such as State Street and Third Avenue – blocks likely to be affected by massive amounts of traffic spillover, but apparently not close enough to the arena site to be considered in the plan.

“This is a gaping hole in the plan,” said Jonathan Glazer, 51, a resident of State Street near Third Avenue.
...

"I'm screwed," said Daughtry Carstarphen, another State Street resident. "Traffic is going to be at a standstill. They're making all these changes on behalf of the people coming to events, they don't give a flying patookie about those of us that live there."

article

Related coverage...

NY1, Traffic Engineer Tries To Address Potential Atlantic Yards Bottleneck

Schwartz said the real key will be convincing those who come to the arena to take mass transit. So the plan calls for only one new parking lot with 1,100 spaces.

However, those plans were not enough for some who live nearby.

One question that was answered dealt with residential parking, and concerns that arena-goers will take up many of the precious free parking spots on the street.

Posted by eric at 10:40 AM

June 14, 2011

A private developer's traffic plan won't work for Brooklyn

BrooklynSpeaks

This evening at Brooklyn Borough Hall, a consultant hired by Forest City Ratner will present a plan to implement significant alterations to the streets surrounding the Atlantic Yards project in order to manage congestion at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues expected when the Barclays Center arena opens. The elements of the plan are taken from a five-year old environmental study which was also paid for by the Atlantic Yards developer, and which has not been updated to reflect changes to the roadway network over the intervening years. Whether Forest City’s plan will be an effective solution for the worst traffic intersection in Brooklyn remains to be seen, but there is no question it falls far short of what is required to handle the tidal wave of traffic—and stampedes of pedestrians—that its arena will generate. It is certainly not a substitute for the comprehensive transportation plan the City and State owe the people of Brooklyn.

The Forest City plan does nothing to address traffic congestion on the eastern end of the project, which is encapsulated within a residential neighborhood. It contains little information about traffic and pedestrian circulation between the arena and the 1,100 car surface parking lot, and it leaves out mitigations that would increase capacity for cars on streets and pedestrians on sidewalks described in the project’s environmental impact statement. It does nothing to address anticipated spillover traffic through the neighborhoods as drivers attempt to navigate around the project.

An even larger gap in the plan is its complete absence of any strategy to control on-street parking by arena patrons, even though the U.S. Department of Transportation identifies management of free and metered parking as one of the most important factors in a successful demand management program. Although the Atlantic Yards’ environmental study claims the project will include sufficient off-street parking to meet the projected demand on event days, it estimates that 3,000 drivers will opt to park on-street instead. Given the extreme shortage of on-street parking today in Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, Boerum Hill and Park Slope, the potential for a catastrophe of congestion on residential streets is truly frightening, and very likely.

link

Posted by eric at 2:34 PM

REMINDER: Community Forum on Atlantic Yards Traffic Changes Tonight

From the "Community Notice" issued by the Empire State Development Corporation on May 23rd:

The public is invited to a forum sponsored by Empire State Development and Community Boards 2, 6 and 8 to discuss the above traffic changes. The forum will take place on Tuesday, June 14 at Brooklyn Borough Hall (209 Joralemon St) in the courtroom from 6:30pm until 8:00pm.

There will be a presentation detailing the changes and the public will have an opportunity to ask questions.

Posted by eric at 11:09 AM

June 13, 2011

Sam Schwartz traffic mitigation plan delivers less than was promised

Atlantic Yards Watch

This Tuesday, June 14, Forest City Ratner will present to the public the long- awaited plan to manage traffic resulting from the 19,000 visitors anticipated to come to the Barclay's Arena. The plan was created by traffic consultant Sam Schwartz and can be viewed here at the ESDC website. The public presentation will be held at Brooklyn Borough Hall, (209 Joralemon Street), from 6:30 to 8:00 pm.

Tuesday night will be an opportunity for the public to ask questions, and hopefully get answers, but it is not an opportunity for input from local stakeholders. The plan itself is a fait accompli, approved by ESDC and NYC DOT before the public - and even our elected officials - had a chance to weigh in.

What will you hear on Tuesday night? The plan largely focuses on untying the knot of traffic at the triangle of Flatbush, Atlantic and Fourth Avenues. But for those living in the immediate vicinity of the project, many questions are left unanswered. The plan does not address many of the traffic and pedestrian impacts that will result from 19,000 arena patrons coming to the site. Many of the roadway and sidewalk changes outlined in the FEIS are absent from the plan, having either been rejected with no explanation, or put off into the future. It also fails to include emergency egress or security, issues that greatly concern the surrounding neighborhood.

article

Posted by eric at 10:55 PM

June 7, 2011

Atlantic Yards CHAOS

My BK State of Mind

The Barclays Capital Arena isn't exactly something I'm looking forward to...traffic wise.

And apparently, the residents of Prospects Heights continue to be unhappy as well. This battle has been going on for years, with the people losing to a big corporation.

link

Photo: Miss Dominique

Posted by eric at 12:03 PM

June 6, 2011

Traffic changes around AY site delayed from July 15 to July 24 so MPT (temporary change) can begin right after public meeting June 14

Atlantic Yards Report

It has previously been reported that traffic changes around the Atlantic Yards site would begin July 15. Now, according to developer Forest City Ratner and the Empire State Development Corporation, there will be a slight delay:

On or around July 24, 2011 Pacific Street (between Fourth Avenue and Flatbush Avenue only) will be reversed, changing from one-way westbound to one-way eastbound, toward Flatbush Avenue. To accommodate this change, a new traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of Pacific Street and Flatbush Avenue, along with a new crosswalk across Flatbush Avenue. Vehicles will be able to make right or left turns onto Flatbush Avenue at this location. This block can be accessed from both northbound and southbound Fourth Avenue.

Approximately one week later, Fourth Avenue (between Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush Avenue) will be converted to one-way southbound to improve traffic flow at the Flatbush Avenue/Atlantic Avenue/Fourth Avenue intersection. Fourth Avenue northbound traffic, including all commercial vehicles, can access Flatbush Avenue by turning left onto Atlantic Avenue, right onto Third Avenue and left onto Flatbush Avenue. Pacific Street will offer secondary access to Flatbush Avenue. No through truck traffic will be permitted on Pacific Street.

Why the change? According to ESDC spokeswoman Elizabeth Mitchell:

We did not want any roadway changes occurring until after the public meeting on June 14, and there is a MPT (Maintenance Protection of Traffic) plan that must be implemented before construction can begin.

The old schedule had the MPT (this is a temporary traffic change to allow for the street direction to be changed permanently) being implemented on June 1st and the final roadway change to be implemented on July 15. The new schedule calls for the MPT to be put in place on June 15, the final implementation date has been pushed back to July 24.

link

Posted by eric at 11:38 AM

May 31, 2011

Is the law finally going to be enforced in relation to illegal construction worker parking on Pacific Street?

Atlantic Yards Watch

The NYPD has posted "no parking" signs on Pacific Street from the Newswalk parking garage to 6th Avenue on Pacific Street for Tuesday, May 31st.

Are the police finally going to crack down on the illegal construction worker parking on Pacific Street that regularly occurs on sidewalks and in no standing zones in this location? There are no signs on the 6th Avenue bridge which is also a regular source of free and illegal parking for Barclays Center construction workers.

As has been commented on by community members on this website, the illegal parking in this location has regularly blocked sidewalks and the travel lane, as well as made street cleaning impossible. It has also contributed to a sense that parking regulations in the area are enforced selectively.

link

NoLandGrab: We thought all the jobs were going to people from the neighborhood. Why would anyone need to drive?

Posted by eric at 1:21 PM

May 30, 2011

Two accidents occur within an hour on Dean Street Monday morning

Atlantic Yards Watch

Two car accidents occurred inside one hour, and within two contiguous blocks on Dean Street Monday morning, May 23rd.

Amy Sara Clark reports in the Prospect Heights Patch that a four car accident took place at 7:30 a.m. on Dean Street between Carlton and 6th Avenues when a driver swerved to avoid a double parked car. The driver was taken to the hospital with unspecified injuries.

Only minutes later at 8:15 a.m., another accident occurred on Dean Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt when a street cleaner driving against traffic hit a car traveling with the traffic. The street cleaner works for Laquila who is a contractor on Barclays Center construction. It is unclear why the street cleaner was driving in the incorrect direction during peak driving time.

Traffic in the area has increased since the street closures took place that established the footprint of the Atlantic Yards Project. The increased traffic on Dean Street has been compounded by the extended reconstruction of the Carlton Avenue Bridge. Along with the increased traffic has come more accidents.

article

NoLandGrab: Ratner's private street sweeper causing an accident by going the wrong way on Dean Street is a pretty apt metaphor for Atlantic Yards, don't you think?

Photo: Atlantic Yards Watch

Posted by eric at 10:15 AM

May 28, 2011

Atlantic Arena, Traffic Mitigation plans

North Flatbush Avenue BID

Here's further notice of traffic changes due to construction of the new Nets arena:

The following changes are scheduled to take place on July 15th, 2011.

Conversion of Fourth Avenue between Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush Avenue into a one-way southbound street.

• Reversal of the direction of Pacific Street between Fourth and Flatbush avenues, changing it from westbound to eastbound.

• Installation of a new traffic light at the intersection of Pacific Street and Flatbush Avenue, and a new crosswalk across from Flatbush Avenue, where vehicles will be able to make right or left turns onto Flatbush Avenue.

• Cars and trucks can use Third Avenue via Atlantic to get to Flatbush Avenue. Pacific Street will offer secondary access to Flatbush Avenue, but trucks are not permitted to use it.

The changes mean that Flatbush Avenue-bound cars on Fourth Avenue will either have to turn on Pacific Street, or take Atlantic Avenue to Third Avenue: the Flatbush Two Step is born.

link

NoLandGrab: Rather than mitigation, this is a plan for aggravation.

Posted by steve at 10:33 PM

May 27, 2011

The Flatbush Two Step! Major street changes coming to Barclays Center area

The Brooklyn Paper
by Gary Buiso

Get ready to dance the Flatbush-to-Fourth Two-Step — whether you like it or not.

The state this week unveiled its plan to ease traffic around the $1-billion Barclays Center at Flatbush, Fourth and Atlantic avenues, permanent changes that its creator predicts will untangle the maze of roadways near the rising basketball arena.

The changes, already ratified by the state and city, will take hold on July 15.
...

The plan was first broached six years ago in the project’s environmental impact statement, one that galled critics who claimed the changes splash lipstick on a pig — namely, an 18,000-seat arena surrounded by low-rise residential neighborhoods.

“They want to turn my street into a viaduct,” said Pacific Street resident Jim Vogel, who said he expects mayhem on game nights — when 500-800 cars will traverse Pacific Street between Fourth and Flatbush avenues every hour, according to the developer’s estimates.

Other block residents were equally perturbed.

“What mitigation?” wondered Therese Urban. “You mean the one that doesn’t mitigate traffic and only adds to it. This was objectionable when it was first written six years ago — and it still is.”

article

Related coverage...

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Traffic Changes Coming to Area Near Atlantic Yards

Dennis Holt reworks the press release.

Posted by eric at 9:37 AM

May 26, 2011

VIDEO: Pedestrians, Bicyclists Sound Off On Planned Atlantic Yards Traffic Changes

Reacting to a recently announced Traffic Mitigation Plan, residents hope for the best... but prepare for the worst.

Park Slope Patch
by Paul Leonard

"It's going to be a complete mess."

link

Posted by eric at 10:42 AM

May 24, 2011

Big Traffic Changes in the Works for Atlantic Yards Area

A mitigation plan proposed by the ESDC will take effect on or around July 15.

Park Slope Patch
by Kristen V. Brown

Motorists just getting used to navigating the maze of construction vehicles, barriers and crossing guards around Atlantic Yards will have to contend with another round of major changes intended to relieve traffic jams through the area.

The Empire State Development Corporation released a Traffic Mitigation Plan on Monday that will alter the flow of traffic through key intersections as Barclays Center construction continues.
...

A source at the 88th Precinct, which covers the neighborhoods north of the Atlantic Yards site, said that the most troublesome area in terms of traffic incidents was the crossing between Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.

article

Posted by eric at 7:14 PM

ESDC issues Community Notice re traffic changes coming July 15; Community Forum June 14; presentation now online

Atlantic Yards Report

Following up on last Thursday's Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting, the Empire State Development Corporation has issued an official Community Notice regarding traffic changes beginning on or around July 15, and a public meeting on June 14, as well as the presentation prepared for the meeting.

Notably, while I and others have emphasized one impact of the closure of Fourth Avenue northbound between Atlantic and Flatbush avenues--the odd right turn on Pacific Street to go east to Flatbush, and then left to go north--the presentation indicates that most drivers heading toward the Manhattan Bridge would instead go left on Atlantic and right on Third Avenue to reach Flatbush.

The changes were prepared by Sam Schwartz Engineering, Forest City Ratner's contractor, and ratified by city and state agencies.
...

Animation describing traffic plan

article

Posted by eric at 12:46 PM

COMMUNITY NOTICE: Permanent Changes to the Roadway Network on Fourth Avenue and Pacific Street

AY Community Notice 52311

link

Posted by eric at 12:40 PM

Atlantic Yards: Arena Opening Traffic Mitigation Plan

Arena Traffic Mitigation Plan 52311

link

Posted by eric at 12:27 PM

Is a planted Atlantic Avenue median the latest design casualty at Atlantic Yards?

Atlantic Yards Watch

When asked about plantings on the raised median planned for Atlantic Avenue east of Flatbush, Forest City Ratner project manager Jane Marshall stated there would only be a poured concrete median. Ms. Marshall said that the existence of LIRR tracks beneath Atlantic Avenue made it impossible to include planting beds on the median. Councilmember Tish James pointed out that Park Avenue in Manahattan has railroad tracks running beneath it from Grand Central to north of 96th Street. Ms. Marshall quickly replied that the supports beneath Park Avenue were stronger.

A planted median certainly seemed possible at the time the EIS was issued. A rendering of Atlantic Avenue looking west from Sixth Avenue shows a row of shrubs and trees separating lanes of traffic on Atlantic Avenue. And an aerial landscape plan also shows trees on the median between Flatbush and Sixth.

article

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, What happened to trees on the Atlantic Avenue median opposite the arena? They were in the FEIS visuals but not in the text

Then again, as Atlantic Yards Watch, via Gib Veconi, points out, landscape architect Laurie Olin, whose firm produced the renderings, left the project more than two years ago.

And it may be that no one expected Olin's designs to be more than "conceptual."

After all, I'd add, there seems to be a discrepancy between the visuals attached to the Final EIS and the text, which, in Chapter 12, Traffic & Parking, mentions a median but not plantings.

Posted by eric at 11:50 AM

When arena opens in 2012, Building 2 still under construction; despite predictions, it doesn't look like another tower will be under way by then

Atlantic Yards Report

According to the Arena Traffic Mitigation Plan prepared by Sam Schwartz Engineering and distributed yesterday by the Empire State Development Corporation, Building 2 (highlighted), the first housing tower, is expected to be under construction when the arena opens in September 2012.

As the gray outline in the graphic suggests, the location for Building 4, at the northeast corner of the arena block, is demarcated, but it's unclear when the building will go up. And a bicycle parking facility will occupy part of the space designed for Building 3.

(Click on graphic to enlarge and clarify)

Schedule slipping

Why is this important? Because in September 2010, Forest City Ratner executive MaryAnne Gilmartin said, "We anticipate having funding in place to start the first building at Dean and Flatbush in the spring of 2011, the second six to nine months later, and the third about the same time after that."

Not only has the first tower been delayed, it doesn't look like the developer aims to get the second building started within six to nine months.

link

Posted by eric at 11:42 AM

May 23, 2011

Forget traffic changes and rats at AY District Service Cabinet, free fare incentive generated news for Post and Brooklyn Paper

Atlantic Yards Report

It's kind of bizarre that, to two newspapers, the main news emanating from last week's Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting concerned not the meat of the discussion--such as traffic changes and rats--but an issue mentioned as an aside and expected to be discussed at a future meeting.

The Post on May 20 published 'Net'roCard on track for Brooklyn hoops fans and today the Brooklyn Paper published Take the train to the game — and then inside.

It's hardly news that arena sponsors aimed to connect game tickets to MetroCards--after all, Chapter 19, Mitigation, of the November 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement describes a free fare incentive.

link

Posted by eric at 10:23 AM

May 20, 2011

News from AY District Service Cabinet: Street changes, including Pacific St. reversal, coming in June, fireworks over rats, 60 workers from Brooklyn

Atlantic Yards Report

Get ready for more construction and previously announced changes on streets in the area of the Atlantic Yards project, starting next month, including the reversal of Pacific Street between Fourth and Flatbush avenues and a new left turn from Pacific to Flatbush, thus diverting traffic that formerly went north on Fourth Avenue.

That was the main takeaway from the third meeting of the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet, held yesterday at Brooklyn Borough Hall and involving representatives of various city and state agencies and community boards. Official notice of the changes is expected June 7, and a public meeting to describe the changes will be held June 14 at Borough Hall from 6:30 to 8 pm.

Another major issue at the meeting, one of the few flashpoints for tension, was raised by City Council Member Letitia James, who reported significant rodent problems at blocks around the site, though Forest City Ratner, pointing to a slippery slope of responsibility, said its responsibility was limited to the site itself.

There was no mention of timing for the much-promised affordable housing and a Forest City Ratner executive indicated the number of local workers is relatively small: 38 of 500 workers on site come from the three adjacent Community Boards, with a total of 60 Brooklyn residents on site.

Also, Forest City Ratner consultant Sam Schwartz inadvertently highlighted a likely problem connected to the arena surface parking lot planned for the block bounded by Dean and Pacific streets and Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues. He indicated that the sidewalks on Pacific Street leading to the arena site were large enough to handle crowds--but didn't acknowledge that the crowds are expected to use Dean Street, which has much narrower sidewalks.

Also, Forest City Ratner asserted that one of its Community Benefit Agreement partners, Brooklyn Endeavor Experience, was briefed and is distributing information on environmental issues, though there's no evidence that's happening.
...

As Forest City Ratner consultant Sam Schwartz explained, construction of certain traffic mitigation measures required in the Final Environmental Impact Statement must begin in June, because they have only two construction seasons to get the work done before the arena opens in the late summer of 2012 and that work at the congested intersection of Atlantic, Flatbush, and Fourth avenues must be done on nights and weekends.

Pointing to the gridlock at that intersection, he said traffic planners decided to take the shortest leg, on Fourth Avenue going north between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue, out of circulation.

Thus, Pacific Street would be made one way eastbound, and drivers would have to do what the Brooklyn Paper dubbed the “Fourth-to-Flatbush Two-Step.”

Listening to Schwartz, Jon Crow, a coordinator of the Brooklyn Bear’s community garden at Pacific and Flatbush, shook his head. He later said he had no problem with the direction change, but thinks that allowing a left for traffic going north on Flatbush would create its own gridlock.

article

NoLandGrab: We're going to go out on a limb here and predict that the rerouting of northbound Fourth Avenue traffic to Flatbush via Pacific Street is going to be an epic disaster that will make the usual gridlock seem trivial by comparison.

Posted by eric at 11:53 AM

'Net'roCard on track for Brooklyn hoops fans

NY Post
by Rich Calder

Coming soon to a controversial arena near you: the MetroTicket! Fans headed to the Nets' new Brooklyn arena are on track to use the same ticket to ride to the game -- and get into the stands.

With the Barclays Center’s opening set for Sept. 2012, developer Forest City Ratner and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority have begun re-exploring plans to develop a game-day MetroCard that could also be swiped to enter Nets games or a game ticket to be used on subways during game days.
...

Another option, officials said, is prepackaging MetroCards and Nets tickets together to fans instead of creating a single card or ticket for dual use.

The distribution of free – or pre-paid -- MetroCards to ticket holders is one of several proposals being explored by the Nets and Forest City to cut down on anticipated car traffic to the Prospect Heights arena.

During an Atlantic Yards meeting at Borough Hall yesterday, it was also revealed that 600 of the 1,100 parking spaces in an arena lot would be reserved for cars with at least three or more riders, and that Nets parking would be pre-paid in advance. Moreover, Forest City says it’s considering having designated parking spaces.

Despite the efforts to limit cars heading to Barclays Center, Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Brooklyn), a longtime Atlantic Yards critic, said she expects arena events to jam traffic on nearby neighborhood streets and called on Forest City to eliminate all arena parking.

article

Posted by eric at 11:34 AM

May 19, 2011

Invitation letters to DOT Commissioner Sadik-Khan & Atlantic Yards Director Hankin

Our Streets — Our Stories
The Dean Street Block Association (6th Ave. to Vanderbilt Ave.)

The following letters were sent on May 3, 2011 by the DSBA and the Carlton Avenue Association to DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Atlantic Yards Project Director Arana Hankin.

Both officials were invited to a public meeting hosted by the associations to answer the community’s questions and address concerns about traffic and pedestrian circulation related to the Atlantic Yards project.
...

Our immediate area will be affected significantly and in unique ways by the operation of the Barclays Center and the implementation of the Atlantic Yards Project. We are dependent on the effectiveness of the Project’s mitigations and roadway improvements.

The Carlton Avenue Association and the Dean Street Block Association, 6th Avenue to Vanderbilt would like to extend an invitation to an informed representative of the Department of Transportation to attend a public meeting hosted by our associations to directly answer our community’s questions and address our concerns about traffic and pedestrian circulation on our streets. We believe because of the unique way we are impacted by the project, a meeting focused on our concerns is appropriate and necessary.

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Posted by eric at 10:26 AM

May 12, 2011

Opinion: Prospect Heights Looks Forward to Shared Streets

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]
by Elaine Mahoney

The New York City Department of Transportation's willingness to work with communities is cited as a stark contrast to you-know-what.

DOT has also designed a plan to improve safety measures down Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, which hosted a total of 319 accidents between 2005 and 2009, according to the same state DMV and city DOT counts. The Community Board 8 Transportation Committee approved the plan two weeks ago, and it goes to vote at the full Community Board this Thursday, May 12. The most recent version of the plan reflected changes to parking recommended by residents and merchants at previous community meetings. The DOT’s openness to amendments is a welcome change to the lingering climate of bitterness surrounding Atlantic Yards.

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Posted by eric at 12:00 PM

May 1, 2011

Transit-oriented development? A developer (not Forest City Ratner) says parking minimums in dense districts near transit are unwise

Atlantic Yards Report

Streetsblog has a very interesting interview with Alan Bell, co-founder of the Hudson Companies, about parking minimums (an issue under discussion in the PlaNYC revision):

Bell identified Brooklyn’s Fourth Avenue as another design casualty of parking minimums, pointing to buildings like Boymelgreen Developers’ much-maligned Crest and Novo apartment buildings. The large buildings there were required to include parking, but subway lines under the street made putting it underground cost prohibitive. “[Boymelgreen] made the calculation that he’d rather sacrifice having retail on the ground floor in exchange for not putting the parking below ground, it was so expensive,” said Bell. The result is a series of buildings that are utterly indifferent to pedestrian life, presenting blank walls and parking to the sidewalk.

One solution Bell proposed is revising the zoning code so that parking minimums are eliminated in medium- or high-density districts near transit. Said Bell, “Historically, there’s no question, if I’m building near a subway stop, I’m going to attract a lot of people who don’t want a car or need a car. That’s proven in the marketplace.”

The Atlantic Yards angle

So why would Atlantic Yards have 2570 spaces intended for the project's residential component and an additional 1100 spaces for arenagoers?

(Those spaces are ultimately supposed to go underground, but the initial arena parking, as well as some of the residential parking, would remain indefinitely on surface lots.)

Because (take your pick):

  • ths is a test

  • high rollers going to arena suites want to drive

  • residents of luxury units want to drive too
  • Forest City Ratner didn't want to muck around with city policy
  • the city wasn't ready to change its policy
  • the state wasn't ready to override this aspect of city policy (unlike others)
  • nobody really thought through the notion of "transit-oriented development"

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Posted by steve at 9:52 PM

April 25, 2011

Atlantic Terminal part of AY complex? Nah.

Atlantic Yards Report

From NetsDaily:

Also, here's a little viewed video of the entry pavilion of the one piece of the Atlantic Yards complex that's complete, the Long Island Railroad/New York Subway terminal across the street (and around the corner) from the arena. The terminal is a one end of an underground concourse that links nine subway lines (used to be 10 but the "V" line has been discontinued), the LIRR and the Barclays Center Transit Connection in front of the arena. The Atlantic Terminal is going to become very familiar to Nets fans.

Actually, the Atlantic Terminal transit hub is not "one piece of the Atlantic Yards complex." Rather, a piece of the latter--an under-construction new passageway--connects to the terminal. (And the V line never went to Brooklyn.)

For more, see my 1/6/10 post, Atlantic Yards revisionism and the belated LIRR pavilion at Atlantic Terminal.

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Posted by steve at 12:32 AM

April 14, 2011

New Bike Map Is Out: In Microcosm the Conflict of City Planning Policy Re Car-Oriented Atlantic Yards

Noticing New York

The new 2011 bike map is out. As our constantly changing city shape-shifts into new incarnations, the map presents in microcosm public policy conflicts respecting the transportational characteristics planners want the city to assume in the future.
...

The interesting thing about this year’s map is its cover, celebrating brownstone Brooklyn with a picture of the Hoyt Street bike lane going through Cobble Hill. The intersection shown is Hoyt Street and Dean. Dean Street is another street providing bikers with a bike lane route through what is currently brownstone Brooklyn.

Ironically, the Hoyt and Dean intersection is just .6 miles or 3 minutes away from the car-centric (and parking lot-centric) Atlantic Yards megadevelopment proposed by developer (and heavy subsidy collector) Bruce Ratner of Forest City Ratner (now working in conjunction with Russian Oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov). The negligible distance can also be measured as the distance of four long blocks and one very short one.

If this distance doesn’t strike you as short, if it seems enough to put Ratner’s mega-monopoly at a safe and sufficient remove, we can also put things into perspective this way: It is actually less than the .7 mile distance one will need to travel to get from one corner of Ratner’s vast mega-monopoly to the other. Remember also that bikers using the Dean Street bike lane will have their brownstone reveries interrupted for a couple of blocks when they have to travel alongside the intimidating and unprecedentedly dense Ratner/Prokhorov car-oriented Atlantic Yards design (and planning) fiasco. That is, of course, if New York politicians continue to let Ratner/Prokhorov continue building it for the next several decades, piling on a rich slather of disproportionately favorable subsidies.

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Posted by eric at 12:28 PM

April 6, 2011

Ratner Arena Will Include 400 Satanic Bike Parking Spots

Streetsblog
by Ben Fried

Well, this doesn’t make up for the eminent domain abuse, inexcusable subsidies-slash-dealmaking, crappy urban design and extensive surface parking acreage, but the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay reminds us that the Brooklyn basketball arena financed by Bruce Ratner, Mikhail Prokhorov, and the taxpayers of New York State will include 400 bike parking spaces.
...

With the opening of the 18,000-seat arena less than 18 months away and the Nets saying that it will host 200 events a year, 400 bike parking spaces will come in handy. But what about those oceans of surface parking? There must be a better way to plan for people to get to the arena than to invite thousands of car trips to one of the most transit- and bike-accessible sites in the entire city. Streetsblog will be taking a closer look at the Atlantic Yards transportation equation in the weeks ahead, so stay tuned.

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Posted by eric at 10:35 AM

March 30, 2011

Atlantic Yards Causes Bike-SUV Collision

The L Magazine
by Benjamin Sutton

Park Slope Patch reports that shortly after 10pm an SUV hit a cyclist at the intersection of Dean Street and Sixth Avenue after the driver's view of the oncoming rider was blocked by big blue Atlantic Yards construction walls.

The SUV driver, whose windshield was smashed when the cyclist was thrown over the hood in the collision, remained at the scene while the deliveryman was taken to the emergency room by ambulance. The driver told local resident Wayne Bailey when he arrived at the scene that the cyclist ran through a red light. Bailey told the Patch: "He said he didn’t even see the cyclist because of the blue wall where the arena is being built. He said it blocked his view and the bike came out of nowhere."

A police source asserts that "The cyclist was at fault," although, clearly, Bruce Ratner was at fault.

link

NoLandGrab: In fairness to Forest City Ratner, the construction shed at the corner in question actually has plexiglass panels that allow some visibility, more so than most construction sites we've seen.

Posted by eric at 11:49 AM

March 16, 2011

Yankee Stadium parking strikes out

Bronx outfit faces default on bonds as fans park elsewhere and residents fume

Crain's NY Business
by Hilary Potkewitz

As we, and others, notably Streetsblog, have been warning for years, the Yankee Stadium parking situation is a disaster. Now even Crain's is catching on. When you pave parks to put up a parking lot, everybody loses. Even the people running the parking lots.

The first pitch of the baseball season and the return of thousands of fans cannot come fast enough for most businesses around Yankee Stadium. But one company might prefer that April be postponed this year.

Bronx Parking Development Co., which runs the garages for the new stadium, faces an April 1 due date for a $6.8 million interest payment on bonds issued to fund construction of three facilities. The company had to dip into reserves to make a similar payment in October, and—barring a last-minute renegotiation—all signs point to a default this time.

A default could set up a seizure by bondholders and would leave the garages' future in question. The property, which covers some 21 acres, was part of parkland taken over to make way for the current incarnation of Yankee Stadium.

The potential irony has some in the community seething.

“Our community loves its parks, and we could always use more,” said Pastor Wenzell Jackson, chairman of Bronx Community Board 4, which includes the stadium and the surrounding area. “Now there's just empty parking garages that are not benefiting the community.”

This isn't complicated. Use eminent domain the way it was intended — seize these garages and rebuild a park for the people.

But the geniuses who brought you this disaster in the first place want to pour gasoline on the fire.

Community leaders, including Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr., are planning for what comes next.

“We've been working diligently to bring a top-flight hotel to the area near Yankee Stadium,” Mr. Díaz said in his State of the Borough Address late last month. “As many of you have heard, the Yankee Stadium parking lots are facing severe financial problems ... and we believe one of the garages could be used for the hotel development.”

Because that area has tremendous tourist demand during the 21 hours a day when baseball isn't being played? Or because hotel developers make nice campaign donations?

It's clear that not all the garages are needed. In August, Bronx Parking admitted that the facilities, which contain 9,000 parking spaces, were never more than 60% full on game days. As a result, it said, revenues were insufficient to service the more than $237 million in tax-exempt bonds issued to fund its project, which involved building three new garages and refurbishing several existing ones.

And how do you entice more people to park? By raising the rates by 50%!

Last year, Bronx Parking officials complained that an estimated 800 cars a game were parking at the nearby Gateway Shopping Center. And for good reason: Spaces at the center cost about $4 an hour, compared with $23 a game for a self-park space in the stadium garages (or $35 for valet service). This year, rates will increase to $35 a game ($45 for valet), according to the company's 2011 operating budget.

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NoLandGrab: As our pro-Atlantic Yards friends used to chant about people's homes in the project's footprint: Tear it down! Tear it down!

Posted by eric at 11:52 AM

March 11, 2011

Why did Forest City Ratner try to get Carlton Avenue Bridge money from Kruger? Because they're scrounging for it; my queries haven't been answered

Atlantic Yards Report

Why was Forest City Ratner, as of December 2010, trying to get $9 million in state subsidies for the Carlton Avenue Bridge out of state Senator Carl Kruger, charged today along with lobbyist Richard Lipsky in a federal corruption case?

Because the developer still needs to pay for reconstruction of the bridge. (And the money sought from immigrant investors via the EB-5 program, though promoted as going to the bridge, would more likely go to refinance a land loan.)

I've tried several times over the past months to learn more about the bridge, to no avail.

I queried the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) last November 12 regarding an apparently federal earmark as well as the current budget for and progress on the bridge. Despite several follow-up requests, I never got a response.

I posed the same questions to the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet on January 25 via City Council Member Letitia James and Carlo Scissura, the Borough President's Chief of Staff. No answers were forthcoming at the meeting February 10.

The Carlton Avenue Bridge is supposed to cost $40 million. The city in 2007 allocated $7 million. According to a 6/24/10 ESDC document (embedded below), which allowed the disbursal of additional City funds for the bridge:

It is expected that the Carlton Avenue Bridge related infrastructure work will cost in excess of $40 million. The City shall fund $24 million of the cost of the Carlton Avenue Bridge related infrastructure work. The remaining cost will be funded by Forest City.

