Saturday, January 31, 2015

Atlantic Yards, Pacific Park, and the Culture of Cheating

I offer a framework to analyze and evaluate Atlantic Yards (in August 2014 rebranded as Pacific Park Brooklyn) and the Barclays Center: Atlantic Yards, Pacific Park, and the Culture of Cheating.

Note: this post is post-dated to remain at the top of the page. Please send tips to the email address above, rather than posting a comment here.

model shown to potential immigrant investors in China in 2014,
though not shown publicly in Brooklyn.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My response to NYT letters in which Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, businesses take issue with my op-ed, support DNC

Wow, not one but three Letters to the Editor published in print in today's New York Times in response to my online-only op-ed last week. They deserve rebuttal.

And note that none of the letters responded to the situation--as I mentioned--in which two cranes, used for two towers under construction, flank the arena's secondary entrance and loading dock.

From the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership
To the Editor:
Re “Holding the Democratic Convention in Brooklyn? Fuhgeddaboudit” (Op-Ed, nytimes.com, Jan. 21):
I take issue with Norman Oder’s views about Downtown Brooklyn’s readiness to host a successful Democratic National Convention in 2016.
Downtown Brooklyn is one of the East Coast’s greatest urban economic success stories, with new night life, cultural offerings and accommodations, making it an ideal location for Democrats to discuss the future of their party and our country.
Eleven subway lines and 11 different buses stop within blocks of Barclays Center, easing any concerns about unbearable traffic congestion.
Regarding the “extensive use” of EB-5 visas, a program that allows foreign investors to receive visas in exchange for a short-term, $500,000 investment, by the China-based co-owner of Barclays Center:
As the borough of immigrants, we should welcome immigrants, not demonize them, even if we disagree with their home country’s government or America’s broken immigration system. After all, when did we begin to tolerate xenophobia in Brooklyn?
Finally, while area businesses and residents deserve top-notch planning, I have no doubt that City Hall can and will deliver.
TUCKER REED
President
Downtown Brooklyn Partnership
Brooklyn, Jan. 22, 2015
First, let's remember that Tucker Reed essentially works for Forest City Ratner. A co-chair of the DBP is MaryAnne Gilmartin, the CEO of Forest City Ratner, which runs the Barclays Center (owning 55% of the operating company), is selling the arena, and is quite interested in luring the convention to highlight its property. And Forest City Ratner is the dominant component of the MetroTech Business Improvement District, which is run by the DBP.

Second, note that I didn't write about Downtown Brooklyn. The Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Brooklyn project is located in Prospect Heights, as the Times has reported numerous times. Arguably, the arena extends the borders of Downtown Brooklyn, but the significant impacts of arena events--as with the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards--has been on the adjacent streets of Prospect Heights.

By the way, I got an email from a professional contact this morning, regarding a meeting we had last August 11, when the Democratic National Committee visited Brooklyn: "One of the reasons we were SO late getting to you from Manhattan was because of just the expedition to see about hosting the convention in Brooklyn!! Remember! The traffic was horrific."

Regarding EB-5

Finally, I wasn't demonizing immigrants. Here's what I wrote, with very tight space limits:
Perhaps the diciest symbolism regards Greenland and Forest City Ratner’s extensive use of a federal program called EB-5, which allows foreign investors to get visas in exchange for a short-term $500,000 investment (an amount that, on paper, is purported to create 10 jobs).
Greenland and Forest City Ratner have already reportedly raised some $250 million through the program; put differently, a Chinese government is making a profit by marketing American residency to its own nationals — a bizarre, if legal, twist on the law’s intent.
In other words, the investment doesn't really create jobs (the rationale for the program) and the beneficiary, bizarrely, is a foreign government.  Remember the video for "Atlantic Yards II," Forest City's second round of EB-5 fundraising, and the first (of two) with Greenland?

"We believe that this city was built and created for an immigrant population,” Gilmartin stated, somehow conflating the developer’s profit push with patriotic multi-culturalism. “And EB-5 allows folks from all around the globe, in the great tradition of this city, to come and participate in one of the most exciting developments in our country."

