Here are a few highlights from yesterday’s meeting of the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet, a group of Ratner, state and elected officials that meets bi-monthly:
No Left Turn for S. Oxford
To the chagrin of anyone trying to get to Fort Greene when driving east on Atlantic, there will be no left turn on S. Oxford Street. However, there will be a left turn onto Carlton (once it re-opens) as well as onto Fort Greene Place.
The Department of Transportation has eliminated that turn lane in favor of a pedestrian “refuge” for those who can’t cross all the lanes in one light.
No Resident Veto Power on Traffic Plans:
Afraid of the traffic onslaught when Barclays Arena opens in the fall, neighborhood groups have asked for more input into the traffic management plan.
In response, the Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing the construction, set up a Transportation Focus Group that will give civic groups and block associations to give early input on the plan directly to ESDC and Ratner officials.
Skeptical that the input would have an impact, at last month’s meeting, the groups asked for veto power on the plan. The ESDC’s Arana Hankin said in December the agency would consider the request, but came back this morning with firm no. There are so many agencies that have to approve the plan and with eight months left, there isn’t time for another approval process.
“That’s going to be a problem,” said Nizjoni Granville, chairwoman of Community Board 8, which includes Prospect Heights.
Still, several participants said they still planned to attend the meeting, the first of which is tonight, even though one said it would likely be more of a "group therapy session" than anything else.
“We have to take every opportunity to bring the concerns that we have,” said Dean Street Block Association Peter Krashes.
Granville agreed. “For some people it affects how you go about your daily business, and for other people it’s just a job.”
Fewer Two Bedrooms Coming
Residents also got the news that the expected and badly needed two- and three-bedroom apartments going into the first residential tower to be built on the site would be fewer than promised.
Currently only 11 percent of the units are currently slated be two- or three-bedrooms, said Forest City executive Jane Marshall, citing the city’s “financing vehicles” for making it difficult to reach the Ratner's goal of about 20 percent. However, she added, Ratner still had a desire to get there.
Councilwoman Letitia James said the community had been promised that 50 percent would be the larger units.
“I understand your desire—I desire to be thin and young,” she said. “But there was commitment to the neighborhood and I hope you will honor that commitment."
Plans for Traffic Mitigation
Also at the meeting, a representative from the transportation engineering company Sam Schwartz, tried to reassure the group that even with just eight months left, they would come up with a plan that would calm traffic by getting as many patrons as possible to take public transportation.
Through a mix of public education and an increase in subway and train service, Sam Schwartz has increased public transportation ridership among patrons from 24 to 46 percent, for example, she said.
The next meeting of the Atlantic Yards Service Cabinet Meeting is currently set for 9:30 a.m. at Brooklyn Borough Hall.