Thursday, November 29, 2007

Atlantic Yards Security Press Conference Today

Arena528

A group of Brooklyn officials--including several that have supported the Atlantic Yards project--will be having a press conference today to further their call for an "independent security study" of the Atlantic Yards arena. The group includes State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, State Assembly Member Joan Millman, a representative of State Assembly Member Jim Brennan, City Council Members Letitia James, David Yassky and Bill de Blasio.

The arena setback issue arose thanks to the Prudential Center in Newark. There, local officials decided that an arena 25 feet from the street could be seriously damaged by terrorists with a truck bomb. Streets around the arena are now closed during events.

Part of the glass-walled Atlantic Yards structure and adjacent buildings are only 20 feet in places from Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues. Those with long memories might recall that terrorism and security issues have been raised repeatedly about the arena going back to the environmental impact review process. (Security was dismissed as being outside the purview of the review.)

A press release from the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods says, in part:
A spokesperson for Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner last week admitted publicly for the first time that portions of the planned “Barclays Center” would sit back just 20 feet from two of Brooklyn’s busiest thoroughfares. Council Members James, Yassky and de Blasio, Senators Montgomery and Eric Adams, and Assemblymembers Brennan, Millman and Hakeem Jeffries formally requested an independent security study on October 29th, and questioned what would make the planned Brooklyn arena more secure than Newark’s arena. Street closings – or even lane closings – in Brooklyn similar to those instituted in Newark would create a nightmare of traffic and gridlock more than 230 days a year.
It will be interesting to see the security argument unfold. We offer our own thoughts on the subject below.

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