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Posts from the "“Atlantic Yards”" Category

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Team Ratner Unveils Brooklyn’s Most Exhaust-Filled Public Space

Image: SHoP Architects

The incredibly traffic-free bird's-eye rendering of the Barclays Center plaza. Image: SHoP Architects

Yesterday Forest City Ratner released images of the temporary public plaza slated for the triangle between Flatbush and Atlantic, and you’ve gotta appreciate the spin coming from the developer and his design team. Wedged between two epic traffic sewers, without much noticeable provision for shade or shelter, it will become, in the words of Bruce Ratner, “one of Brooklyn’s great public spaces.” (Until an office tower gets built in its place.)

Not convinced that the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic is conducive to any sort of public activity? Here’s Greg Pasquarelli of design firm SHoP, courtesy of the Brooklyn Paper:

Pasquarelli insisted that “the plaza [will] become a meeting place, and the focus of the neighborhood.”

When asked, Pasquarelli admitted that there would be considerable noise from the traffic on Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, but no more than in other urban plazas.

“There’s a lot of traffic around Union Square, with Broadway,” he said. “This plaza will feel safe and open.”

As of this month, there’s only one lane of moving traffic on two sides of Union Square. Ratner’s plaza will be enveloped by traffic, and unless you approach from Prospect Heights, you won’t be able to walk to it without crossing some of the deadliest streets in the city:

Read more…

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For Pedestrians, Atlantic and Flatbush Could Go From Bad to Worse

Atlantic and Flatbush time lapse from tracy collins on Vimeo.

This time-lapse film by Tracy Collins at Not Another F*cking Blog is a telling indictment of poor pedestrian conditions at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues. And depending on how Bruce Ratner's new sports arena is built out -- the groundbreaking is set for this week -- things could get much worse.

As exemplified by the crosswalk hogs in the video, this is a terrible environment for pedestrians right now. If and when the arena arrives, two things will happen: thousands of pedestrians will arrive via transit to get to games -- the more the better, but they'll need more space; and more people will be driving here, especially if there's a huge surface parking lot.

Note that Forest City Ratner has not answered questions about all the "interim" surface parking it intends to construct. Scroll down this post for a thorough list of related unresolved issues from the Dean Street Block Association, care of Norman Oder.

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Forest City Ratner: Carlton Ave Bridge Closure “a Bit of a Conundrum”

Norman Oder at Atlantic Yards Report has the details from Wednesday's public meeting on street closures and traffic changes near the footprint of Bruce Ratner's Brooklyn arena project. With construction apparently on the verge of ramping up significantly, local electeds, NYCDOT, and representatives of developer Forest City Ratner engaged in a Q&A session as notable for what was left unsaid as for what was revealed.

carlton_bridge.jpgThe Vanderbilt Rail Yards and the rump of the Carlton Avenue bridge. Photo: threecee/Flickr
Forest City Ratner did discuss its failure to reopen the Carlton Avenue bridge. This missing piece of the Prospect Heights/Fort Greene street grid -- a critical link for cyclists who use the Manhattan Bridge -- was originally expected to be rebuilt two years after closing in January 2008, with Forest City facing a three-year deadline to complete the work before incurring penalties. Now the reconstructed bridge is unlikely to open until 2012 at the earliest, and Oder reports that Forest City's explanation, along with its timetable, keeps on shifting.

Largely unmentioned at the meeting was Forest City's intention to construct more than a thousand "interim" surface parking spaces on the site, mostly to store vehicles belonging to their employees and construction workers. Since all this new parking could sit around generating traffic and blighting the landscape for quite some time, neighborhood groups want to know exactly how much would be constructed, and how it will be priced and managed. They didn't get any answers on Wednesday.

For more on the meeting, head over to Atlantic Yards Report.

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State Moves to Disrupt Street Grid in Atlantic Yards Footprint

atlantic_yards_street_closures.jpg

State officials announced yesterday that, starting sometime around February 1, they intend to close three blocks of the Brooklyn street grid to accommodate construction of Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards arena project. Fifth Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic and two non-consecutive blocks of Pacific Street are slated to be condemned.

An announcement circulated by Brooklyn CB 6 yesterday characterized the changes as "permanent closures," but Dan Goldstein of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn is calling that label premature. "It's the inevitability ploy," he said, noting that the closures seem timed to take effect immediately after a January 29 court decision on the state's seizure of properties in the project footprint. "At the very least they have to close the streets in a way that they can re-open them if they're forced to."

If the closures do take effect, it's about to get a little harder to move between Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, and Park Slope, no matter how you get around. Ratner's project has already forced cyclists heading to the Manhattan Bridge to find detours around one of the safest and most convenient routes, thanks to the 2008 closure of the Carlton Avenue bridge (for which there is no end in sight).

Now, these proto-superblocks will degrade the street grid further. Will pedestrians be barred from any of the sidewalks on the affected streets? The Empire State Development Corporation, overseer of the project, hasn't responded to Streetsblog's inquiries.

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Ratner’s Sidewalk Seizure: Marginalizing Pedestrians for Three Months

After yesterday's post showing the sidewalk appropriation going on at Pacific Street and Sixth Avenue as part of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, DOT sent an email explaining why this is happening:

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.

I'm still wondering why the east-bound lane of traffic can't just take a detour onto Sixth Avenue.

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Bruce’s Way

Bruces_Way_1.jpg

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. DDDB writes:

Yes, they've turned the sidewalk into a lane of the road. And as we took these photos we saw a number of confused pedestrians walking down the "road" and confused drivers wondering why they were supposed to drive on the sidewalk. It will be pure luck if nobody is hurt by this mess.

Bruces_Way_2.jpg

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.

Speaking of Atlantic Yards, there will be a pair of rallies against the project today in Downtown Brooklyn...

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DOT to Present Ideas for Brooklyn’s Most Notorious Intersection

flatbush_crash.jpgThe 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

Photo: Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

Graphic of crashes and fatalities near Atlantic Terminal, 1995-2005: CrashStat

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Nets Look to Lure Fans With Free Gas

nets.jpg

Given the New Jersey Nets' lackluster season (34-48 record, no playoff berth), the franchise is taking a page from another under-performer to unload tickets for next year. That's right: buy 2008-2009 season tickets and the Nets will return 10 percent of the cost in the form of "free" gas, which fans will presumably burn up on the way to all those home games. 'Cause with the Nets, it's not about winning or losing, or even how you play. It's about the free gas.

This promotion brought to you by the would-be savior of Brooklyn.

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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.

Aerial photo by Jonathan Barkey.

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Flatbush and Atlantic: Hellacious, Deadly, Likely to Get Worse


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.

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