As yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article The Horses Will Jump in Brooklyn announced, beginning in 2013 the Barclays Center will be the third site for the Gucci Masters, an elite show-jumping event that attracts the world’s top riders.
The announcement is a reminder that while most of the press around the Barclays Center opening is focused around the Nets, professional basketball games will be only 40 of the 220 or so events anticipated for the arena. The range of programming - from the horse show to the three performances a day for Disney on Ice - have traffic and operational impacts that were never outlined in the FEIS. In this case, where will the horses go?
According to the article:
For the New York Masters, about 70 to 80 horses will be stabled inside the building, with more than 200 horses in tents just outside, and 1,500 tons of special silica sand will be shipped in from Europe.
The Paris Gucci Masters is held at the Salon de Cheval, a dedicated horse show facility that includes warm-up rings and trailer parking in addition to stables and show rings. Instead, the Barclays event will resemble the International Horse Show at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., which closed three city blocks around the arena this October.
An incident report from November 28th contains two videos showing trucks departing the construction site quickly and stirring up dust into the air. The location of the incidents shown in the video is Pacific Street at Carlton Avenue, where a dispatch is supposed to stop all trucks and only let them advance when the designated entrance is ready to receive them.
Air quality in the community near the site is affected when trucks speed and/or dirt is spread from the work site by the wheels of construction trucks. While coordination of trucks associated with project construction has improved since incident reports and stories posted on AYW began drawing attention to violations of truck rules and NYC law, there has never been wheel washing stations at each exit as promised, and dirt and mud is often tracked from the site. Further, the number of exits/entrances currently in use at the site far exceeds what was anticipated in any environmental analysis.
Inside the construction site trucks are required to obey a 5 mph speed limit. The video shows trucks apparently traveling too fast on the public section of Pacific Street; an area where the 5 mph speed limit may not apply, but where community life must co-exist with the designated route of Atlantic Yards construction delivery trucks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
"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.