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NoLandGrab: Most unintentionally sincere quote from the 53-page federal indictment of Carl Kruger, Richard Lipsky et al — Kruger: "the bridge is out."

Posted by eric at 12:14 AM

March 9, 2011

Is Prospect Park West bike lane "like Atlantic Yards"?

Atlantic Yards Report

A New York Times article today on the dispute over the Prospect Park West bike lane closes:

“Part of it is, people don’t like anything new,” she said. “New is bad. It’s like Atlantic Yards. And dogs off leash. Like there’s nothing else wrong with the world.”

Except a bike lane, aimed in part at traffic calming, is not so much like a project that would increase traffic.

And a good number of those supporting the bike lane, such as the organization Park Slope Neighbors, don't support Atlantic Yards.

link

NoLandGrab: Full disclosure — this editor of NLG is a co-founder of Park Slope Neighbors. Also, concomitantly, some of those opposing the bike lane do support Atlantic Yards.

Posted by eric at 1:09 PM

February 28, 2011

A Bridge Too Late, and More

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

For those who still remember there was once a Carlton Avenue bridge, its return just moved further out into the future. When it was closed in January 2008 the reopening was scheduled for January 2010. But the date kept moving, and now Norman Oder reports the latest update: April 2012, which would mean the bridge will have been closed more than twice as long as originally promised in the original Atlantic Yards environmental review. Oder suspects, moreover, that fall of 2012 is more likely.

Oder also writes that the entrance to the arena will also be a moving target. When Building 1 is constructed--an office tower plus the "Urban Room"--the entrance to the Arena will be temporarily moved to Sixth Avenue.

link

Posted by eric at 11:17 AM

February 27, 2011

Flashback, 2006: interim surface parking could last "for some time," predicted Brooklyn Views blogger Cohn

Atlantic Yards Report

Architect Jonathan Cohn hasn't been writing his Brooklyn Views blog since March 2007, but he was right on the money when he wrote, on 4/3/06, about the emergence of interim surface parking and the elasticity of "interim."

He wrote:

One change in the Final Scope is the admission that an unspecified amount of “interim surface parking” on the eastern part of the project site will be constructed during Phase I. (P.14). This “use” of the site could be in-place for some time. While the Phase I analysis year is 2010 and Phase II is 2016, schedules for large projects are notorious for being accurate only at the moment they are proposed.

Maybe not even then. Now we know that the interim surface parking could last for decades.

link

Posted by steve at 6:30 PM

February 24, 2011

Reopening of Carlton Avenue Bridge, closed since January 2008 (supposedly for two years), nudged from April 2012 to "summer 2012"; will it go longer?

Atlantic Yards Report

It was inevitable, wasn't it? We knew that the Carlton Avenue Bridge, closed since January 2008, had to reopen before the Atlantic Yards arena reopens.

And now that "substantial completion" of the arena is August 12, 2012, so too has the city Department of Transportation nudged back the reopening of the bridge from the most recent deadline, April 2012, to "summer 2012."

That's not the first revision of the plan, not by a long shot.

And I'd say there's a good chance that the bridge reopening could be nudged further back to "fall 2012," if the arena opens in the fall.

Closure for four-and-a-half years?

All this means that bridge would be closed for at least four-and-a-half years, more than twice as long as originally promised in the Atlantic Yards environmental review, approved in 2006.

article

NoLandGrab: This is exactly the kind of outrageous disregard for the community that we can expect for the next three decades — and no one with the power to do anything about it is holding Forest City Ratner accountable.

Posted by eric at 10:41 AM

February 23, 2011

Real public works (transportation), the mis-described "wave of development" (as of 2007), and Atlantic Yards

Atlantic Yards Report

At the panel Roads to Nowhere: Public Works in a Time of Crisis, last night at the Museum of the City of New York, the discussion focused on the Access to the Region's Core (ARC) train tunnel between New Jersey and New York vetoed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the Second Avenue Subway, and relatively smaller fixes like Bus Rapid Transit.

All of those are infrastructure projects that drive development. None are mega-projects like Atlantic Yards, run by a single private developer. (Atlantic Yards would add a transit entrance to an existing station, thus mainly serving the arena, and an upgraded but smaller railyard, not previously requested by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.)

Why did Christie act? Jeff Zupan of the Regional Plan Association suggested it was a matter of politics, as he had inherited a project approved by his predecessor: "politicians are always thinking about cutting a ribbon in their terms in office."

Joan Byron of the Pratt Center for Community Development added that Christie was elected by South Jersey drivers, not North Jersey transit riders. She argued that transit advocates had done too little to build a base of public support. (Also see Benjamin Kabak's good summary on Second Avenue Sagas.)

That "wave of development"

I couldn't help but think back on a misguided 1/1/07 New York Times overview, headlined Wave of Development, Cleared for Takeoff:

City, state and federal agencies granted final approvals last month to a half-dozen wide-ranging projects in a political aligning of the stars that will promote New York City's most ambitious economic development agenda in decades.

Approval or financing was given to a Second Avenue subway; an extension of the Flushing Line to the Far West Side; a spur to connect the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal; financing for tens of thousands of apartments for low- and moderate-income residents; the Atlantic Yards complex near Downtown Brooklyn, which includes a new home for the basketball Nets; and even the bus-stop shelters and public toilets that New Yorkers and visitors have demanded for years.

Yes, the subway and LIRR projects would build important infrastructure to boost economic development, but bus shelters (where) and public toilets (where?) do not economic development make.

Nor does the long-delayed arena. The surrounding office space, once promoted as home to 10,000 jobs, had already been severely reduced, and the one planned office tower is on indefinite hold.

And the Times's curious formulation--"financing for tens of thousands of" subsidized apartments--mis-described a revision in the 421-a tax incentive program, which instead led to a rush to get all market-rate buildings started, and produced hundreds of stalled development sites.
...

An AY footnote

At the end of the program, the panelists were asked about their commutes. Byron said her bicycle commute to Pratt had been "severely compromised" by the closing of the Carlton Avenue Bridge for the Atlantic Yards project--an example of the potential tension between real estate development and transportation.

A bike lane footnote

Asked about issues of walking and biking, Zupan commented, "we have the specter of a former DOT [Department of Transportation] commissioner [Iris Weinshall] suing the city because they're putting a bike lane in Brooklyn--that's horrible."

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Posted by eric at 10:11 AM

February 18, 2011

There's a sucker fleeced every minute

The Daily Blahg [NYDailyNews.com]
by Filip Bondy

When the Nets return from their road trip for a game at the Rock on Feb. 28 to face the Suns, they may or may not have Carmelo Anthony. But one thing is for sure: parking will only be $25 in the adjacent Edison lot, not $30.

You have to give the Edison people credit: They stick meticulously to their guns, and to the standings. The price of parking has nothing to do with the Nets, but instead with the opponent. When a first-place team comes to visit, the price of parking is $30. For second-place teams and below, the charge is $25.

That has meant parking for the low-buzz Spurs went for $30, while parking for 'Melo and the Nuggets was a mere $25.

I've heard of teams like the Mets going to tier pricing by opponents, but never the parking lots. However, the cost of parking in the Bronx doubles for the Yankee playoffs, even though your car isn't going to watch a single inning.

All of this nonsense -- and I haven't mentioned PSLs in the NFL -- has contributed to the general alienation of fan bases being squeezed for every penny in their change purse. The Nets may be itinerant wanderers now, but when they hit Brooklyn they should install a fan-friendly philosophy about pricing on all fronts, build up some good will.

If nothing else, you have to figure the price of a subway ride to Atlantic Yards won't double when the Lakers are in town.

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NoLandGrab: Don't be so sure, Filip. Bruce and the MTA have a very close working relationship.

Posted by eric at 10:44 AM

February 15, 2011

News from the Construction Update: water main work, transit work (and outages), Flatbush Avenue snags continue

Atlantic Yards Report

Here are some highlights from the latest Construction Update (embedded below), dated February 14 and prepared by Forest City Ratner and released by the Empire State Development Corporation.
...

There are several track outages associated with repair work:

  • Demolition of the TA structures continues. IRT and BMT Tunnel inspections have taken place and repair work will be implemented during scheduled NYCT track outages during evenings and weekends. IRT Track Outages are now scheduled for the weekends of February 5th and 19th. BMT Track Outages are now scheduled for March 5th, 12th and April 19th. Additional GO’s for both the IRT and BMT will be evaluated as the work progresses. Minor repair and cleanup work will occur on selective evenings under scheduled NYCT flagging protection.

Plastic bollards still out

As noted at the last Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting last Thursday, since the post-Christmas storm, the plastic bollards used to implement reversible lanes on Flatbush Avenue below Atlantic Avenue during rush hour were mangled and unusable, and remain as such:

  • MPT [Maintenance and Protection of Traffic] @ Flatbush Ave - Maintenance of the MPT has been suspended due to the recent snow storms experienced over the last month. At this time the MPT is still in place but the lane changes are not being performed until the weather condition permit. We have advised the DOT that once the weather permits; the MPT will be restored and maintained.

As shown in the Construction Updates embedded below, this was announced in the previous document, dated 1/31/11, but not in the 1/17/11 one, though this all started after Christmas. I didn't notice until it came up at the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet.

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Posted by eric at 12:22 PM

February 12, 2011

Massive Infrastructure Projects Coming to Atlantic Avenue and Eastern Parkway

Prospect Heights Patch
By Amy Sara Clark

Already hit by massive traffic backups caused by the Atlantic Yards construction, Prospect Heights-area residents will soon be facing 18 months of infrastructure projects tearing up both Atlantic Avenue and Eastern Parkway.

Both projects are slated to begin in a few weeks be completed about 18 months later.

At last night’s packed meeting of Community Board 8, which is affected by the projects along with Community Board 2, residents said the projects should have been staggered.

“So these two projects will be happening simultaneously with the Ratner project?” one resident asked incredulously. “There are already waiting times as much as three minutes to clear one block … Why are the projects being done at the same time?”

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Posted by steve at 4:57 PM

February 10, 2011

20mph Speed Limit Zone Coming to Boerum Hill?

The L Magazine
by Benjamin Sutton

Last summer the city's Department of Transportation announced plans to test out a (relatively) radical new traffic control plan by creating some pilot 20 miles-per-hour zones, with a few to establishing more if the test areas are deemed successful. Residents of Boerum Hill really want to be guinea pigs for this program.
...

Weirdly, the typically anti-car control Post is all for the idea, especially in anticipation of additional traffic in the area once the Atlantic Yards' Barclay's Center is playing host to frequent professional basketball games. More additional traffic to the area is also expected due to upcoming BQE renovations.

link

Posted by eric at 10:28 AM

February 9, 2011

Nets-nabe speed bump

NY Post
by Rich Calder

Talk about a fast brake!

With the opening of the new Nets arena in Brooklyn nearly two years away, the city is considering lowering the speed limit to 20 mph for drivers in the nearby brownstone neighborhood of Boerum Hill.

Cars and trucks routinely use Pacific and Dean streets and other local streets there as speedy short cuts to and from the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges.

Councilman Steven Levin said yesterday he believes reckless driving through the neighborhood “will only get worse” once the 18,000-seat, Prospect Heights arena opens in Fall 2012 -- unless “we take pre-emptive action now.”

The city’s Department of Transportation next year is set to kick off its pilot "slow-speed zone" program in select neighborhoods where 10 mph will be sliced off the city’s 30 mph standard limit.

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Posted by eric at 10:40 AM

December 17, 2010

The gap in yesterday's ESDC documents: the new use for 470 Vanderbilt and its impact on traffic, parking, and pedestrians

Atlantic Yards Report

There's one very big gap in the seemingly comprehensive Technical Analysis (embedded below) released yesterday by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) as part of its findings that a 25-year buildout of the Atlantic Yards project would not require a Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement.

It's called 470 Vanderbilt Avenue, the former tire plant turned telecom offices turned combination office and housing complex, located just north of the northeast block of the Atlantic Yards site. (Click on graphic to enlarge; highlighting in red is added.)

The plans for 470 Vanderbilt have changed significantly in the past year, as it's slated to house the city Human Resources Administration, with 1880 employees and 1500 clients a day, opening in Spring 2012, just before the arena is scheduled to open.

And the city aims to add parking along Atlantic Avenue, which contradicts a mitigation in the Atlantic Yards plan.

When the City Planning Commission approved the plan in September, it noted that "a letter was received from a resident of the surrounding area suggesting that with respect to this action and Atlantic Yards that a full Environmental Impact Study should be performed by the City under ULURP which is outside the scope of this action."

Perhaps, but the changes are not acknowledged in the ESDC documents. As in the 2009 Technical Memorandum, 470 Vanderbilt is described as:

376 residential units, 115,424 sf retail, 579,645 sf office, 397 accessory parking spaces 7
Build Year 2035

Footnote 7 states:

Includes 578,554 sf of existing office and 200 existing parking spaces; project will add 1,091 sf office and 197 accessory parking spaces.

The analysis

There's no mention of the new use. In the new ESDC analysis, 470 Vanderbilt gets a mention under the category of Pedestrians (but not regarding Transit or Parking).

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NoLandGrab: Oops.

Posted by eric at 6:41 PM

December 13, 2010

Incentivizing transit ridership with…beer?

2nd Ave. Sagas
by Benjamin Kabak

When the Nets new arena opens at the Atlantic Yards complex in a few years, it will bring with it traffic to a few of Brooklyn’s quieter residential neighborhoods. With Park Slope to the south, Prospect Heights to the east and Fort Greene to the north, the area doesn’t lend itself to the multitude of cars that will throng its streets on game days. Unfortunately, despite sitting atop one of the city’s busiest subway hubs and a Long Island Rail Road, the project will come with more parking than we’d like. To encourage mass transit use then, one advocate has proposed an idea for the masses: free beer.
...

Ultimately, though, the Nets and Forest City Ratner should figure out a way to encourage transit use. Whether that includes supporting a residential parking permit program for the neighborhood’s streets or offering MetroCard- and LIRR-based discounts, driving to this arena should be discouraged. I’d drink to that.

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Posted by eric at 10:21 AM

December 12, 2010

Who Wants to Turn Brooklyn into a Big Parking Lot?

Change.org
By Zachary Shahan

This blog post points out the folly of building acres of parking in Prospect Heights and suggests signing an online petition to oppose it.

What is one of the absolute worst uses of land, environmentally speaking? A surface parking lot. In other words, the type of parking lot you see in front of Wal-Mart—one level, not above or below any buildings. (They're also just plain ugly...can you think of anything uglier than a large, surface parking lot?)

Where is the worst place to build a surface parking lot? How about in the middle of the downtown areas of one of the most densely populated counties in this nation.

A 1,100-space surface parking lot is being proposed as part of the Atlantic Yards project, a controversial planned $4.9 billion mall, residential development, and sports stadium, in the downtown area of Brooklyn, New York. While the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) and project developer Forest City Ratner are portraying this as a temporary parking lot, it has been revealed that the parking lot may sit there for up to 25 years.

The environmental review for the Atlantic Yards project used ESDC and Ratner's initial estimate that the project would take 10 years. With the project expected to last up to 25 years, the environmental review does not meet legal requirements, and, thus, a number of groups are pushing for a halt to the controversial project until this review is adequately performed. The 25-year potential time frame is apparently written into the development contract between New York City and Ratner, but was not revealed in legal battles over the project last November.

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Posted by steve at 12:06 PM

December 10, 2010

The PHNDC's forum on traffic: discussion of Atlantic Yards impact, residential permit parking, and warning about turning over planning to FCR (update)

Atlantic Yard Report

The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council's forum last night on traffic, held at P.S. 9 on Underhill Avenue in Prospect Heights, featured some critical comments on the Empire State Development Corporation's Atlantic Yards oversight from Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, and significant dismay from neighborhood residents regarding current impacts on traffic and yet-to-be-implemented solutions.

Notably, there was both enthusiasm for and resistance to residential parking permits (RPP) for game days at the Atlantic Yards arena. While they would preserve local car owners' options to park, such RPP were seen as an increased cost for residents, and a couple of attendees suggested the cost should be paid by developer Forest City Ratner, since the impact comes from the arena.

Beyond the arena issue, a free RPP presumes that the current access to street parking is a right rather than a subsidy of sorts--the subject of potential significant debate about RPP in general.

Also, a planner from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign warned about the conflict of interest involved in having developer Forest City Ratner and its paid consultant be in effective charge of transportation planning.
...

With an arena seating 18,000 for basketball (41 games) and a predicted 225 events, some of which will accommodate crowds up to 19,000, “it's going to be a deluge of traffic, and much of it is going to flow through Prospect Heights,” said Danae Oratowski of the PHNDC, kicking off the session.

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Posted by eric at 11:10 AM

Residents Decry Traffic, Parking Problems from Atlantic Yards Project

Some suggest developer Forest City Ratner pay for extra trains to stadium and residential parking permits for those living in the area.

Prospect Heights Patch
by Amy Sara Clark

More than 75 people came to P.S. 9 last night to discuss traffic problems caused by the Atlantic Yards project.

Since several streets including Pacific between Fifth and Sixth avenues was closed Feb. 1, traffic has been brutal along Dean, Bergen, St. Marks, and other streets that still go through, speakers and residents said at the meeting.

"I live on St. Marks Place and it feels like a major highway," said Maggie Williams, a 33-year-old lawyer, before the meeting.
...

Jay Crockett, a retired commodities broker said she was pessimistic that there was much the community could do to prevent the onslaught of traffic. But she said she came to the meeting to make a statement.

"I feel it's essential to just show up to say: I do care and it is a problem," she said.

article

Posted by eric at 7:08 AM

Beer on Bruce? Could be, if you take the subway

The Brooklyn Paper
by Aaron Short

Take the train to a Nets game — and get a free beer!

It’s one idea being floated by transportation advocates as an incentive to get future Barclays Center ticketholders to take the subway and regional rail to the arena instead of driving and parking on congested Prospect Heights and Fort Greene streets.

“Give people a free beer — they’re not driving!” said Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s Ryan Lynch.

Lynch, invited by the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council to present suggestions for easing traffic at Atlantic Yards, demanded that the arena’s developer, Forest City Ratner, commit to subsidize mass transit for game nights such as including mass transit fares into ticket prices and urging additional trains on game nights.”
...

Thousands of cars will flood streets surrounding the Atlantic Yards footprint on game nights — which has alarmed residents concerned about traffic and pedestrian safety after games.

article

NoLandGrab: Sure, Bruce'll give you a free beer — and charge you $9 for the cup.

Posted by eric at 6:57 AM

December 9, 2010

2010 PHNDC Atlantic Yards Traffic Forum

threecee via flickr

Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council
December 8, 2010
P.S. 9
80 Underhill Avenue
Prospect Heights
Brooklyn, New York

link

Posted by eric at 4:30 PM

December 7, 2010

Atlantic Yards Traffic Forum in PH; 12/8; PS9; 7:30PM

team tish

Join Council Member Letitia James, Assembly Member Hakeem Jeffries, and the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council at their Atlantic Yards traffic forum at PS9 in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

WHEN: Wednesday, December 8, 2010
7:30- 9:00PM
WHERE: PS9, 80 Underhill Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238

The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council presents a forum on traffic and transit issues raised by Atlantic Yards construction and the planned opening of the Barclays Center in 2012.

  • What impacts are already being felt?
  • What is coming from the arena and future construction?
  • What does the recent court decision mean to the community?
  • What can we do now?

link

Posted by eric at 11:22 AM

December 3, 2010

Carlton Bridge demo 12-2-10

raulism via YouTube

Wow! Bruce Ratner is finally getting around to finishing the demolition of the Carlton Avenue bridge — almost a year after he was supposed to be finished rebuilding it!

link

Related coverage...

raulistic via flickr, Carlton Demo 12-2-10

More of raulistic's Atlantic Yards construction videos...

Walking Vanderbilt railyards

AY Construction 12-2-10

AY workers & girders 12-2-10

Posted by eric at 10:28 AM

December 2, 2010

ATLANTIC YARDS: BRUCE RATNER, YOU SUCK. YOU REALLY DO!

F**ked in Park Slope

I haven't always followed the whole Atlantic Yards hullaballoo as closely as I should have but I do seem to remember a WHOLE lot of talk about stuff like thousands of units of low-income housing, reciprocal ACORN love, an end to urban blight, lots of jobs...

Yeah, not so much.

link

Posted by eric at 10:01 AM

December 1, 2010

Atlantic Yards: Home of the Nets and a Massive Parking Lot

Gothamist
by John Del Signore

Developer Bruce Ratner's controversial Atlantic Yards project will bring a beautiful, pristine, blight-free 1,100 car parking lot to Prospect Heights, but where Ratner sees a paved paradise, other neighbors see a lifeless void. On Thanksgiving eve, twenty community organizations led by Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) filed a motion with New York State Supreme Court seeking to halt all construction at the project. The court case hinges on the environmental impact statement conducted by the Empire State Development Corporation [ESDC], which analyzed Atlantic Yards as a 10-year construction project. Now it's expected to take a quarter century, and critics say the environmental impact should be reconsidered.
...

The motion for a stay follows a November 9th decision from Justice Marcy Friedman, finding that the ESDC "lacked a rational basis for assuming that Atlantic Yards project would be completed in ten years." The lawsuit calls for a new appraisal of the potential environmental impacts of the project, and accuses Ratner and the ESDC of "colluding in their misrepresentations to the Court."

article

Posted by eric at 10:41 PM

Enough kvetching already. RT @NoLandGrab 1,100 Space Parking Lot at Issue in Latest Atlantic Yards Fight

@ShellySilver via Twitter

If @ShellySilver keeps it up, he will get his giant bobblehead.

link

But wait, there's more:

You're complaining @StreetsblogNYC? Look at how much parking space Bruce Ratner is bringing to Brooklyn. It's a gift.

Look at all of the downtown parking garages in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse. Now Brooklyn can be like those cities.

What good is an official parking placard if you can't find a parking spot? Bruce Ratner and the ESDC understand this.

Posted by eric at 2:05 PM

Elected officials, traffic planners to appear at PHNDC traffic forum December 8

Atlantic Yards Report

The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council is sponsoring an Atlantic Yards traffic forum on Wednesday, December 8, 2010, from 7:30 to 9 pm.

The location is P.S. 9 at 80 Underhill Avenue in Prospect Heights.

From the blurb:

Can the traffic really get worse? Unfortunately, the answer is "yes." The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council presents a forum on traffic and transit issues raised by Atlantic Yards construction and the planned opening of the Barclays Center in 2012.

  • What impacts are already being felt?
  • What is coming from the arena and future construction?
  • What does the recent court decision mean to the community?
  • What can we do now?

Speakers include Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries, Councilmember Letitia James, and Ryan Lynch, Senior Planner with the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

link

Posted by eric at 9:53 AM

November 30, 2010

1,100 Space Parking Lot at Issue in Latest Atlantic Yards Fight

Streetsblog
by Noah Kazis

The latest round of the knock-down drag-out fight over the Atlantic Yards project is underway, and it’s all about parking. At issue is a potential 1,100-space surface parking lot that would be located between Pacific and Dean Streets, just west of Vanderbilt Avenue. That lot has been portrayed as temporary, “interim” parking by the Empire State Development Corporation and project developer Forest City Ratner, but could sit there generating traffic for up to 25 years. Last week several groups filed a motion to halt construction until the environmental impacts of the project are studied more fully.

The basic question is whether the environmental review for Atlantic Yards needs reworking in light of the fact that development could take up to 25 years, rather than the ten-year construction schedule originally put forward by ESDC and Ratner. (Be sure to check out the invaluable Norman Oder for all the details.) If construction is really going to take an extra fifteen years, the argument goes, the true impacts on things like traffic, noise, and air quality weren’t ever disclosed, in violation of environmental law. That argument got a boost in the courts a few weeks ago, and the legal battle now hinges on whether or not to halt construction.

article

Image: Municipal Art Society/Aerial Photo by Jonathan Barkey

Posted by eric at 4:48 PM

November 19, 2010

Extension of the Number 7 Subway Line to New Jersey: An Exciting Infrastructure Idea (With Only One Hidden Big Oops)

Noticing New York

Michael D.D. White critiques the mayor's notion to extend the number 7 subway line to New Jersey.

It would be particularly thrilling to see the idea implemented because, according to a story in today’s New York Times, this idea, like the creation of the High Line, was one that officialdom first rejected and ignored when it was identified and promoted by grassroots members of the community.
...

We gather from this that in the Bloomberg administration “thinking totally out of the box” constitutes listening to community suggestions.
...

If the Bloomberg administration wants to listen there are plenty more community activists willing to offer “thinking” that is “totally out” of the Bloomberg administration’s “box.” The Coney Island community is suggesting that many more amusement area acres be preserved at Coney Island* along with historic buildings that define the area’s heritage. And wouldn’t it be nice, as activists suggest, to see the sun and feel the sea breeze when arriving at the Coney subway station? Then there is the community’s UNITY plan for development of Vanderbilt Yards where, instead, the Bloomberg administration is allowing free rein (free reign?) to the developer-centric notions of Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner that he should have a 30-acre, 40-year mega-monopoly. Among other things the UNITY plan calls for the development of this area to be split up and properly bid out to multiple developers.

(* If more acres were preserved maybe historic boardwalk businesses would not now be getting evicted. In our eyes, recent Coney evictions proclaim that the amusement district was made too small, given that there is no space to share with authentic Coney Island history. And what sense does it make in terms of “economic development” to throw out time-tested and resilient businesses in the middle of an economic recession? A petition on the subject available here.)

article

Posted by eric at 7:11 AM

November 5, 2010

When was Block 1129 parking increased to 1100 spaces? At Borough Hall meeting on construction issues, the answer (from FCR, not ESDC) is wrong

Atlantic Yards Report

All Forest City and ESDC double-talk aside, Prospect Heights residents are staring at an absurdly large, and life-altering, number of surface parking spots in their near future.

The size of the parking lot on Block 1129, the southeast block of the Atlantic Yards site, was increased to 1100 spaces in a rather non-transparent fashion last year, and the issue was further obscured yesterday at the first meeting of the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet.

The cabinet will meet quarterly to discuss construction and other issues. (I'll have a separate report on the meeting later this morning.)

The person designated to answer the parking question, Forest City Ratner (FCR) attorney Melanie Meyers, gave a misleading answer regarding parking.

So no one learned that FCR and the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) agreed to increase the size of the parking lot not once but twice, from 944 to 1044 and then to 1100, a 16.5% increase. Nor that the explanation for the second increase is rather disingenuous.

The first increase was disclosed in the June 2009 Technical Memorandum, but the second wasn't disclosed until the December 2009 Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments, which didn't surface for months.

article

Posted by eric at 11:35 AM

Dean at 6th in the mist

threecee via flickr

Dean Street at 6th Avenue
looking west along Dean Street
Prospect Heights
Brooklyn, New York

November 4th 2010

The Barclays Center of Atlantic Yards is under construction at this intersection. The rear of the arena would be along 6th Avenue, the cross street in this video, which runs north-south (right-left). Dean Street runs background-foreground (west-east).

It's difficult to imagine 18,000 arena patrons flooding this residential neighborhood.

link

Posted by eric at 11:03 AM

October 15, 2010

5 Better Names for the New Jay Street-Borough Hall Station

The L Magazine
by Benjamin Sutton

Did you know that as part of its decades-in-the-making makeover and swallowing up of the nearby Lawrence Street station, the Jay Street-Borough Hall subway station in Downtown Brooklyn will be changing names to "Jay Street-MetroTech"? How cold and quasi-Orwellian does that sound, right? The Post points out that the new A, C, F, N and R superstation has been in the works since 2007, and completion is still a long way off, so maybe they're still taking suggestions for better names than the retro-futuristic "Jay Street-MetroTech."

Because, you know, it's an almost equally massive perpetual construction site down there.

link

Photo: jag9889

Posted by eric at 11:16 AM

Ratner reneged

The Brooklyn Paper, Letters

Bruce Ratner, Atlantic Yards and residential parking permits figure prominently in this week's letters section.

To the editor,

Bruce Ratner has reneged on all of his promises, instead bringing chaos, noise, dirt and traffic to the community (“Plaza Sweet — Ratner unveils new front for his Barclays Center,” Oct. 1).

He promised 7,200 units of below market-rate housing, thousands of jobs and other public benefits. There was even talk of a school to help accommodate families with children moving in at one meeting I attended. It seems the only people who will benefit live in Russia. A Russian owns 85 percent of the Nets and 45 percent of the area.

Bruce Ratner sold everyone a bill of goods. He took our tax money and will continue to do so. Let him give back to Brooklyn by footing the bill for all the residential parking permits.

Sharron Staton, Windsor Terrace

The facts are a little off (Ratner promised 2,250 below-market units, Prokhorov allegedly owns 80% of the Nets), but you get the point.

Click through for more where that came from.

Posted by eric at 11:03 AM

October 9, 2010

The residential parking permit debate: is parking a neighborhood right, or a scarce resource with a price tag?

Atlantic Yards Report

On-street residential parking is considered a right by New York car owners. The Atlantic Yards development has helped to trigger a debate about residential parking permits.

So, are residential parking permits a good idea? The debate has heated up since 5/21/09, when the Brooklyn Paper opined, in Why parking permits are not the answer, that "neighborhood car-owners alone would still not have enough spaces for their cars even if other drivers weren’t even in the mix."

Moreover, a permit costing a typical $100 per year would be too low:

Only a true market system would create enough revenue to make a parking permit system actually worthwhile while also serving the larger public policy goal: discouraging residents of Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens and Fort Greene — neighborhoods with the best subway service in Brooklyn — from owning cars in the first place.

Other flaws cited include use of placards by uniformed services to "park anywhere with virtual impunity" and abuse by drivers lying about their addresses.

Now, in reaction to the Atlantic Yards project, City Council Member Letitia James wants such permits in Prospect Heights, so that residents claim streets ahead of arena-goers.

Click on the link to read about different perspectives in this debate.

link

Posted by steve at 1:18 PM

October 6, 2010

Could the Atlantic Yards arena plaza resemble Gansevoort Plaza or Union Square? Unlikely; they've reduced traffic

Atlantic Yards Report

Only this past Saturday, October 2, did I finish transcribing most of the September 29 presentation on the planned plaza in front of the Atlantic Yards arena. My report is here.

Upon reflection, I thought that architect Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects did a good job articulating much of the rationale for his work.

Not that the solutions proposed will necessarily work--the proof is in the pudding--but such things as paving, lighting, and signage have been approached thoughtfully.

But even a good architect can do only so much with a problematic site. That's why the plan was found Highbrow/Despicable by the New York Magazine Approval Matrix and deemed Eyesore of the Month by James Howard Kunstler.

So I think Pasquarelli just wasn't convincing when faced with a tough question: "What are the examples of traffic islands as credible urban space?"

Click through to be unconvinced.

article

Posted by eric at 9:39 AM

October 5, 2010

When they say Pacific Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues is closed, now they really mean it

Atlantic Yards Report

Here's one street no one will be parking on anytime soon.

Pacific Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues--the place, during certain hours, for the staging of trucks for arena construction--has officially been closed since March, as the notice at bottom states.

But the closure hasn't really been enforced by the guards working for Forest City Ratner--until last Friday, October 1.

(Photo by Tracy Collins shows shanty for guard at Pacific and Vanderbilt.)

Guards step up

Prospect Heights resident Patti Hagan told me that she had regularly used the street, but, on October 1, she tried to walk east from Carlton to Vanderbilt on Pacific but was stopped by a cop.

"I could last week," Hagan said. "Why can't I walk there?"

The guard claimed it was "because of electrical voltages."

Later, on her return trip, Hagan tried to walk in the opposite direction. She was stopped by a different guard who told her it's a private street.

Hagan asked what was different since the previous week.

"Since today," the guard said. "Orders came down this morning."

article

Posted by eric at 11:29 AM

Parking Permit Smackdown: Either way, it's Ratner's fault

YourNabe.com

Point: Parking permits will help, by Letitia James

I recently spoke out in support of residential parking permits for Downtown, specifically in the area surrounding the Atlantic Yards project and the upcoming Barclays Center. I have long been a supporter of these permits; even before this development, I felt that permits offered a viable solution to the “park-and-ride” issue at the Atlantic Center terminal.

