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Someone needs to do the due diligence at Atlantic Yards

The Brooklyn Paper
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To the editor,

Twenty-six community groups have just filed a legal brief in the State Appellate Court to reverse approval of the Atlantic Yards project.

Over the next months, the Court will be looking at technical issues against the backdrop of Atlantic Yards’ real-world collapse. Gov. Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg, Borough President Markowitz and Bruce Ratner’s promises of jobs, housing, blight relief, public space and amenities have been reduced to little more than a basketball arena with acres of parking.

This is the natural result of the state separately looking at the concerns raised by local community groups, electeds and professionals — and then discounting or minimizing every single one of them while exaggerating every potential benefit. That topsy-turvy version of due diligence made it inevitable that something, at some point, would go terribly wrong.

Fortunately, one of those risks a $4 billion project dependant on highly complex, secret financing deals that are still in negotiations has appeared prior to any real groundbreaking.

Had this project gone forward as planned, any number of risks would have had time to play themselves out. Just think: the social experiment of residential density twice that of anything ever attempted in all of U.S. history; creating super-blocks, despite decades of adverse experience; overwhelming Brooklyn’s 50- to 150-year-old infrastructure; overwhelming both vehicular and public transportation capacity; the traffic implications of protecting three Homeland Security Department terrorist targets.

Today’s disconnect between the law and reality could not be starker.

No matter the arguments presented, the project being argued over is no longer the project laid in court papers.

This case is now only about who will have control of 22 contiguous acres in the center of Brooklyn.

The Nets aren’t required to come here and the housing in the second phase of the project may never be built it’s all left up to Ratner.

The courts cannot be counted on to address this sort of a problem.

What the (naked) emperors of this state need to do is require an honest study of the environmental injuries that a sports arena and acres of parking will inflict on surrounding communities and the borough at large.

Our nation is suffering by denying reality; Brooklyn is very much at risk from the same sort of blindness.

Alan Rosner, Prospect Heights

Navy blue over Ikea

To the editor,

In response to your coverage of Red Hook retail development (“Ikea docks in Red Hook” June 21), we can learn from Ikea that public (and private) dialogue is so necessary in other proposed development projects such as that at the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Admiral’s Row Houses site.

Brooklyn surely provides an alternate context for development beyond a suburban shopping center with too much parking. Fairway grocery near Ikea points to the reuse of an old manufacturing building with ample — but not excessive — parking.

Meanwhile, the Navy Yard administration plans to tear down historic buildings that could be adaptively reused. Some of the mansions could be linked to a modified “big box” for a broad service grocery and related retail facilities.

Other mansions could provide all important community facilities and even eating and drinking establishments to extend the hours of activity.

There is also plenty of room for sufficient parking and open space carved out in such a way to save a half-dozen 130-year-old trees!Brent Porter, Fort Greene

The writer is an architect and professor at Pratt Institute.

N-O-I-S-E Noise!

To the editor,

In your story about jet engine noise over Park Slope (“Cool your (noisy) jets,” Park Slope edition and online, June 28), an FAA employee made this bit of “Let them eat cake”-style remark when asked if there was any way to fix the problem: “That’s the way it is,” he said. This from a federal employee who works for us and is paid by our tax money?!

Instead of working with us to see if there are alternatives, we get dictatorial edicts that they are going to “land planes in the most efficient way possible.”

Isn’t environmental degradation and damage to the health of those under the flight pattern an equal consideration to landing planes in the most efficient way possible? Can’t flight patterns be alternated equitably — even if it means a little less efficiency?

No matter which flight pattern they use, they are going to land the same number of planes due to the very nature of LaGuardia Airport.

All we are asking is that the flight patterns go back to an equitable distribution and/or fly over waterways and freeways instead of neighborhoods and living breathing people.Jim Williams, Park Slope

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Reader Feedback

al pankin from downtown says:
the complaints about the atlantic yards is old news. they complained about it when the dodgers wanted to build their arena and were denied their request, now they are in LA. boy did brooklyn win that battle. they even complained when the verrazano bridge was built. enough already, let's get to work in that run down, blighted area.
July 18, 2008, 3:10 pm

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