As Darthmouth's John Vogel of Dartmouth wrote in February 2013 U.S. News:
One of the oddities about the EB-5 program is that the U.S. government is giving out the green cards, but the entrepreneur who puts together the investment gets the money. This scheme seems inefficient and open to corruption. If our government really believes that it is a good idea to sell green cards, maybe we should drop the pretense that this is a job creation program. It might be more efficient to have the money go directly to the U.S. Treasury and reduce the deficit by billions of dollars a year. In fact, the U.S. government could auction off these green cards and perhaps raise even more money.
Local business support
To the Editor:
You could kick a soccer ball from our pub in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, to what we hope is the future home of the 2016 Democratic Convention.
Our small business is thankful to share a neighborhood and patrons with Barclays Center and the big events it attracts to Brooklyn.
At the same time, we have been impressed by and thankful for the terrific work of the New York Police Department in keeping our neighborhood safe and our traffic flowing. Every high-profile event that Brooklyn hosts is an opportunity to show off our community, our diversity, our families and our businesses.
A national stage like the Democratic Convention is a wonderful opportunity for the world to learn what we already know: Brooklyn is the world’s greatest stage. Our hope is that the Democrats will come to Brooklyn in 2016, pick their nominee and then stay and experience all that Brooklyn has to offer.
ROSS GREENBERG
Brooklyn, Jan. 21, 2015
The writer is the chef and owner of WoodWork Brooklyn, a soccer bar. 
To the Editor:
The businesses along Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn, would welcome the 2016 Democratic National Convention to Barclays Center.
We understand the concerns raised by Norman Oder, but ultimately believe that the influx of thousands of delegates, members of the news media and even protesters would be good for the small businesses ringing the arena, including the more than 500 businesses in the Park Slope Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District.
We look forward to working with Mayor Bill de Blasio to make the event a big success for everyone involved.

MARK CASERTA
Exec. Dir., Park Slope Fifth Avenue
Business Improvement District
Brooklyn, Jan. 21, 2015
Woodwork is located at Vanderbilt Avenue and Dean Street, so you'd need a very strong kick and some headwind to get a soccer ball two long blocks away.

It's an eight-minute walk, according to Google, to the closest arena entrance, on Dean Street just east of Flatbush Avenue.

That said, it's understandable that some, perhaps many, businesses--especially those serving food and drink--would support a big event.

Still, on the same day my op-ed appeared, a new coalition, the Barclays Center Impact Zone Alliance, emerged to express concern about the convention and calling on the mayor "to immediately appoint a point-person to coordinate government agencies and the developer with the involvement of local community boards and elected officials as a means to minimize unnecessary adverse impacts."

In other words, other businesses, especially those closest to the arena and most likely to bear the brunt of street closings for security reasons, are more wary than those represented by WoodWork and the Fifth Avenue BID.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Silver on the rocks; prosecutors querying Speaker's staff (Rapfogel?)

After a brief interim period in which his colleagues agreed to let him step aside but not down, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is on the rocks.The Times reports:
Moving to exile one of New York’s most powerful and long-serving leaders, Democrats in the State Assembly agreed late on Monday to ask Sheldon Silver to step down as speaker in the wake of his arrest last week on federal corruption charges.
The Democrats reached the decision in a closed-door meeting that stretched for hours, rebuffing a bid by Mr. Silver to keep his post by relinquishing some of his responsibilities while he defended himself against the charges.
...Leaving the Capitol just before midnight, Mr. Silver told reporters that he had not told anyone that he was resigning, and that he would meet with his Democratic colleagues on Tuesday.
“I am the speaker,” he said, adding, “I’m standing. And I’m going to be standing for a long time.”
City and State reported:
Multiple Assembly members also said the suggestion of a five-member leadership appointed by Silver was officially off the table and that the Assembly would follow house rules in replacing the speaker. According to those rules, if Silver resigns from his post, the Assembly majority leader, Joe Morelle, will become the acting speaker until a new one is voted on during an Assembly floor meeting.
But no one has agreed on a new speaker.

