The Flatbush Two Step! Major street changes coming to Barclays Center area

The Brooklyn Paper
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Get ready to dance the Flatbush-to-Fourth Two-Step — whether you like it or not.

The state this week unveiled its plan to ease traffic around the $1-billion Barclays Center at Flatbush, Fourth and Atlantic avenues, permanent changes that its creator predicts will untangle the maze of roadways near the rising basketball arena.

The changes, already ratified by the state and city, will take hold on July 15. They include:

• Conversion of Fourth Avenue between Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush Avenue into a one-way southbound street.

• Reversal of the direction of Pacific Street between Fourth and Flatbush avenues, changing it from westbound to eastbound.

• Installation of a new traffic light at the intersection of Pacific Street and Flatbush Avenue, and a new crosswalk across from Flatbush Avenue, where vehicles will be able to make right or left turns onto Flatbush Avenue.

• Cars and trucks can use Third Avenue via Atlantic to get to Flatbush Avenue. Pacific Street will offer secondary access to Flatbush Avenue, but trucks are not permitted to use it.

The changes mean that Flatbush Avenue-bound cars on Fourth Avenue will either have to turn on Pacific Street, or take Atlantic Avenue to Third Avenue: the Flatbush Two Step is born.

But it’s not all about cars, said the scheme’s creator.

“This is a plan that can be implemented and it does a lot for what Brooklyn is — a walking city,” said Sam Schwartz, the consultant to developer Forest City Ratner who devised the plan. “This makes it easier to walk across Atlantic, Flatbush and Fourth avenues.”

Schwartz said he approached the intersections the same way the city tackled traffic snarls at Herald Square in Manhattan — by removing one of the approaches, Broadway, on which drivers are able to access an epicenter of congestion. In Brooklyn’s case, that means that Fourth Avenue will no longer have an approach to Flatbush Avenue, improving or complicating things for drivers and pedestrians, depending on whom you’re talking to.

The plan was first broached six years ago in the project’s environmental impact statement, one that galled critics who claimed the changes splash lipstick on a pig — namely, an 18,000-seat arena surrounded by low-rise residential neighborhoods.

“They want to turn my street into a viaduct,” said Pacific Street resident Jim Vogel, who said he expects mayhem on game nights — when 500-800 cars will traverse Pacific Street between Fourth and Flatbush avenues every hour, according to the developer’s estimates.

Other block residents were equally perturbed.

“What mitigation?” wondered Therese Urban. “You mean the one that doesn’t mitigate traffic and only adds to it. This was objectionable when it was first written six years ago — and it still is.”

But Schwartz said the direction of Pacific Street was reversed not for arena-goers but for block residents, making it easier to get to their homes. Yes, there will unquestionably be more cars on game days, he conceded, but the overall effect will be beneficial, he promised.

Moreover, he said, the primary route will be Atlantic Avenue to Third Avenue — not Pacific Street, which won’t get through traffic because the only way to approach it will be by turning. “Brooklynites who know the street system in the area will find that Pacific Street is not the desirable route,” he said.

But that’s leaving those near Third Avenue none too pleased.

“We are deeply concerned about traffic back-ups on Third Avenue and the diversion to local streets,” said Howard Kolins, president of the Boerum Hill Association. “This is one more step in a process that has little or no governance.”

The Empire State Development Corporation will host a forum about the changes at Borough Hall (209 Joralemon St. between Court and Adams streets in Brooklyn Heights) on June 14 from 6:30 pm to 8 pm. Details can be found at or

