State officials announced yesterday that, starting sometime around February 1, they intend to close three blocks of the Brooklyn street grid to accommodate construction of Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards arena project. Fifth Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic and two non-consecutive blocks of Pacific Street are slated to be condemned.
An announcement circulated by Brooklyn CB 6 yesterday characterized the changes as "permanent closures," but Dan Goldstein of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn is calling that label premature. "It’s the inevitability ploy," he said, noting that the closures seem timed to take effect immediately after a January 29 court decision on the state’s seizure of properties in the project footprint. "At the very least they have to close the streets in a way that they can re-open them if they’re forced to."
If the closures do take effect, it’s about to get a little harder to
move between Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, and Park Slope, no matter
how you get around. Ratner’s project has already forced cyclists heading to the Manhattan Bridge to find detours around one of the safest and most convenient routes, thanks to the 2008 closure of the Carlton Avenue bridge (for which there is no end in sight).
Now, these proto-superblocks will degrade the street grid further. Will pedestrians be barred from any of the sidewalks on the affected streets? The Empire State Development Corporation, overseer of the project, hasn’t responded to Streetsblog’s inquiries.