For Pedestrians, Atlantic and Flatbush Could Go From Bad to Worse

Atlantic and Flatbush time lapse from tracy collins on Vimeo.

This time-lapse film by Tracy Collins at Not Another F*cking Blog is a telling indictment of poor pedestrian conditions at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues. And depending on how Bruce Ratner’s new sports arena is built out — the groundbreaking is set for this week — things could get much worse.

As exemplified by the crosswalk hogs in the video, this is a terrible environment for pedestrians right now. If and when the arena arrives, two things will happen: thousands of pedestrians will arrive via transit to get to games — the more the better, but they’ll need more space; and more people will be driving here, especially if there’s a huge surface parking lot.

Note that Forest City Ratner has not answered questions about all the "interim" surface parking it intends to construct. Scroll down this post for a thorough list of related unresolved issues from the Dean Street Block Association, care of Norman Oder.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Question — does the “infrastructure” related to this project, the source of much of the public cost, including an underpass from the subway/rail station under Atlantic to the arena site? I thought it might, but I’m thinking back years. If it doesn’t, the area would be impassible when game lets out.

  • Larry, yes, the developer is on the hook to construct a subway entrance on the south side of Atlantic Ave — or at least, on the hook as much as they’re on the hook for any aspect of this project (the extraordinary generosity of ESDC towards FCRC applies to these contract terms too, as far as I know).

  • epc

    That intersection is crying out for some sort of sub-surface pedestrian plaza (try to cross from Atlantic & 4th to Atlantic Terminal).

  • Clarence

    Excellent job on this time lapse video, Tracy. I am glad more citizens are going out to show the conditions on the streets.

    I watched it all the way thru twice – it would seem that there is not one light cycle where the pedestrians do not have to do deal with at least one obstacle. If that doesn’t cry out that something is terribly wrong, what will?

  • I believe there is supposed to be a subway entrance on the plaza in front of the arena, but the grand “Urban Room” is likely many years away — dependent on demand for office space and the construction of “Building One.”

    I do not believe there is any plan to allow LIRR passengers to enter the arena from the Atlantic Terminal — those folks would have to cross Atlantic Avenue.

    Norman Oder, of course, likely has the definitive information.

  • Geck

    Barnes Dance anyone? Certainly on game nights.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “The developer is on the hook to construct…”

    My understanding is that the developer will build it, because the MTA gets hosed on every capital constructon project, but the city and state will pay for it. Recall that most of the subsidies were for “infrastructure.” Well, this is the place in Brooklyn with the most infrastructure, so I think it’s clear that the underpass is the most expensive piece.

    The question is, will it be outside fare control? I wrote a number of letters to the group in charge of renewing Lower Manhtattan asking that the Dey Street passageway be outside fare control to be part of a separte pedestrian-only network for Lower Manhattan (with Nassau St. John St., the WTC site itself, the underpass to BPC). I was told it would be, but that was years ago.

    Perhaps its time to move beyond the “nothing” and “anything Ratner wants” extremes and focus on making this a quality, non-auto gathering space for Brooklyn. What I’d like to see is:

    1) The passageway outside fare control.

    2) At least 300 indoor bike parking spaces for the arena to start, planned in advance of need, with provision for more in the future if demand materializes. That’s how I’d get there, as the F doesn’t go near Atlantic Terminal and two train waits after a game when service is infrequent is too much.

    3) Permitted resident only parking in the surrounding area on game days from 7 pm to 7 am.

    4) Parking for the arena located over the LIRR cut near the 8th Avenue stop on the Sea Beach (N) train. Those from Staten Island and NJ who want to drive to a game can take the Belt there, park, and hop on a train. It could be used for park and ride, or parking for shared vehicles/rental cars, at other times.

  • Flatbush and Atlantic already have a very brief Barnes Dance. Just a few seconds, but very helpful for getting across without any turning traffic.

  • ha! they should use this time lapse thing to advertise cars.

    better use of the space would be cuny eco-training for design and building bikes, complete street design, windmills, solar, passive solar; cad/cam manufacturing directly addressing the climate change crisis by retrofitting nyc to have a minimal environmental footprint by intense investment in local human capital.

  • There’s already a Barnes dance at the Flatbush/4th intersection. Not at Atlantic, though (there’s an LPI, but it’s not long enough to cross diagonally).

  • thanks, Clarence.

    my plan is for more time-lapse photos of this intersection as atlantic yards progresses, as well as other problem intersections in the area. a few that come to mind are:

    – atlantic @ 6th
    – atlantic @ vanderbilt
    – flatbush @ 5th
    – flatbush @ 4th

    any other locations that might be interesting?

  • Tracy,

    I’m glad you are including Vanderbilt and Atlantic — it’s a frustrating spot where the Vanderbilt bike lane peters out into confusion and chaos (the craziness of Atlantic added to by the McDonalds on the corner).

    I thought your video was great: the fact that the crosswalk on Flatbush was almost never empty of cars was appalling.


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