Comptroller Scott Stringer and then Public Advocate Letitia James were among the officials yesterday urging Silver to resign.

Silver's staff subpoenad

Will any of the investigation point deeper? (Surely federal prosecutors would first target other elected officials, as well as those doing business with the state, first the likes of those named in the investigation, then, with a lesser chance, others, like Forest City.) 

Newsday reports that "Some members of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s staff have been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors, a source said Monday."

Presumably that includes Chief of Staff Judy Rapfogel, wife of Willie Rapfogel, the now-imprisoned leader of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, which partnered with Forest City Ratner on a 
bid to develop the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area and received proceeds from a charitable event. 

They are parents of Forest City Ratner employee Michael Rapfogel whose hiring, the Times reported, was "seen internally as a way to please Mr. Silver."

The legal and the illegal

Law professor Zephyr Teachout, in an essay for the Times yesterday, wrote:
Albany is reeling, but fighting the kind of corruption that plagues not only New York State but the whole nation isn’t just about getting cuffs on the right guy. As with the recent conviction of the former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell for receiving improper gifts and loans, a fixation on plain graft misses the more pernicious poison that has entered our system.
Corruption exists when institutions and officials charged with serving the public serve their own ends. Under current law, campaign contributions are illegal if there is an explicit quid pro quo, and legal if there isn’t. But legal campaign contributions can be as bad as bribes in creating obligations. The corruption that hides in plain sight is the real threat to our democracy.

Monday, January 26, 2015

First meeting of Atlantic Yards CDC set for Friday, in Manhattan, not Brooklyn; no details yet about board, agenda

With four days to go, Empire State Development issued a Community Advisory Monday re-affirming that the first meeting of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation, originally slated to occur in December, would indeed occur at 2 pm on Friday, January 30, as announced in December.

The new board, "responsible for monitoring the delivery of public commitments" but without clear enforcement, was established as part of the compromise announced last June, which set a new 2025 deadline to build the promised affordable housing and, essentially, finish the residential portion of the the project.

Details on the AY CDC
However, rather than being held somewhere in Brooklyn, as promised in December, the meeting will occur at Empire State Development offices in Manhattan, thus making it more difficult for Brooklynites to attend. All must RSVP by Thursday.

Nor has the state released basic information about the new AY CDC, such as the names of the appointees (the governor has nine of 14 slots), and the agenda. (I asked Empire State Development these questions on January 16, and asked again after the notice emerged today.)

One concern, surely, is the tension between getting the project done and cutting corners. Neighbors have recently reported after-hours construction and too-constricted streets, as detailed on Atlantic Yards Watch.

Who's in charge?

Nor has the identity of the AY CDC director been announced.

The recruitment ad promised a salary of $70,000 to $75,000 annually--far lower than the salary for the in-house Project Director--while requiring "5+ years as a Project Manager for large real estate development projects working with government entities and private developers."

Meeting details

COMMUNITY ADVISORY
What: The Directors of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation, a subsidiary of the New York State Urban Development Corporation d/b/a Empire State Development. 
When: Friday, January 30, 2015, at 2:00 p.m.
Where: Empire State Development
633 Third Avenue – 37th Floor Conference Room
New York, New York 10017 
This meeting is open to the public. Web casting of the meeting is available at http://www.esd.ny.gov/webcasts/ 
Due to 633 Third Avenue building procedures, those wishing to attend please RSVP by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 29, 2015. Members of the press should please call (800) 260-7313; Members of the public should please call (212) 803-3795.

FC Modular is hiring (which means the factory isn't quite ready)

The most recent report was that Forest City Ratner had 55 of the 157 workers back at work, so they do need new workers. The message below was circulated by Brooklyn Community Board 2.

Also note that the promises in the Community Benefits Agreement about job training leading to project work can't happen if prospective workers are require to have a year of construction trade experience.


As Silver steps aside, future cloudy, Lentol among those stepping up; real estate focus; anecdotes of avarice; reforms suggested; Golden next?