In fact, Mayor Bloomberg’s citywide sustainability proposal — PlaNYC 2030 — included a congestion pricing plan that would incorporate residential permit parking. Residents with parking permits would be allowed to park in established parking zones during the day. Residential drivers would be charged an annual fee to acquire resident-only permits, the fee being comparable with similar permit programs in other major cities. In the past, I have strongly supported this proposal.
...

I strongly believe that residential parking permits have the potential to reduce traffic congestion, pollution emissions, needless traffic accidents (especially those that lead to pedestrian fatalities), and noise pollution. This would especially be appreciated in Downtown as we face the long-term development of the Atlantic Yards project.

Counterpoint: Tax Ratner for parking — not us!, by Patti Hagan

Why here? Why now? Because Bruce Ratner’s NBA-Russo arena aims to attract some 19,000 people some 300 nights a year to the always impassable intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues. Taxpaying residents would have to pay yet another new tax — for the privilege of parking in their own hood? Why not keep outsider’s cars out instead? Or tax them?

A residential parking permit tax seems unfair. Ratner is already causing major traffic problems for the car-driving citizenry, having this year deprived Brooklyn of: one lane and sidewalk of Flatbush Avenue, one lane and sidewalk of Atlantic Avenue, one block of Fifth Avenue (R.I.P.), one Carlton Avenue Bridge, and two blocks of Pacific Street — streets where parking and pedestrianism have been forever free.

Ratner should be the one paying the penalty for encouraging car-dependant hordes to drive to his arena. He should be penalized for not persuading them to take advantage of one of New York City’s major mass transit hubs.

If a millionaire over-developer can just be given public streets, Ratner should be taxed for withdrawing those priceless streets from the grid.

Posted by eric at 11:22 AM

September 29, 2010

Tish: To fix arena parking mess, locals should pay for spots

The Brooklyn Paper

A key opponent to the Atlantic Yards mega-development and arena is now pushing for a parking system that would force locals, many of whom opposed the project in the first place, to pay to park in the neighborhoods around it.

Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) is calling for residential parking permits near the Barclays Center arena, requiring area residents to buy permits so that they, not thousands of sports and entertainment fans, will get the first crack at spots on the residential streets near the 19,000-seat arena.

The permits would also generate revenue for the city — which makes it doubly controversial.

“It’s highway robbery!” said Patti Hagan, a longtime arena and project opponent who lives nearby on St. Marks Avenue. “How many times are we going to get shellacked for this thing?”

James said the yet-to-be-determined fee associated with a residential parking permit was a necessary evil that would mitigate the space crunch after the arena is completed in mid- to late 2012.

article

NoLandGrab: Neighborhood advocates throughout Brownstone Brooklyn have been calling for years for a residential parking permit program, especially given the prospect of a huge influx of arena traffic. Such a program would have to carry a fee, in order to pay for itself, and a free program would only spread the cost of valuable street space to Brooklyn's non-car-owning majority — certainly less fair than charging a fee for giving over so much of our public streets to privately owned vehicles.

Posted by eric at 8:54 AM

September 27, 2010

On the day of the Atlantic Antic, Flatbush Avenue gridlock (and no DDDB or FCR)

Atlantic Yards Report

Yesterday, returning home from the Atlantic Antic at about 3:30 pm, I stopped at the southwest corner of Sixth and Flatbush avenues--two short blocks south of the southeast corner of the arena block-- and took out my camera.

The Atlantic Antic, the borough's biggest street festival, closes down the Atlantic Avenue artery west of Flatbush Avenue (the intersection of which is the western tip of the Atlantic Yards site).

Needless to say, traffic was heavy and, as the video indicates, unruly. Without a traffic agent at the corner, some vehicles going northwest on Flatbush blocked the intersection at Sixth, thus stopping southbound vehicles from passage.

While a Sunday afternoon in September is too early for a basketball game, it's surely a good time for a family-oriented arena event. If so, on the day of the Atlantic Antic, then the gridlock on Flatbush--even with traffic agents--likely would be worse than was observed yesterday.

link

NoLandGrab: And in the case of Atlantic Antic vs. Bruce Ratner, whose side do you think the city will come down on?

Posted by eric at 9:54 AM

September 3, 2010

Barclays Center Construction Forces Pedestrians Onto The Street

NY1
by John Mancini

NY1 reports on the recent constriction of Flatbush Avenue.

Things are tight all over near the basketball arena going up in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn -- so tight that creating a safe path for pedestrians means putting them in an unlikely spot.

"The only way we could achieve that was to put the pedestrians in the roadway, which meant that we had to take a lane of traffic from Flatbush Avenue," says Forest City Ratner traffic consultant Sam Schwartz.

In the best of times, there is congestion between Atlantic Avenue and Dean Street, where six lanes are now five. To keep traffic moving, three lanes flow toward Manhattan in the mornings and pedestrians walk on blacktop between barriers.
...

Ratner's goal is to get all lanes open as soon as possible, perhaps as a few months before the arena opens.

Bruised by the long fight, residents are skeptical.

"We've seen more closures of sidewalks, more closures of streets at this point in the project than we were told were going to happen," says Prospect Heights resident Peter Krashes.

article [with video]

Posted by eric at 12:30 PM

August 27, 2010

Why did the Flatbush Avenue lane closure get extended until "Summer 2012"? A not-quite-explanation surfaces

Atlantic Yards Report

So, why did a lane closure on Flatbush Avenue between Dean Street and Atlantic Avenue for the Atlantic Yards project get extended from "early 2012" to "Summer 2012," as we learned last week in a Forest City Ratner mailer?

The answer I got from the Empire State Development Corporation was not quite an explanation, and, as of today, the Department of Transportation (DOT) still states, on its page of Weekly Traffic Advisories (excerpt at right), that the lane closure is expected to "continue through early 2012."
...

I asked the ESDC and the DOT if they had any explanation for the change from "early 2012" to "Summer 2012."

I haven't heard back from the DOT.

ESDC spokeswoman Elizabeth Mitchell responded:

The lanes of traffic may be able to be restored a few months before the transit entrance and the arena open in the second quarter of 2010. We have been told that FCRC will restore whatever they can back to the public domain for vehicles and pedestrians as soon as possible.

That doesn't answer the question. What it sounds like is this:

  • Forest City Ratner originally said "early 2012."
  • They want some flexibility, so now they say "Summer 2012."
  • If work proceeds on schedule, they can beat their goal and be "early."

That recalls... Forest City Ratner's plan to increase projected size of Atlantic Yards, only to garner overstated headlines with a scaleback.

article

Posted by eric at 9:53 AM

August 23, 2010

What a difference three weeks makes: ads indicate how lane closure time period was extended

Atlantic Yards Report

I wrote about this change two days ago, but the juxtaposition is telling.

(Click on graphics to enlarge. Highlights are added.)

From the July 30-August 5 back page of the Brooklyn Paper:

From the August 20-26 back page of the Brooklyn Paper:

link

Posted by eric at 10:17 AM

August 20, 2010

"Temporary Change of Traffic Pattern on Flatbush Avenue" now means at least 22 months, not 17 months

Atlantic Yards Report

As traffic patterns change on Flatbush Avenue today, we should know that lanes will close for a lot longer than originally announced: at least five months.

Forest City Ratner snuck a rather significant policy change into a mailer sent out this week to some Brooklynites. (Copy below is via Brownstoner.)

The "temporary" change in traffic pattern on Flatbush Avenue--six lanes becoming five between Dean Street and Atlantic Avenue--will not last from August 1 (as originally announced) or today (the revised plan) until "early 2012," as stated in both community notices embedded below.

Summer 2012, not "early 2012"

It will last until "the new Barclays Center Arena opens in summer 2012." By no stretch of the imagination does summer come "early" in the year.

I had been conservative in my earlier estimate of 17 months. Now it's 22 months to the beginning of the summer in late June 2012.

What if arena's delayed?

But what if the arena opens in the late summer? What if it's delayed?

link

NoLandGrab: Is Forest City ever honest about anything?

Related coverage...

Brownstoner, More Traffic Inconveniences Around Arena

Traffic on Flatbush Avenue is about to get a whole lot more snarled. According to a mailer that went out this week from Forest City Ratner, the busy thoroughfare will lose a lane of southbound traffic during morning rush hour for the next year or so while "improvements" are is made on the Atlantic Avenue subway station.

Posted by eric at 11:52 AM

August 3, 2010

Flatbush Avenue lane closure delayed until August 20, as contractor wasn't ready

Atlantic Yards Report

Like a death-row inmate getting an 11:59 p.m. call from the governor, Flatbush Avenue users have been granted a stay — but only until August 20th.

On July 26, the Empire State Development Corporation announced a temporary (aka 17-month) closure of one lane of Flatbush Avenue between Atlantic Avenue and Dean Street, to begin on August 1.

Forest City Ratner even bought the back page (right) of the Brooklyn Paper to announce the plan, as well as an interior page of the Courier-Life.

Today, however, the ESDC issue an updated community notice, announcing the work would begin instead on August 20.

Why? The contractor was not ready to commence work, the ESDC said in response to my query. I assume that refers to the contractor working on Metropolitan Transportation Authority vent structures.

Click through for the updated work notice, and a look at the latest Atlantic Yards Construction Update.

link

Related coverage...

Courier-Life Publications, UPDATE: Flatbush constriction put off for three weeks

Flatbush Avenue will still lose a lane of traffic around the future home of the Brooklyn Nets, but the work won’t begin until Aug. 20, the state announced this week.

Posted by eric at 1:20 PM

July 30, 2010

Wiggle room: In FEIS graphics, ESDC suggested Flatbush Ave. lane closures would be temporary, but text was ambiguous (& referred only to utility work)

Atlantic Yards Report

Wiggle room, or weasel words?

So, did the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) study the impact on Flabush Avenue traffic of the need to build a lay-by lane for the arena and thus upgrade Metropolitan Transportation Authority subway vent structures?

On July 27, when I reported on the announcement of a "temporary" 17-month lane closure on Flatbush between Dean Street and Atlantic Avenue, I suggested no.

That morning, I asked the ESDC if it had been studied in the November 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) or the June 2009 Technical Memorandum and whether ESDC had documentation on the rationale for the change and estimates of its potential impact.

Yesterday morning, I got an answer, and it deserves a close look.

Essentially, the text of the ESDC documents left enough wiggle room for the closure currently planned, but the attached graphics indicated that Flatbush Avenue lane closures would be temporary.

The asterisk, however, is the FEIS mentioned only the impact of utility work, not the upgrade of vent structures.

article

Posted by eric at 12:06 PM

July 29, 2010

Atlantic Yards Construction to Make Downtown Brooklyn Less Dangerous?

The L Magazine
by Benjamin Sutton

Not sure how to feel about this one: city-financed and -facilitated Brooklyn gentrification real estate megadevelopment Atlantic Yards is moving along full steam with construction of the Barclay's Arena, which will require the closure of one lane on Flatbush Avenue between Dean Street and Atlantic Avenue for two years beginning August 1st. The Brooklyn Paper is quick to point out what a terrible inconvenience this will be for drivers, reducing the number of lanes from six to five—to ease the blow, buses are being rerouted and traffic officers will be on call at all hours; but for cyclists and pedestrians this is unexpectedly great news.

Almost anything to slow the highway-speed traffic in that area where so many walk and ride on their way between north and south Brooklyn is worth it, except, for instance, the destruction of an entire neighborhood. But, since we apparently have no choice but to let Bruce Ratner make billions, a little incidental and much-needed traffic control will be a tolerable side effect.

link

NoLandGrab: We're all for traffic calming, but there's little about this street reconfiguration that will be beneficial to pedestrians or cyclists. Peds have been reduced to squeezing onto a sliver of sidewalk along the arena site, and Flatbush will likely be nearly impassable to those brave enough to tackle it on two wheels. Traffic will surely be moving more slowly, however — if at all.

Posted by eric at 10:10 AM

July 28, 2010

Legible version of the subway monitoring plan surfaces, shows arena wall less than 7' from subway; if vibrations get too intense, work must stop

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder has a must-read exclusive on the MTA's plans for monitoring construction of Bruce Ratner's arena.

How do you build an arena very close to six active subway lines?

Very, very carefully, apparently.

As a recently acquired document (excerpted at left; click to enlarge) shows, the foundation wall of the planned arena, at at the arena property line, would be less than seven feet from the wall of the IRT subway line, specifically the tracks for the 2 or 3 trains going north along Flatbush Avenue toward Manhattan.

That means some very careful monitoring is required, as described in plans first made public here.

Plans initially denied

On May 24, I wrote about a Subway Indemnity Agreement signed by Brooklyn Arena LLC and the New York City Transit Authority, not only must proceed "in a good and workmanlike manner" but also must be subject to a monitoring plan, thus protecting critical transit system assets.

That's crucial, because portions of subway tunnels next to the arena site were described in 2007 as in "critical condition" and required repair "in the immediate future" and the "near future"--repairs Forest City Ratner is now obligated to make, though the cost is unclear (and could generate a request for future public support).

But the plan, at least as reproduced in the document, was illegible.

And, when I filed a Freedom of Information Law request for a legible copy, I was told no such copy exists.

Airing a complaint

So I wrote about that absurd situation and, a few weeks later, unbidden, I received a package from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which contained hard copies of the documents at issue: four huge blueprint-style documents, about 44" by 36".

article

NoLandGrab: Interestingly, if you add the dimensions of the documents together (44" + 36"), the sum is almost exactly equal to the distance between the subway tunnel wall and the arena foundation. Coincidence?

Posted by eric at 10:53 AM

July 27, 2010

"Temporary Change of Traffic Pattern on Flatbush Avenue" means one lane will be closed at least 17 months; did ESDC bury the real reason for change?

Atlantic Yards Report

The Empire State Development Corporation yesterday sent out a Community Notice (embedded below) announcing a "Temporary Change of Traffic Pattern on Flatbush Avenue" that will begin on August 1 and affect the area between Atlantic Avenue and Dean Street, a western boundary of the Atlantic Yards project.

Temporary? It will last at least 17 months, through early 2012. That's on the extended side of "temporary."

Change of traffic pattern? That means that one of six lanes on Flatbush will be closed. A "reversible center lane [will] provide a third travel lane in the peak direction." Expect new No Standing Anytime signs and traffic agents will be assigned to facilitate the flow of traffic.

(Click on graphic to enlarge)

Burying the real reason?

According to the notice, the work aims "to accommodate upgrades to the MTA vent structures along Flatbush Avenue."

Sure, but that seems to be the secondary reason.

According to the June 2009 Technical Memorandum, excerpted below, the vent structure upgrades were driven by the need to build a lay-by lane, thus allowing for "pick-up/drop-off and loading/unloading activity adjacent to the arena."

Was this predicted?

Was all this expected? Not really (as far as I can tell), which means the impact on traffic was not studied in the November 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).

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Click here to see a PDF version of the Empire State Development Corporation's "COMMUNITY NOTICE: Temporary Change of Traffic Pattern on Flatbush Avenue."

Additional coverage...

The Brooklyn Paper, Flatbush to get ‘narrow’ minded during arena construction

The area around the new home of the Brooklyn Nets will be anything but a slam dunk for drivers next month as Flatbush Avenue will be narrowed to accommodate construction workers.

The six-lane road will be squeezed to five lanes between Atlantic Avenue and Dean Street, and the center track will run in the peak direction — towards the Manhattan Bridge during the morning rush, and away from it the rest of the day.
...

ESDC spokeswoman Beth Mitchell said that traffic agents will be dispatched to make the three block lane loss as painless as possible.

“Traffic agents will be there as long as the [city] Department of Transportation determines they are necessary,” Mitchell said.

Expect those agents to keep busy. The area is constantly jammed, mostly due to car traffic, but congestion has also been exacerbated since the one-block portion of Fifth Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic avenues was eliminated. That roadway was a key part of the B63 bus line. Now, Downtown-bound buses must turn from Fifth Avenue onto Flatbush Avenue and then block traffic as they wait to turn left at Atlantic Avenue.
...

A southbound bus stop for the B41 and B67 will also be eliminated at Fifth Avenue as part of the construction.

NoLandGrab: This ought to be fun.

Posted by eric at 10:32 AM

July 25, 2010

PlaNYC 1950 under reconsideration? Parking minimums in Downtown Brooklyn may be dropped

Atlantic Yards Report

From Streetsblog, “Movement Afoot” to Drop Downtown Brooklyn Parking Minimums

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the Department of City Planning is currently studying the merits of parking minimums in some of New York's transit-rich neighborhoods, like Harlem and western Brooklyn and Queens. And local interests in at least one neighborhood, Downtown Brooklyn, are starting to mobilize around the issue. While the coalition has yet to go public, sources say there have been preliminary discussions about reducing, or even eliminating, parking minimums in the area, which would be a big victory for sustainable transportation.

Right now, parking minimums in Downtown Brooklyn force new developments to include huge garages, effectively subsidizing driving in one of New York City's most transit-rich neighborhoods.

...This round of discussions about parking minimums hasn't reached Community Board 2 yet, said District Manager Robert Perris, but he knows it's been tried before. "I know the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, on behalf of certain developments, and the Brooklyner was one of them, went to DCP and said these figures are crazy here," recalled Perris. "They were not successful in those negotiations." The Partnership refused to comment for this story.

They were also crazy when it comes to Atlantic Yards, adjacent to Downtown Brooklyn (or, if you believe the developer, part of it) and adjacent to a major transit hub, as I wrote in December 2007, calling it PlaNYC 1950.

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Posted by steve at 8:45 AM

July 20, 2010

On Pacific Street, truck traffic for arena construction seems to be backed up again

Atlantic Yards Report

More traffic mayhem in Prospect Heights, brought to you by the geniuses behind the Atlantic Yards project.

What's wrong with this picture of Pacific Street between Carlton and Sixth avenues?

Well, according to the Prospect Heights residents who sent me the photo yesterday, the trucks waiting to cross Sixth Avenue and enter the arena construction site were not following the rules as stated in the sign below.

Trucks are supposed to "queue as needed from Vanderbilt Ave to Carlton Street on Pacific Ave only." (The latter two, of course, were described incorrectly.)

Then the "flagger/radio operator at the intersection of Carlton Street and Pacific Avenue will dispatch trucks on an as called for basis from the Arena site radio operator."
...

The reason for the rules? Pacific Street between Vanderbilt and Carlton avenues has been closed, so it's a private street used for construction staging. Pacific Street between Sixth and Fifth avenues also has been closed (as has Fifth between Flatbush and Atlantic avenues) for construction.

However, Pacific Street between Carlton and Sixth remains a public street, with the residential Newswalk building occupying a larger portion of the block. So the drivers are supposed to be mindful of their surroundings.
...

Of the two dispatchers, one is responsible for managing between Vanderbilt and Carlton and one on the arena block site alerting the first dispatcher when space on the site is available and when to release truck(s) from Pacific and Carlton.

According to the tipster, that wasn't happening yesterday. The photo--as opposed to a video--isn't conclusive, but, according to the tipster, only after dispatchers at Sixth Avenue and Pacific Street recognized they were being watched did one return to Carlton Avenue.

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Posted by eric at 9:42 AM

June 11, 2010

Over 3,300 New Daily Visitors to Our Neighborhood?

My Little O

The New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) is in the process of negotiating a 20-year lease to occupy six floors (400,000-square-feet) of the telecom building at 470 Vanderbilt Avenue. If approved, HRA will consolidate over 1,700 employees from two current locations (210 Livingston Street in Brooklyn, and 330 W. 34th Street in Manhattan). The two agencies slated to move are Family Independence Administration (FIA), which provides food stamps and job services, and Medical Insurance and Community Services Administration (MICSA), which provides Medicaid.

In addition to the 1,700 staff, the two agencies will service about 1,600 clients each day. This will bring over 3,300 new daily visitors to the area. A presentation by representatives of HRA at last night’s Community Board 2 general meeting was not received will by both members of the board and the community. The primary concern is that the neighborhood’s infrastructure (parking and public transportation) is not equipped to handle the influx of that many daily visitors. CB2 board member, Mr. Andrew Lastowecky said, "The Clinton/Washington A and C subway stop cannot handle an additional 3,000 people each day during peak hours." If employees and clients do drive there are no parking facilities or roadside parking in the area to accommodate them either. Board members also expressed concerns about the potential traffic congestion that will occur if there's a significant increase in cars during the development of Atlantic Yards.

The board discussed the possibility of withholding support until the NYC Department of City Planning provided more information. But after further discussions, they voted to send a letter of disapproval to the NYC Planning Commission.

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NoLandGrab: Maybe they could use some of those 1,100 new surface parking spaces that Bruce Ratner plans as a gift to Prospect Heights, ensuring traffic jams in the a.m. as well as the p.m.? The sad thing is, 1,700 office workers would actually spend money in the community, unlike the basketball fans who'll be encouraged to part with their dollars solely within the confines of the Barclays Center.

Posted by eric at 10:32 AM

June 9, 2010

Nobody Could Have Predicted...Oh, Wait, Yes They Did

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

A traffic mess created by street closures and superblocks in the early stages of Bruce Ratner's Barclays Center Arena construction?!? What a surprise.

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Posted by eric at 10:34 PM

Traffic is a full-court press near Atlantic Yards, residents say

NY Daily News
by Erin Durkin

It's a traffic nightmare around the Atlantic Yards site, say residents.

Rush hour brings gridlock that can stretch for blocks on to once-quiet chunks of Dean and Bergen Sts., neighbors say.

The traffic snarls have increased since parts of Pacific St. and Fifth Ave. closed in early March to make way for developer Bruce Ratner's new Nets arena and 16-tower project, pushing more vehicles onto neighboring streets.

"It's crazy here," said Dean St. resident Gwen Orta, 49.
...

John Buchbinder, 57, of Pacific St., said whether he's walking, biking, or driving, it's gotten much harder to get around.

"This really has not been thought out," he said. "It's gridlock. It's brutal. I understand they need to do their construction thing, but this is making it quite intolerable for anyone who's around here."
...

Matthew Ingle, 41, who has lived on Dean St. for 11 years, said frustrated drivers jockey for position, block crosswalks, and blast their horns. "If it were just traffic, I couldn't care less," he said. "The horn honking is out of control."

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NoLandGrab: Who wants to bet that incredibly annoying horn-honking was not even mentioned in the Atlantic Yards Environmental Impact Statement? Or the increase in emissions from gridlocked vehicles, in a neighborhood with one of the city's highest asthma rates?

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Daily News follows up on Dean Street traffic issues

The story is headlined Traffic is a full-court press near Atlantic Yards, residents say. There's no credit to previous coverage by AYR.

From the article:

Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco said the developer is working on fixes such as traffic signal timing changes. The Department of Transportation will evaluate how well it's working and request changes if necessary, he said.

NLG: Yes, lengthening or shortening signal timings by two or three seconds ought to fix it. That's the ticket.

Posted by eric at 10:55 AM

June 7, 2010

Was accident on Dean Street caused by increased congestion linked to street closures? Neighbors say yes, as traffic has doubled

Atlantic Yards Report

We know that Atlantic Yards-related street closures have caused an increase in congestion on certain streets in Prospect Heights, but a car accident?

Residents of Dean Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues say aggressive driving, driver frustration, and a long traffic light has made their street more perilous, and they blame the traffic increase in the past two months for a three vehicle accident that occurred May 26 at about 6 pm and blocked the street for some 40 minutes.

(Approximate location of accident marked by oval. Map from mitigation plan. Click on graphics to enlarge.)

That's hard to pin down, and the Empire State Development Corporation says that the accident was not directly related to Atlantic Yards. But it is clear that, at the very least, driving on Dean Street has become much more fraught.

Before the street closures in early March--Fifth Avenue and parts of Pacific Street--it was rare for traffic to back up on Dean during rush hours.

Now that's typical, residents say, with the most intense traffic on weekdays in the late afternoon, as well as in the morning (as per my video) and on Saturday afternoons.

So that's an argument for much closer attention from the authorities.
...

The accident

Dean Street resident David Schlesinger reported: "I heard brakes, sliding on pavement, and then the collision. A car smashed into a van, and a third SUV hit the car, I assume while trying to avoid the accident."
...

"The accident blocked Dean Street for about 40 minutes. Vehicles used the sidewalks to get around the accident. It seemed like a very dangerous situation for pedestrians and cyclist. The police did not arrive on the scene for at least 30 minutes. The police pulled up just as the vehicles involved in the accident were cleared from the street."

"The aftermath was unreal," his neighbor Matt Ingle added. "First they were going up on sidewalk to Vanderbilt. Then ambulances showed up, and people were driving the wrong way down Dean Street [back to Carlton]."

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NoLandGrab: It is obvious to everyone who's observed Dean Street post-street closures that the Atlantic Yards environmental review didn't begin to anticipate the traffic chaos — despite plenty of warning from locals.

Posted by eric at 11:02 AM

June 3, 2010

The Dean Street Squeeze: widening the crosswalks won't help sidewalks never built for arena crowds

Atlantic Yards Report

Call it the Dean Street squeeze.

The main path to the arena from the 1100-space interim surface parking lot in the Atlantic Yards site will be along residential Dean Street.

The parking lot will be located between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues. The arena will be located west of Sixth Avenue.

Between Carlton and Sixth avenues, however, the route would get very tight, given that the sidewalk narrows to less than six feet in places, as shown above and in the photos below.

That's not what the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) says; it describes the "effective width" as 10.5 feet.

The bottom line: people will be tramping in tree beds and walking in the street.
...

To accommodate the overburdened crosswalk at Carlton and Dean, the ESDC agreed in 2006 to expand the crosswalk. When the parking lot was expanded last year, the ESDC again expanded the crosswalk.

The parking lot has again been expanded, without any attendant crosswalk revision, but, either way, the exercise is ridiculous.

Like water squeezed in a bag, the flow has to emerge somewhere. And that somewhere is Dean Street.

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Posted by eric at 7:37 AM

June 2, 2010

A fire truck barrels west along Dean Street against traffic; won't the potential for conflict increase?

Atlantic Yards Report

Fire trucks leaving the firehouse on Dean Street east of Sixth Avenue frequently drive west, against the traffic on the one-way street. Sometimes they go only a short distance to Sixth Avenue, and turn.

Other times, as in this case (filmed at about 9:15 am on June 1), they go all the way to Flatbush Avenue, along Dean, at the southern flank of the arena block, causing cars to scurry to the curb. The blue fencing begins outside the site of Freddy's Bar & Backroom.

(That's Peter Krashes of the Dean Street Block Association in the video, encouraging documentation.)

Potential for traffic conflict?

As demolition and construction increase at the site--not to mention traffic for an arena--wouldn't the potential for traffic conflict increase?

But that's not what the Empire State Development Corporation's Final Environmental Impact Statement says, in Chapter 5, Community Facilities:

Similar to NYPD operations, FDNY response times are not expected to be significantly affected by the closing of local streets or increased traffic as the project site is accessible by three of the borough’s major thoroughfares and service to surrounding areas is from FDNY facilities that have a broad geographic distribution.

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NoLandGrab: What's a minute or two of delayed response to a fire when we're getting the NBA's worst team?

Posted by eric at 10:34 AM

May 29, 2010

Second look: fire truck going the wrong way on Dean Street; clarification: congestion caused more by closure of Pacific Street than of bridge

Atlantic Yards Report

Yesterday I pointed to Tracy Collins's time-lapse photography of congestion on Dean Street adjacent to the Atlantic Yards footprint.

In the very brief segment below, he's pulled out the sequence in which a fire truck leaving the station at 494 Dean Street (just out of the frame on the left) travels west against traffic on Dean Street before turning right, north, on Sixth Avenue.

A clarification on cause of congestion

Yesterday and in previous coverage of congestion on Dean Street, I suggested that it was caused both by the closure of the Carlton Avenue Bridge, which should reopen in two years, and the permanent closure of parts of Pacific Street.

But the bridge closed in January 2008, and the increase in traffic didn't accelerate until parts of Pacific Street closed in March. So the latter deserves most of the blame.

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NoLandGrab: Closed bridge, closed streets, whatever. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Atlantic Yards has significantly slowed down emergency response times, though the ESDC and the city swear it hasn't. What's a few seconds when Bruce's profits are on the line?

Posted by eric at 10:31 AM

May 28, 2010

Traffic on Dean Street: Documentation of three intersections, by Tracy Collins, shows congestion and challenges

Atlantic Yards Report

I've been using a camera as a rather wobbly tool to document traffic and street conditions in and around the Atlantic Yards footprint. Below, Tracy Collins, who's a far more able photographer, has produced some videos with far more clarity.

Dean Street will be the main (only?) route to the massive interim surface parking lot on the southeast block of the project footprint. It's already backed up, both in the morning (as I showed), and in the afternoon (as Collins shows below in the first video).

Some of that is related to the closure of the Carlton Avenue Bridge, which should reopen in two years, but some is related to the permanent closure of parts of Pacific Street.

And the presence of double-parked vehicles could compound congestion; a vehicular accident would make it worse. There's not a lot of leeway.

So perhaps the workers counting traffic for the city (Department of Transportation, presumably) will recommend some fixes.

Click thru for more, including several videos, including the one above.

NoLandGrab: Any "fixes" are likely to be nothing more than lipstick on a hockey mom — Bruce Ratner's superblocks and thousands of parking spaces will surely make an already congested area well nigh unbearable.

Posted by eric at 9:38 AM

May 24, 2010

Brutally weird: There's a monitoring plan to ensure arena construction doesn't damage subways. But it's illegible. Ask for legible copy? Unavailable.

Atlantic Yards Report

The construction of the Atlantic Yards arena, according to a Subway Indemnity Agreement signed by Brooklyn Arena LLC and the New York City Transit Authority, not only must proceed "in a good and workmanlike manner" but also must be subject to a monitoring plan, thus protecting critical transit system assets.

The monitoring plan begins on the 29th page of the document below.

But you can't read it, as the two sample excerpts below show.

It's illegible. [Click for a larger, though no more legible, version.]

So I asked the MTA press office for a legible copy.

My request was ignored.

I filed a request with the NYCTA FOIL officer.

I was told to file with the MTA.

I refiled the request with the MTA FOIL officer and got the following response: In response to your May 20, 2010 [request], please be advised that the MTA does not have a more legible copy of Exhibit A of the Subway Indemnity Agreement. This completes the MTA's response to your FOIL request.

Catch-22

Well, if the MTA doesn't have a more legible copy, then how do we know what's supposed to be in the monitoring plan?

Answer, we don't.

Perhaps some of our elected officials might want to check into this.

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NoLandGrab: "Brutally weird?" Norman Oder's too kind. More like completely moronic. But that's our tax dollars at work.

Posted by eric at 9:27 AM

May 17, 2010

How the ESDC quietly increased the amount of (lingering temporary) parking on Block 1129, and why that's an argument for more oversight

Atlantic Yards Report

When the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) posted an updated version of the Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments (aka Memorandum of Mitigation Commitments), signed in December, the amount of parking on the southeast block of the site was apparently increased.

Block 1129, bounded by Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues and Dean and Pacific Streets, was as of 2006 supposed to hold a 944-space parking lot. Last June, when the project began re-approval, the parking lot grew to 1044 spaces. Only after the process was there any notice that the parking lot would hold 1100 spaces.

I tried to figure out why--and didn't get a full answer.
...

Surface parking and the need for oversight

Another 650 or so surface parking spaces would be made available on Block 1120, bounded by Sixth and Carlton avenues and Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street, which contains both ground-level land and below-grade tracks.

BrooklynSpeaks pointed out in March that Atlantic Avenue was the borough's most dangerous road and that parking at the site should be reduced.

That hasn't happened, and Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council (PHNDC) and BrooklynSpeaks suggested that the ongoing issue of traffic and parking demanded greater oversight:

Since its inception, the sponsors of the BrooklynSpeaks initiative have called attention to the traffic and transportation issues raised by the Atlantic Yards project. It is one of our key prinicples underlying an Atlantic Yards that works for Brooklyn. We have specifically attempted to engage the ESDC on the plan to allow nearly 1,700 “interim” surface parking spaces on the Phase II site prior to construction. Unfortunately, the agency’s May 2007 promises to have a substantive and ongoing discussion of this and other traffic issues affecting public safety and quality of life in a “transportation working group” have so far been unfulfilled. We hope that the recent attention on Atlantic Yards’ lack of public accountability will motivate the State to reform its stewardship of the largest development in Brooklyn’s history.

