State Moves to Disrupt Street Grid in Atlantic Yards Footprint


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.

  • The press release did say that emergency vehicles will still have access to the closed roads, so perhaps we coudl push to keep them open to pedestrians and cyclists as well. It’d break up the inevitable superblock and perhaps could become a permanent car-free street?

  • Bergen and Dean will no longer be desirable bike routes if they serve as the primary east-west arteries south of this development.

  • Car Free Nation


    It looks like the traffic is only being diverted from Pacific street, which is lightly traveled by car in that location. I don’t see Bergren and Dean becoming the primary arteries. There’s still Atlantic. Am I missing something?

  • Danny G

    This should be thought of as an opportunity. If this complex is aiming for LEED certification, one way they can get a credit is by providing dedicated pedestrian and bicycle access to 10 points of interest within 1/4 mile of the complex (laundromat, library, restaurant, cafe, etc.)

    It is in their interest as well as Brooklyn’s to have pedestrian and bicycle thoroughfares running through the site.

  • The arena would be sited on the two blocks bounded by Atlantic, 6th, Dean and Flatbush, so there’s no way there would be permanent bike/ped routes through this area.

    Also, they intend to use the block bounded by Dean, Vanderbilt, Pacific and Carlton as an arena construction staging/storage area, so I’d doubt that one would want to bike/walk through there, either.

  • pheights

    With a precinct on the corner of Bergen & 6th: What will all the police (personally owned civilian & squad cars) do when 6th ave becomes 2 way traffic? Currently they perpendicular park halfway into the street as well as on sidewalks and in the cross walks.

  • It’s the increased traffic brought by the development, more than the displacement due to closures, that will make it necessary to shift the bike lanes on Bergen and Dean to other streets. In the event this project is built, I hope the lanes are shifted rather than simply eliminated.

  • Geck

    I would like to see an effort to insure that any development of Atlantic Yards includes first class bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I agree. If the arena is to be built, I’d want to get there by bicycle. I’d like bike lockers, quarter takes the key, as in bus stations. They could be used for the shopping center and park and ride as well.

    I live on the one subway line that doesn’t go anywhere near that intersection, and driving is out of the question.

  • Jeffrey Hymen

    If I remember correctly to back when (summer 2007?), the Cartlon-Cumberland north-south bike lanes will go through Atlantic Yards when the bridge is re-built. That is supposed to occur concurrently with the opening of the arena.

    Recently I looked at a whole lot of Atlantic Yards maps and did see one with a big bike locker logo on it. Unfortunately, I looked at so many it would be hard for me to recreate that search and provide a web address.

    Responding to Paco’s comments, emergency vehicles will have access because FCRC needs to be able to fight fires or get an ambulance to the people who haven’t moved from the site. Once the streets are closed, they will be private property owned by FCRC. For some reason, I am not too optimistic about some civic-mindedness on the companies part when it comes to bikes riding on the closed streets. That is easily justified as looking out for your safety in a construction zone.

  • Look, we all know that this project sucks from an eminent domain perspective (how scientists managed to revive Robert Moses from the grave in order to take property from individuals for a private, for-profit development is truly beyond my understanding), however do we really have any tangible reasons to be complaining from a livable streets perspective?

    No, really, I’m asking. I haven’t been able to find any good information about issues such as Off-Street Parking or Outdoor Advertising. Does anyone have any good, up-to-date information about these issues?

  • Bklyn D

    Many of the concerns expressed here are directly addressed in the project EIS. The project is to include a 400-space indoor bike parking facility on the arena block, which will be available to arena visitors and commuters.

    The block of Pacific btwn Vanderbilt and Carlton is going to become a pedestrian/bike only path when the buildings are complete.

    Having a pedestrian walkway through the soon to be closed blocks of 5th and Pacific btwn Flatbush and 6th is not possible because there will be an arena in the way.


Let’s Chop Up Superblocks

Forest City’s Atlantic Yards project would create two massive superblocks in Prospect Hts., Brooklyn Portland, Oregon, which has ascended the ranks of cities judged most walkable, bikable, and urbane, benefits mightily from its small 200-foot square blocks, which provide businesses more street frontage and people more streets on which to bike, cycle and walk. These […]

They Paved Prospect Heights and Put up a Parking Lot

One of the more troublesome aspects of Forest City Enterprise’s "Atlantic Yards" proposal is the developer’s plan to create two rather huge, suburban mall-style surface parking lots on the eastern side of the project footprint. If all goes as planned there will 3,600 new parking spaces will be in place by 2012. Today, BrooklynSpeaks runs an […]

Forest City Ratner: Carlton Ave Bridge Closure “a Bit of a Conundrum”

Norman Oder at Atlantic Yards Report has the details from Wednesday’s public meeting on street closures and traffic changes near the footprint of Bruce Ratner’s Brooklyn arena project. With construction apparently on the verge of ramping up significantly, local electeds, NYCDOT, and representatives of developer Forest City Ratner engaged in a Q&A session as notable […]

T.O.D. in Brooklyn: Turning Parking Lots into Housing

Some reading ahead of tomorrow’s big Transit-Oriented Development forum at NYU… Public attention is focused on Atlantic Yards and condo towers under construction or planned from DUMBO to Long Island City, but the Brooklyn real estate boom is having subtler but equally profound effects on neighborhoods just outside the radar, and these changes are tremendously beneficial from a regional planning perspective. […]