Embattled Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, is stepping aside in the wake of corruption charges, as the knee-jerk support he got from see-no-evil members has begun to erode. After all, the press has (finally) been brutal. The Times reports:
In an unusual arrangement, Mr. Silver would not quit his post. Instead, he would temporarily delegate his duties as speaker to a group of senior Assembly members.
...Under the tentative plan developed on Sunday, the Assembly majority leader, Joseph D. Morelle of the Rochester area, and the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, Herman D. Farrell Jr., Democrat of Manhattan, would assume responsibility for budget negotiations.
Three other senior Democratic members — Carl E. Heastie of the Bronx, Catherine T. Nolan of Queens and Joseph R. Lentol of Brooklyn — will round out the leadership team.
Yes, that's veteran Joe Lentol of that mysterious cameo in Forest City Ratner's Ridge Hill case. The Buffalo News suggests:
The likelihood of Silver temporarily stepping aside and then somehow returning if he is cleared of the corruption charges is next to zero.
The Post editorializes, Eric [Schneiderman] the silent:
If what US Attorney Preet Bharara alleges is true — that for years Assembly Speaker Silver “monetized public office” — why should it have taken a federal prosecutor to bring him down? Why wasn’t it New York’s attorney general?
Impact on DNC bid?

The Daily News reports:
When New York Democrats pledged their delegate votes to President Obama at the party convention in 2012, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver took the mic as the Empire State’s spokesman.
With the national party on the verge of picking a convention city for 2016, Silver is again in the spotlight — but this time, he’s the target of a stunning corruption probe that could tarnish the Big Apple’s chances of beating out Philadelphia and Columbus, Ohio.
...A DNC official wouldn’t comment on the impact Silver’s arrest would have on the bid, but said that the “decision will be based primarily on logistics, financing and security.”
Silver and real estate

The Commercial Observer takes a look at some of the real estate issues involving Silver:
  • The World Trade Center Complex
  • West Side Stadium
  • Moynihan Station
  • Scaffold Law
  • Superstorm Sandy
Let's not forget that, as a member of the Public Authorities Control Board, he gave his blessing to Atlantic Yards, at least in part because Forest City Ratner traded office space--which might compete with his Lower Manhattan constituency--for housing.

The Post reports:
US Attorney Preet Bharara is investigating the massive tax breaks granted to Midtown’s luxury One57 condo building, where a mystery buyer just paid a record $100 million-plus for the duplex penthouse, sources told The Post on Sunday.
And the Times offers Developer Who Keeps Low Profile Is Embroiled in Silver Scandal:
Unlike many other New York developers, Leonard Litwin, a shy, soft-spoken, compact billionaire, has never sought the limelight.
Yet Mr. Litwin and his company, Glenwood Management, have always stood out, for the number of luxury residential towers they have added to Manhattan’s skyline and the exceptionally generous donations Glenwood has made to state lawmakers.
Now, in his 101st year, Mr. Litwin is embroiled in a very public corruption scandal that is rocking the real estate industry and the state’s political establishment.
When Sheldon Silver, the speaker of the New York State Assembly, was arrested on federal charges on Thursday, the criminal complaint against him included accusations that he used his powerful position to reap millions of dollars in graft by steering real estate developers, among others, to law firms that gave him a slice of their fees.
Glenwood is one of the two developers cited but not named in the complaint, according to people familiar with the matter.
Here's the tastiest passage:
While neither of the developers is accused of wrongdoing, Glenwood’s part in the case has stunned Mr. Litwin’s colleagues in the real estate industry, where he is a revered figure who, friends say, has always sought to avoid controversy. He and the company declined to comment for this article.
He's a revered figure? That's because the real estate industry has no problem with legal if ethically questionable activity like this:
His company has been a prodigious political donor, contributing over $10 million to political candidates and party committees since 2005, according to the complaint against Mr. Silver. In 2014, Glenwood also spent a total of $900,000 on eight different firms to lobby state officials, including Mr. Silver. Other developers have typically left lobbying to the real estate board.
More on Silver