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NoLandGrab: Nothing alleviates "blight" like acres and acres of surface parking lots!

Posted by eric at 11:27 AM

April 27, 2010

Idling dump trucks block Pacific Street, pinning drivers in: photos

Atlantic Yards Report

A photographer reports from Pacific Street: some 12-15 dump trucks being used for Atlantic Yards were parked idling and lined up throughout the block of Pacific Street between 6th and Carlton Avenues.

This blocked some drivers for up to an hour. Had the fire department needed to use Pacific Street or had mistakenly turned down Pacific, it would have been a dangerous mess, he says.

link

NoLandGrab: Who wants to bet this type of thing was never mentioned in the "Construction Impacts" section of the Environmental Impact Statement?

Posted by eric at 10:27 PM

March 30, 2010

Klores, whose firm works on Atlantic Yards, tells NPR that Nets move is "gonna be great" (but maybe not the traffic)

Atlantic Yards Report

Dan Klores, whose eponymous p.r. firm handles communications for the Atlantic Yards project, appeared on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show yesterday.

And then, at about 27 minutes in, Pesca brought up the Nets.

A good thing for the city?

"What about the Nets moving to Brooklyn if and when it happens," asked Pesca. "Will that be a good thing for the city?"

"Yeah," responded the Brooklyn-born Klores enthusiastically. "It's a great thing for the city. Y'know, you gotta give those guys credit. I mean, whether you're for it or against it, boy, they stood with it.

Who's they? The developer, the DKC client Klores found no opportunity to mention, that consistently extracted more government subsidies and concessions?
...

"And they'll build a team--they'll build a team," he added, mindful of the meme that the Nets are well-positioned, with draft choices and cap space, to acquire better players. "I think it's gonna be great. I don't know what it's gonna do for traffic--but it's going to be great."

Yes, even Klores admits that adding more rush hour traffic to the area around Flatbush and Atlantic avenues might not be a good idea.

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Posted by eric at 10:48 AM

March 23, 2010

(Yet More) Sign(s) of the Apocalypse

Brownstoner, Tell Us How You Really Feel

It's news to us, but evidently some people in Prospect Heights have some reservations about the mega-project that's about to take over their neighborhood.

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill, Not-so Mixed Messages

An Atlantic Yards protester showed some serious initiative (and skill with a set of bolt cutters) by sabotaging a digital traffic sign this morning.

Gawker, Brooklyn to Bruce Ratner: F— You

Negative role model Joe Biden's four-letter influence has taken hold, at the corner of Flatbush and St. Marks, where mischievous Brooklyn protested developer Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards gentrification party today. Ratner is not amused. But everyone else is!

NBC New York, Anti-Ratner F-Bomb on Brooklyn Traffic Sign

Tell us how you really feel?

Reason Hit & Run, “A spokesman for Ratner didn't immediately return a call for comment.”

Less than two weeks after New York real estate tycoon Bruce Ratner and his buddies in the state and city governments held their big groundbreaking ceremony for the Atlantic Yards boondoggle, an enterprising Brooklyn protester took matters into his or her own hands this morning by hacking into one of the signs redirecting traffic around the construction site.

Posted by eric at 9:49 PM

March 19, 2010

DOT Creates Car Mayhem On Little Old Park Place

Bike Rides in Brooklyn... And Other Matters.

Blogger Matthew Weinstein reports on the traffic disaster that Bruce Ratner's street closings have wreaked on Park Place — traffic impacts that were completely unforeseen in the 4,000-page Atlantic Yards Final Environmental Impact Statement.

The term Park Place appears in only a handful of places in the gigantic ass-covering document, and only in the context of being an intersection with Vanderbilt Avenue. The traffic studies did not anticipate backups on Park Place — it didn't even analyze possible effects on that quiet residential street — so needless to say, neither did it proffer any remedies.

But take heart, Mr. Weinstein, these non-impact impacts should only persist for 30 years or so.

I'm a bicyclist and the very last person you know who would criticize the DOT for restricting car traffic. Kudos to them for all the new bike lanes in our city and other traffic-calming schemes designed to make our streets quieter, safer and more breathable and to get people out of their cars and into mass transit or onto their bikes or feet!

However! Bruce Ratner recently broke ground for his mega-development and stadium at the Atlantic train yards. Not only is this ill-begotten land-grab-of-a-scheme stinking to high heaven from corruption and public/private malfeasance, it's also creating havoc on our quiet, residential streets due to collusion, I believe, between the billionaire developer and the city to make things go smoothly ... not for you and me but for Ratner and his stadium.

If you live in Prospect Heights, you may have noticed a huge uptick in traffic on little old Park Place, a narrow, residential eastbound-only street. But you may not know the reason. Here's why. If one drives south on Flatbush Avenue - i.e. from the Manhattan Bridge heading toward Prospect Park, there are very few opportunities to turn left (eastbound). Yet, large amounts of people live in our neighborhoods to the east of Flatbush Avenue: in Prospect Heights and Crown Heights and beyond.

If you live in those neighborhoods and want to go east from Flatbush Avenue, once you pass Lafayette Avenue, you cannot turn left for almost a full mile, until you reach Park Place! That's because --

• There's no left on Hanson Place - it was closed permanently a while ago.

• There's no left on Atlantic Avenue.

• There's no left on Fifth Avenue or Pacific Street - closed permanently.

• There's no left on Dean Street - ever! (until last week one could at least make a left after 7 pm and all day Sundays).

• There's no left on St. Marks Avenue.

This traffic nightmare was "designed" by the folks at DOT and it has transformed Park Place from a relatively quiet and traffic-free street into a major eastbound thoroughfare. Long lines of traffic between Flatbush Avenue and Vanderbilt Avenue are common - cars very often take several red light cycles to finally pass through the intersection at Vanderbilt.

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Posted by eric at 9:41 PM

March 13, 2010

Transit-oriented development? Allegedly. Transit-oriented groundbreaking? Not when Dean Street's "a parking lot."

Atlantic Yards Report

The Atlantic Yards project has been pitched as transit-oriented development because the site borders a transit hub and is near other stations, but, as urban planner Tom Angotti has pointed out, it doesn't add any transit capacity--except, I'd add, a new entrance to the Atlantic Avenue station.

But it would add some 3600 parking spaces--PlaNYC 1950, as I've suggested--and, for an indefinite amount of time, 1044 (or more) surface parking spaces.

So a good number of people would still be driving, and that was quite clear at the Barclays Center groundbreaking on Thursday, which drew perhaps 1000 people, a good number of them coming by car.

That meant traffic was backed up on Dean Street near the site.

...

Among those contributing to the congestion: vehicles like the one at left, ferrying Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

On Brownstoner, "architect66" commented on the urban design of AY:

It's a lost opportunity. Development over the yards could have been better, could have connected Park Slope with Fort Greene, could have promoted more economic growth by extending and connecting commercial strips on 5th Ave, Flatbush Ave. and Vanderbilt Ave., could have provided thousands of lineal feet of vibrant streets and graceful public places, but no, this design doesn't do that. A squandered opportunity.

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Posted by steve at 8:54 AM

March 12, 2010

Atlantic Yards: Making Dangerous Streets More Dangerous

Mobilizing the Region
by Kyle Wiswall

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a member of the BrooklynSpeaks coalition, warns about more traffic mayhem (courtesy of the Atlantic Yards project) and prescribes some potential mitigations.

A report released last month by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign named Atlantic Avenue the most dangerous road for pedestrians in Brooklyn with 9 deaths over the three years from 2006 to 2008. Nearby Fourth Avenue ranked third with 6 pedestrian fatalities in the same period. Both roads ranked among the most dangerous in the entire NY/CT/NJ region, with Atlantic Avenue ranking third overall. With 20,000 additional car trips a day projected to be generated by the Atlantic Yards arena and housing project, which broke ground yesterday, these numbers may get much worse.

Many of the accidents in the report occurred near the Atlantic Yards site. For example, a 58-year-old woman was struck and killed in February of 2008 at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and 5th Avenue, a 37 year old male was killed at Atlantic and Nevins in 2006, and, in 2007, a 4 year old was killed at 3rd Ave and Baltic. All of these intersections could see traffic increases due to Atlantic Yards.

Crossing congested areas like the notorious Atlantic and Flatbush intersection on foot is already tempting fate. A time lapse video posted recently at Not Another F*cking Blog vividly demonstrates the overcrowded and dangerous conditions and the Crashstat.org map below shows a cluster of injuries in this area. Sadly, it appears to be only a matter of time before more lives are claimed along Atlantic Avenue.

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Posted by eric at 4:51 PM

March 9, 2010

Brooklyn Streets Close For Atlantic Yards Construction

NY1 News
by Jeanine Ramirez

After years of controversy and delay, some major streets in Brooklyn closed Monday, ahead of the much-anticipated groundbreaking this week for the Atlantic Yards Project.

Fencing went up to block off Fifth Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic Avenue, Pacific Street between Vanderbilt and Carleton, and Pacific Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

Traffic officers did their best to help drivers get around.

"You see the traffic on Atlantic Avenue now, it's wild; it's crazy," said driver Austin James, a Fort Greene resident. "I don't know what the solution is. It's going to be a nightmare."

link

Related coverage...

NBC New York, Streets Close as Atlantic Yards Construction Moves Ahead

Traffic is getting snarled around the site of the planned Atlantic Yards complex in downtown Brooklyn, as streets in the area reportedly begin to close to clear way for construction on the controversial $4.9 million project.

Street closings include Fifth Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic Avenue, Pacific Street between Vanderbilt and Carleton, and Pacific Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, New York 1 reports. The area is already backlogged with traffic and many drivers are expecting a traffic "nightmare."

Apparently, that traffic nightmare has already begun.

Atlantic Yards Report, "Turbulence and confusion" as drivers go wrong way on Pacific Street

"I do not expect perpetual gridlock, and my name is 'Gridlock Sam,'" observed Forest City Ratner consultant Sam Schwartz at a meeting on street closings February 24. "I absolutely believe there will be turbulence and confusion the first few days this goes in."

Indeed, even though the street closings plan maintains Pacific Street between Sixth and Carlton avenues as one-way westbound, that message, on the second day of changes, has not gotten through, according to the photos forwarded to me of traffic going east. (Click on graphics to enlarge)

[Warning: Take Dramamine before viewing video.]

NoLandGrab: Is there at least a little irony in the fact that it's a New York City garbage truck going the wrong way on Pacific Street? Forest City Ratner-funded Traffic Control Agents helping drivers navigate the new street configuration don't seem to be having much of an affect.

Posted by eric at 1:29 PM

March 8, 2010

Want to fix Fourth Avenue? Slow ‘em down!

The Brooklyn Paper
by Andy Campbell

In all the talk about how to fix Fourth Avenue, a consensus is emerging around one single idea: slow those cars down!

That’s the new message being touted by city planners, transportation officials and residents as more and more people get on the bandwagon to turn at least the Park Slope portion of the Downtown-Bay Ridge speedway into more of a neighborhood street.
...

The [New York University] students will present their final proposal [for re-imagining Fourth Avenue] in May. NYU grad student Noah Levine wouldn’t release much until the proposal is finished, but we do know that Borough President Markowitz wants furniture on the sidewalks, a tree-lined portion that mimics Park Avenue in Manhattan and a wide pedestrian walkway.

But he also wants the New Jersey Nets to move to a 19,000-seat arena at the northern terminus of Fourth Avenue, which is expected to be completed in 2012 and would be something of a punctuation mark on the boulevard’s boom, which began with the 2003 rezoning that allowed 12-story residential buildings, a change in zoning that set off a wave of construction, mostly between Atlantic Avenue and the Prospect Expressway.

article

Posted by eric at 11:47 AM

Brooklyn Streets Close For Atlantic Yards Construction

NY1 News

After years of controversy and delay, streets are closing in Brooklyn, ahead of the much-anticipated groundbreaking this week for the Atlantic Yards Project.

Street closings include Fifth Avenue between Flatbush and 6th, Pacific Street between Vanderbilt and Carleton, and Pacific Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

The project has divided the surrounding neighborhood – with some accepting the long-term goals of the construction, and others taking issue with eminent domain and the possibility of more traffic.

While many say there are some benefits as far as jobs and affordable housing, they say adjustments that could have been made were not and they plan to monitor the project very closely.

"We need to make sure the city and state are responsive, open, and are prepared to make changes when there are complaints that come forward from the community, that we have a mechanism to do so, that our complaints and concerns don't fall on deaf ears,” said Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries.

link

Posted by eric at 11:36 AM

Atlantic & Flatbush time lapse

Not Another F*cking Blog

Photographer Tracy Collins set up his camera at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues yesterday to capture the action. Notice that, despite the presence of a Traffic Control Agent, the pedestrian crosswalks are blocked by cars during nearly every signal movement.

Atlantic and Flatbush time lapse from Tracy Collins on Vimeo.

This intersection would be the northwest corner of Forest City Ratner’s 22-acre Atlantic Yards development and the site of the 18,000-seat Barclays Center basketball arena for the NBA Nets.

Traffic is typically miserable here and would only get much worse if and when Atlantic Yards is built.

link

NoLandGrab: If traffic control agents can't keep the crosswalks clear now, the building of the Barclays Center does not bode well for Brooklyn's pedestrians.

Posted by eric at 9:59 AM

March 5, 2010

Whither parking maximums for large developments near transit? DCP is moving slowly to implement some obvious recommendations

Atlantic Yards Report

Noah Kazis of Streetsblog has written an important three-part series on the reshaping of New York City and its consequences for sustainability and livable streets.

And while Atlantic Yards is not mentioned, the failures in the planning for this megaproject--some 3600 spaces--fit right into the critique.

There would 1044 spaces for indefinite interim surface parking, plus (ultimately) the 2570 underground spaces intended for the project's residential component and an additional 1100 underground spaces for the arena that would replace the surface parking.
...
In Part 2, The Next New York: How the Planning Department Sabotages Sustainability, Kazis wrote:

Density, however, is only one piece of the planning process. Amanda Burden's planning department has laid the foundation for transit-oriented growth, but so far failed to create conditions where walkable development can flourish.

Across the city, mandatory parking minimums are holding New York back from true transit-oriented development. Additionally, the largest development projects in the city tend to sacrifice good planning in order to satisfy demands from developers with little interest in creating walkable places. Even as the Department of City Planning takes steps toward good urbanist principles in its rezonings, planners are sabotaging that very effort.

The department's parking policy is one major impediment. By requiring most new residential developments to include a minimum number of parking spaces per unit, the department is artificially inflating the supply of parking, inducing more traffic and subsidizing car ownership.

While Atlantic Yards is not mentioned--indeed, it's not a city rezoning but an override of zoning--it fits right into the critique.

article

Posted by lumi at 6:00 AM

March 1, 2010

ESDC COMMUNITY NOTICE: Closure of Sections of Fifth Avenue and Pacific Street

Beginning on Monday, March 8, 2010

On Monday, March 8, 2010 by 6 AM, the following streets in Brooklyn will be permanently closed:

  • Fifth Avenue (between Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues)

  • Pacific Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues)

  • Pacific Street (between Vanderbilt and Carlton Avenues)

Local and emergency vehicle access will be maintained as needed.

These streets are being closed to accommodate the Atlantic Yards project. Northbound traffic on Fifth Avenue can use Flatbush Avenue or Sixth Avenue to continue north; southbound traffic can use Sixth Avenue. Eastbound traffic on Pacific Street can use Dean Street; westbound traffic can use Bergen Street.

To facilitate vehicle circulation, Sixth Avenue (between Flatbush Avenue and Pacific Street) will become two-way and the block of Pacific Street (between Carlton and Sixth Avenues) will become one-way westbound.

These changes necessitate the removal of the Cobble Hill-bound B63 bus stop on Fifth Avenue, between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue. Passengers can use existing bus stops on Fifth Avenue (at Bergen Street) and on Atlantic Avenue (at Fourth Avenue).

Please see the detour map below.

Advisory signs will be posted in advance of the closures and detour signs will be posted during the work. Traffic agents will be assigned to facilitate the flow of traffic and pedestrians.

Questions relating to this project may be addressed to:

Atlantic Yards Community Liaison Office
(866) 923-5315
communityliaison@atlanticyards.com

Empire State Development Corporation
Office of the Atlantic Yards Ombudsman
(212) 803-3233
atlanticyards@empire.state.ny.us

ESDCStreetClosureMap030110.jpg

Posted by eric at 9:28 PM

Untangling the "conundrum" of Carlton Avenue Bridge; crucial delays were (likely) caused by FCR's cheaper redesign of the permanent Vanderbilt Yard

Atlantic Yards Report

How did the closure of the Carlton Avenue Bridge--a key thoroughfare between Prospect Heights and Fort Greene--turn from a two-year project to a stalled venture lasting more than four years, scheduled for reconstruction only in time for the opening of the Atlantic Yards arena?

Forest City Ratner (FCR) executive Jane Marshall last week called it "a conundrum," blaming the delay on the complexity of reconstructing a bridge that straddles the Vanderbilt Yard, a key element of the Atlantic Yards project.

But that explanation, as well as further elaboration by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), doesn't add up.

Notably, the bridge was originally supposed to reopen by the time a temporary railyard was completed--and the latter has been accomplished.

Also, unmentioned in the explanations, a key factor in the delay was likely Forest City Ratner's effort last year--well after the demolition process had begun--to renegotiate plans for a smaller and less costly permanent railyard.

In fact, it's possible that we won't see further action on the bridge until June 2011, the date "Improved Yard construction documents" are due to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The arena might open a year later, which means the bridge might be closed for four-and-a-half years.

article

Posted by lumi at 4:30 AM

February 28, 2010

Carlton Avenue Bridge

Photo by Tracy Collins, via flickr Atlantic Yards Photo Pool.

Carlton Avenue Bridge

Carlton Avenue at Pacific Street
Prospect Heights
Brooklyn, New York

The Carlton Avenue Bridge over the Vanderbilt rail yard was demolished for Atlantic Yards.

Posted by steve at 10:00 AM

February 26, 2010

Document: the revised plan for street closures and traffic changes

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder has the latest iteration of Forest City Ratner's still-pending street-closing plan.

Wondering about the revised plan for street closures, and other traffic changes that was debuted at the public meeting on Wednesday, February 24?

Draft Mitigation Plan Fifth Ave-Pacific St Closures 022410 (2)

link

Posted by eric at 9:06 AM

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.)

article

Posted by eric at 10:53 AM

February 24, 2010

Hit and run raises questions about Flatbush Ave.

Courier Life Publications
by Thomas Tracy

Sunday morning's tragic hit-and-run on Flatbush Avenue, which left 22-year-old Erinn Phelan reportedly brain-dead and her friend Alma Guerrero with a broken collarbone, has led to more questions about the potential effects of Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project on local road safety.

[City Council member Letitia] James said that the Sunday morning accident exemplifies the need for more traffic calming on Flatbush Avenue.

“It’s a speedway and it’s only going to get worse with the Atlantic Yards and the continued growth in Brooklyn,” explained James, who believes that the re-synchronization of traffic signals and more general lighting would bring some much needed relief. “We’re not looking for street furniture, we’re going to be pushing for combatting problems with speeding.”

James said that the DOT seemed “receptive” to the traffic light ideas she and the North Flatbush BID are proposing.
...

Cops from the 78th and 77th precincts said that they are stepping up traffic enforcement on Flatbush Avenue in light of Phelan’s accident and other complaints.

“We’re doing a lot more speeding enforcement,” Deputy Inspector John Argenziano, commanding officer of the 78th Precinct told members of the 78th Precinct Community Council Tuesday.

article

NoLandGrab: The Atlantic Yards Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) admits that the thousands of parking spaces planned for Atlantic Yards will generate thousands of additional daily car trips. What's uncertain is whether those trips will lead to slower speeds as a result of added congestion, or more speeding when frustrated drivers finally get past the gridlock.

One thing the FEIS didn't take into consideration: the potentially impairing effects of alcohol consumed inside the Barclays Center on the thousands of drivers — and pedestrians — leaving arena events.

Posted by eric at 10:55 PM

Tonight: Public Meeting on Planned Street Closings for Atlantic Yards

Council Members Letitia James, Brad Lander & Stephen Levin
with Community Boards 2, 6 and 8
present a
Public Information Meeting
on the
STREET CLOSINGS at ATLANTIC YARDS

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
6:00-8:00 PM
Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church
85 South Oxford Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11217

Representatives will be present from NYC Department of Transportation and Forest City Ratner Companies to brief interested residents of planned permanent street closings in the project area.

Posted by eric at 9:41 AM

February 23, 2010

Willets Point owners ramp up attack on city plan

Foes of the big redevelopment project have an interesting weapon on their side: the traffic engineer who helped derail the old Westway plan.

Crain's NY Business
by Erik Engquist

The traffic engineer who helped kill Westway, the massive West Side highway project proposed during the Koch administration, now has his sights set on derailing the city’s redevelopment of Willets Point.

Local property owners fighting the project are banking on traffic engineer Brian Ketcham’s study that shows two proposed ramps would increase traffic on the Van Wyck Expressway and have made it a key element of their lawsuit challenging the project’s environmental impact statement.

The Bloomberg administration has argued that the ramps are necessary to prevent a traffic nightmare at the site.

The original environmental impact statement, or EIS, showed the massive Willets Point project would generate heavy traffic, but a recent report on the proposed ramps showed a much sunnier picture. The ramp study—an “access modification report,” or AMR, which is technical documentation to support federal and state decisions on whether to approve the ramps—is being redone after Mr. Ketcham used traffic data from the environmental impact statement to demonstrate that the ramps would make a bad situation worse.

article

Posted by eric at 11:22 PM

February 22, 2010

CBN PRESS RELEASE: Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods Asks: DOT, Stop Hurting Our Neighborhoods!

The Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods has written to NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan asking the DOT to remove signs and traffic modifications that are having a negative impact on the area.

The traffic modifications and other changes are intended to allow for construction of the proposed Barclays Arena by Forest City Ratner Companies. The courts have not ruled on the eminent domain questions required for land transfers and conceivably may not decide for months or years.

“DOT’s actions are completely premature and seem to be made at the request of a developer who doesn’t have the right to proceed with construction,” said Steve Soblick, chair of CBN. “So the thousands of people in our communities lose the use of our sidewalks, streets, and bridges because Forest City is telling DOT what to do? This is completely unacceptable.”

In its letter (text below) CBN made five requests:

  1. Remove the Variable Message Signs

  2. Do not change the 1-way status of Carlton Avenue or 6th Avenue

  3. Keep Pacific Street between Vanderbilt and 6th Avenue open for traffic and parking. Make Pacific Street (Vanderbilt-6th Ave.) 1-way West

  4. Rebuild and restore the Carlton Avenue Bridge to the NYC street grid NOW

  5. Insure that Construction Traffic, the Big Rigs, be confined to the Big Truck Routes, Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues

CBN hopes their requests will be addressed at the upcoming Public Meeting on the Street Closures scheduled for the Wednesday, February 24th, 6-8PM at the Lafayette Presbyterian Church, 85 South Oxford Street at Lafayette Avenue, in Ft. Greene.

TEXT OF LETTER

February 21, 2010

Ms. Janette Sadik-Khan
Commissioner, New York City Department of Transportation
55 Water Street
New York, NY 10041

Dear Commissioner Sadik-Khan:

At the most recent General Membership meeting of the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods, a concerned discussion was held about the confusion and steadily increasing inconvenience being experienced by drivers and pedestrians in the 5 neighborhoods encompassing and surrounding the proposed Atlantic Yards development. Members from Prospect Heights called for relief from the confusion being wreaked on Brooklyn streets and traffic by the DOT's premature installation of massive Variable Message Signs in the vicinity of Forest City Ratner's proposed Atlantic Yards development. Further discussion addressed the safety problems that would likely arise should DOT, piecemeal, change historically 1-way streets briefly into 2-way streets (i.e. Carlton Avenue for 1-block between Dean/Pacific, 6th Avenue for four blocks between Atlantic/Flatbush). The courts have not approved the use of eminent domain without which no land transfers can occur, and without which none of the street changes and signage proposed by DOT are required.

Therefore, the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods requests the Department of Transportation immediately take the following actions:

  1. Remove the Variable Message Signs
    The signs were put in place to announce street closings which cannot happen until the courts rule with finality on the eminent domain question. This may not happen for months, or years. Despite the huge Variable Message Signs being dark and without message, they remain in place, depriving our neighborhoods of always scarce parking spaces. The VMS also seriously impede pedestrian passage where erected on the bluestone sidewalks of the Prospect Heights Historic District, Ft. Greene, and Park Slope. The signs can easily be stored locally.

  2. Do not change the 1-way status of Carlton Avenue or 6th Avenue
    Changing the traffic flow of these few-block changes would deprive the neighborhood of scarce parking spaces, as well as confuse drivers familiar with those 1-way streets. Nearby, the 1-way block of Underhill Ave. that was made 2-way between Atlantic Ave./Pacific St. is quite dangerous due to unaware, inattentive drivers.

  3. Keep Pacific Street between Vanderbilt and 6th Avenue open for traffic and parking. Make Pacific Street (Vanderbilt-6th Ave.) 1-way West --
    Again, this street closure is premature but changing direction of this block of Pacific Street would accommodate the traffic changes put in place earlier by DOT and facilitate the continuing 1-way status of Carlton Ave. (North) and 6th Avenue (South).

  4. Rebuild and restore the Carlton Avenue Bridge to the NYC street grid NOW.
    The Carlton Avenue Bridge, a critical emergency-response route used by the FDNY & NYPD, was eliminated more than 2 years ago without advance notice even to the Fire Station a block away. It is necessary to public safety. Yet, Brooklyn has been deprived of this most important link between neighborhoods -- walking, biking, driving -- not for the 8 months promised, but for 26 months so far! Neither the Empire State Development Corp. nor Forest City Ratner will give a deadline for re-opening the Carlton Avenue Bridge. The Department of Transportation must exercise its responsibilities to the health and safety of the citizens of New York City, not the amorphous project timelines of a corporate developer who cannot claim to have a project plan or timeline.

  5. Insure that Construction Traffic, the Big Rigs, be confined to the Big Truck Routes, Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues
    Large construction and service vehicles must be confined to the major streets surrounding the proposed Atlantic Yards footprint and NOT be allowed to truckquake and rattle our homes on the residential streets of Prospect Heights, Park Slope, Ft. Greene, and Boerum Hill. In the Final Environmental Impact Statement the DOT gave assurances to the Community that this would be enforced; the Community expects this assurance to be enforced.

Thank you for your attention to the concerns our members have raised.

Respectfully,

Stephen Soblick

Chairman, Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods

The Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods is composed of established community organizations in Brooklyn Community Board districts 2, 6,and 8 who came together to assure full and effective community participation in the Atlantic Yards development process. Our meetings are open to all. For further information please email us at cbrooklynneighborhooods@hotmail.com.

Posted by eric at 11:47 AM

February 16, 2010

Council Members call February 24 public meeting on street closings; FCR and DOT reps will appear; Dean Street Block Association raises concerns

Atantic Yards Report

Those concerned about street closures (plan at bottom, by Forest City Ratner consultant Sam Schwartz Engineering( in the Atlantic Yards footprint will get another chance to query representatives of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and FCR at a public meeting at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, 85 South Oxford Street in Fort Greene on Wednesday, February 24, from 6-8 pm.

The meeting was arranged by City Council Member Letitia James, who represents the district (35) that includes the AY footprint, along with the Council Members who represent adjoining districts: Brad Lander (39) and Steve Levin (33).

It is co-sponsored by Community Boards 2, 6 & 8. Along with representatives of the developer and DOT, the Empire State Development Corporation's AY Ombudsman, Forrest Taylor, is expected to be in attendance.

There have been two previous public meetings, one lightly publicized, and both held about a mile-and-a-half away: one before the Transportation Committee of Community Board 6 and the other before the 78th Precinct Community Council. The church is much closer to the site.

Closures on hold

At the meetings, held last month, representatives of both FCR and DOT assumed that the closures--Fifth Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic avenues, and Pacific Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues and Carlton and Vanderbilt Avenues--were on track for February 1.

However, a state judge put condemnations--and thus the closures--on hold, leading to significant confusion and misleading signs regarding whether the streets would actually close.

The dynamic of the February 24 meeting may depend somewhat on whether state Supreme Court Justice Abraham Gerges has ruled on the condemnations; it's possible that if he upholds the condemnations, the streets will be closed before the meeting.

[Update: A press release from James's office says streets "are now expected to close on March 1." That assumes that Gerges will rule in favor of condemnation before then.]

article

NoLandGrab: And if Judge Gerges hasn't yet ruled, you can bet that the normally sour-pussed Forest City VP Jane Marshall will be looking more dour than ever.

Posted by eric at 3:41 PM

February 10, 2010

Civic to tackle Fourth Avenue too

Park Slope Courier
by Gary Buiso

The Park Slope Civic Council will devote its annual forum to the future of the roadway, envisioned by Borough President Marty Markowitz to one day boast a grandeur akin to Manhattan’s Park Avenue.

Marty Markowitz, aesthete.

Michael Cairl, the chair of the civic’s livable streets committee, said the forum is entirely independent of the borough president’s comments at the state of the borough address last week, where the beep said he envisions a transformation of the avenue from “Atlantic Avenue to the Atlantic Ocean” into a magnificent “Brooklyn boulevard.”

“We like the fact that the avenue is changing, but the avenue has challenges in traffic and challenges in development, and we want to get the community at the table to see what they think,” Cairl said.

The avenue has seen a flurry of construction activity since 2003 when the Park Slope rezoning was passed,protecting lower rise side streets — but allowing buildings as tall as 120 feet to rise along Fourth. And while the building boom has slowed for now, the Atlantic Yards project is expected put renewed development and traffic pressures on the avenue, making focused attention there critical, Cairl noted.

article

Posted by eric at 11:50 AM

February 4, 2010

Carlton will be two-way, afterall?

Photo by Tracy Collins, via flickr Atlantic Yards Photo Pool.

Carlton Avenue at Dean Street
Prospect Heights
Brooklyn, New York

These new traffic signs were installed today. They imply that the block of Carlton Avenue between Dean and Pacific Streets (it's out of view, behind the camera), will be changed from one-way to two-way, despite a recent presentation by Forest City Ratner that this would not happen. Carlton is currently one-way, going north (from the background to foreground in this photo). Parking along the eastern side of the block would be removed to accommodate the two-way traffic.

The closure of several blocks, rerouting of traffic, removal of some off-street parking and the creation of off-street parking for the NYPD 78th precinct would all occur for Atlantic Yards construction.

Posted by eric at 4:19 PM

February 2, 2010

Who's in charge? Untangling the street closing mystery and the government's long leash for Forest City Ratner

Atlantic Yards Report

At this point, the headline of Norman Oder's latest installment is a rhetorical question. We know who is in charge, we really only want to understand, "Why?" and "How come?"

Forest City Ratner waited well over two days to change digital signs warning that Fifth Avenue between Atlantic and Flatbush avenues would close on February 1--despite a judge's decision last Friday to defer any decision on transferring title to properties and streets in the Atlantic Yards footprint to the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC).

So a lot of people walking and driving this weekend had a right to be confused when the street turned out to be open this morning.

(Photo looking north on Fifth Avenue below Flatbush Avenue, by Tracy Collins.)

And no one really knew who was in charge.

Was it the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT)? Not really, even though FCR said it would have to ask for DOT permission to close the streets without a judicial order. After all, I couldn't even get an on-the-record statement out of DOT.

Was it the ESDC? Maybe, given that an ESDC attorney said in court that no request for street closure would be made until title had been vested. But I couldn't get any further statement from the ESDC last Friday.

Was it the developer? Well, it appears that FCR has a pretty long leash, if it can place signs on streets and sidewalks and decide when the message gets changed.

The entire episode illustrates the precariousness and difficulty of public-private partnerships.

article

Posted by lumi at 5:19 AM

February 1, 2010

Fifth Avenue, at least temporarily, remains open, despite the DOT's unchanging signs; (update) signs should be turned off

Atlantic Yards Report

Despite signs from the Department of Transportation (DOT) indicating that Fifth Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic avenues would be closed today for the Atlantic Yards project, the street this morning remained open, after a state judge last Friday refused to transfer title, as the Empire State Development Corporation had sought.

