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Is a planted Atlantic Avenue median the latest design casualty at Atlantic Yards?

At today's Atlantic Yards District Cabinet meeting, Forest City Consultant Sam Schwartz presented the traffic mitigation plan to be implemented prior to the opening of the Barclays Center arena in September 2012. The plan presented by Mr. Schwartz consisted of the same mitigations included in the Atlantic Yards Environmental Impact Statement prepared five years ago.

Well, almost. 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.

Who is responsible for taking care of the project sidewalks?

Even though construction at the Project site has begun, regular passers-by know cleaning and snow clearing in some areas of the Project is still erratic and that in some cases the sidewalks are in poor repair.  Conditions have improved since the most recent nadir, the blizzard in late December that wasn't cleared from some Project sidewalks for nearly a week.  But even now, over four years after Atlantic Yards was approved by the ESDC, there are vacuums in responsibility for custodianship at the site and Forest City Ratner is doing significantly less than it originally committed to do in 2006.

Extended work hours have been expanded to new locations and types of work; Construction Alerts do not have enough detail to gauge whether FEIS projections are relevant

Extended construction work hours are a serious concern for those who live near the construction site in part because the work overlaps with the period families are most likely to be home. 

A supplemental construction alert released April 25th announced weekday work hours on the railyard have been extended from 7:00 AM - 3:30 PM to 6:00 AM- 4:30 PM, and that in addition Saturday work will take place from 7 AM to 5:30 PM for a period of three months or more.  Arena construction has also regularly been scheduled on weekends during this period, as has work in block 1129, not only related to the staging areas but also to the preparatory work for demolition of 603 Dean Street.

Rodent infestation is an ongoing problem near Atlantic Yards construction

A significant cluster of rodents is located in the front yards of homes along the north side of Dean Street near 6th Avenue.  These are among the homes closest to Barclays Center construction.

Construction workers park illegally on Pacific Street and 6th Avenue

There are three sources of illegal parking in the immediate proximity of the project site.  City employees associated with the 78th Precinct, FDNY Ladder Company 105 and HPD regularly park on sidewalks and use illegal placards on 6th Avenue, Dean Street and Bergen Street.  Members of the Temple of Restoration Church regularly double park on Dean Street between 6th and Carlton Avenues throughout the week.

Construction Workers regularly park illegally in no standing zones and sidewalks on Pacific Street between 6th Avenue and Carlton Avenue, on the 6th Avenue Bridge, and intermingled with 78th Precinct employee cars.  The illegal parking at times is three rows wide and during this period has sometimes blocked the marked street.

Casagrande drill rig is modified to prevent spewing dust after video and photography of dust is forwarded to oversight

After several weeks of community complaints, a large Casagrande drill rig in block 1120 has apparently been modified to cease spewing dust.  This is the same machine that also triggered recent vibration complaints in the community nearby.  

Video of dust clouds emanating from the drill were filmed April 6, April 14, and April 18 and forwarded to oversight.  The video below is from April 18.  

The work is taking place in block 1120 inside the LIRR railyard. The drill is one of several putting in place piles that are in part to support the rear of the still occupied buildings adjacent to the work.  Piles are also being installed in the vicinity of a tunnel on the east end of the railyard in block 1121.

Air quality monitoring is conducted inside the railyard by a sub-contractor hired by Forest City Ratner and their contractors. Excluding the Carlton Avenue Bridge, city agencies only oversee work located in those areas of the project footprint not owned by the MTA/LIRR. The Empire State Development Corporation has an environmental monitor, HDR,  that oversees all monitoring that takes place.

 

Visibility is an issue in collision at Atlantic Yards perimeter

At approximately 10:00 PM on Monday, March 28, a delivery cyclist turning the corner at Sixth Avenue and Dean Street was struck by an SUV traveling south on Sixth Avenue. The driver remained at the scene as the cyclist was rushed to a nearby hospital. The driver of the SUV told a local resident at the scene that the blue plywood walls surrounding construction at Atlantic Yards blocked his view and he was not able to see the cyclist until it was too late.