Consider this handy chart from DNAinfo regarding Silver's reported and unreported income. On
Friday, the Post's Fred Dicker reported a telling anecdote:
For the better part of a decade during the 2000s, Silver told an associate, he would routinely send a $100 check each year to the campaign committee of former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.
“I knew he didn’t need the money,’’ Silver told the associate with a nervous laugh.
“But I wanted to see if he would cash my check. If he did, then I knew I wasn’t in any trouble because if he was investigating me, he wouldn’t have taken the money.’’
Dicker added:

Silver didn’t knock down the suspicion that he was about making as much money as possible a few years ago when he began defending his bizarre practice of flying on the state’s dime from New York City to Albany via Washington, DC, or some other distant spot so he could pick up a few extra frequent flier miles for his personal use.
That's a bizarre story, as the Post reported in 2013:

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver spent $20,219 in taxpayer money over the past three years jetting from New York City to Albany — but the top-flight pol turned easy 150-mile, one-hour jaunts into epic 500-mile, five-hour odysseys in a greedy quest to rack up frequent-flier miles, according to sources and expense records.
Instead of finding cheap flights that connect directly from New York City to Albany, or taking less-costly trains or automobiles, the second-most powerful man in the state takes long, expensive detours through Philadelphia or Washington, DC.
“He brags about his ability to build up mileage,” said one Albany insider.
What needs to be done

Paul Newell, a former Silver challenger and a District Leader in Lower Manhattan district, wrote an op-ed in Saturday's Daily News, observing that "elected officials say progressive, pro-community things in public forums" but "the developers and landlords get their way behind closed doors," as with Silver's actions.

He notes that the solutions are well-known, including:
  • A ban on all outside income for New York’s legislators.
  • Public financing of elections. 
  • An open and transparent legislative process. 


Golden's moment?


U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is reportedly looking into the records of several other legislators, including Republican Sen. Marty Golden of Brooklyn, who has a curious history of directing campaign cash to the catering call his brother runs, and for which he is the landlord, as the Village Voice reported in 2008.

If Golden gets charged, that would make yet another Atlantic Yards booster in ethical trouble. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Greenland claims to avoids NIMBY; Dean Street business owner, who supports Atlantic Yards, outraged by street narrowing

From Bloomberg News via the Los Angeles Times, 1/24/15: Community challenges to development drive up project costs in nation's least affordable city:
Greenland Holding Group steers clear of Hollywood [Los Angeles] and other communities where the company may face protracted opposition, said Ifei Chang, chief executive officer of the U.S. unit of the Shanghai-based development company.
"We want to invest in a city that's more forward-thinking," said Chang, whose projects include the $1 billion Metropolis in downtown Los Angeles and the $5 billion Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn. "Communities that say 'not in my backyard' might not welcome us. Those cities aren't in the picture."
From today's New York Daily News, Voice of the People:
Give Brooklyn back its street
Brooklyn: I feel harassed, betrayed and exhausted trying to live and work in the borough where I grew up. In 1999, I purchased the building that houses my business in Prospect Heights. When the Atlantic Yards project came on the drawing board, I thought of it as a positive proposition for jobs and the community. 
Fast forward to today. I don’t have a problem with any part of the construction project, now called Pacific Park. I have a huge problem with the fact that the city gave the developer half of Dean St., literally. The street now has a 16-foot construction wall, one lane of traffic and no parking lane. My business’ five trucks must park all over the neighborhood during the day and indoors at night.
In one week, we have received six parking tickets — all from the same police officer — for parking on the sidewalk while in the process of bringing trucks inside. It is so unfair to the working guy that there seem to be more obstacles in our way every day in this city. Jack Ippolito
He runs Primo Uniform Service at 606 Dean Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues. Above right is what it looks like, taken from a video

Below, thanks to Google Maps, is what it used to look like. It's a big difference.