Below is a video I shot early this morning (around 7:30 am) as I walked north toward Flatbush along Fifth Avenue. The DOT's digital signs--visible on both Fifth and Flatbush avenues--continued to state that the street would be closed today.

Update: I'm told that the signs were not placed by the DOT but instead by Forest City Ratner.

Update 11 a.m.: ESDC spokeswoman Elizabeth Mitchell states, "ESDC has been informed that the signs are being turned off and the streets are remaining open."

link

NoLandGrab: Shouldn't the signs be placed and managed by DOT and paid for by Forest City Ratner? Or are we just abdicating all functions of government to real estate developers?

Posted by eric at 11:46 AM

So, will the DOT close Fifth Avenue today in the AY footprint? They seem undeterred by stalled case (unless they just didn't get to all the signage)

Atlantic Yards Report

Is a street in the Atlantic Yards footprint still going to be closed today?

The evidence isn't conclusive, but signs suggest that the city Department of Transportation (DOT) may go ahead with closing Fifth Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic avenues--Forest City Ratner's priority.

In court Friday, Charles Webb, a lawyer for the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) told state Supreme Court Justice Abraham Gerges, "We will not even ask that they [streets] be closed until after vesting [of title]."

Gerges, however, put his decision on hold, so there was no transfer of title.

I concluded that the ESDC would not ask for streets to be closed-but I couldn't get a confirmation from the agency on Friday afternoon. (I should've contacted DOT, apparently; I sent questions yesterday.)

article

Posted by lumi at 4:16 AM

January 27, 2010

At another meeting on AY street closings, FCR's Marshall faces some tough questions from the crowd

Atlantic Yards Report

Apparently, Forest City Ratner's Marshall Plan didn't include answering questions they didn't want to answer.

Unlike the meeting January 21 regarding street closings for the Atlantic Yards footprint scheduled for February 1--where there was no representative from the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the consultant from Sam Schwartz Engineering (SSE) was a junior staffer--last night, at the 78th Precinct Community Council, the Forest City Ratner road show was at full strength.

And Forest City Ratner's Senior VP Jane Marshall found herself less la-di-da than at the earlier meeting, showing herself to be somewhat exasperated and even snippy regarding some tough questions that, to her and other meeting organizers, strayed from the narrow topic at hand.

(She's pictured at right with Sam Schwartz himself and SSE planner Daniel Schack. Photos and set by Tracy Collins.)
...

Then Michael White, the lawyer, urban planner, and blogger behind Noticing New York, got up. "Do you envision taking title before Mikhail Prokhorov is approved" as Nets majority owner, he said. "I believe your bond sale documents... say that if Prokhorov isn't approved, the deal essentially folds. And, as I understand, there are all these strange stories coming out of Russia about... attempted assassinations." (He was referring to the alleged plot against journalist John Helmer said to be associated with a company in which Prokhorov owns a minority interest.

"There are also the Forest City Ratner indictments in Yonkers," White said, referring to the Ridge Hill case, in which Forest City Ratner has been cited as "Developer No. 2" but not indicted. "I wonder if you would therefore postpone the taking."

"I don't think it has anything to do with the condemnation taking," Marshall responded. "This presentation is to answer questions about traffic. I would respectfully refer you to someone else."

White pressed on, asking if they'd take title before Prokhorov is approved.

"We believe that title will be passed on Friday," said Marshall, referring to a planned court hearing on condemnation.

"They will take title whether or not you know the arena can be constructed," White continued.

"We know the arena can be constructed," Marshall responded.

"Whether or not you know Prokhorov is going to be approved," White continued.

"Next question," Marshall said.

article

Posted by eric at 11:57 AM

January 25, 2010

Street Destruction, Redux (Meeting Location Corrected)

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

Tomorrow provides another opportunity to ask FCR and Department of Transportation representatives just why they're in such a hurry to close the streets around the proposed Arena site. They are scheduled to appear Tuesday before the 78th Precinct Community Council, which meets at 7:30 p.m. at at the Secondary School for Law, Journalism & Research (the former John Jay High School), on 7th Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets [emphasis added].

The big question: if it turns out that the project doesn't gain title to the land at the condemnation hearing on the 29th--where the legal owners of the property promise vigorous opposition--construction can't start. At the earlier meeting on this topic, an FCR representative said the closure would be for infrastructure work on the portion of Fifth Avenue that would be covered by the Arena--but isn't it a bit premature to start destroying public streets before the developer has the land to build on?

link

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, On Tuesday, another opportunity for public questions about planned street closings (location updated)

Posted by eric at 8:38 PM

January 22, 2010

At CB 6 presentation, Forest City Ratner exec says they will push for street closings even if title is not transferred January 29

Atlantic Yards Report

A Forest City Ratner executive, plus a transportation consultant, last night discussed planned street closings for Atlantic Yards during a lightly-attended meeting of the Community Board 6 Transportation Committee. (I learned of the meeting only yesterday.)

While the plan had been previously announced and a slide show disseminated, nevertheless some news emerged.

Notably, FCR Senior VP Jane Marshall said that the developer would ask the city Department of Transportation (DOT) to close the streets on or about February 1, as planned, even if the state court hearing on eminent domain scheduled for January 29 does not result in the transfer of title to the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC).

(Representatives of some property owners have said they'll challenge the condemnation; though the latitude for resistance is typically limited, nothing in the Atlantic Yards saga has been simple.)

Marshall said she expected DOT to at least agree to the closing of Fifth Avenue, because FCR needs the street closed to install new utility infrastructure.
...

Additional presentation January 26

Marshall said that similar presentations had not been scheduled by the other two affected Community Boards, 2 & 8.

However, there will be a presentation on the street closings Tuesday, January 26, before the 78th Precinct Community Council, which meets at 7:30 p.m. at the 78th Precinct station house, at 6th Avenue and Bergen Streets.

article

Posted by eric at 11:58 AM

January 21, 2010

Tonight, 6:30 pm: FCR and DOT at Community Board 6 to talk about street closures for Atlantic Yards

Atlantic Yards Report

From the Brooklyn Community Board 6 calendar

Jan 21 Transportation Committee

Briefing by representatives for the Department of Transportation and Forest City Ratner Company on the planned permanent closure of sections of 5th Avenue (between Flatbush & Atlantic Avenues), Pacific Street (between 5th & 6th Avenues and between Vanderbilt & Carlton Avenues) and related impacts.

Long Island College Hospital
339 Hicks Street
(Hicks Street at Atlantic Avenue)
Brooklyn, NY 11201
6:30 PM

link

Posted by eric at 4:38 PM

January 15, 2010

So, would streets be fully closed? And where would NYPD parking go? Permanent spaces wouldn't come until Building 15 rises

Atlantic Yards Report

Now that the city prepares to close streets within the Atlantic Yards footprint, what about access for people still living there?

Who's in charge of the traffic mitigation plan?

What happens to NYPD parking?

There are still a few people living on Pacific Street (slated to close) and others on Dean Street (not closing). Can they get a ride home in the rain?

Click here for the answers, including analysis of the new traffic-flow plan, designed by Ratner consultant Sam Schwartz (below).

Sam Schwartz Traffic Closure Plan

Also...
MyLittleO.com, Atlantic Yards Project Permanent Street Closures

Posted by lumi at 5:42 AM

‘State’ of security at Atlantic Yards? ESDC won’t tell us

The Brooklyn Paper
By Stephen Brown

Everyone’s been talking about the drastic security measures at the new $106-million Long Island Railroad Terminal on Flatbush Avenue — but state officials still won’t talk about whether a similar security blanket will envelop the proposed Barclays Center across the street.

Current renderings of Bruce Ratner’s basketball arena near the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues show a line of thin, metal, waist-high security bollards — quite unlike the massive stone tomb-like blocks that wall off the entrance to the new LIRR terminal.

Much smaller, bench-like bollards were in earlier renderings of the terminal, but were dramatically enlarged after secret discussions among the LIRR, its architect and the NYPD, officials confirmed.

Atlantic Yards watchers think the same thing will happen if the Barclays Center is built, but the Empire State Development Corporation won’t talk.

article

Posted by lumi at 5:30 AM

January 13, 2010

Carlton Avenue Bridge reopening date now April 2012, in time for arena plan, more than twice the original time promised

Atlantic Yards Report

Now that streets in the Atlantic Yards footprint are scheduled for closure, residents must also confront the news that the Carlton Avenue Bridge (outlined in map) will remain closed far longer than initially promised and announced.

I wrote last August that newly-discovered details about plans for the bridge confirm that the demolition and reconstruction not only would take longer than the officially announced two years, it would take at least three years and likely much longer.

Now that's confirmed, since work will last at least April 2012, according to the city Department of Transportation (DOT). That date is shortly before the Atlantic Yards arena, if it proceeds on schedule, is supposed to open.

And that means the bridge would have been closed for four years and four months, more than twice as long as originally promised in the Atlantic Yards environmental review.

article

Posted by lumi at 5:45 AM

January 12, 2010

Block buster! State moves to close roads around Yards arena

The Brooklyn Paper
by Stephen Brown

The construction of Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards will enter a new phase next month when three major streets are permanently wiped off the New York City grid to accommodate the developer’s basketball arena.

State officials announced on Monday that Fifth Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic avenues, plus two adjacent blocks of Pacific Street, will be closed starting on Feb. 1 to accommodate construction.

The streets will not reopen if the arena is built.

article

Related coverage...

NY1, Street Closures Outlined For Atlantic Yards Project

Construction on the Atlantic Yards project is forcing street closures in Brooklyn. ...

There are public transportation changes as a result of the closings, including the elimination of the B63 bus stop on Fifth Avenue between Pacific and Atlantic.

For more information, residents are urged to call 311.

NoLandGrab: Perhaps residents should call 911 to report the theft of public streets.

Posted by eric at 9:34 AM

January 11, 2010

COMMUNITY NOTICE

Closure of Sections of Fifth Avenue and Pacific Street
Beginning on or around February 1, 2010

It is anticipated that beginning on or around Monday, February 1, 2010, the following streets in Brooklyn will be permanently closed:

  • Fifth Avenue (between Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues)
  • Pacific Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues)
  • Pacific Street (between Vanderbilt and Carlton Avenues)

Local and emergency vehicle access will be maintained as needed.

These streets are being closed to accommodate the Atlantic Yards project. Northbound traffic on Fifth Avenue can use Flatbush Avenue or Sixth Avenue to continue north; southbound traffic can use Sixth Avenue. Eastbound traffic on Pacific Street can use Dean Street; westbound traffic can use Bergen Street.

To facilitate vehicle circulation, Sixth Avenue (between Flatbush Avenue and Pacific Street) and the block of Carlton Avenue (between Dean and Pacific Streets) will become two-way.

These changes necessitate the removal of the Cobble Hill-bound B63 bus stop on Fifth Avenue, between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue. Passengers can use existing bus stops on Fifth Avenue (at Bergen Street) and on Atlantic Avenue (at Fourth Avenue).

Please see the detour* map below.

StreetClosings.gif

Advisory signs will be posted in advance of the closures and detour signs will be posted during the work. Traffic agents will be assigned to facilitate the flow of traffic and pedestrians.

Questions relating to this project may be addressed to:

Atlantic Yards Community Liaison Office
(866) 923-5315
communityliaison@atlanticyards.com

Empire State Development Corporation
Office of the Atlantic Yards Ombudsman
(212) 803-3233
atlanticyards@empire.state.ny.us

* Doublespeakarrhea: "Detour map" implies that the closings are temporary. Developer Forest City Ratner intends to PERMANENTLY close these streets. It would have been less deceptive to call it the "Ratnerville street map."

Atlantic Yards Report, Street closures in Atlantic Yards footprint planned for February 1

The notice stated that these changes may be followed by a full closure and, indeed, that's the plan. In anticipation of arena construction, on or around February 1, the city plans to close those two streets, as well as Pacific between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues (bordering a block that would be used for interim surface parking).

Will traffic adjust? Already the changes have caused congestion, especially on busy days. Expect a lot more traffic on Sixth Avenue between Flatbush Avenue and Pacific Street, which will become two-way.

Posted by lumi at 7:08 PM

Atlantic Avenue: The New Boulevard of Death

Gothamist
By Jake Dobkin

Fact: Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue has now eclipsed Queens Boulevard as the most dangerous street in the outer-boroughs. Nine pedestrians were killed there from 2006 to 2009, almost twice the number of fatalities racked up in Queens. This won't come as much of a surprise to anyone who's ever had to cross Atlantic Avenue— cars and trucks use it as a highway, particularly in the stretch between Flatbush and the Brooklyn border.

Some good news: the DOT has begun adding left turn lights and increasing the the timing for walk signals, and there was only one pedestrian killed in all of 2009. But with Atlantic Yards bringing thousands more people into the area over the next several years, you can bet that the numbers of deaths will be going up.

article

Posted by lumi at 4:22 AM

December 31, 2009

Can $8.1M in infrastructure contingency funds pay for repairs on damaged MTA tunnels when neither extent nor cost has been assessed?

Atlantic Yards Report

Remember that confidential December 2007 report commissioned by developer Forest City Ratner and provided to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which stated that portions of two subway tunnels were in critical condition and required repair "in the immediate future" and the "near future"?

The MTA, as I wrote in August, would not provide details concerning the amount of repairs completed or planned, or how such repairs would be funded.

Now we learn the repairs would be paid for via a contingency fund in the budget for the arena project, but the extent of the damage--nor, obviously, the cost of such repairs--has not been determined. And there's only $8.1 million available for Infrastructure Contingency.

That raises lingering questions about whether the contingency funds would be sufficient.

article

Posted by eric at 10:30 AM

The 2009 Streetsie Awards: Urban Abomination of the Year

Streetsblog

Chalk up a well deserved Streetsie for the Atlantic Yards project — which has yet to even begin construction.

Well, people's choice voters, you chose to bestow this award on the deteriorating public space near Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project. This seems a little premature to us. Forest City hasn't turned whole city blocks into oceans of surface parking plus a big ugly arena just yet, though transgressions like this certainly deserve to be shamed...

link

Posted by eric at 9:31 AM

The 2009 Streetsie Awards: Worst City Agency

Streetsblog

Forest City's East River Plaza is one of the reasons why The NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) received this years "Streetsie" award for Worst City Agency:

EastRiverPlaza1sm.jpg

Aching to build a huge parking deck but don't have enough cash? The NYC Economic Development Corporation is here to help. This quasi-public agency's predilection for financing suburban-style development was on full display in 2009. Two EDC specials held grand openings: The Gateway Center Mall on the South Bronx waterfront, with its 2,800 parking spots and atrocious walkways; and East River Plaza, a big-box retail complex with a 1,248-car garage hulking beside the FDR Drive in Harlem. These are utterly hostile environments for anyone who doesn't get around in a car, subsidized by taxpayers and located in neighborhoods with very high asthma rates. How does it all fit with PlaNYC and the vision of a more sustainable city? It doesn't. Not one bit.

article

NoLandGrab: Forest City's web site describes the East River Plaza as a "vibrant commercial center," which is developerspeak for "big-box retail complex with a 1,248-car garage."

Posted by lumi at 4:51 AM

December 28, 2009

Video: a walk around the arena block footprint shows traffic, demolitions, and perspectives from a wide road and a low-rise neighborhood

Atlantic Yards Report

TC-Traffic1209.jpgTour guide Norman Oder takes Norman Oder on a walking tour of Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project:

Early in the afternoon on December 24 I took my camera to shoot some video (bottom) around the footprint slated for the arena block, the western third, more or less, of the site plan.

I wanted to see the new advertising signage erected by Forest City Ratner after the master closing and I wanted to see the impact of the new traffic plan, in which Fifth Avenue is limited to northbound traffic between Flatbush and Atlantic avenues, and southbound traffic is diverted to Sixth Avenue.

My conclusion: on a high-traffic day, the traffic was pretty bad, with gridlock at Atlantic Avenues going into Fort Greene Place (the northern extension of Fifth Avenue between the Atlantic Terminal and Atlantic Center malls), though it was manageable with the help of traffic officers.

That's an interim condition, of course, because Fifth Avenue would be completely demapped, either compounding the problem or provoking new solutions.

Check out the rest of the article for a map of the tour and Oder's observations on neighborhood character and the real estate market.

Also...

The Real Deal, As construction begins, a walk around AY

Posted by lumi at 5:39 AM

December 16, 2009

After bond sale, plan to to detour traffic on Fifth Avenue and Pacific Street announced

Atlantic Yards Report

Get ready for a lot more traffic on Sixth Avenue between Atlantic and Flatbush avenue.

A notice and detour map issued by the Empire State Development Corporation and Forest City Ratner--issued just after bonds were sold for the Atlantic Yards arena--indicates that directional changes on two streets will begin on Monday, December 21.

Fifth Avenue, between Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush Avenue, will become northbound only, leaving drivers formerly going south diverted to Sixth Avenue. Meanwhile, Pacific Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, will become two-way. (Click on map to enlarge.)

The changes will accommodate utility upgrades underneath the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Pacific Street/Flatbush Avenue.

According to the notice, advisory signs will be posted in advance of the closure and detour signs will be posted during the work. Traffic agents will be assigned to facilitate the flow of traffic and pedestrians. Local and emergency vehicle access will be maintained on the affected streets at all times. City services will be maintained in the area at all times.

Full closure?

The notice states that these changes may be followed by a full closure of Fifth Avenue (between Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues), Pacific Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), and Pacific Street (between Carlton and Vanderbilt Avenues) in early 2010.

link

NoLandGrab: Sealing off a common route of egress from Bruce Ratner's mall complex four days before Christmas ought to serve as a decent test run for a typical arena traffic snarl.

Posted by eric at 12:11 AM

November 24, 2009

Is the closure of Fifth Avenue coming?

Atlantic Yards Report

From the latest Atlantic Yards Construction Update, Weeks beginning November 23 and November 30:

The traffic and pedestrian safety barriers along the north side of Flatbush Avenue and Block 1118 for sewer installation is complete for the current phase of the work. Additional protection will be installed to modify traffic in 5th Avenue upon approval from the Department of Transportation.

The Department of Transportation first tried to close Fifth Avenue in May 2007, planning to revise service on the northbound B63 bus route.

article

Posted by lumi at 5:54 AM

November 18, 2009

In Gowanus Canal Clean-Up, Bloomberg The Environmentalist Vs. Bloomberg The Developer

City Hall News
By Andrew J. Hawkins

An environmental impact from Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards megaproject makes a cameo in the conflict over the Gowanus Canal, being played out by environmental interests vs. developers.

Critics point to other examples to bolster their point that the Gowanus is not an isolated event. Bloomberg’s advocacy for big projects like stadiums has irked many environmentalists, who feel the mayor’s priorities have less to do with the environment and more to do with spurring economic development. Opponents of the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn say the traffic impact of the planned development would increase pollution in the neighborhood. And critics of the new Yankee Stadium cite delays in park restoration and the city’s use of artificial turf as supposed evidence of the mayor’s phony environmental commitment.

article

Posted by lumi at 6:05 AM

November 5, 2009

Forest City's Gilmartin: Yes, interim surface parking would be made available beyond arena events

Atlantic Yards Report

In my coverage of the July 22 community information session sponsored by the Empire State Development Corporation, I did not report on Forest City Ratner executive MaryAnne Gilmartin's explanation that interim surface parking--including 1044 spaces on the southeast block of the project site--would be extended well beyond arena-goers.

Moderator Craig Hammerman read a question: "Will the interim surface parking lots be used only for arena uses? If not, who else will have access to them and at what times of day?"

"They're available for the arena and they also will be managed by a third-party parking provider," Gilmartin responded. "The expectation is that, if there's demand for that parking that could be satisfied through making it available to the public, that would be the plan. So, again, at arena event nights, the parking would be targeted for arena use, but again there are many other hours and many other periods of the year when that parking could be and would be made available to others."

article

Posted by eric at 9:46 AM

October 1, 2009

Atlantic Yards YES! Bridges and roads NO!!

Here's another reminder that New York has priorities and where they lie.

Crain's NY Business, Kosciuszko, Gowanus top list of bad bridges, roads

When it comes to ailing bridges and elevated roadways in New York City, they just don't come any worse than the Kosciuszko Bridge and Gowanus Expressway according to The General Contractors Association of New York.

The Kosciuszko, which links the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens across Newtown Creek; and the expressway, which connects the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively, on the Top 10 list of troubled New York state-owned elevated roadways and bridges in the city in terms of their structural condition. All but one of the remaining eight bridges and roadways on the list, which was released Wednesday, are in the Bronx.
...
“While the New York state capital program in New York City averages between $300 and $350 million per year, given the enormous needs, this funding is insufficient to meet the existing number of projects which have been red flagged by New York state engineers,” said Denise Richardson, GCA's managing director, in a statement. “Without an increase in funding, bridge and elevated road conditions will continue to decline.”

NoLandGrab: On the other hand, NYC added another $105M cash subsidy to Atlantic Yards since the project was first announced, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority just re-negotiated a better deal for developer Bruce Ratner and the Federal Government gave Ratner until the end of the year to complete the bond financing for the arena before closing the loophole on the triple-tax-free bond financing program.

Posted by lumi at 6:53 AM

September 2, 2009

An F train express, East Side Access, and affordable housing

Atlantic Yards Report goes slightly off-topic to explore the concept that improved subway infrastructure, such as running an F-train express, has an "important side-effect...: increased production of housing, and thus more affordable housing."

In other words, boosting infrastructure might be a better bet to produce affordable housing than unquestioning support for Atlantic Yards, a lesson AY boosters like Bill de Blasio (who also supports the F express) may not recognize.

(Could it be that there's no activist organization like ACORN behind the more generalized benefits of improved transit? Yes, I know the Straphangers Campaign supports the F Express, but they don't mobilize people the way ACORN does.)

article

Posted by lumi at 5:22 AM

August 4, 2009

What's missing from the Construction Update? The sidewalk used as street

Atlantic Yards Report

After the Department of Transportation approved, as part of Maintenance and Protection of Traffic (MPT), the use of a portion of the Pacific Street sidewalk at the southeast corner with Sixth Avenue as a vehicular passageway, you'd think it would show up in an Atlantic Yards Construction Update.

When the change went into effect last week, it had not been announced via the biweekly update, because, the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) explained, it happened too late for the update and resulted from changes in response to a field condition.

Fair enough. But there's no reason for the latest Construction Update, issued yesterday (bottom), not to mention the revision to the MPT.

But it doesn't.

article

Posted by eric at 7:28 AM

July 31, 2009

Why the DOT's cars-on-the-sidewalk plan was approved, why it wasn't announced, and how safety has been improved

Atlantic Yards Report

Yes, it really is kosher for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to approve temporary use of a sidewalk for vehicles, as it did for two weeks--beginning this week--on Pacific Street going east of Sixth Avenue in Prospect Heights, while utility work goes on nearby.

However, after inspecting the initial configuration of the site--perhaps in response to concerns raised online once Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn on Tuesday posted a photo of a potentially dangerous situation--the DOT took additional action to increase safety.
...

DOT spokesman Scott Gastel responded on Wednesday:
We approved a plan at this location to permit two-way traffic using a portion of the sidewalk during sewer installation for approximately 12 weeks. This kind of arrangement is not unique and has been used on projects such as the Second Avenue Subway and on major projects on 34th Street in Queens or Richmond Terrace on Staten Island.

We inspected the location this morning and instructed the contractor to replace the wooden barrier with one made of concrete and to extend it in both directions while maintaining at least a five-foot-wide pedestrian walkway, and to install additional signs as was part of the original, approved plan. We will continue to monitor the area.

article

NoLandGrab: Thank goodness Bruce Ratner has so successfully reduced the area's population. He doesn't get enough credit for looking out for people's safety.

Posted by eric at 11:14 AM

July 30, 2009

Sidewalk safety in Ratnerville

How do you mitigate construction-related traffic-flow problems in Ratnerville? Drive on the sidewalk!

Here's some coverage in the blogosphere of one of the more amazing traffic mitigations brought to you by Bruce.

StreetsBlog, Bruce’s Way

Over at Pacific Street and Sixth Avenue in Prospect Heights, the sidewalk has been transformed into a motor vehicle travel lane.
...
The Atlantic Yards construction project -- which still hasn't even gotten started -- is already turning out to be something of a minor disaster for pedestrians and cyclists. The Carlton Avenue bridge, a critical link in Brooklyn's bike network, was demolished months ago and isn't expected to re-open for years. Then there was that entire city block that Forest City leveled and turned into a surface parking lot for construction workers and future arena visitors.

Norman Oder from Atlantic Yards Report added this eyewitness report in the comments section that will make you cringe:

I walked by there this morning around 9 and a pedestrian--walking west, approaching Sixth Avenue--was smack in the middle of the sidewalk-turned-road, at approximately the location of the black car in the second photo.

There was a uniformed traffic cop in the intersection helping steer traffic, but I didn't see (or hear) him motioning for the pedestrian to get out of the way.

The pedestrian didn't look confused, but she sure wasn't aware of the change.

Brownstoner, Closing Bell: Ratner Remapping Road

If you happen to be going past the corner of Pacific Street and 6th Avenue, watch out: Forest City Ratner has turned the sidewalk into a road!

The Local, DOT Explains, Improves Sidewalk-Road

This morning we asked DOT what was up with the dodgy-looking conversion of Pacific Street’s sidewalk into a car traffic lane that Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn reported last night. Department spokesman Scott Gastel tells us that the sidewalk and roadway have now been more clearly demarcated and offered this comment: “We approved a plan at this location to permit two-way traffic using a portion of the sidewalk during sewer installation for approximately 12 weeks. This kind of arrangement is not unique and has been used on projects such as the Second Avenue Subway and on major projects on 34th Street in Queens or Richmond Terrace on Staten Island. We inspected the location this morning and instructed the contractor to replace the wooden barrier with one made of concrete and to extend it in both directions while maintaining at least a five-foot-wide pedestrian walkway, and to install additional signs as was part of the original, approved plan. We will continue to monitor the area.”

ATLANTIC YARDS CONSTRUCTION UPDATE: Weeks beginning July 20, 2009 and July 27, 2009

For your information, the Department of Transportation's plan "to permit two-way traffic using a portion of the sidewalk during sewer installation for approximately 12 weeks" was not mentioned in the Atlantic Yards Contruction Update. The only notifiction of work in this location is as follows:

  • Required Maintenance and Protection of Traffic (MPT) has been installed

  • Infrastructure work related to installation of new sewer chambers at the intersection of 6th Avenue at Pacific Street has commenced. This work is part of the first of three phases of upgraded water and sewer installations previously commenced at the site. Chamber work is expected to take 12 weeks from commencement.

NoLandGrab: This is another example of how the Empire State Development Corporation's notifications and hearings are pro forma, intended more to satisfy some legal requirement and not as a useful common sense approach to inform the public in a meaningful fashion.

But rest assured that DOT is doing a bang-up job with "Protection of Traffic."

Posted by lumi at 6:07 AM

July 29, 2009

Bruce’s Way

StreetsBlog

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, the organization fighting Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards boondoggle, point us to the latest traffic "mitigation" from the Empire State Development Corporation, pictured above. Over at Pacific Street and Sixth Avenue in Prospect Heights, the sidewalk has been transformed into a motor vehicle travel lane.
...

The Atlantic Yards construction project -- which still hasn't even gotten started -- is already turning out to be something of a minor disaster for pedestrians and cyclists. The Carlton Avenue bridge, a critical link in Brooklyn's bike network, was demolished months ago and isn't expected to re-open for years. Then there was that entire city block that Forest City leveled and turned into a surface parking lot for construction workers and future arena visitors.

article

Posted by eric at 12:04 PM

June 26, 2009

DC Metro Crash Exposes Funding Strikeout

The Nation
by Dave Zirin

Nation sports editor Dave Zirin connects the dots among stadium giveaways, shortchanged infrastructure, mismanaged transit agencies and their catastrophic consequences. Monday, it was the District of Columbia. Next time, will it be New York City?

Who will be the next to die because our cities spend money on sports stadiums instead of basic infrastructure?

Two years ago, my former college town, the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, was the site of thirteen needless fatalities when the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed. The tragedy occurred the same month that ground was broken on a $500 million stadium. Now, a mere ten minute walk from my home, two Washington, DC, Metro trains collided, killing nine and sending more than seventy-five to the hospital.
...

This is just too much to bear. My shock became anger as it became clear that none of these people had to die, that no one had to be hurt. This accident was about as predictable as the setting sun. The wreckage by my house is not an accident site. It is a crime scene. And it happened for one reason: the twisted policies of the underfunded Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The WMATA gets no dedicated federal funds despite the fact that it serves thousands of federal workers. In fact, it has no dedicated source of funds at all, depending on fares and ads for three-fifths of its budget.

The rest is a pittance from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, creating an underfunded, overstretched system called by the Brookings Institution "deficits by design."

All the dirty laundry that Metro riders catch whiffs of on their daily commutes is now in plain view. Employees have told the Washington Post that the first two cars of the striking train were two months overdue for maintenance on "braking components." In addition, the trains involved in the collision were recommended to be taken off the tracks altogether or significantly retrofitted back in 2006.
...

Even worse, we now know that Jeanice McMillan probably pressed the emergency brake and it did not respond.

The Metro has now become our broken levee: an utterly preventable tragedy if only people in government had the will to do the public good. And as in New Orleans, whose Superdome sucked up public money better spent on flood control, if publicly funded stadiums hadn't become a substitute for urban policy, we wouldn't be mourning today.

The boondoggle of government-funded stadiums is just one example from a society that provides handouts to billionaires at the expense of ordinary citizens' needs.

article

NoLandGrab: On Wednesday, a spokesperson said the MTA was "pleased that we were able to reach an agreement with FCRC that acknowledges the current economic situation while still protecting the MTA’s transportation and financial interests."

Will that deal protect the MTA's riders, too?

Posted by eric at 5:32 PM

June 2, 2009

What’s going on with the Carlton Avenue Bridge?

According to a media advisory from the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods, New York City Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner David Woloch and Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Joseph Palmieri will be on hand at the organization's bi-monthly meeting tonight to answer questions about Atlantic Yards-related traffic issues — like what the future might hold for the aforementioned semi-demolished bridge.

CBN Meeting with NYC DOT
Tuesday, June 2nd 7:00 p.m. — 8:30 p.m.
St. Cyril of Turau Belarusian Cathedral
401 Atlantic Avenue (at Bond Street)

All CBN meetings are open to the public.

Posted by eric at 12:27 PM

May 7, 2009

Downtown Congestion Calls For Whole New Bus System

Brooklyn Daily Eagle
by Dennis Holt

In an editorial calling for a new downtown Brooklyn bus system, the Eagle's Dennis Holt, like a dog refusing to give up its stick, continues to speak of Atlantic Yards with the certainty of a true believer.

Atlantic Avenue, for some mysterious reason, is underserved. There are only three bus routes, two of which do not serve the entire span from river to 4th Avenue. This avenue is going to become ever more important through Brooklyn Bridge Park and Atlantic Yards.

article

NoLandGrab: We admire Holt's fidelity to Bruce Ratner's megaproject, however misplaced it might be. But his grasp of the facts? He calls Bergen Street "the only primarily residential street in brownstone Brooklyn with a city bus route," but he either is forgetting Dean Street, or conveniently ignoring its residential nature — perhaps since it would, in his ideal world, border the Barclays Center.

Posted by eric at 9:47 AM

January 29, 2009

Carlton Avenue Bridge Could Be Closed for Four More Years

Brownstoner

CarltonAvenueBridgeTC.jpg

DOT cut a much more generous deal with Forest City than was initially made public and ESDC perpetuated the myth to the appelate court, according to a fascinating and detailed expose yesterday on the Atlantic Yards Report. ESDC first told the public in 2007's Final Environmental Impact Statement that the bridge would be closed for two years. A Freedom of Information Act request by AY Report's Norman Oder, however, revealed that Forest City has three years to complete the project with another two years tacked on in the case of an "unavoidable delay."

link

Posted by eric at 2:59 PM

January 28, 2009

Carlton Avenue Bridge Could Be Closed for 3, or Potentially 5, Years

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

The Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) told an appellate court last year that the Carlton Avenue bridge, which is a major connector between Prospect Heights/Park Slope and Fort Greene/Clinton Hill, would be taken down by Forest City Ratner and reopened in 2 years. Forest City Ratner and the ESDC also made the same representation to the public and to elected officials—that this closure would only last two years—from January 2008 to January 2010.

