Block buster! State moves to close roads around Yards arena

The Brooklyn Paper

The construction of Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards will enter a new phase next month when three major streets are permanently wiped off the New York City grid to accommodate the developer’s basketball arena.

State officials announced on Monday that Fifth Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic avenues, plus two adjacent blocks of Pacific Street, will be closed starting on Feb. 1 to accommodate construction.

The streets will not reopen if the arena is built.

And the same announcement revealed that the Carlton Avenue bridge, which was closed almost exactly one year ago, will not reopen in January, 2011, but in April, 2012.

The controversial street de-mapping has long been a part of the proposed Atlantic Yards mega-development, but the announcement of the closures of Fifth Avenue, plus Pacific Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues and Vanderbilt and Carlton avenues, were criticized as premature by project opponents.

“They’re taking the streets prematurely,” said Dan Goldstein, the spokesman for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn. “We’ll be challenging that [street seizure], which is part of [the state’s use of] eminent domain.”

Since leaping one of the last remaining major legal hurdles in late November, Ratner has moved forward with his project far more rapidly than a Nets fast-break. And in December, he sold $511 million in tax-free bonds — roughly half the money needed for the arena.

Ratner also installed “Future home of the Barclays Center” signs around that time. The street closures indicate that the pace of construction will likely intensify.

Still, the proposed traffic changes are relatively minor compared to the “Fourth to Flatbush two-step” that will close Fourth Avenue north of Atlantic Avenue. In the proposed traffic model, Downtown-bound drivers on Fourth Avenue will be forced to turn right on Pacific Street and then left on Flatbush Avenue to continue their journey.

What is more concerning for some Prospect Heights residents is that the longer build time at the Carlton Avenue bridge. As the Atlantic Yards Report revealed on Wednesday, the new delay is the result of a slower build-out plan by Ratner — longer than disclosed in the project’s final Environmental Impact Statement. The change in plans is permissible under Ratner’s contract with the state if it is the result of an “unavoidable delay.”

A spokesman from the Empire State Development Corporation, the quasi-public state agency overseeing the mega-project, could not be reached before The Brooklyn Paper’s eminent online deadline.

Reader Feedback

Realist says:
Good. Throw the bums out already. Go Nets!
Jan. 12, 2010, 4:49 am
Steve from Boerum Hill says:
This is terrible. Traffic is already a mess as you approach the Flatbush/Atlantic/4th Avenue intersection. Now cars needing to turn left from Northbound Flatbush onto Westbound Atlantic are losing the ability to do so via 5th Avenue. What's sad is if they pushed back the arena just a few dozen yards, there would be no need to do away with that short block of 5th Avenue. And haven't we learned the lesson that super blocks are bad? They could have found a way to fit an arena into the existing streetscape. Closing off streets in an already over congested area is just going to make matters worse.
Jan. 12, 2010, 9:28 am
Connie from Brooklyn Heights says:
Hmmm.... the future sounds a lot like the past here....
Jan. 12, 2010, 10:23 am
pher from Prospect Heights says:
The closure of Pacific Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt Avenues is not required "to accommodate the developer’s basketball arena"--it's two blocks away!

The street is being demapped as old-fashioned "stakedriving", taking property before it is required for development. The only thing that is going on the adjacent block 1129 for the foreseeable future will be construction staging (which could be located closer to the actual arena) and a blighting surface parking lot (which shouldn't be built at all).
Jan. 12, 2010, 10:37 am
Patrick Ewing from MSG says:
Please stop quoting that Goldstein guy - enough is enough - tell him to enjoy Montana....
Jan. 12, 2010, 12:24 pm
hamilton from windsor terrace says:
I'm stunned, Ewing can read and write, who knew.
Jan. 12, 2010, 2:04 pm
Charles from Bklyn says:
I suppose only Governor Paterson can stop this project now. Someone should tell him what's going on here ... though I assume he knows this already. The middle class is the real victim here, again.
Jan. 12, 2010, 5:06 pm
guy from bhurst says:
what can we do now!! is all hope for stopping the arena lost?
Jan. 13, 2010, 12:07 pm
Mike from FG says:
There is nothing you can do. Jobs and the Nets will be coming to Brooklyn. Yay!
Jan. 13, 2010, 6:46 pm
Pacholo from Red Hook says:
About time! Go Nets!Those who don't like it go back to Iowa!
Jan. 13, 2010, 8:24 pm
hamilton from windsor terrace says:
More people will go to Freddie's then the inept Nets games .
They reminds me of the old joke, a fan calls up and asks , when will the game star? the response,when can you get here ?
Brooklyn really needs twenty more tatoo'd thugs, leave them in the Jersey swamps where they belong, why burden us with this group of losers, we already have Markowitz and Schumer.
Jan. 14, 2010, 8:08 am
Pacholo from Red Hook says:
Go to Iowa.

If I didn't like the Nets, then I'd go back to puerto rico. I mean, if you don't like it, you have to leave. You don't get to choose. Why do you want to choose? Go to Iowa.

I like nets. They are basketball-a-licious. All of us poor people like them. They give us hope in a brighter future. And in our culture they are the only form of homo-erotic entertainment that is allowed. Don't take it away from me. I want to see their sexy muscles in action.

Pacholo pacholo! Adios.
Jan. 15, 2010, 3:32 am
hamilton from windsor terrace says:
the nets have won 3 out of 35 games and your building a brighter future on them ? Maybe thats considered a winning team in puerto rico, where i guess you weren't taught math.
They are not worth the money which is being taken away from poor people, as you claim to be and by the way they won't take food stamps at the ticket booth..

You should go to Iowa, where there are probably farmers with muscles that will fill your Homo Erotic needs .
Jan. 15, 2010, 9:40 pm
Pacholo from Red Hook says:
Oh no you didn't honey, let me tell you! Don't be like that.
Pacholo gonna show you how it goes. Adios!
Jan. 17, 2010, 4:50 am

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