Atlantic Yards down the memory hole: Pacific Park issues pre-Barclays photo of Flatbush and Atlantic


The photo circulated by Pacific Park Brooklyn

Beyond the link to Tracy Collins's photos, more directly available here and here, also see Kevin Walsh's survey in Forgotten New York.
By Tracy Collins
It was not a historic district: there were some empty buildings, some tired buildings, and some better buildings. But the announcement of Atlantic Yards froze all redevelopment plans. And the site certainly was not empty as portrayed in the photo above until Forest City Ratner began significant demolition.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Construction fence squeezes Carlton Avenue between Dean and Pacific, three episodes of tree damage, limited view of stoplight

The construction of 535 Carlton Avenue means a very large construction fence encroaching on Carlton Avenue. That leaves little room for error when large vehicles travel from Dean to Pacific street--and there are already casualties.

From an incident report on Atlantic Yards Watch:
On Monday morning contractors associated with Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park apparently hit a tree on Carlton Avenue. I was called by a Carlton Avenue resident who forwarded me the following text and the attached photographs.
The tree has grown on a lean so the width of the street is narrower at the top of the height of a truck and wider at street level. The tree has been damaged recently in more than one spot suggesting it has been hit more than once. There is what appears to be plastic stuck in one of the damaged areas of the tree. I agree with the person who forwarded me the complaint that Carlton appears to have been narrowed too much. It is an old, beautiful tree and I worry the tree will be damaged more.
The eyewitness stated:
On Monday morning I heard a horrendous noise from the street and rushed to my front window to discover that an EJ Electrical contracting truck was stuck by the tree in front of my house. This happened numerous times since the green wall was put up in the middle of the street. The sidewalk side of streets were to park cars and not for carrying traffic. As the streets are constructed for the rain water to run to the side gutters where normally cars are parked now with the green wall blocking the center of street all trucks and cars are forced to use the leaning gutter side of street and all cars and trucks lean toward the sidewalk which has out trees and when the trucks are loaded improperly they hit the trees. EJ Electric just removed a street light on the corner of Carlton and Dean and instead of following truck route via Dean/ Vanderbilt/ Atlantic they took Carlton to pick up and remove the street light post on the corner of Carlton/ Pacific.
I rushed outside and told the men that they were not supposed to go on this block, but they said they just wanted to go to the next corner ( not wanting to go the assigned route).
The street light post was just thrown on top of truck. It took a hoist to remove it and put back properly then they backed out of Carlton and took the assigned route on Dean etc.
It is outrageous for the city to refuse to put up a no trucks sign as we suggested to them some time ago. Why can the green wall not to be moved back by just a couple of feet?

The street was closed off for over 1/2 hour !!!!! and this was not the first time!!!!
And another report

From another report:
The construction fencing on Carlton Avenue is pinching the street too much and creating an ongoing unsafe condition. Taller vehicles like trucks and buses cannot pass through the Avenue without hitting a tree. The tree is old and beautiful and should be preserved. The damage is both to the tree and the vehicles that pass.
Today I witnessed and videotaped a truck hitting the tree while I passed by. The truck hit the tree hard, and the video turned off as I ran forward to see if the driver was alright. This is the same situation I filed an incident report about on Tuesday. The tree shows fresh signs of being hit regularly. 


The commenter also notes that "the fencing blocks the view of the stop light at Carlton Avenue and Pacific Street for drivers. The light is only visible once the car approaches the intersection."

Indeed, the traffic light becomes visible only about 26 seconds into the video below.



The third incident

Wrote Peter Krashes yesterday:
For the 3rd time this week a truck got stuck under the tree on Carlton Avenue. This morning the truck wasn't just too tall, it was also too wide. According to the resident who forwarded me the information, the truck hit the tree because of its height, and the green wall because of its width. There are fresh scratches on the green wall across from the tree.
Obviously, the risk is to the tree, the owner of the truck and the drivers, because some trucks barrel down Carlton as they do Dean. When the trucks get stuck, they block traffic. Assuming the fence is built as approved, I think DOT has approved an unsafe and non-functioning condition.
DOT should make sure Carlton Avenue is well posted with "no truck" signs and the sign on Dean Street at 6th Avenue should finally get fixed. As has previously been filed here, that sign is pivoted, making it look like trucks are banned northbound on 6th Avenue from Dean. But because I think it will be hard for the NYPD to commit the resources to guarantee no trucks or buses come down this stretch of Carlton, I think DOT should be reassessing the amount they have reduced Carlton Avenue. Right now the width causes a regular blockage.
The resident's description:
We had fun this AM, heard truck motor too long, went to window and a huge, long, very wide yellow truck with a huge street roller piggy back on stuck between Dean and my tree. went out in robe..... told driver he was not supposed to be on Carlton as it is no trucks... he said: Miss I just came down on Carlton and could not make the turn onto Dean"