But Ratner and ESDC were knowingly misleading everyone as shown in documents acquired by Norman Oder and revealed today on his Atlantic Yards Report. When those 2 year representations were made to the public, Ratner and NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) had already signed an agrreement that Ratner could take at least 3 years to rebuild the bridge and potentially up to 5 years.

It's just the latest example of unaccountability and non-transparency by the state and city agencies and the "developer," where the community—people who walk or drive places and expect speedy emergency services unhindered by unnecessary street closures—gets the short end of the stick.

link

Posted by eric at 10:35 AM

January 19, 2009

What New Yorkers want is... infrastructure

Atlantic Yards Report

Bruce Ratner's highly subsidized Atlantic Yards megaproject was not on anyone's infrastructure wish list, published in yesterday's New York Times.

Nobody mentioned an arena--though that should hardly be a federal priority.

Nobody even mentioned affordable housing, though I'd bet that's an artifact of not quoting anyone in the housing field. Then again, if the transportation infrastructure is improved, the housing will follow.

Some commenters questioned the wish lists posted and more than one suggested New York needs something many other major cities (and not-so-major-cities like Minneapolis and Cleveland) have: a direct train route to the airport.

article

NoLandGrab: These days, policy analysts or politicians don't have the balls to mention the increasingly unpopular Atlantic Yards as a candidate for federal infrastructure stimulus money, though we're sure that many of them are thinking about it.

Posted by lumi at 5:12 AM

January 2, 2009

Atlantic Yards Report twofer

Another report argues against parking requirements for projects like Atlantic Yards

Thanks to Streetsblog's end-of-the-year roundup for pointing me to the much-overlooked Transportation Alternatives report, Suburbanizing the City: How New York City Parking Requirements Lead to More Driving [29MB PDF].

What Streetsblog calls the "Best Policy Paper That You Probably Didn't See Because They Released it at the End of August" reinforces the observation--as I wrote 12/24/07 in a piece headlined PlaNYC 1950--that residential parking shouldn't be required at large outer-borough projects near transit hubs.
...
The report mentions Atlantic Yards, but I think the numbers projected in the chart (click to enlarge) are misleading.

The report blends the residential and commercial variations presented in the AY environmental review, but the former configuration, as I've written, is far more likely, which would produce 2570 underground spaces for residents component and an additional 1100 underground spaces for the arena.

IS ULURP on the way out when the City Charter is revised?

The Courier-Life chain reported last week, in an article headlined Community input may be on the outs - City looking to re-examine uniform land-usage guidelines that revisions to city's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) will be looked at by a City Charter revision panel Mayor Mike Bloomberg is expected to establish next year.

Such a change has been talked about for months, including in a 5/11/08 Daily News column, as I reported.

The Courier-Life article quoted an anonymous "informed source, who attended a discussion of the issue at a meeting held by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, the goal may be to shorten the lengthy ULURP process." The goal: to move development much faster.
...
Some large projects, like Atlantic Yards, have been exempted from ULURP because the city agreed to let the state take the lead. Even though former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff has acknowledged that Atlantic Yards should have gone through ULRUP, note that a city housing official has observed that ULURP doesn’t work for large projects.

Posted by lumi at 4:35 AM

November 5, 2008

RPA looks at infrastructure investments for Brooklyn, slams (implicitly) AY parking plan

Atlantic Yards Report

Maybe the local, state, and federal governments will decide it’s time to invest in infrastructure, notably transit. If so, a study released last month by the Regional Plan Association (RPA) lists possibilities and priorities to improve transit for New York City and Northern New Jersey.

“Tomorrow’s Transit: New Mobility for the Region’s Urban Core” (PDF 24.9 MB)adds urban portions of Northern New Jersey to the five boroughs of New York City. (Someday there will be an integrated rail system and it will be a one-fare ride to Newark and Jersey City, right?
...

Though the report says nothing about Atlantic Yards and little about projects that might impact the plan, it does offer some belated but now mainstream wisdom about parking:
To reduce the overabundance of low cost parking, establish parking ratio requirements in non-residential areas commensurate with the level and use of transit in the area.

More generally, in transit-rich areas follow the lead of Manhattan and Jersey City and require lower parking ratio requirements and establish maximum, rather than minimum ratios.

Indeed, as I pointed out last December, Mayor Mike Bloomberg's much-praised PlaNYC 2030 contains a glaring omission, a failure to address the antiquated anti-urban policy that mandates parking attached to new residential developments outside Manhattan, even when such developments, like Atlantic Yards, are justified precisely because they're located near transit hubs.

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Posted by eric at 9:19 AM

October 24, 2008

Some fixes coming to Flatbush/Fourth intersection, but no "silver bullets"

Atlantic Yards Report

On Tuesday night, the Transportation Committee of Brooklyn Community Board 2 heard the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) detail some fixes for the congested intersection of Flatbush and Fourth avenues. However, DOT is not yet ready to take some additional steps to deal with this complicated transit hub.

It may have been prudence, not ignorance, that DOT representatives wouldn't discuss plans for Atlantic Yards--as of now, no one knows when and what would be built--but it still was odd they didn't address changes already aired (though not to be implemented?) in the Atlantic Yards environmental review.

Check out the rest of the article for details about improvements in pedestrian crossings and mitigations proposed in the Atlantic Yards Environmental Impact Statement.

Posted by lumi at 6:19 AM

October 23, 2008

DOT Unveils Short-Term Ped Fixes Near Brooklyn Traffic Hub

Streets Blog
By Ben Fried

Though the DOT has plans to address the traffic snarl on Flatbush Avenue north of 4th Avenue, there was no "silver bullet" for Flatbush and Atlantic Avenue, though The Brooklyn Paper reports that the "project all but eliminates" the controversial plan to divert traffic from Fourth Avenue to Pacific Street.

Streets near the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the LIRR's Atlantic Terminal are set to receive a basket of pedestrian improvements that may get underway as soon as November. Speaking last night to the CB2 transportation committee and about a dozen other residents, DOT's Chris Hrones laid out plans for new pedestrian spaces and traffic signals -- including a Barnes Dance (exclusive walk signal) at the intersection of Flatbush and Fourth Avenue.

The presentation [PDF] met with a generally positive reception -- applause, in fact -- although some in the audience voiced disappointment that the improvements do not address the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenue, and others expressed concern about traffic backing up onto local streets as a result of the changes. Hrones said DOT would be able to incorporate feedback into its plans, but that the work is scheduled to proceed in about three weeks. No vote was held.
...
When the subject of the Atlantic and Flatbush intersection came up, Hrones said that location was outside the scope of the project.

"At this point there's not something that jumps out that will help address the issue," he said. "In the course of this exercise we didn't find any silver bullets."

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The Brooklyn Paper, Pedestrians get a leg up Downtown

The project all but eliminates the “Fourth-to-Flatbush Two-Step,” a plan buried deep within the state’s Atlantic Yards draft environmental impact statement that routed traffic through neighborhood streets. Drivers heading north on Fourth Avenue towards Flatbush Avenue would have been forced to turn right on Pacific Street and then left onto Flatbush.

A Transportation spokesman did not respond to questions about what happened to the alleged Atlantic Yards traffic fix.

Posted by lumi at 6:47 AM

October 21, 2008

DOT to Present Ideas for Brooklyn’s Most Notorious Intersection

Streetsblog
by Ben Fried

Gridlocked.jpg

The confluence of Flatbush, Atlantic, and Fourth Avenues is a traffic nightmare of epic proportions right smack next to a huge transit hub and shopping center. (We hear some sort of arena and housing complex might get built there too.) Crossing the street here is an unwelcome adventure for thousands of pedestrians every day, and biking is out of the question for the vast majority of cyclists.

Now the good news: DOT is considering changes for the area -- especially the pedestrian crossings -- and the agency's ideas will get a public airing tonight at a presentation to Community Board 2. Community groups are encouraging Brooklynites to show up and share their suggestions. Here are the details:

DOT presentation to CB2 Transportation Committee
Tuesday, October 21, at 6 p.m.
St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street in Brooklyn Heights

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Gowanus Lounge, Interested in Not Being Killed Crossing Atlantic & Flatbush?

Posted by eric at 4:14 PM

October 19, 2008

Fixing Brooklyn-Queens Expressway: Ins and Outs Discussed at Meeting

Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Dennis Holt

One won’t see any physical work on “fixing up” the Downtown Brooklyn portion of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) and its Brooklyn Heights “cantilever” for some seven to 10 more years, but the long process of talking about it has begun.

Last week, members of the state Department of Transportation met with members of the Transportation Committee of Community Board 6 and others to begin that “long process.”

It has been known for some time that much of this 1.5-mile stretch from Sands Street to Atlantic Avenue needed some attention and some rebuilding. Just exactly what will be required is not yet determined, another reason for the “long process.”
...
[Peter] King [head of regional planning for the state Department of Transportation (DOT)], in fact, noted that extra efforts will be made to keep trucks off Atlantic Avenue, since that street will anchor two major projects within two miles of each other -- the park and Atlantic Yards. Public meetings will begin next year in part to help prepare for the critical Environmental Impact Statement, whose zone of study will be expanded far beyond the normal limits of an EIS.

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Posted by amy at 12:12 PM

September 15, 2008

Atlantic Yards Photo Pool

From photographer Tracy Collins, via the flickr Atlantic Yards Photo Pool.

Posted by eric at 4:47 AM

September 7, 2008

Delay in Bus Rapid Transit pushes possible Flatbush route further back

BRTFlatbush.4.jpg

Atlantic Yards Report

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)--with a dedicated express lane, staggered stoplights, and perhaps new loading platforms--on Flatbush Avenue might be crucial to the success of the Atlantic Yards project, as I've written.

Now a possible Flatbush Avenue route is pushed even further into the future, because of delays in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's BRT experiment, known as Special Bus Service.
...
I wrote nearly two years ago that the pilot Nostrand Avenue project might not begin until 2008. Now that route is delayed four years--and a subsequent route on Flatbush Avenue wouldn't arrive until well after 2012.

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Posted by amy at 11:16 AM

August 22, 2008

Watch the Vanderbilt Yards in Motion

Video by Tracy Collins from the Flickr Atlantic Yards Photo Pool, via Gowanus Lounge.

This image was created by Tracy Collins and posted on flickr. It is very short and shows some movement in the Vanderbilt Yards, which would be decked over for the Atlantic Yards development.

Posted by lumi at 3:59 AM

August 21, 2008

60,000 vehicles daily at Flatbush and Atlantic? A closer look

Atlantic Yards Report

A couple of AYR readers yesterday were taken aback by the claim, on the Barclays Center web site, that 60,000 vehicles pass (or will pass) daily through the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues, thus providing a prime location for the Jones Soda Stoop & Adjacent Terrace.

Do 60,000 vehicles really pass through that intersection now--or would they do so later? The short answer is that evidence is inconclusive, since the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), in the Final Environmental Impact Statement, didn't aim at cumulative vehicle counts but rather at whether traffic during peak hours could be mitigated. (Answer: traffic at a.m. peak hours would have significant impacts at 11 intersections even after mitigation efforts.)

Norman Oder examines why it's so difficult to nail down the increase in daily traffic counts for the intersection of Atlantic, Flatbush and 4th Avenues, which some consultants claim are lowballed, and why the web site for the Barclays Center would even tout the number of cars travelling through what is widely considered to be the worst intersection in Brooklyn.

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Posted by lumi at 5:49 AM

August 12, 2008

Police Want Tight Security Zone at Ground Zero

The New York Times
by Charles V. Bagli

GroundZeroSecurityMap.jpg

Surprise! The NYPD is ordering even tighter security measures at the World Trade Center (they had already ordered 75-foot setbacks for the Freedom Tower and numerous other safeguards in February), but we're still waiting for that independent security study for Atlantic Yards requested by eight Brooklyn elected officials nearly a year ago.

Planners seeking to rebuild the World Trade Center have always envisioned that the 16-acre site would have a vibrant streetscape with distinctive buildings, shops and cultural institutions lining a newly restored street grid. From the destruction of Sept. 11, 2001, a new neighborhood teeming with life would be born.

But now, the Police Department’s latest security proposal entails heavy restrictions.

According to a 36-page presentation given by top-ranking police officials in recent months, the entire area would be placed within a security zone, in which only specially screened taxis, limousines and cars would be allowed through “sally ports,” or barriers staffed by police officers, constructed at each of five entry points.
...

Landlords, company executives, public officials and some urban planners acknowledged the need for security at ground zero, but worried that the procedures would undermine the effort to reweave the trade center site into the city’s fabric. They fear that the proposed traffic restrictions could create tie-ups in a congested neighborhood and discourage corporate tenants from renting space, or shoppers from visiting the stores in the area.

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NoLandGrab: The implementation of similar security measures at the confluence of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues would render the intersection impassable. But the ESDC and Forest City Ratner insist we needn't worry about it.

Ah. We feel better already.

Posted by eric at 5:36 PM

August 11, 2008

Brooklyn Broadside: Congestion Pricing, Permit Parking Aren’t Dead Yet

Brooklyn Daily Eagle
by Dennis Holt

Eagle columnist and Atlantic Yards fan Dennis Holt offers up residential permit parking as a consolation prize for residents of Prospect Heights.

A strong case can be made that the immediate communities surrounding Downtown Brooklyn — the Heights, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Fort Greene — should have a permit parking plan, which, if you think about it, is a form of congestion pricing. After a couple of the major structures of Atlantic Yards are completed — the arena and the signature building — Prospect Heights can qualify, and probably will.

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NoLandGrab: With no timetable for the completion of the "signature building" — once known as "Ms. Brooklyn" and now as "B1" — there's no telling when P-Heights residents might be receiving their permits.

Posted by eric at 5:32 PM

July 23, 2008

Say What: Vanderbilt Yards Parking Restrictions

Gowanus Lounge
TC-NoParking.jpg

This amusing image from the Vanderbilt Yards (aka Atlantic Yards site) comes to us courtesy of Tracy Collins via our GL Flickr Pool. Whatever you do, do not park in this spot. For many reasons, all of them having nothing to do with the fallen sign.

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NoLandGrab: And speaking about parking, Tracy Collins informs us that Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner has already turned the recently demolished 640 Pacific St. into a private parking lot.

Posted by lumi at 8:18 PM

June 28, 2008

Ikea has meatballs, couches and … jams

The Brooklyn Paper
By Ben Muessig

Guess what's in store for neighborhoods around Bruce Ratner's controversial Atlantic Yards project if the developer builds the 19,000-seat arena next to the "temporary" surface parking lot for 1,400 cars.

Check this coverage of the opening weekend at Ikea and the 1,400-car overflow parking lot.

IkeaTraffic-BP.jpg

Quiet Red Hook streets became bumper-to-bumper traffic jams when hordes of furniture-crazed shoppers flocked to the newly opened Ikea on its debut weekend.

Once-dreary roads that connect the Beard Street big box with the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway saw such a big uptick in traffic that cops from the 76th Precinct rushed in to police the area and bolster the efforts of 17 off-duty officers hired by Ikea to handle traffic.
...
Red Hook residents say that the influx of cars made Columbia Street look more like a parking lot than a thoroughfare.

“It was unreal. I’ve never seen so much traffic in my life,” said Jay McKnight, co-chair of the Red Hook Civic Association. “I was fearful of crossing Columbia Street — it was bumper to bumper and everyone seemed like they were in a hurry, trying to inch up between cars.”

To handle traffic, Ikea built a 1,400-spot primary parking lot and acquired a temporary overflow lot on the neighboring site of the former Revere Sugar refinery, which it has secured at least until Labor Day.

Before opening, the furniture giant also paid to put up new signs directing drivers to the store, and hired 17 off-duty NYPD cops to form a “paid detail unit” that would help direct traffic.

But even with Ikea’s preparations, cars clogged Red Hook roads.

NoLandGrab: Atlantic Yards supporters will note that Ikea is not convenient to public transportation, while Ratner's arena would be located above one of the area's largest transporation hub, which begs the question, why does the developer need so much parking?

Posted by lumi at 6:13 AM

June 15, 2008

Meet the Designer Behind the NYC Parking Boom

east_river_plaza6.08.jpg

Streetsblog

NoLandGrab: As if free gas wasn't enough of an encouragement to drive, Forest City Ratner's East River Plaza development brings bog box stores with suburban style parking garages - right in New York City!

So, in the name of convenience, Blumenfeld Development and GreenbergFarrow are squandering the inherent attraction of urban streets -- walkable places where people actually like to linger -- and flooding the city with additional car trips.

These big box stores may have been given the green light before PlaNYC was unveiled, but how does this wave of car-friendly development square with Mayor Bloomberg's much-touted sustainability goals? Between a City Planning Department that sits back and allows the willy-nilly construction of new public parking garages, and an Economic Development Corporation that actively courts big box retailers and signs off on stadium parking subsidies, the push to mitigate traffic seems to have been limited to congestion pricing. Streetsblog has a request into the Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability to find out whether scaling back huge parking facilities is on the mayor's agenda.

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Posted by amy at 11:13 AM

May 30, 2008

PlaNYC 2030 and the need for parking policy

Atlantic Yards Report

One glaring Atlantic Yards flaw ID'd by transportation advocates is the development project's thousands of planned parking spaces.

Last December, I described how Mayor Mike Bloomberg's much-praised PlaNYC 2030 contains a glaring omission, a failure to address the antiquated anti-urban policy that mandates parking attached to new residential developments outside Manhattan, even when such developments, like Atlantic Yards, are justified precisely because they're located near transit hubs. I called the current situation PlaNYC 1950.

(Ironically enough, the Empire State Development Corporation, which will override several aspects of city zoning to facilitate the Atlantic Yards project, chose note to override the city's parking policy.)

Last month, a year after Bloomberg's plan was announced, a watchdog group identified parking policy as among six administrative initiatives in order to implant the principles of sustainability into the city's governmental structure.

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Posted by eric at 1:20 PM

May 8, 2008

Lotsa "Atlantic Lots"

StreetsBlog, Atlantic Yards or Atlantic Lots?

With development projects across the city threatened by an uncertain economy, critics of Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project believe that a slowdown in construction could burden Prospect Heights with decades of blight. A slide show by the Municipal Art Society, called "Atlantic Yards or Atlantic Lots?," offers a bleak look into the future, like this rendering of neighborhood blocks destroyed for "temporary" surface lots that would accommodate some 1,400 cars.

MAS is calling on Governor David Paterson to suspend demolition in order to prepare an interim development plan, and has a link to a web form through which members of the public can contact Paterson directly.

The Campaign for Community-Based Planning, Atlantic Yards = Atlantic Lots?

Following up on this weekend’s Call Time-Out on Atlantic Yards rally, the Municipal Art Society has released renderings of what the area might look like as demolitions continue and only a small piece of the proposed project is actually built. Visit atlanticlots.com for a slide show.

Posted by lumi at 5:42 AM

April 29, 2008

Congestion pricing failure may delay BRT; Flatbush route not yet on the agenda

Atlantic Yards Report

BRTFlatbush.gif

The failure of congestion pricing threw a bit of a wrench in the city's plans for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), suggested as one solution to congestion on Flatbush Avenue, but now apparently several years away.

Though Flatbush is an obvious candidate for such service--which would have a dedicated express lane, fewer stops, offsite payment and "honor system" entrance (subject to random check), staggered stoplights, and back boarding, according to the city's pilot in the Bronx--another obvious candidate, Nostrand Avenue, was selected in 2006 for one-per-borough pilot project. It looks to be about four years away, however.
...
A PlaNYC "scorecard" clarifies that the other four SBS services are planned to be introduced by 2011. That's likely too late to start up a Flatbush Avenue version by 2010, the unreliable official target date for opening the Atlantic Yards arena, or even 2011, which I consider the likely best-case scenario.

In fact, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority contradicts the PlaNYC document, estimating on its SBS FAQ page that the Nostrand Avenue route would be implemented in 2012. Though that's subject to change, it's a good bet that a Flatbush Avenue route would be at least a year after that.

Would that be in time for an AY arena? Then again, developer Forest City Ratner has six years--after the close of litigation and the transfer of property via eminent domain--to build the arena without penalty.

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Posted by lumi at 5:22 AM

April 28, 2008

The PlaNYC 2030 housing update and the contradictions of AY

Atlantic Yards Report

PlaNYCProg.gif

When PlaNYC 2030 was announced last April, I pointed out how Atlantic Yards was conspicuously absent as an example of how to build new housing, even though the plan promotes the identification of underutilized areas across the city that are well-served by transit and the exploration of opportunities to create new land by decking over rail yards, rail lines and highways.

Given that the project remains high on the mayoral agenda, the omission was curious, I noted--though I'd add today that there is a built-in excuse; as a state project, the city can claim that it has no power over the rezoning.

The PlaNYC 2030 Progress Report issued last week also understandably leaves Atlantic Yards off the maps of city-initiated rezonings and rezonings with inclusionary zoning.

Does South/Central Brooklyn have the carrying capacity for Bruce Ratner's megaproject? Should the need for affordable housing supercede the debate on other urban planning concerns? Ron Shiffman, former City Planning Commissioner and Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn board member, argues that there needs to be a balance.

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For more reporting on the progress of PlaNYC, check out "PlaNYC gets praise from planners, but momentum must be sustained."

Posted by lumi at 4:55 AM

April 16, 2008

Times Building Continues to Discourage Bike Commuting

NYTBike.jpg StreetsBlog fingers The New York Times Corporation for cracking down on bicycle commuters, but keep in mind that Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner developed and co-owns the Renzo Piano-designed building, which originally was supposed to be loaded with environmentally friendly features.

In the latest episode of the New York Times Building vs. bike commuters saga, building management is tagging chained bikes with notes threatening to clip and "remove" them.

After being promised space in the new, 1.5 million square foot building, cyclists were barred from bringing their bikes in for months. Management finally opened a small room with enough space for 20 bikes, which, not surprisingly, is apparently not enough. Rather than meet demand for bike storage in its "green" building, it looks like the Times is again taking a hard line against clean commuting.

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NoLandGrab: Ha, judging from the photo, the building itself makes an excellent bike rack.

Posted by lumi at 4:02 AM

April 10, 2008

The congestion pricing votes: AY wasn't the issue, nor was overbuilding

Atlantic Yards Report

Implementation of congestion pricing was considered to be critical to offset the impact of Bruce Ratner's controversial Atlantic Yards plan. You'd think that Atlantic Yards boosters would support the plan, or that politicians who have taken a public stance on the largest single-source private development project in NYC history would factor their positions into their decisions to support congestion pricing.

Today Norman Oder tallies the scorecard:

As the recent defeat of Mayor Mike Bloomberg's congestion pricing proposal suggests, local political considerations trump the long-term public policy issue. The politicians with the most at stake regarding Atlantic Yards were decidedly mixed in their approach.

For example, City Council Member Letitia James, an Atlantic Yards opponent, supported CP. City Council Member Bill de Blasio, a longstanding but increasingly critical supporter of AY, represents a district that suffers as much from traffic as does James's district. But his opposition to CP likely derives mainly from his need to court votes throughout Brooklyn in his run for Borough President.

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Posted by lumi at 5:29 AM

March 13, 2008

Residential parking permit proposal moves forward, as Bloomberg cites "arenas"

Atlantic Yards Report

Yesterday, Mayor Mike Bloomberg and DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan proposed a residential parking permit program (RPP) as part of congestion pricing legislation. Many neighborhood groups around the Atlantic Yards footprint believe it a crucial measure to prevent arena-goers from cruising around their neighborhood for free spaces.

If the legislation passes, residents would petition a Community Board, which then must hold a public meeting. Assuming the board approves it, the plan would then go to the Borough President and the local City Council member for approval.

The RPP program, Streetsblog reported, will specifically be aimed at discouraging park-and-ride activity and to help residents secure parking in "neighborhoods that face pressure from large facilities like sports arenas," Bloomberg said.
...

In the comments section on Streetsblog, City Council Member Lew Fidler expressed his opposition: "I poke my head in, only poke, because I hate the new tax to park in front of my house even more than I dislike CP [congestion pricing]."

Responded Prospect Heights resident Danae Oratowski:
"If you can think of another way to discourage drivers who are going to the Nets arena from cruising around the neighborhood - just in case they can find a free parking space - I'm all ears.

You supported Atlantic Yards. Now you need to help find a solution to the traffic problems brought on when you site a 19,000 seat venue in a low rise residential neighborhood."

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More:
StreetsBlog, Details of the Mayor’s Residential Parking Permit Proposal
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, With Clock Ticking, Mayor, DOT Endorse Permit Parking

Posted by eric at 10:13 AM

March 12, 2008

Spitzer Sex Scandal and YOU: How Prostitutes Impact Congestion Pricing and More

Runnin' Scared (Village Voice blog)

Michael Clancy criused some popular local blogs and gathered some predictions on how Governor Spizter's downfall might affect local proposals and policies, including congestion pricing and Atlantic Yards:

Congestion pricing for downtown Manhattan, already nearing the "endgame" now looks more at risk than before, according to Second Avenue Sagas. The Wonkster took the pulse of City Council members and found support fading fast for the deal.
...
Atlantic Yards Report gives a thorough rundown of how Spitzer’s downfall could impact Forest City Ratner and the Atlantic Yards project.

link

Posted by lumi at 4:38 AM

March 8, 2008

Parking? Lots

The Brooklyn Paper, Letter to the Editor

Residential Parking Permits are one of several tools that the city needs to employ in the coming years to manage supply and demand of our increasingly strained roadways.

Atlantic Yards, for example, is expected to generate as many as 20,000 new car trips a day. For the neighborhoods surrounding Atlantic Yards, permit parking is needed to discourage arena patrons from cruising for free parking.

But permits by themselves won’t be enough if those cars continue to drive to the arena and park in local lots. The city should insist that Forest City Ratner develop alternate plans for its “interim” parking lot, which would accommodate as many as 1,400 cars.

Without improvements to public transportation and disincentives to drive, the costs of free parking and free driving will continue to be borne by residents and pedestrians through increased accidents, elevated asthma rates, noise pollution and degraded quality of life.

Danae Oratowski, Prospect Heights

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Posted by amy at 9:57 AM

March 3, 2008

Atlantic Yards Report shorts

From Norman Oder's weekend reading list:

StreetsBlog
Before AY, the necessity of congestion relief

A posting on Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn about gridlock at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues led to some serious debate on Streetsblog on the causes, solutions, and the role of DDDB.

Suffice it to say that even Atlantic Yards proponents like Kathryn Wylde of the Partnership of New York City believe the project could work only with congestion pricing.

And even a significantly dense but smaller project like that contemplated under the UNITY plan would require, as its planners suggest, “extensive traffic calming, parking reduction, and bicycle lanes to discourage vehicle use for both local and inter-borough travel.”

Play (NYT)
Why NBA team ownership can be very lucrative

Joe Nocera's article in yesterday's Play, The New York Times Sports Magazine, headlined Big time Losers describes the "Bad Owner" who runs lousy teams:

Why does the Bad Owner seem so impervious to it all?

Actually, there is a reason, a very good one. To own a franchise in any of the three major sports — football, baseball or basketball — is to enter a club in which it is nearly impossible to come away a financial loser.

His case in point is NBA's Los Angeles Clippers; owner Donald Sterling has seen his investment skyrocket from $13.5 million to $300 million.

Nocera points out that the value of the badly-managed New York Knicks has continued to rise, given its stronghold in the nation's major media market.

He doesn't mention the New Jersey Nets, but Bruce Ratner's strategy is consonant with his observation. The Nets are losing money in the Meadowlands and team managers are trying to improve the mix of players. But the key comes in the future: the new arena at Atlantic Yards would prove quite lucrative, thanks to naming rights from Barclays, 130 luxury suites, other sponsorships, and television revenue.

NoLandGrab: In three seasons Bruce Ratner has joined the pantheon of big-time losers. Nothing could feed Brooklyn's historical chip on the shoulder more than his ruining a winning franchise and moving it to "the fourth largest city in the US."

NY Times Real Estate Section
The lottery-like chances for subsidized middle-class housing

A New York Times Real Estate section article yesterday on the chances of the middle-class getting subsidized housing in New York City was headlined Winning That One in a Million.

Atlantic Yards, with 1350 subsidized middle- and moderate-income units and 900 subsidized low-income units, would seem to improve the odds slightly. Then again, if the project takes 20 years, or 30 years--or doesn't get off the ground at all--then the odds improve less and less.

Posted by lumi at 5:16 AM

February 28, 2008

Flatbush and Atlantic: Hellacious, Deadly, and Likely to Get Worse

StreetsBlog

Yesterday Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn posted this photo of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, as seen at 8:45 a.m.

"With Atlantic Yards's 17,000 new residents, and an 18,000 seat arena in use approximately 220 days per year, this gridlock would be the good ol' days," DDDB said.

Without major changes it won't get better for pedestrians or cyclists either. On Tuesday a woman was killed one block away, at Atlantic and Fort Greene Place.
...
AFCrashStats.gif The police account of Ms. Cattouse's death is on the Brooklynian forum, where one commenter describes the area as "hellacious." A look at Transportation Alternatives' CrashStat bears that out.

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Posted by lumi at 7:32 PM

Gridlocked: What, us worry?

From Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn:

Gridlocked.jpg

This photo was taken at 8:45 am at Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues.

With Atlantic Yards's 17,000 new residents, and an 18,000 seat arena in use approximately 220 days per year, this gridlock would be the good ol' days.

Posted by lumi at 5:18 AM

February 21, 2008

Down the EIS rabbit hole: how growing subway ridership was finessed in the AY environmental review

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder takes another look at the Atlantic Yards Environmental Impact Statement, analyzing the tension between the methodology used by the ESDC to estimate future growth in transit ridership [not a lot], and reality [a lot!], and how the question of ESDC's projections played out in the lawsuit challenging the EIS.

Given that subway ridership in New York City has been growing steadily and just grew 4.2% overall in one year, as pointed out in news coverage February 7, how could the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) claim an 0.5% "background growth" rate for transit when it conducted its analysis of the Atlantic Yards project?

It's another example of the tension between reality and legality, in which a judge just has to agree that an agency's analysis was reasonable, without being able to second-guess it.

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Posted by eric at 10:19 AM

February 15, 2008

Down the EIS rabbit hole: Why does Fairway get counted for traffic impact but not Whole Foods?

Atlantic Yards Report

The more Norman Oder stares at the Atlantic Yards Environmental Impact Study, the more discrepancies and glaring omissions he finds. Today's episode is curiouser:

WF-Fairwy-AYR.gif

Delving into the rabbit hole of traffic and transit projections for the Atlantic Yards project leads to a glaring discrepancy revealed only in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and not cited in the unsuccessful lawsuit challenging the AY environmental review.

The Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) belatedly added the new Fairway market in Red Hook to its list of sites that should be analyzed regarding future travel demand in the area around the Atlantic Yards site. However, the ESDC continued to exclude the coming Whole Foods Market in Gowanus because it was deemed "distant from study area."

That's absurd. As the graphic shows, Fairway is about twice as far as the Whole Foods site from the westernmost point of the Atlantic Yards footprint, the corner of Fourth, Flatbush, and Atlantic Avenues.

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Posted by lumi at 6:08 AM

February 10, 2008

Would there be no way to rebuild Carlton Avenue Bridge? FCR says no

Atlantic Yards Report

One issue in the legal jousting over the appeal in the lawsuit challenging the Atlantic Yards environmental review is whether the public would be left without a new Carlton Avenue Bridge should the project be stalled.

According to Forest City Ratner, the claim is overblown, though the petitioners' attorney disputes whether completion would be timely.

From a 1/18/08 affirmation by Jeffrey Baker, attorney for the petitioners:
The irreparable nature of the injury caused by the closing of the bridge is not only due to the closing itself, but the planned demolition. If, as expected, Appellants are successful on the appeal, they could be faced with a bridge that has already been demolished without the financial means for its replacement or an extended period of time before it is replaced. That will result in extended significant unmitigated traffic impacts and increase of fire department response times into the indefinite future.
(Emphasis added)

link

Posted by amy at 11:21 AM

February 7, 2008

Subway ridership highest since 1951

NY Daily News
by Pete Donohue

Just like its questionable estimates of on-street parking availability, the Atlantic Yards Environmental Impact Statement appears to have grossly underestimated future growth in subway ridership. The EIS cited a "background growth rate" in ridership of just 0.5% annually.

