Clear-eyed View at Atlantic Yards

A well-written and well-reasoned view on Atlantic Yards. Very worth reading.

February 24, 2007
Op-Ed Contributor
A Developing Story

THE developer Bruce Ratner broke ground this week on his Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, despite an eminent domain suit over property he must raze to build a basketball arena for the Nets. This “preparatory work” is Mr. Ratner’s latest maneuver in a maddeningly effective campaign to make his instant city — a 22-acre swarm of 16 residential skyscrapers (and a 20,500-seat arena) that would create the densest population swath in the United States — look and feel like a foregone conclusion.

To supporters, anyone who opposes Atlantic Yards must be doing so for selfish reasons. The project, these proponents claim, is a boon for Brooklyn: it will connect neighborhoods long cleaved by the Long Island Rail Road yards; provide jobs, tax revenue and urgently needed affordable housing; supply acres of public green space; and showcase bold designs by Frank Gehry.

Moreover, it will do all this without seriously straining the area’s infrastructure, according to an environmental impact statement commissioned by Mr. Ratner: police, fire, bus and subway services and schools will absorb the new population mostly without “adverse impact,” and tweaking the timing of stoplights will largely prevent traffic snarls.

Reading these assertions, I’m half-convinced myself — until I look around me.

Posted Under: Atlantic Yards, Brooklyn

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