"why are you taking pictures I am a city truck we do street resurfacing" I said "that does not give you the right to use no trucks streets" and he said " I am not talking to you, I am the city" I called 911 and another neighbor did the same, police took a while to show, they all blamed the Mayor for doing nothing, they had to send for a crew, dismanteled the convoy and piec by piece pulled it to the bridge where they assembled it again. This huge heavy truck had to ride on the sidewalk and at certain area the curb stone is damaged including by the fire hydrant.

Weekend Con Ed work on Pacific Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt

A message from Empire State Development:
Please be advised that ConEd will be conducting work related to the decommissioning of power lines on the north side of Pacific street, between Carlton & Vanderbilt Avenues. Work is slated to take place during the weekend of January 23rd . Actual work hours are dependent upon the availability of work crews & subject to emergencies

Friday, January 23, 2015

A perilous crossing at Atlantic and Sixth avenues: construction work narrows passage, no clear path for pedestrians

Work at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Sixth Avenue has made it perilous to cross the major artery of Atlantic, as noted in a post on Atlantic Yards Watch.

A resident of Atlantic Terrace, the building at the northeast corner of the intersection, filed an incident report, and photos:
The crosswalk on this intersection has been unsafe and continuously shared between cars, trucks, bikers , construction trucks and pedestrians. The authorities, DOB, or the developers did not even bother painting a new crosswalk in a more safe location, indicating where pedestrians should cross to stay safe and away from cars. Several times a day there are no workers helping and indicating the way.
Pictures from a high floor on the Atlantic Terrace residential building on Atlantic Avenue between South Oxford and South Portland Streets show the exact intersection of 6th Avenue and Atlantic Avenue and the sequence of events of cars and pedestrians sharing the crosswalk.
Nicole Jordan, community relations manager for Empire State Development, filed a response that said, in part:
Per the previous construction alert (Two Week Look Ahead) and the one circulated on January 20, 2015 the pedestrian pathways will remain closed while steel trusses work is being conducted on Sixth Avenue. Forest City Ratner Companies will continue to have flagmen present to direct pedestrians away from the work area. 
The flagmen don't fully help

However, according to a follow-up comment by nearby resident Peter Krashes, that's not quite enough, since the flagmen seem focused on the trucks, and there's no clear path to cross:
I happened to be passing through this intersection on foot today and saw the situation the person filing the incident report is describing first hand. 
There were flagmen when I passed through, and NYPD had also posted an officer at the location. The officer focused on the pedestrians while the flagger focused on getting the construction equipment out into traffic. Thanks are due the 78th Precinct once again! 
There is a lot of traffic moving through Atlantic Avenue and 6th Avenues most times of the day. Both have been narrowed, squeezing volume into a few lanes. In the meantime, there are also a lot of pedestrians, even with all the sidewalk and crosswalk closures. The pedestrians don't really have a clearly delineated path how to cross Atlantic. It is unsettling because the traffic traveling down 6th Avenue actually passes directly over the area delineated as a crosswalk, plus construction equipment is entering and exiting onto the crosswalk from both sides.
The dirty tire tracks of construction equipment don't help. 
I think what the filer of the incident report is writing is correct: even with properly trained (and let's hope paid for by the for profit developer, not taxpayer!) help, pedestrians still need clear visual clues how to pass through the intersection. If the construction vehicles can be directed a different way, I would also try that.