Subway ridership continued its upward march last year, hitting its highest mark since 1951, transit officials said Wednesday.

More than 1.5 billion people rode the rails in 2007, up 4.2%, NYC Transit President Howard Roberts said in a statement.
...

But the surge also highlights the need for additional money to expand the mass transit system to meet the growing demand in the coming decades and to alleviate existing overcrowding during peak hours, the NYC Transit chief added.

article

NoLandGrab: It appears that the real world just ate up eight years' worth of "projected" growth in subway ridership. Is there anything in the Transportation and Parking sections of the Atlantic Yards EIS that doesn't significantly bend the truth?

Additional coverage:

New York Post, SUBWAYS' BIG RISE IN RIDERS

Metro, It’s 1951 all over again on subways

Posted by eric at 11:22 AM

February 6, 2008

Forum Brings Out Complexities Of Traffic and Parking Issues

There Are Simply Too Many Cars

Brooklyn Daily Eagle
By Dennis Holt

The conventional widsom among transportation geeks is that Brooklyn gets screwed if Atlantic Yards happens without congestion pricing, and that Brooklyn gets screwed if congestion pricing happens without implementing a residential parking permit plan.

One Atlantic Yards supporter reports from a local meeting:

Much of the detailed conversation surprised most of the audience, because for the first time it became known that this rather dimly understood concept was being carefully studied by the city’s Department of Transportation as part of the New York City Study plan for 2030.

At the meeting, one of several planned by the DOT, two distinct postulates were advanced: There cannot be a congestion policy adopted without selective residential parking permits, and there is most likely a need for a residential parking policy even if there is no congestion pricing adopted.

The latter is certainly the case in the Downtown Brooklyn area. Advocates and experts all agreed that the major development projects in the area from Brooklyn Bridge Park to Atlantic Yards and everything in between demanded a thoughtful study of parking patterns.

article

NoLandGrab: "A thoughtful study of parking patterns" should have been included in the Atlantic Yards Environmental Impact Study.

For example, according to the EIS, 35% of on-street parking spaces within 1/4-mile of the project site are available during the 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. hour (1,930 of 5,590 spaces). Yet a field survey conducted by the Department of Transportation last month for that agency's recent parking workshops found that a mere 2% of the 2,660 residential (non-metered) spaces it studied in the vicinity of the Atlantic/Flatbush/4th Avenue nexus were vacant at 6 p.m. If both sets of numbers are to be believed, that would mean that 62% of the spaces not studied by DOT would have to be vacant at 6 p.m.

Do you know any neighborhoods near the Atlantic Yards footprint with on-street parking conditions like that? We didn't think so.

Posted by lumi at 4:42 AM

January 26, 2008

Senator Montgomery on the Carlton Ave. Bridge Closing

Senator Velmanette Montgomery wrote a letter to Patrick Foye, Co-Chairman of the Empire State Development Corp. outlining concerns about the Carlton Ave. Bridge closing.

Among the concerns were the following:

-The Carlton Avenue Bridge connects several neighborhoods. It is a major thorough fare between Park Avenue and the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE). The closing of the bridge will cut off a major connector between Park Slope/ Prospect Heights, and Fort Greene/ Clinton Hill; not only for cars but also for other modes of transportation.

-It will create even more vehicle congestion than already exists on Flatbush Avenue. There is no indication vis a vis your map of the increases in congestion on Flatbush Avenue as a result of the Carlton Avenue Bridge closing.

-The map accompanying the “Community Notice” has arrows indicating redirected traffic onto Pacific Street. In addition, there are arrows that appear to direct traffic to several streets in Prospect Heights. That would mean that this neighborhood will experience increased congestion. However, there is no discussion about proposed mitigation for that and other areas, such as Boerum Hill, that will receive impacts.

-The map does not show where other construction and traffic rerouting is taking place such as a few blocks down at the intersection of Flatbush Avenues and Hanson Place and at Lafayette Avenue.

-Other plans and schedules that will affect traffic are the proposed narrowing of Vanderbilt Avenue, another link between Flatbush and Park Avenue.

-The Notice states that traffic will be rerouted to 6th Ave. which will become a two way street; however, 6th Ave is very narrow and is next to the 78th Precinct house where official police cars need to park.

-And, finally there is no mention how long the closing of the bridge will last.

View the Letter (PDF)

Posted by amy at 11:02 AM

January 24, 2008

Carlton Ave Bridge closing traffic

How does the closing of the Carlton Avenue Bridge affect traffic in the neighborhood?

NoLandGrab contributor and photographer Amy Greer took before-and-after photos (view flickr photoset) of traffic at the intersections of Vanderbilt and Atlantic Avenues and Vanderbilt and Fulton Avenues on Tuesday, the day before the Carlton Avenue Bridge closing, and Wednesday, after the bridge was closed.

AG-VanAtl.jpg

Note, each pair of photos was taken at the same time of day.

AG-VanFul.jpg

View the slideshow

Posted by lumi at 5:10 AM

The Carlton Avenue Bridge closes (for two years)

Atlantic Yards Report

Tracy Collins took some photos today (and here's his photostream) of the bridge closing needed to accommodate a rebuilt railyard and a platform for construction. There's apparently potential for some traffic jams. That's Atlantic Terminal 4B in the background, across Atlantic Avenue, one sign of high-rise construction in contrast to more mid-rise and low-rise buildings on the south side of the project footprint.

TC-CarltonAveClosed.jpg

As I wrote, this starts a three-year reconstruction clock, given that the Carlton Avenue Bridge is supposed to take two years to rebuild, and the Sixth Avenue Bridge an additional year. That suggests that (assuming pending challenges fail) the arena couldn't open until January 2011, unless work speeded up and/or the developer and city agreed to open the arena with an adjacent traffic artery blocked.

article

Posted by lumi at 4:57 AM

January 20, 2008

SCH Meeting Recap

Clinton Hill Blog

Atlantic Yards was mentioned briefly. The bridge on Carlton Ave is slated to be closed soon for construction of the Ratner Nightmare. This means that firetrucks will be rerouted to drive AGAINST TRAFFIC ON TWO STREETS SOUTH OF ATLANTIC. Giant trucks hurdling the wrong way down one-way streets?! This is a solution?! Maybe in the ‘burbs, but jeez! No one even pulls over for siren vehicles here!

link

Posted by amy at 11:46 AM

January 16, 2008

Will the Tide Turn on City Parking Policy?

StreetsBlog

parkinggarage.jpg

A few weeks back Atlantic Yards Report posted a compendium of recent writings that point to the contradictions inherent in, and problems resulting from, parking requirements for urban development plans.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg's much-praised PlaNYC 2030 contains a glaring omission, a failure to address the antiquated anti-urban policy that mandates parking attached to new residential developments outside Manhattan, even when such developments, like Atlantic Yards, are justified precisely because they're located near transit hubs.

...
One result, in the case of Atlantic Yards and the new Yankee Stadium, is an influx of cars essentially legislated into neighborhoods that don't want them, even as the city preaches the virtues of sustainable growth.

article

The Wonkster, Parking Paradox
Wonkster reblogs StreetsBlog's point about parking, and adds concerns in the Bronx to the mix:

Then there’s reports that Bronx residents fear that lots and garages for the new stadium, rather than being used during ballgames, could become permanent park and rides, bringing more cars to an area already plagued by high asthma rates.

Posted by lumi at 5:31 AM

January 10, 2008

It came from the Blogosphere...

Brownstoner, Closing of the Carlton Avenue Bridge

The Carlton Avenue Bridge, part of the Atlantic Yards footprint, is scheduled to close in less than a week for up to two years of reconstruction. Traffic is going to be rerouted to Sixth and Vanderbilt avenues. Atlantic Yards Report sees the closing as the start of a "three-year reconstruction clock," since the Sixth Avenue Bridge's one-year rehab is supposed to follow work on the Carlton Avenue Bridge. If that timetable is followed, therefore, it means the earliest the Nets arena would open is January 2011.

frogma, Lunchtime Links

These days, it sometimes seems like our local governments are far too eager to hand over land to private, corporate endeavours - we've got 3 of these in play in Brooklyn alone right now, Bruce Ratner's land grab at Atlantic Yards, the Brooklyn Bridge Park where there's concern that the park is going to just turn into a private backyard for the condominiums, and Coney Island.

The Real Estate Observer, Move-In Day for Brooklyn's Tallest Tower! Condo Owners Get One Hanson Place Keys Jan. 16

Even with the construction of neighboring Atlantic Yards, the [Williamsburgh Bank] tower, at a cool 512 feet, will retain its title as the borough’s tallest structure, as the city pushed Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner to hold its signature Miss Brooklyn tower to 511 feet.

The Campaign for Community-Based Planning, Neighborhood Sustainability Standards: Where is the Community Process?

[Tom Angotti] writes that, while some LEED ND pilot programs, such as Melrose Park in the Bronx, represent sustainable, community-based planning, other pilot projects, such as Atlantic Yards, Willets Point, and Columbia’s expansion in Manhattanville, are, ”large-scale developments that displace local people and businesses.

OnNYTurf, Bklink: Sign on Pacific Street
It's a reblog of a reblog on the Carlton Ave closing.

Posted by lumi at 9:04 PM

January 9, 2008

A Sign on Pacific Street

Brit in Brooklyn posted this photo and mapped the location of the bridge on Google Maps.

AK-CarltonAve.jpg

Posted by lumi at 8:07 PM

Closing Bell: New York's Finest, Leading by Example

Gridlock-BSR.jpg Brownstoner posted this photo of midday gridlock two blocks from the footprint of Bruce Ratner's controversial Atlantic Yards project. Ratner hasn't even broken ground on the 16 high-rise plus arena megaproject yet, so it makes you wonder what traffic will be like if construction gets underway or on game nights.

Posted by lumi at 6:49 PM

January 3, 2008

News in Brief

CarltonAv-MetroNY.gifMetroNY
By Amy Zimmer

MetroNY (print edition only) seems to be the only daily that carried the news of the planned Carlton Avenue bridge closing.

Posted by lumi at 5:28 AM

The Carlton Avenue bridge will close January 16

Atlantic Yards Report

We've been waiting for two months for the announcement that the Carlton Avenue Bridge, located between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street in Brooklyn, will close for two years of reconstruction, and yesterday I was sent a document (below, and excerpt at right) that indicated it would close January 16.

(It's not clear whether the announcement is from the state, city, or developer, though it seems they're all working together. Click to [view the community notice].)

CarltnBrdgeClosurPl.gif

The announcement states that the one-way bridge will be closed "to accommodate upgrading the Long Island Rail Road's Vanderbilt Yard under the bridge, and also to construct a new bridge as part of the Atlantic Yards project."

Meanwhile, northbound traffic will be rerouted either west along Pacific Street to Sixth Avenue, which will become two-way for the interim or east along Pacific Street to Vanderbilt Avenue. We'll see how that works, but "[t]raffic agents will be assigned to facilitate the flow of traffic."

article

Posted by lumi at 5:13 AM

December 25, 2007

Streetsblog: drivers at Fourth, Flatbush, and Atlantic resigned to Merry Gridlock

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder checks out the Streetsfilm report from 4th Avenue in Brooklyn on a Gridlock Alert day.

[Aaron Naparstek] doesn't even mention the elephant at the edge of the intersection, the planned Atlantic Yards project, which would certainly exacerbate gridlock. The only hint: one frame capture some anti-Atlantic Yards art painted by Patti and Schellie Hagan of the Prospect Heights Action Council.

article

NoLandGrab: One thing is for sure, Congestion Pricing hasn't caught on with the public, even with Mayor Bloomberg's support.

Posted by lumi at 9:12 AM

December 24, 2007

PlaNYC 1950: why parking shouldn't be required at apartment projects like Atlantic Yards

Atlantic Yards Report

Mayor Mike Bloomberg's much-praised PlaNYC 2030 contains a glaring omission, a failure to address the antiquated anti-urban policy that mandates parking attached to new residential developments outside Manhattan, even when such developments, like Atlantic Yards, are justified precisely because they're located near transit hubs.

Last year, several commentators on the Atlantic Yards Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) questioned the provision of parking--not just interim surface lots, but also the 2570 underground spaces intended for the project's residential component and an additional 1100 underground spaces for the arena.

(Map from Atlantic Yards web site.)

The Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) dismissed the questions, but the issue won't go away.

article

Posted by lumi at 5:12 AM

December 21, 2007

Expert: There is a way to fix Atlantic Yards traffic

The Brooklyn Paper, Letters

The Brooklyn Chapter of the American Institute of Architects supports bringing basketball to Brooklyn but does not "feel that enough thought has been given to the traffic impact of the overall development."

Here is the Chapter's four-point solution:

  1. The city should prohibit the Nets arena from providing any off-street parking at the arena site. Instead, the city should provide municipal parking for approximately 1,000 cars at one or several locations in an industrial area in the Brownsville/East New York area, within walking distance of public transportation. This parking would be used on a daily basis for business people driving to work as well as for patrons attending basketball games.
     
    However, on game nights, either the Nets or the Atlantic Yards developer should be required to provide shuttle buses from the remote parking areas to the arena.

  2. Eliminate parking on all major thoroughfares going to, or coming from, Manhattan during rush hours, and meter all side streets in the area. Enforce existing “Don’t Block the Box” rules at all major intersections.

  3. Eliminate parking permits for city employees’ private vehicles to encourage them to take public transportation.

  4. Discount bus and subway fares during off hours.

full letter

NoLandGrab: Eliminating "parking permits for city employees’ private vehicles" and discounting "bus and subway fares during off hours" sound like good ideas. Seriously, WTF does it have to do with Atlantic Yards?

Posted by lumi at 5:23 AM

December 20, 2007

Bus Stop Temporarily Relocated

Photo by Tracy Collins, from the Atlantic Yards Photo Pool.

In case bus riders aren't diligently reading NoLandGrab or didn't get the Atlantic Yards Construction Update, a sign has finally been posted, alerting riders that the B65 bus stop has been temporarily relocated.

Earlier this week, local photographer Tracy Collins tried to explain to a group of riders that the stop had been moved. They didn't believe him until the bus drove by.

Thanks Tracy, your good deed helped to keep spirits bright during this holiday season.

Posted by lumi at 9:27 PM

December 19, 2007

B65 new temporary bus stop

Photo and dispatch by Tracy Collins, via the Atlantic Yards Photo Pool.

534 Dean Street near Carlton Avenue
Prospect Heights
Brooklyn, New York

this is the temporary location of the B65 bus stop, directly in front of Newswalk Condos, at 534 Dean Street near Carlton Avenue. it used to be on Dean Street at Flatbush Avenue, but needed to be moved for utility work on Dean Street for Atlantic Yards.

most of the riders getting on the bus in this photo had been waiting at the original location until i told them the bus stop had been moved. most didn't believe me until a bus rolled by without stopping. luckily for them, this next bus was not far behind and they didn't have to wait too long in the cold.

it would have been nice if the MTA, when it pulled down the signs at the original bus stop location, had put up signs informing passengers that the stop had moved. but, it's the MTA. unfortunately, details like keeping its customers informed fall through the cracks all too often.

extra bonus points for those who noticed the mini van that's illegally parked in the bus stop. the NYPD has already been ticketing, so heads up, people.

NoLandGrab: Crazy! Is it possible that the MTA and Ratner thought that notifying the public through the Atlantic Yards Construction Update would suffice to keep B65 riders informed?

Posted by lumi at 3:00 AM

December 18, 2007

Arena in 2011? New construction schedule suggests that's the soonest

Atlantic Yards Report

Mining the latest Atlantic Yards Construction Update for clues, Norman Oder figures out that the recent admission by Forest City Ratner that the arena won't be ready until the 2010-2011 NBA season still does not conform to the previously released schedule of construction, unless the developer is hell bent on closing two bridges at once or opening the arena before reopening the Sixth Avenue bridge.

The Carlton Avenue Bridge would take two years to reconstruct and, after that, the Sixth Avenue Bridge would take one year, according to the ESDC's Final Environmental Impact Statement. (This assumes that pending lawsuits don't delay things further.)

There's no way to close both bridges at the same time without creating ruinous traffic jams. Could the arena open with the Sixth Avenue bridge still under reconstruction? ESDC spokesman A.J. Carter said last month, "Forest City Ratner tells us that while the arena might be able to open without the bridge in operation, the goal is to have the bridge open in coordination with the arena's opening."

Well, the arena could open, but it would be a very ugly situation.

Norman Oder reviews the potential scenarios.

article

Posted by lumi at 4:18 AM

December 11, 2007

Re-think East Harlem project

El Diario/La Prenza, Editorial

While Mayor Bloomberg is promoting initiatives to reduce traffic congestion, his administration is doing nothing to address concerns of more traffic generated by two mega-projects brought to you by Bruce:

Years ago, advocacy organizations like West Harlem Environmental Action warned the city about the adverse effects of dramatically increased vehicular volume that East River Plaza would trigger. And recently, when the New York City Planning Commission had a chance to give a thumb down to giving the entities behind East River Plaza—Forest City Ratner (FCR) and the Blumenfeld Corporation—more garage capacity, it instead re-granted permits to them. East Harlem’s community board had rejected the renewal.

With another development it is steering—the Atlantic Yards proposal—FCR says it will mitigate the traffic sure to be drawn by a new Nets Stadium at the site. Yet, it is the scale of these projects to begin with that aggravates traffic and congestion.

We urge the Mayor to direct his Office of Sustainability to examine how the East River Plaza project, beyond window-dressing measures, can mitigate its effects on a community that shouldn`t be exposed to more environmental and health risks.

article

Posted by lumi at 5:45 AM

December 7, 2007

New York Times Employees Say Renzo Forgot the Bike Parking

Streetsblog.org

Here's one we missed yesterday, about the missing bike parking at Forest City Ratner's new Times Tower:

There was just one problem. While the Times and developer Forest City Ratner were promoting their new Renzo Piano-designed skyscraper as a "technologically advanced and environmentally sensitive" exemplar of green construction, a lack of bike parking and policies hostile towards cyclists were discouraging employees from commuting to work by the city's most environmentally-friendly mode of urban transport.

"I couldn't believe they built such a supposedly 'green' building without a bike room," Bengen said. "This isn't exactly the best neighborhood to leave a bike outside all day."

Does the experience of cycling New York Times employees call into question the promise of some 400 bike parking spaces at Atlantic Yards?

Despite repeated assurances from company executives that the new building would have an indoor bike storage space, as employees began moving into the new offices last spring, the bike parking never materialized.
...

So, why didn't the Times include a bike parking facility in its original design? Ruttenberg Surfos, Renzo Piano and developer Forest City Ratner all declined to comment [emphasis, ours].

NoLandGrab: No surprise there.

article

Posted by lumi at 8:11 AM

November 30, 2007

What? Pay for street parking?!

The Brooklyn Paper
By Mike McLaughlin

An article about last Tuesday's parking and transportation workshop reports that residential permit parking got a lot of attention. This is one of the ideas being bandied about along with the Mayor's congestion pricing plan.

Residents in Park Slope are already experiencing problems with on-street parking and fear it will get worse if Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards arena and high-rise complex is built.

“As Park Slope fills up, this is not going to solve the parking problem ultimately,” said Stuart Pertz, a Park Slope architect who has consulted the Municipal Arts Society on its opposition to the Atlantic Yards project.

article

NoLandGrab: Though Pertz has personally spoken quite forcefully against Atlantic Yards, the Municipal Art Society (MAS) has not taken a clear position opposing the project (see interview with MAS President Kent Barwick).

Posted by lumi at 5:32 AM

November 27, 2007

TONIGHT: PlaNYC Workshop On Neighborhood Parking In Prospect Heights/Park Slope

The New York City Department of Transportation invites you to Come and Share Your Ideas

[This announcement was distributed by Brooklyn Community Board 6.]

DOT wants to address community concerns about the possible impact of congestion pricing on neighborhood parking.

Participate in roundtable discussions about:

  • Parking conditions in your neighborhood
  • Parking management strategies
  • Help develop a toolbox of potential parking solutions that can be applied to neighborhoods citywide

Tuesday, November 27, 2007
6:30-8:30pm
Come between 6:00-6:30pm

Congregation Beth Elohim
274 Garfield Place (at 8th Avenue)

RSVP Required by 11/26/07 to:
planycpark@hshassoc.com or call 917.339.0488.

Use "Brooklyn Workshop" as subject line of email.

To download the official agency announcement click here, or use the following link:
http://www.brooklyncb6.org/announcements/#10.

Posted by lumi at 12:36 PM

November 6, 2007

The serious street shutdowns outside the Newark arena

NewarkClosings-AYR.jpg Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder took a field trip to the Newark arena last Saturday. Here's what he found.

the two intersecting streets that lead to the main entrance are completely shut down, though emergency vehicles are allowed on both blocks and one partially accommodates some cars heading into a private parking lot.

(Photo at right of four-lane Mulberry Street looking north from Lafayette Street. A police vehicle is parked at left.)

Remember, on Oct. 10, the Newark Star-Ledger reported that city officials were planning to close, or partly close, one or two streets bordering the arena—a decision that caused some consternation, because it was made only two weeks before the arena was to open.

The Star-Ledger reported that "the so-called 'standoff' -- the distance between the building and a potential terrorist threat -- was not sufficient on Edison [Place] and Mulberry [Street]." The solution has been to use concrete "Jersey barriers," like ones used as highway dividers, on both streets.

This raised questions in Brooklyn about whether the streets around the Atlantic Yards arena would have to close, in whole or in part, to protect against potential terrorist attacks, and led to calls for a state hearing on Atlantic Yards security. So far, city and state officials, and developer Forest City Ratner have stressed their extensive security preparations, but have not answered the questions about potential street closings.

article

NoLandGrab: Serious security and traffic issues aside, we're impressed that Norman Oder visited the Pru Center arena before Bruce Ratner did.

Posted by lumi at 6:07 AM

October 31, 2007

B63 is Brooklyn's Pokiest!

B63Pokey.jpgFrom "City Room," via NYTimes.com (emphasis added):

In addition to ranking the M23 the slowest bus route in the city, the annual survey identified these routes as the slowest by borough: the B63 in Brooklyn (4.9 m.p.h.), the Bx19 in the Bronx (5.0 m.p.h.), the Q56 in Queens (6.1 m.p.h.) and the S61 on Staten Island (11.7 m.p.h.)

The B63 was promoted to the borough's #1 slowest bus, up one spot in the standings from 2006, when the route was ranked second slowest bus in Brooklyn.

Folks will recall that the B63 was the bus that Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner had directed the NYC MTA to reroute, until Norman Oder of Atlantic Yards Report figured out that Ratner was the one calling all the shots (see, "Never mind, says NYCT: B63 reroute, Fifth Avenue closing won't happen as announced").

Ratner's transportation geniuses have suggested in the Atlantic Yards Environmental Impact Statement that the solution to slower buses passing by Atlantic Yards would be to add MORE buses.

Posted by lumi at 6:53 AM

October 23, 2007

Newark arena transportation plan suggests flaws in ESDC's AY "peak hour" analysis

Atlantic Yards Report

Two days before the Prudential Center, home ice for the NJ Devils hockey team, is set to open, Norman Oder examines the transportation plan for the Newark arena, compares it to the transportation analysis for Atlantic Yards and the Barclays Center arena, and concludes that the Newark analysis "casts further doubt on the Atlantic Yards environmental review." [Click image to enlarge.]

You'd expect the operators of a new sports arena and local officials to encourage those attending events to get to the area a bit early, not just to avoid traffic and transit snags but also to spend some money at the arena and neighborhood facilities.

That's certainly the case in Newark, where the draft transportation plan (4.4 MB) for the Prudential Center, prepared by Sam Schwartz PLLC, the transportation engineering and planning firm founded by "Gridlock Sam," recommends that drivers "aim to arrive in Newark 90 minutes early, allowing for traffic, parking, and time to enjoy downtown." The arena opens October 25. (Emphasis on "90 minutes early" added in graphic.)

The advice in Newark casts further doubt on the Atlantic Yards environmental review conducted by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), which chose the peak hour of 7-8 pm to analyze traffic conditions, even though games would most likely begin at 7:30 pm.

Visitors to the planned Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn might well get the same "arrive early" advice Schwartz's firm is offering in Newark. It's reasonable to expect Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner to try to draw patrons to retail, restaurants, and bars in project buildings, and also to its nearby Atlantic Center and Atlantic Terminal malls.

article

Posted by lumi at 7:42 AM

October 20, 2007

Could Congestion Pricing Turn Brooklyn Into `Park and Ride’?

Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Charles Maldonado

Brooklyn could be turned into a “park and ride community” by Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to institute congestion pricing for commuters entering Manhattan, said Tom Agnotti, Hunter College professor of urban planning and a lifelong Brooklyn resident.
...
In his talk, he also sounded the alarm about new development that, he said, would drive real estate prices and rents up, out of range of middle-class and working-class residents.
...
Angotti, a well-known critic of Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards development and one of the chief designers of the alternative Unity Plan for the site, offered it as an example of how New York is not dealing with congestion the way it should.

“The Atlantic Yards has been touted as a transit-friendly development. Then why are they building 3,600 parking spaces?”

article

Posted by amy at 10:51 AM

October 18, 2007

Jeffries: ESDC's traffic/transit plans still need work

Atlantic Yards Report

Residents of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and Prospect Heights attending a Mass Transportation Community Speak Out last night sponsored by Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries had a lot of things on their minds, including infrequent subway service, bus clustering, and mysteriously protracted street renovations.

But the pressure of new development was a backdrop to the concerns and Atlantic Yards, the biggest planned such development, came in for some special criticism.

article

Posted by lumi at 8:26 AM

September 30, 2007

Near-gridlock at tour's end, and the effect on AY & UNITY

Atlantic Yards Report

The walking tour I led yesterday (with the help of Ron Shiffman) of the Atlantic Yards footprint and environs wound up, after two-and-a-half hours, on Pacific Street just west of Flatbush Avenue, outside the Brooklyn Bear's Garden. (About 50 people showed up, very few of whom I recognized as involved in Atlantic Yards-related activism.)

The traffic on Flatbush was relentless. It was hard to imagine how a Saturday afternoon arena event could be accommodated unless there were significant changes to the area transportation system, beyond the mitigations--among them a free MetroCard (for basketball games, not concerts) and shuttle buses (ditto)--planned as of now.

Also, though the alternative UNITY plan Shiffman helped develop calls for a park on the triangular plot opposite the garden, between Flatbush, Fifth, and Atlantic avenues, it sure didn't seem like that salubrious a place to gather, given the traffic on Atlantic as well. Many of the major transportation changes that are proposed in the UNITY plan would have to be implemented, at the least.

link

Posted by amy at 11:30 AM

August 18, 2007

No ‘Prospect’ for more car-free hours in park

The Brooklyn Paper
Yvonne Juris

Some, including Borough President Markowitz, believe that further expanding car-free hours in Prospect Park would only push more traffic onto surrounding roads. The Daily News reported this week that an expansion in car-free hours in Prospect Park was about to be approved, but Markowitz put the kibosh on it.

That made sense to one of the park’s users this week, given Markowitz’s support of Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project, which is expected to increase traffic along the Flatbush Avenue corridor.

“If Marty is so concerned with traffic, he should reconsider [his support for] the Ratner project,” said Park Sloper Tricia Goodman. “This is a park, not an overflow valve” for cars zipping to and from Atlantic Yards.

article

Posted by amy at 9:23 AM

July 31, 2007

It came from the Blogosphere...

Streets Blog, Bike Parking on Steroids

Over half of the people who attend Giants games do not travel by car, a somewhat remarkable fact in car-crazy California. (Note to Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards bosses: Look at what San Fran is doing to encourage people not to bring their automobile to the stadium).

The Knickerblogger, Going To the Horse's Mouth
"Knickerblogger" gets his knickers all in a twist after reading last week's article in the Daily News about negotiations between the Bloomberg administration and Ratner over the special exception in the State's 421-a reform bill:

Note the last line:

A Bloomberg spokesman declined to discuss details of the negotiations but said Forest City Ratner and city officials had hammered out an agreement this week.

Since when is Forest City deciding what a tax break should be? Why negations with Forest City and not the state - the Daily News, perhaps unwhittingly has pointed out the massive corruption & influence of Forest City, perhaps the city, wishing to save time, went to the horse's mouth.

Brooklynian, Another white discharge in the Atlantic Yards footprint

Okay, this is weird. A few months ago, there was a discharge of the emergency fire retardant at the gas station on Flatbush & Dean. I was there and photographed it. ...
Well, it happened again.

Photos and video posted.

Gumby Fresh, Clean Government
A local cleaner gives Gumby Freshy the heebee geebees after hanging an 8x12 photo of Brooklyn's Cheerleader in Chief Marty Markowitz workin' the camera at a gathering of local businessmen. Now the photo is gone and Freshy wonders if the Arena Bagel Brigade had something to do with it.

Posted by lumi at 6:04 PM

July 20, 2007

Congestion pricing still looms as an AY issue

Atlantic Yards Report

The dirty little secret in the pro-more-development-Brooklyn set is that traffic around Downtown Brooklyn already sucks (despite what any environmental impact statement claims) and it will continue to get worse, unless initiatives like congestion pricing are implemented.

article

Posted by lumi at 9:46 AM

July 19, 2007

It came from the Blogosphere...

Zoned-In, Economic Development: The Stronger Transportation Solution

One blogger repackages Atlantic Yards as a regional business center:

Rather than developing strategies to facilitate long-distance travel routes, be they from Canarsie on the subway or from Suffolk County on the LIRR, why not develop job centers throughout the region, creating job opportunities closer to the homes of the region’s 18 million? Perhaps once Downtown Brooklyn, Jamaica, the Bronx Hub, the Nassau Hub, and other secondary central business districts have emerged as competitive, diverse job centers, it will become more practical for the region’s residents to walk or bicycle – or at least drive shorter distances – on their daily commutes, relieving the region’s traffic congestion. The Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn, for instance, would benefit from making office and retail space the emphasis of the project.

NoLandGrab: It sounds like a good idea — the only problem is that the track record for creating a regional business center in Downtown Brooklyn has been fairly poor:

  • Bruce Ratner's MetroTech was supposed to be exactly that. However, after the tenants failed to materialize, the City moved administrative offices into the complex, becoming its largest tenant.

  • After only three years, the Downtown Brooklyn Plan has already run off its tracks. Instead of yeilding millions of square feet of office space, developers have flocked to the luxury condo market.

Streets Blog, Critical Transportation Reforms Sink With Pricing

The sinking of the congestion pricing ship took other victims with it. Lost with congestion pricing was legislation approving bus lane enforcement cameras, residential parking permits, and reclassifying "block the box" as an easier to enforce parking violation.
...
Permits might make sense as a mitigation for reducing the "edge effect" of a congestion pricing zone and to prevent driving to major trip-generators like the proposed Atlantic Yards arena in Brooklyn.

NoLandGrab: The conventional wisdom among transpo nerds is that congestion pricing and residential parking permits are necessary to mitigate some of the effects of placing an arena and 16 high-rise towers on one of the busiest intersections in Brooklyn.

Pardon me for asking, Hey, We Are All Invited To Bill De Blasio's Place
After being elected to two City Council terms, Bill de Blasio is starting to hold meet-and-greets. "Pardonez-moi" blogger Katia Kelly shares one reader's email:

Bill de Blasio, everybody's favorite beamish boy, needs to sort out his loyalties about the Atlantic Yards before he starts hustling cash around here. He does not need a town hall meeting for that, just a published statement.

Of course, if you'd like to share your views on Atlantic Yards, you can drop by De Blasio's district office (2907 Ft. Hamilton Parkway) next Tuesday, July 24, 3PM-7PM.

Posted by lumi at 7:22 AM

July 13, 2007

Narrow Streets: Pacific

Brit in Brooklyn photographed this gauntlet in Bruce Ratner's controversial Atlantic Yards project (link).

Since my last wander round the Atlantic Yards footprint a large new fence has been erected and a footpath closed. Pacific Street is now narrower by about a quarter.

