The Barclays Center arena is at the intersections of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues – and the surrounding neighborhoods now plan to keep a very close eye on it.
On Wednesday, civic organizations from Boerum Hill, Park Slope and Prospect Heights announced that they had banded together to found Atlantic Yards Watch, a website which will closely monitor and chronicle the construction on the Atlantic Yards construction site, and its subsequent effects on the neighborhoods surrounding the mega construction project.
The organizations involved in the site – the Park Slope Civic Council, Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council and the Boerum Hill Association – hope that the website will help address quality of life concerns that increasingly face residents in the neighborhoods surrounding the development.
“We’d like to see Atlantic Yards Watch become a resource for the Empire State Development Corporation, City agencies, and also Forest City Ratner,” said Michael Cairl, President of the PSCC, in a statement.
Residents can visit the site and submit reports on construction and operational impacts, as well as participate in discussion forums on quality of life and safety topics.
“With construction in full swing and the Barclays Center expected to open in September 2012, local community members are concerned over the lack of transparency in identifying and resolving the many traffic, noise, air quality and safety issues associated with Atlantic Yards,” said Danae Oratowski, Chair of the PHNDC in the statement. He noted that the site will track both concerns reported through the website and complaints made to 311.
The idea for the site stemmed from a study by a graduate class at Pratt Institute in Fort Greene, in which students researched public responses to mega projects in other urban areas, and proposed models for structuring a community response to the Atlantic Yards construction site.
Howard Kolins, President of the BHA, said that he hopes the site can help address various concerns for what will happen once the arena is open.
“Noise, trash and street rowdiness top the list of concerns,” Kollins said. "Boerum Hill residents are concerned about an influx of arena related traffic on the major streets and more importantly on the residential streets."
“Atlantic Yards Watch is intended to address gaps in oversight that we hope will eventually be closed through the establishment of a local development corporation or authority that is accountable to the public,” he said. “Until that entity exists, it’s critical to document the community’s experience with the impacts of the Atlantic Yards project.”