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.
78th Precinct employees began parking on this sidewalk at the time of the project's street closures in early 2010. The FEIS states 78th Precinct parking on 6th Avenue sidewalks will not be in place at the time the arena opens. If the police parking on 6th Avenue in fact ends at that time, the parking on sidewalks from Pacific to Dean Streets will still have taken place on an ongoing basis for nearly two years. A refrain at many meetings of the Dean Street Block Association (and in incident reports posted to AYW) is the inconvenience and impact on safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and cars of the parking there.
The Precinct employees have lost street-side parking on 6th Avenue and Bergen Streets due to the implementation of the project, and have received 24 spaces in the project footprint as a compensation. However, employees apparently prefer to park on the sidewalks because it is more convenient to the 78th Precinct station house than the parking inside the footprint, much of which is rarely used.
The vast majority of the cars associated with the 78th Precinct parking on sidewalks or in designated "no parking" zones in the immediate area do not have city-issued placards and are therefore parked illegally. Of 87 surveyed by the Dean Street Block Association and Transportation Alternatives, all but four were were parked illegally. Not only is it illegal for anyone to park on sidewalks, many of the cars did not have valid city placards issued by NYCDOT as is required to park in "no-parking" zones.
6th Avenue between Dean and Pacific Streets in December 2007 with upcoming water and sewer main work painted on the streets. To the left are Freddy's bar and the former Spaulding Building condominiums. To the right is one of two townhouses torn down so far to make way for Building #15.
6th Avenue between Dean and Pacific Streets in November 2011. Arena construction is to the left. 78th Precinct employee parking is on sidewalks and inside the new lot to the right. In the background at center is the Atlantic Terrace building developed by the Fifth Avenue Committee, a mixed affordable and market rate project which broke ground and was completed in the period between the two photographs.
(Photos courtesy of Tracy Collins and Wayne Bailey)