Last week we missed this item, where the Desktop Day featured the Tasty Provisions building, which is slated to be demolished by Bruce Ratner. Get yours today!

Posted by lumi at 10:52 AM

Make plaza Grand

The Brooklyn Paper
Letter to the Editor

A Park Sloper has a bone to pick with the proposal for Grand Army Plaza, but notes that problems at the Traffic Triangle nestled in Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards proposal sucks and is about to get worse:

I suspect that the willingness of the city to work on Grand Army Plaza with neighborhood folks is a diversion from focusing on the more serious traffic problems on Flatbush, Atlantic and Fourth avenues, problems that the Department of Transportation has ignored since at least the 1960s and whose solutions extend all the way into Manhattan.

The city has refused offers of help from professionals and watched idly as those problems are being exacerbated by all the development in Downtown Brooklyn and especially by the proposed super mega-development of Atlantic Yards.

link

Posted by lumi at 7:29 AM

July 12, 2007

As Buildings Rise, Construction Salaries Follow

The NY Sun
By Grace Rauh

ConstructionWorkers-NYS.jpgAn article about one reason construction costs for projects like Atlantic Yards are rising:

The city's latest building boom is giving some carpenters, electricians, and other construction professionals extra cash to pay for new homes, cars, and renovation projects.
...
The work is not expected to stop anytime soon. The construction industry is about to feel the effects of the onset of dozens of projects, both public and private. The World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan, the Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, and the new Yankee Stadium are just a few in the pipeline.

article

NoLandGrab: The article describes the commutes of two construction workers, who both — unsurprisingly — arrive at their work sites by public transportation.

Ratner's claim that the entire footprint of Atlantic Yards must be razed to accommodate temporary surface parking for construction workers is deceptive. Note that there is no such accommodation for projects elsewhere in the city and, as Ratner likes to remind folks, the Atlantic & Flatbush station, a hub connecting the Long Island Railroad to 11 subway lines, is very accessible.

Posted by lumi at 9:19 AM

July 9, 2007

Mayor's mixed messages

amNY

One Brooklynite notes that the Mayor's support for Atlantic Yards is at odds with his campaign against congestion:

In addition, why then would we want a stadium in Brooklyn?

It will increase traffic so Brooklynites will have to pay to drive in Brooklyn. Easy answer, cancel the stadium in Brooklyn and stop the congestion pricing in Manhattan.

— Thomas Healy, Brooklyn

link

NoLandGrab, FYI: The Mayor's POV is that the region would not be able to stomach the historic megaproject called Atlantic Yards without first swallowing what some may call a bitter pill (congestion pricing). [Granted, the Mayor's office wouldn't phrase it in that manner.]

Posted by lumi at 8:36 AM

June 27, 2007

It came from the Blogosphere...

BrooklynSkyline-VS.jpgVelvet Sea, Another Perspective on Atlantic Yards
Photographic evidence that Prospect Heights is NOT in Downtown Brooklyn.

Photos of the Brooklyn skyline taken from Williamsburgh provides additional perspective on Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards plan.

As you can see below, the [Williamsburgh Savings Bank] tower is a bit of a distance away from the downtown Brooklyn business core of highrises, seen just beyond the Williamsburg Bridge on the right hand side in this shot.

The Knickerblogger, ESDC Math= Adding 16000 residents and an arena won't affect subway capacity

...of course, as with everything else in Bruce Ratner's corrupt fantasy world, the reality is another story (four of the over crowded lines mentioned stop at Atlantic Avenue:

ANTI-EMINENT DOMAIN ABUSE ACTION
News of this afternoon's anti-eminent domain abuse demonstration and press conference at City Hall is spreading over the internet:

HandsOff-BIB.jpgLOHO 10002, Important Events This Week

Wednesday, June 27, 1 pm
Steps of City Hall
Anti-displacement groups throughout the city join to protest eminent domain abuse, marking the second-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision which allowed cities to use eminent domain to evict residents and destroy their homes to benefit a private development. Demonstration organized by Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, the neighborhood group opposing Ratner’s Atlantic Yards development plan.

Brit in Brooklyn, Big Eminent Domain Rally at City Hall, Wednesday.

Historic Districts Council Newsstand, A Rally, a Letter and a Lecture - all to help save Brooklyn

News of the anti-eminent domain rally, a letter-writing campaign to Governor Spitzer and a lecture on PlaNYC in Brooklyn.

Posted by lumi at 6:35 AM

June 26, 2007

NYC Transit Authority releases sobering data, contradicting figures used to justify Atlantic Yards

The big news today is that subways are overcrowded — as if New Yorkers couldn't tell — and it's going to get worse before it gets better.

The articles in the daily papers didn't mention the possible implications of the massive new developments all around Brooklyn, including the Atlantic Yards, but Norman Oder of Atlantic Yards Report had something to say.

The NY Times, Some Subways Found Packed Past Capacity

In an unusually candid effort at self-examination for a habitually insular agency, New York City Transit yesterday presented what could be called an index of straphanger frustration. It made an analysis of each subway line that shows at a glance how often trains run late, how crowded they are and whether more trains could be added to ease the problems.

What is revealed is both predictable and eye-opening. Many subway lines are simply maxed out, meaning there is no room on the tracks they use to add trains that could carry the swelling numbers of riders. And that has implications that range from day-to-day decisions about how trains travel through the system to long-term planning on how to best move people around a growing city.

MetroNY, Subway crush

Adding more cars to trains and extending station platforms could alleviate pressure. But that takes money the MTA doesn’t have, said Roberts, and one potential funding solution — congestion pricing — could exacerbate the problem in the short run, especially if diverted drivers choose to take trains on already overcrowded lines.

“There’s no room in the inn,” Roberts explained, before pointing out that other busy lines, such as the C and the 7, can still accommodate new riders. But that does mean the MTA would have to rely on buses to meet the increased demands caused by congestion pricing. “If all those cars don’t come in, there will be more room for the buses,” Roberts said.

amNewYork, Transit head: No quick fix for overcrowding

The [transit] authority has gathered engineers to brainstorm ways to ease overcrowding on the No. 2 and 3 lines, as well as the notorious Lexington Line, which is served by the No. 4, 5 and 6 trains.

TA officials realized that the lines are too overwhelmed after a study completed in April.

The overcrowded lines cannot fit any more trains on the tracks to help with packed cars during the busiest hour of the day, according to April statistics the TA released Monday. And the No. 2, 3, 4 and 5 lines had the most delays systemwide in April.

ATLANTIC YARDS???
Atlantic Yards Report, NYCT contradicts ESDC, saying subways are too crowded
Norman Oder ties in the latest news to the little we do know about Atlantic Yards, which, after yesterday's revelations, isn't much:

Contrast [the NY City Transit Authority's conclusions] with the sunny predictions of the Empire State Development Corporation in its Atlantic Yards environmental review, predictions that were criticized again and again by transportation analysts Brian Ketcham and Carolyn Konheim.

From the Atlantic Yards Final Environmental Impact Statement (Response 13-2):

The DEIS includes a detailed subway line haul analysis based on 2005 NYCT passenger counts that show that all subway routes serving the project site would continue to operate below capacity in the peak direction in the AM and PM peak hours at their maximum load points in both the 2010 and the 2016 future with the proposed project.

Apparently the statistics were a little bit out of date.

Posted by lumi at 7:50 AM

June 22, 2007

New York's mayor buys his way to popularity.

The Michael Bloomberg Method

The New Republic
By Fred Siegel

Apparently, everyone knows that Atlantic Yards is the worst initiative of NYC Mayor Bloomberg's administration and that it undermines his sincerity on traffic and transportation issues:

Bloomberg is so skilled at using his wealth to market himself that his plan to reduce traffic and pollution by charging congestion fees to come into central Manhattan has been hailed by Time, which put him on its cover, as if words were deeds. But congestion pricing is unlikely to be implemented, and, even if implemented, it's not clear that it would reduce congestion. Time was so impressed with Bloomberg's verbal accomplishments that it failed to note that one of the major causes of downtown congestion are the thousands of parking permits generously given out by Bloomberg's own City Hall. Bloomberg, after considerable effort, has succeeded in getting developer Bruce Ratner's massive Atlantic Yards project approved. At a time when Brooklyn is booming with new, unsubsidized housing construction, the wealthy Ratner, a friend of Bloomberg's, will receive half a billion dollars in subsidies guaranteed to sharply increase both congestion and pollution along already overburdened Flatbush Avenue, the borough's main artery. Recently, when Bloomberg went to a press conference on green initiatives, he ostentatiously arrived by subway, only to be met for the trip back to City Hall by a large gas-guzzling SUV.

article (subscription only)

Posted by lumi at 6:00 AM

June 18, 2007

Two from BrooklynSpeaks member groups join Bloomberg's administration

Atlantic Yards Report

Mayor Mike Bloomberg's administration, as part of its long-term sustainability initiative, has hired some well-respected analysts and advocates who've spent a long time on the outside looking in.

As Streetsblog has reported, Project for Public Spaces (PPS) vice president and transportation program director Andy Wiley-Schwartz will join the Department of Transportation's (DOT) new Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, reporting to new Deputy Commissioner Bruce Schaller. And Jon Orcutt, former director of the Tri-State Transportation Council (TSTC) has joined DOT to serve as senior policy advisor to the new commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan.
...
Both PPS and TSTC have offered savvy criticism of Atlantic Yards both independently and as part of the BrooklynSpeaks coalition. Should the project continue to move forward, at least some city government officials will have taken a close look at the challenges.

article

Posted by lumi at 9:52 AM

June 8, 2007

A Futurama of Pollution and Congestion

BKTraffic.jpgThe Indypendent
By Samantha Gorelick

You can thank Robert Moses's "Futurama" for our network of traffic in NYC. Will Bloomberg's solution be enough when he's undermining his own bold fix?

Current Mayor Michael Bloomberg is proposing to address Moses’ road-building legacy by instituting traffic congestion pricing as part of his clean and green PlaNYC 2030. (At the same time, Bloomberg is evoking the days of Moses with plans to build massive luxury housing, retail and business complexes at the Atlantic Yards and the West Side Rail Yards.)

article

Posted by lumi at 8:15 AM

May 24, 2007

OK, B63 Reroute Plan Won't Happen as Announced

Brooklyn Downtown Star
By Norman Oder

Yup, you heard it right, public agencies are taking their orders from Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner, that is, until people started asking questions. Norman Oder first broke this story on his blog, Atlantic Yards Report.

Last month, the Star reported plans by New York City Transit (NYCT) to revise service on the northbound B63 bus route in response to the demapping of Fifth Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic avenues for the Atlantic Yards project. The change would happen "in the near future," according to NYCT's Lois Tendler. Because the street would be closed, Tendler said in a letter to Brooklyn Community Board 6, the bus would not continue to Atlantic and make a left to go downtown, but instead make a left on Flatbush. It was supposed to be implemented this Sunday, May 27.

Well, it's not happening this week, and from what officials have said so far, it seems that the transit agency was paying more attention to Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner than to other involved agencies.

article

Posted by lumi at 9:33 PM

May 4, 2007

DOT One-Way Park Slope proposal is dead

If seeing is believing, then have a look at the letter from the DOT to Community Board 6 (click image to enlarge), which states:

NYC DOT does not intend to pursue the implementation of the proposed 6th and 7th Avenue conversion to one-way operation. We respect the Community Board's desire to maintain the current configuration of these streets.

As you know, our proposed modifications on 4th Avenue were developed in context of complementary changes to 6th and 7th Avenue. We are currently evaluating whether our proposal on 4th Avenue is feasible without the one-way conversions of 6th and 7th Avenues. If the evaluation indicates that implementation is feasible, we will present our proposal for 4th Avenue in greater detail to the Community Board Transportation Committee.

A PDF copy of this letter is available on the Brooklyn Community Board 6 web site.

NoLandGrab: The one-way conversion proposal was widely seen as a measure to help increase traffic throughput around the public-transportation-rich Atlantic Yards site, in advance of the construction of the arena — a charge the DOT denies.

The DOT claimed that, on the contrary, this proposal had been studied and was in the pipeline for many years, well before Atlantic Yards was hatched. The catch-22 is that, if that were true, then these proposed modifications would have to have been revealed and studied in the Atlantic Yards Environmental Impact Statement; they weren't.

Residents around Ratnerville are pretty used to public officials who can't or won't be honest with the public. That doesn't mean we have to accept it.

Posted by lumi at 9:15 AM

April 25, 2007

Warning on Ratner Parking and Congestion Pricing

parknride.gifDevelop Don't Destroy Advisory Board Member and former City Planning Commissioner Ron Shiffman explains that the Mayor's congestion-pricing plan will overwhelm Central Brooklyn with park-n-ride commuters if the City doesn't implement a residential-parking-permit plan for Central Brooklyn.

Shiffman's statement from dddb.net:

Unless parking restrictions are put in place along with the Mayor's proposal to improve transit, the reality could be that if the city establishes congestion pricing–which I strongly advocate–and Forest City Ratner develops 1200 parking spaces–and eventually 3,800 parking spaces–then people from the rest of Brooklyn, Long Island and Staten Island who normally drive to Manhattan will park in those spaces. In the future they will use the parking developed for Downtown Brooklyn and the Nets as a resource for parking and will then take the subway into Manhattan. We need to eliminate the parking in Downtown Brooklyn and make Downtown Brooklyn and Atlantic Avenue and all other environmental hotspots part of the congestion pricing area.

Posted by lumi at 8:07 AM

April 24, 2007

Congestion pricing opposition builds

Crain's NY Business

From Erik Engquist's report on the congestion pricing foes:

Brooklyn Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries also came out against the initiative, even though the mayor says it would reduce traffic in Mr. Jeffries' district, where few constituents drive across the East River. The assemblyman objected because Brooklyn drivers would pay more than their Manhattan counterparts under the plan.

NoLandGrab: Atlantic Yards supporters and critics alike agree that congestion pricing is necessary for the project to have a chance to succeed.

Hakeem Jeffries has been circulating a letter co-signed by NY City Councilmember David Yassky with their traffic and transportation solutions for Atlantic Yards.

Though the duo has been advancing wholly unfeasible non-starters like a traffic circle at 4th, Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues and digging a really deep tunnel to run Flatbush Avenue underneath the entire traffic mess, is it possible that the simpler and more realisitc idea of "congestion pricing" isn't on the list?

Posted by lumi at 1:54 PM

Doctoroff's discomfort: Atlantic Yards is an "extreme case"

Atlantic Yards Report

Doctoroff-WNYC.jpgNorman Oder analyzes Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff's interview on The Brian Lehrer Show, as "Lisa in Brooklyn" references Atlantic Yards in a call about congestion pricing and Lehrer revisits the issue when talking about appropriate density:

Doctoroff was generally unruffled, layering a slightly folky, almost professorial air over his investment banker's confidence, as he discussed Mayor Mike Bloomberg's sustainability plan. However, when pressed on Atlantic Yards, he quickly moved on to less controversial issues.

And, just as Atlantic Yards serves as an example counter to those practices cited in PlaNYC2030, so yesterday did Doctoroff's examples contrast with the story of Atlantic Yards.

Either developer Forest City Ratner is thankful that Atlantic Yards moved forward before the city promoted more transparent development procedures, or the city's new push will help the plaintiffs in the Atlantic Yards eminent domain case argue that the Brooklyn project was a sweetheart deal.

article

Posted by lumi at 11:12 AM

April 23, 2007

Atlantic Yards Report on PlaNYC

plaNYC.jpg

The silence of PlaNYC regarding Atlantic Yards (and the right way to develop railyards)

atlanticyardssh.gifNorman Oder scours the Housing section of Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC for signs of Atlantic Yards:

Yesterday, when discussing PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York, Mayor Mike Bloomberg called congestion pricing "the elephant in the room." When it comes to the housing section of the plan, however, the elephant in the room is Atlantic Yards.
...
While numerous examples of past, present, and future projects are provided in the Housing chapter, Atlantic Yards is conspicuously unmentioned.

Given that the project remains high on the mayoral agenda, the omission is curious. Is Atlantic Yards so controversial that it's wise to avoid it?

Or has the production of the new plan pointed out the flaws in the process that led to Atlantic Yards? Indeed, the report recomments a planning process before decking over a railyard--a distinct contrast to the city's embrace of one developer's plan for the Vanderbilt Yard at the heart of the Atlantic Yards plan.

Congestion pricing plan announced; backlash continues

Is congestion pricing the "elephant in the room?" Norman Oder looks at the plan and the implications on Atlantic Yards:

But the big one is a congestion pricing pilot scheduled to begin by Spring 2009, aimed to charge drivers who enter the Central Business District in Manhattan in certain hours. The money would be directed toward improving public transit and thus offer opportunities to those most burdened by the charge, though obviously the transition period could be dicey.
...
The concept gains support from left-ish transportation advocates (who are holding a rally at 10:30 a.m. today, noting that the mayor's plan results in "reducing car use and giving more space and priority to bus riders, pedestrians and bicycles"), wonky transportation analysts, and business groups.

It has been opposed by outer borough politicians and officials, mindful that it would hit some of their constituents--who lack good public transit access to Manhattan--the hardest. It's also been opposed by trucking companies and garage owners.

Congestion pricing is seen as necessary for the Atlantic Yards plan to have a ghost of a chance, though political backers of the plan like Borough President Marty Markowitz, as well as developer Forest City Ratner, have remained quiet about the issue.

Flatbush Avenue BRT: not until 2015?

NYCBRTStop.jpg

While the city plans to pilot five bus rapid transit routes, one in each borough, in the next few years, the first one in Brooklyn would be Nostrand Avenue. A second round of five routes, likely including Flatbush Avenue, would not be completed until 2015, according to p. 4 of Appendix B to the mayor's PlaNYC report, issued yesterday.

There may be room for certain routes in the second round, including Flatbush Avenue, to open before that date. Still, transportation advocates believe that BRT is part of a package, including congestion pricing (which the city hopes to begin by Spring 2009) crucial to make any Atlantic Yards transportation plan work. The arena is scheduled to open in 2009, though that schedule seems unlikely.

City plans new push for solar energy; could "solar zoning" emerge?

NYCSolar.gif

New York City's energy-related initiatives within PlanNYC2030 include a new push for solar energy.
...
Might the city entertain the notion of "solar zoning"? No such proposal is specified; however, the exploration of the tension between scale and solar likely will increase.

Posted by lumi at 7:32 AM

April 22, 2007

Congestion pricing, AY, and Bloomberg's sustainability plan

Atlantic Yards Report covers Mayor Mike's PLANYC 2030 for congestion pricing:

Interestingly, transportation consultant "Gridlock Sam" Schwartz, who Forest City Ratner hired to design the Atlantic Yards traffic mitigation plan, is a strong proponent of congestion pricing. Apparently that systemic change could not be feasibly recommended for one project.

But it's likely that Forest City Ratner will be a strong supporter of such a change, because it's crucial--though insufficient alone--for any Atlantic Yards transportation plan to have a ghost of a chance.

In Saturday's Times, the congestion pricing plan was described as facing "daunting obstacles." The article stated:
Samuel I. Schwartz, a traffic consultant who favors congestion pricing, said that it would take at least four years before a plan could be approved and put in place. He said that completing an environmental impact study could take at least three years, and fighting the inevitable lawsuits would take another year.

So, four years from now would be the spring of 2011. Does that mean that, in the best-case scenario, the Atlantic Yards arena wouldn't open until 2011? Forest City Ratner must be calling Newark regarding an interim arena for the Nets right now.

article

Posted by amy at 11:34 AM

$8 'congestion fee' for Manhattan - congestion for Brooklyn

The KnickerBlogger

The ever duplicitous Mayor Bloomberg seems awfully concerned about traffic in Manhattan :
Drivers To Be Charged $8 To Enter Midtown Bloomberg Ready To Fight Albany For Congestion Fee

Yet, ready, willing and able to pour millions of city money into a plan that would create more congestion for Brooklyn - including building more parking lots - which of course encourages people to drive (and destroying historic properties like the duffield street homes - and using eminent domain to obtain them). Pointing out this double standard isn't just academic - hap-hazard application of such principles could actually mean sky rocketing traffic rates for parts of the city, like, well, Brooklyn - by creating a dis-incentive to drive into manhattan - and an incentive to drive to Brooklyn (readily available parking lots).

Perhaps the Mayor realizes that Ratner's ill conceived boondoggle can't survive without surburban style strip mall parking....which is the more reason to indicate that it's bad for Brooklyn.

link

Posted by amy at 11:04 AM

April 20, 2007

Will DOT come clean on the closure and "demapping" of Fifth Avenue?

Atlantic Yards Report

Is the Department of Transportation acknowledging that it is stonewalling Norman Oder?

In my article in this week's Brooklyn Downtown Star, Closing Fifth Avenue for Atlantic Yards, But Why So Soon?, I expand on my previous coverage of the plan to close Fifth Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic avenues to accommodate Frank Gehry's flagship Miss Brooklyn skyscraper.

I contacted the Department of Transportation (DOT) four times to ask about the timing of the closure--why so soon, by May 27?--given that the construction schedule will inevitably be delayed by litigation. I also asked whether the street could actually be demapped by then.

I got an acknowledgement of my query but no answers.
...
Though a New York City Transit (NYCT) official cited "the closure and demapping of Fifth Avenue," the street can't be demapped until it's been acquired by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC).

article

Posted by lumi at 9:44 AM

April 19, 2007

Closing Fifth Avenue for Atlantic Yards, But Why So Soon?

Downtown Brooklyn Star
By Norman Oder

An interesting article trying to get to the bottom of the announcement that the 5th Avenue bus will be rerouted because the street north of Flatbush will be permanently closed on May 27, is a chilling vignette depicting how Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner gets government agencies to comply, even behind the back of the major player sponsoring the project, the Empire State Development Corporation:

Everybody following the Atlantic Yards plan knew that it would involve the closing and demapping of Fifth Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic avenues to accommodate Frank Gehry's flagship Miss Brooklyn skyscraper, which would straddle the street and open, if all goes as predicted, by 2009 or 2010.

However, no one knew exactly when it would be closed until last week, when Brooklyn Community Board 6 got a letter from New York City Transit (NYCT) indicating that NYCT and the Department of Transportation (DOT) intended to revise service on the northbound B63 bus route on May 27, eliminating one stop.

The reason? "The closure and demapping of Fifth Avenue" between Flatbush and Atlantic "in the near future," according to NYCT's Lois Tendler.

But why so soon, given that several cases affecting and potentially blocking the project remain in court, and will not be resolved by the end of May? NYCT spokesman Charles Seaton said that the agency was simply reacting to DOT's plans: "If they demap the street, we can no longer run a bus."

But NYCT seems to be overstating the case. While DOT can close the street, it can't be demapped until it's been acquired by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), the state agency overseeing Atlantic Yards.
...
DOT, apparently, is the agency that could explain the timing of the change and the claim that the street would be demapped. However, despite four requests for comment over four days, the DOT did not respond by press time.

article

Posted by lumi at 8:13 AM

April 14, 2007

Robert Moses, transportation, and the question of Atlantic Yards

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder covers a forum about the Robert Moses legacy held last Wednesday at the Museum of the City of New York. A pamphlet provided to forum attendees by Theodore Kheel, President and CEO of Nurture New York’s Nature, describes a key element missing in Moses' planning: support for public transportation.

The moderator, Robert Yaro of the Regional Plan Association, and panelists "Gridlock" Sam Schwartz, Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign and Lee Sander, CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, all have some connection to Atlantic Yards, and Oder wonders:

But what would Robert Moses think of the Atlantic Yards plan? Nobody got to ask that question., but it would've been interesting to hear the answer.

After all, Schwartz was hired by developer Forest City Ratner to develop the Atlantic Yards transportation plan, though his web site curiously does not mention Atlantic Yards in the list of projects.

Russianoff’s group has joined the lawsuit against the environmental impact statement, an implicit attack on Schwartz's transportation plan, and he has warned that the project’s density “would bring more havoc to drivers and transit riders.”

Yaro's RPA, for example, has offered conditional support for Atlantic Yards while warning that comprehensive changes, including congestion pricing, were necessary to make the transportation plan work.

Article

Posted by steve at 7:03 AM

April 13, 2007

Fifth Ave. Atlantic Yards "De-Mapping" is May 27, B63 Rerouted

The Gowanus Lounge

5thPacFlat-GL.jpg

Say goodbye to Fifth Avenue as it runs through the proposed Atlantic Yards footprint. The street is being "de-mapped" on May 27. This news was delivered at the Community Board 6 meeting in Park Slope on Wednesday night as part of an announcement that the B63 bus route is being changed. There was jeering at the meeting about the announcement, as New York City Transit had not consulted with anyone at the community level, other than to deliver a notice of the service revision.
...
Even with litigation to determine the outcome of Atlantic Yards still in the courts, changes associated with the project, from demolitions to "de-mapping" of streets are starting.

link

Posted by lumi at 11:28 AM

Unbuilt arena already in the way

The Brooklyn Paper
By Dana Rubenstein

B63-color.gif

The city hasn’t yet demapped the northern-most block of Fifth Avenue to make room for Bruce Ratner’s basketball arena, but the Department of Transportation is already acting as if the street no longer exists, announcing on Wednesday that it will reroute a Park Slope bus line next month.

“The developer has received permission from the Department of Transportation [to demap a block of Fifth Avenue] by June 1, so we have to make the detour of the B63 bus before then,” said Deirdre Parker, a spokeswoman for New York City Transit.

The detour of the line, which runs from the foot of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights along Fifth Avenue to Bay Ridge, will go into effect on May 27.

The bus will travel “to Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush Avenue via Flatbush Avenue, rather than Fifth Avenue,” according NYC Transit.

article

Posted by lumi at 9:47 AM

B63 bus to be rerouted as Fifth Avenue segement closes in May

Atlantic Yards Report on the notice from NYC Transit that the B63 will be rerouted next month:

Given that several cases affecting and potentially blocking the project remain in court, and will not be resolved by the end of the May, I asked NYCT and DOT why the changes are being made in May rather than later. Also, I asked whether any consideration was made to the possibility that the project could be further delayed and/or blocked. (I didn't hear back yesterday.)

After all, Forest City Ratner can always sell the property it owns or build on sites where it has demolished buildings. But if Fifth Avenue is not closed because the developer does not build the project, well, maybe NYCT and DOT would want to restore the original route.

article

Posted by lumi at 9:11 AM

One week later, pols bury Yards tunnel plan

The Brooklyn Papers

Though a couple of the proposals were non-starters, City Council Member David Yassky and State Assembly Member Hakeem Jeffries grabbed some headlines with their Atlantic Yards traffic and transportation fantasy plan:

Two Brooklyn lawmakers have already abandoned their week-old proposal to dig a tunnel under the proposed Atlantic Yards project as a way of fixing the mega-development’s anticipated traffic — a portent of how difficult it will be to find a solution to the coming snarl at the intersection of Flatbush, Atlantic and Fourth avenues.

Councilman David Yassky (D–Brooklyn Heights) and Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D–Prospect Heights) had suggested digging a tunnel below Fifth or Sixth avenues that would run from Flatbush Avenue to north of Atlantic Avenue.

But a spokesman for Yassky (below) said this week that the councilman had already realized that the tunnel was “unrealistic.”

“It would be very costly,” admitted the spokesman Sam Rockwell.
...
But maybe the lawmakers were thinking too big.

“The point is that there are options that aren’t being discussed,” said Rockwell. “We are advocating for a real discussion that results in significant action.”

article

NoLandGrab: It's nice that this dynamic duo is trying to think out of the box, but it's just a waste of time when they propose off-the-wall ideas that distract from "a real disussion." They can keep angling for some middle-of-the-road position, but their constitutents really need some leadership to help solve Brooklyn's traffic woes, with or without Atlantic Yards.

Posted by lumi at 8:29 AM

City’s Parking Expansion Sustains Nothing but Motoring

StreetsBlog

As Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner is poised to knock down historic buildings to clear way for enormous surface-parking lots, StreetsBlog posts "three examples of how City Hall contradicts its stated Long-Term Planning and Sustainability goals with policies that foster more automobile dependence," from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign's newsletter: * Yankees Stadium parking garages (they're building those on park land), * triple-tax-exempt bonds for parking garage construction, and, * bringing up the rear, Bruce Ratner's Parking-Plaza-pa-looza.

Developer Forest City Ratner is about to knock down historic buildings near downtown Brooklyn to construct the borough's biggest surface parking lot. On Sunday, April 15, Brooklyn Speaks, a coalition favoring a better Atlantic Yards plan, will hold a rally against the demolition and parking lot. "Providing 1,400 surface parking spaces next to the third largest transit hub in the city is not only unnecessary, it is contradictory to the whole rationale for the project's location," the Tri-State Campaign said in the event's announcement.

Click here for details and to check out the comments, which includes a shout-out to the Duffield St. fight, in which the City is trying to knock down historic buildings with ties to the Underground Railroad for a parking garage.

Posted by lumi at 7:58 AM

April 12, 2007

B63 rerouted for demapping of 5th Avenue

The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) has yet to come up with a comprehensive traffic management plan for Central Brooklyn, but no worries, they're on the ball when it comes to getting stuff done in advance of Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards plan.

This, from a letter from the MTA regarding the impending demapping of 5th Avenue and changes in the B63 bus route:

This is to inform you of NYC Transit's service revision to the northbound B63 bus route in Downtown Brooklyn.... This reroute will take effect upon the closure and de-mapping of 5th Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic Avenue in the near future.

As you are aware, a short segment of 5th Avenue, from Flatbush Avenue to Atlantic Avenue, will be de-mapped as a result of the construction of Atlantic Yards Arena.
...
The date of implementation of this reroute is expected to be May 27, 2007.

Craig Hammerman, District Manager for CB6, added in an email distributing the MTA notice:

Had there been an opportunity to discuss this with either agency, I'm confident that someone would have pointed out that by eliminating the only B63 bus stop on the eastside of Flatbush Avenue they would now require all northbound B63 riders to have to cross Flatbush Avenue to get to the Atlantic Center, Atlantic Terminal, future Atlantic Yards, and any other destinations on the eastside of Flatbush Avenue.)

Download the full MTA letter and map (PDF) from the CB6 website.

Q: Why the hurry to de-map streets?

Also, are we supposed to believe that DOT is poised to de-map streets, but have not commenced with other planning for Atlantic Yards, such as converting 6th & 7th Avenues to one-way thoroughfares?

Posted by lumi at 4:56 PM

Community Board Six Rejects Sixth & Seventh Ave. One-Way Proposal, Punts on 9th Street Bike Lanes

Gowanus Lounge

During a nearly 3 1/2 hour meeting last night in Park Slope, Community Board Six disposed of the one-way proposal for Sixth and Seventh Avenues that had sparked an outpouring of neighborhood opposition.

Small groups of protesters were in the audience, and an unusually large number of police were also in attendance.

The Board handled the one-way issue--which had resulted in a crowd of more than 500 people showing up for a March 15 Transportation Committee meeting--first. It unanimously passed a motion requesting the Department of Transportation "continue working in a meaningful way" with the Community Board on transportation issues such as reducing the speed of cars on Eighth Avenue and on Prospect Park West (which are one-way streets). Then, it unanimously passed a motion requesting that DOT not go forward with the Sixth and Seventh Avenue plans "period." (There had been questions about earlier language being too vague.) The Board passed a third motion asking DOT to table plans to add turning bays to Fourth Avenue until further discussions with the community take place.

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NoLandGrab: For those of you who are following the Ninth St. bike lane issue, you'll be interested to know that there were more cops than cyclists at the CB6 meeting, kind of like the Critical Mass Ride (Brooklyn Edition).

Also, the fabled tablecloth cum sign-in sheet from the March 15 meeting at which the DOT presented plans to convert 6th & 7th Avenues to one-way streets, was unfolded so all the Board Members could have a look at the spontaneous expression of public participation. About 160 names with addresses were retrieved from the tablecloth — these people will receive an update from CB6 on the DOT one-way plan.

Posted by lumi at 4:31 PM

April 9, 2007

Old wine, new bottle? Yassky resurrects traffic plan ESDC already considered, mostly

Atlantic Yards Report takes a hard look at the latest proposal being shopped around by NYC Councilmember David Yassky and NYS Assemb