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Trucks at Atlantic Yards continue to violate site protocols, obstructing a public street

According to incident reports 395 and 399, more violations of the Barclays Center Delivery Truck Rules and Regulations, the Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments and New York City law by Atlantic Yards-related construction trucks took place on Thursday 11/17/11 and Friday 11/18/11.

Trucks are shown idling for more than the 3 minutes allowed by NYC law, parking in travel lanes, and blocking traffic. 

There are currently approximately eleven entrances to the project footprint used by construction-related vehicles. A system set up this summer and fall was designed so that a dispatcher prevents trucks from crossing Carlton Avenue on Pacific Street until the construction entrance designated to receive the trucks signals it is ready.  This protocol apparently broke down, leading to numerous instances of trucks queueing and idling on the public section of Pacific Street between 6th Avenue and Carlton.  This is a violation of the Barclays Center Truck Rules. 

The incident reports describe the dispatcher allowing trucks into the public section of Pacific Street even though it was already obstructed by double-parked cars, one of which turned out to be the illegally parked car of a construction worker.  The construction worker's car contributed to a one-hour blockage of the street.

The impacts described in the incident reports include less safe traffic and pedestrian conditions, blocked traffic, honking, and the air and noise impacts of idling engines.  The reports illustrate a public street in essence turned into an extension of the construction site.

In September 2011, ESDC served FCRC with a "notice of violation" for non-compliance with truck protocols.  Upon serving a notice of a violation, ESDC apparently allows the developer one month to resolve the violations before fines of $1,000 a day are imposed.  The status of the resolution of the September violation is not known at the time of this writing.

Building #2 announcement raises questions about construction plans, parking and open space

The New York Times has unveiled pictures of what may be the first residential building to be built at Atlantic Yards.  If this design is used for what is called Building #2, the 350-unit building will be the tallest using modular construction in the world.  

At the last several District Service Cabinet meetings FCRC Vice Presidents Jane Marshall and Bob Sanna have stated alternate plans using modular and conventional construction are being prepared by FCRC.  The Times notes that "the developer ultimately may instead decide to build the first tower conventionally."  

According to the Wall Street Journal, FCRC will build using modular techniques if an agreement can be reached with the construction unions.  The Journal cites Bruce Ratner that existing incentives for developments where half the units are priced for middle and low income tenants "don't work for a high-rise building that is union-built." Norman Oder in Atlantic Yards Report calls this a "stunning contention" and "astounding admission" because in both 2006 and 2009 the State found plausible the developer's argument it could build the residential development with existing incentives within ten years.  Evidence to the contrary was ignored when those findings were made. 

The Times states FCRC hopes to begin construction early next year.  This information is consistent with statements made by FCRC at the November 3 District Service Cabinet meeting.  The start date for construction has been delayed several times by FCRC.  When the 2009 Modified General Project Plan was approved, Building #2 was expected to start in the fall of 2010. In the fall of 2010, FCRC stated they hoped to start construction in early 2011.  

A lot may have to be accomplished to start construction in the spring of 2012.  The Wall Street Journal states that FCRC does not yet have construction financing in place.  The developer is negotiating with union leaders who had anticipated members would receive higher hourly rates associated with on-site construction.  In order to build using modular techniques, FCRC apparently intends to build a factory to manufacture components, but a location for that factory has not been chosen yet. And other questions with implications for the existing community and the future residents of Building #2 remain unanswered.

Traffic barriers and signs on Pacific Street are restored

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.

Clinton Hill/Bedford Stuyvesant block association calls for traffic calming measures

The Classon, Lexington and Quincy Block Association (CLEXY) has released a petition with over 500 signatures calling for traffic calming measures to address current health and safety risks due to illegal truck usage, speeding and congestion on Classon Avenue.  According to President Laura Benko, the block association is in agreement with the Department of Transportation's plans for traffic calming on Classon, but asks for additional measures because it believes current conditions will be worsened by traffic generated by Atlantic Yards.  

Atlantic Avenue water main installation begins between Carlton and Vanderbilt

The installation of new sewer and water mains on Atlantic Avenue between Carlton and Vanderbilt Avenues began last night and produced three noise complaints.  Although the work will line some areas of the project's second phase footprint, it is a City project not considered part of Atlantic Yards. 

The work last night involved using an excavator to pound shoring into the ground so that work can take place inside the trench.  That activity can be loud.  This work will continue tonight, as well as Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings next week.  The trench will then be temporarily plated and asphalted and the work will move to another location.

