In the spring of 2011, residents of the blocks of Pacific Street and Dean Street south of the Atlantic Yards footprint began reporting an alarming infestation of rats (see 53, 54, 63, 69, 106). Rats were later reported north of the footprint (see 103).
In late May 2011, the issue attracted television coverage, and in June, AYW published a photo essay of unsanitary conditions around the Atlantic Yards site that had the potential to exacerabate the rat problem. A community meeting on the issue was held with Council Member Letitia James and representatives from ESDC and Forest City Ratner on June 23, 2011, and the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting in July focused on this issue. In August, Forest City Ratner announced it would provide lidded garbage cans to area residents.
Reports have linked illegal parking by police officers to lapses in street cleaning exacerbating the rodent issue (see 292).
In mid September 2011 residents raised the issue of rodents again at the Carlton Avenue Block Association and the Dean Street Block Association. The problem continues in some areas. Dean near Carlton is improved. Problems continue on Pacific Street near 6th Avenue with multiple sightings earlier in the month. People leaving Newswalk on Pacific regularly report encountering rats. Problems continue across the street from the fire station on Dean (a photo of a dead rodent was taken 9/18). A resident of 6th Avenue between Dean and Bergen say it is better, but not solved. Carlton Avenue from Dean to St. Marks is reported to still have problems.
September 22, 2011 at the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet Council Member James requested FCRC expand its distribution area for lidded cans into Fort Greene as a response to community complaints. In October the Council Member announced FCRC would distribute 150 cans in the vicinity of South Oxford Street in Fort Greene.
However, the issue remains open as rats continue to be sighted in the streets surrounding the project. Further updates toward a sustainable resolution to this issue will be posted here.