The work is occurring at night because Atlantic Avenue is a major thoroughfare.  The project is expected to be completed next summer.  Daytime work in the same vicinity is Atlantic Yards-related.  Apparently, today jackhammering took place underneath Atlantic Avenue inside the railyard.

The Community Construction Liaison for the water and sewer main work on Atlantic Avenue is Kamala Questel from the New York City Department of Design and Construction.  Her office hours are generally Monday through Friday at 936 Fulton Street.  Her telephone number is (718) 789-1464 and her email is atlanticavenueccl@gmail.com.

Video captures morning gridlock in north Slope

Video shot by a local resident on the morning of October 17 shows significant gridlock on Flatbush Avenue south of the Atlantic Yards project. 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.

 

Neglected fences, not development or artwork, characterize the project's second phase

 

"Works in Progress," Artbridge’s exhibition of 20 digital prints installed in segments along construction fencing circling the arena block, is located on Flatbush Avenue, Dean Street and 6th Avenue.  It will be in place until April or May of next year. 

Artbridge is a non-profit public arts organization that according to its website, "beautifies neighborhoods and communities by transforming overhead construction scaffolding into larger-than-life canvas for the work of local emerging artists."  

The photo to the left shows the exhibition being installed on a portion of the fencing along Dean Street between 6th Avenue and Flatbush Tuesday October 18th.

The effect of the exhibition is enhanced by the active construction of the Barclays Center rising behind as a backdrop. But its total running length is only 425 feet, and it is installed next to the first elements of project construction.  The 22 acre project footprint has approximately 6,000 linear feet of fencing along its perimeter.  

When the exhibition was announced to the public in June, AYW ran a story including a photograph (below, left) of a fence located on Atlantic Avenue at Vanderbilt.  The photo to the right was taken October 8th. 

 

June 2011 October 2011

 

ESDC's flawed analysis of sidewalk widths highlights risk in privatizing arena planning and oversight

(Based on research by Peter Krashes and Danae Oratowski)

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.  

HDR's Technical Memorandum about the arena block's sidewalks is flawed.  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.

An area of Fort Greene is now to receive rodent-proof trash cans

 Patch reports the area eligible to receive rodent proof trash cans has been expanded into a portion of Fort Greene.   This news follows Council Member James' request at the last District Service Cabinet that the distribution area for cans be expanded into Fort Greene as a response to complaints from community members.

Previously distribution was confined to the area from the east side of 4th Avenue to the east side of Vanderbilt Avenue south of the project site.  During the last distribution of cans in August, they were available to residents of buildings with 12 units or less.  According to Patch 150 trash cans will be distributed as early as this weekend to residents in the vicinity of South Oxford Street.

One filer of an incident report living in Fort Greene at Fulton Street and South Portland Avenue wrote, "We have never had such a severe rat infestation in the 28 years I've been around."  

In the meantime, within the area that lidded cans were distributed over the summer residents raised the issue of rodents again at the Carlton Avenue Block Association and the Dean Street Block Association (DSBA) meetings in mid-September.  

At the Carlton Avenue meeting it was reported that rats were still seen on Carlton between Dean Street and St. Marks Avenue.

At the DSBA meeting residents reported Dean Street near Carlton Avenue is improved but not rodent free.  They reported problems continue on Pacific Street near 6th Avenue with multiple sightings in September from people leaving Newswalk.  Problems also continue across the street from the fire station on Dean (the photo of a dead rodent was taken in that location 9/18).  

A resident of 6th Avenue between Dean and Bergen Streets says conditions are better, but not resolved.

State and City agencies allow extended hours construction across the entire Atlantic Yards site

(Updated)

Construction hours in New York City generally span the period from 7 am to 6 pm weekdays.  One work shift five days a week from 7 am to 3:30 pm is the norm.

Atlantic Yards is different with extended construction hours taking place throughout the project and its vicinity.  Even though the developer currently is a leaseholder of a little more than half of the project's prospective 22 acre site, construction still takes place throughout much of the 22 acres.  And construction in every location has been allowed by the State and City agencies that oversee the work to extend beyond NYC's normal weekday construction hours.

The map above is indexed to show the locations where permission to conduct work outside of normal construction hours is detailed in the Atlantic Yards Construction Update dated from September 25th to October 9th.  The 2006 footprint of the project is highlighted in orange; areas with active construction work are a stronger orange.