Updated 5:24 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Boerum Hill says:
Sweet. I live near the corner of Atlantic and 3rd Ave, which is already a traffic nightmare during rush hour - endless honking, polluted air, insane red light running. Now it gets to become even more of a traffic sewer -- right as numerous retail and cultural venues are opening on the surrounding blocks.
May 27, 2011, 9:33 am
mjd from park slope says:
more bikes, less cars
May 27, 2011, 10:21 am
Nadine from BK says:
The stadium was a horrible idea, what do you expect? Only more horrible ideas can come from this greedy NY governing state of mind! Sell Sell Sell! Parking is alerady a nightmare, more pollution and garbage because more ppl will be in the area, but NY govs are only thinking about $CASH$
May 27, 2011, 11:49 am
Tom Murphy from Sunset Park says:
These are not 'improvements'; they are in-kind subsidies to the developer.
When the BQE is closed-down from Atlantic Avenue to Navy Street it will be a disaster.
When the Cross Bronx Expressway is closed-down for rehab(it's going to happen!), that will only push truck traffic south through Queens and Brooklyn. What then?
May 27, 2011, 1:47 pm
Cynthia from Clinton Hill says:
Yeah and get ready to get robbed even more.
May 27, 2011, 2:31 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
All this is really going to do is make traffic in that area go from bad to worse. It was a bad idea to even think of placing an arena in that are to begin with especially when this about 20 blocks from either part of the BQE. That was the reason why Robert Moses didn't support the idea of having a stadium for the Dodgers there, which would have been placed where Ratner's Atlantic Center Mall is now. Even though this is also by a major transit hub, there still needs to be taken into account that there are still many who drive to sporting events despite that.
May 27, 2011, 2:45 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Thanks Tal

Here in Brooklyn we are trying to undo the mess that Robert Moses inflicted on us.
May 27, 2011, 7:34 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, you are aware that Moses did NOT want a sports facility in that area. If you read my comment, I mentioned how much he was against having a stadium for the Dodgers there, not for it. I am sure Moses would be against having an arena for the Nets there if he was still around today as he was against having one for the Dodgers. On a side note, he suggested that Walter O'Malley have the new stadium for the Dodgers where the Mets play today, but he rejected it and had the Dodgers move to LA for not getting what he wanted.
May 27, 2011, 7:49 pm
mike from brooklyn says:
I can wait to go to some nba games, this will be great!
May 27, 2011, 8:36 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Thanks Tal

What does this have to do with anything.
May 27, 2011, 8:51 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
The fact that you believed that he was for a new stadium for the Dodgers in that area when he wasn't.
May 27, 2011, 9:33 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
I knew that. Moses believed that everyone should drive everywhere.
May 28, 2011, 4 am
Steve from Brooklyn says:
This is a nightmare. Thank you, Marty Markowitz! Your legacy will be traffic, congestion, pollution, and dangerous streets.
May 28, 2011, 11:08 am
eny says:
You people need to shut up and enjoy what coming to brooklyn
May 28, 2011, 1:52 pm
Chris from Brooklyn says:
tal, shut the hell up already
May 28, 2011, 9:20 pm
trans alt from bike city says:
Look at the bright side, now the mobs rioting after games can vandalize all the cars that are stuck in traffic trying to get away. Win win!
May 29, 2011, 10:35 am
Larry Littlefield from Windsor Terrace says:
I don't think it's a good idea. Fourth Avenue to Flatbush is a major arterial route, and that traffic will be shifted elsewhere when it is cut off. I doubt the elsewhere will be better.

As at Yankee Stadium, I think people are going to be surprised how high the transit modal share is at the arena. This change may cause more traffic issues than the arena.

They should at least wait until the arena opens, and drivers have a chance to adjust by shifting to alternate routes just before and after games, before making changes. Let's see what the problem actually is before trying to solve it.
May 29, 2011, 10:42 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Chris, I take it that you don't mind giving your tax dollars for this. While the city can't seem to keep schools, firehouses, hospitals, senior centers, libraries, and other public places open, there is so much money for this. I guess for you, as long as you get this arena, nothing else matters just like those who support charter schools and bike lanes. This area is already bad for traffic, and that was before any demolition taking place. The reason why many sports facilities are built near highways was so that traffic would stay residual and NOT go into surrounding neighborhoods, which is what this will.
May 29, 2011, 11:10 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

They are building it. Nothing we can do about that now. But why do you have a problem with managing the traffic.

Or do you just want gridlock in a place 50 miles from your home.
May 29, 2011, 6:59 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, are you for or against this project? I still think that it can be stopped with what is comming up. I do suggest you see the documentary, The Battle for Brooklyn, because it will sum up everything, and it will state what really happened. As a longtime Nets fan, I am against the move to Brooklyn. Of course, I will never understand the view Streetsblog takes on this, because they seemed to have likes and dislikes about it. Overall, if this was done by ULURP rather than SEQRA, this wouldn't have been allowed due to zonning laws, which is why Ratner used the latter instead of the former. Seriously, it's a bad idea to place a sports facility in an area that gets constant traffic and to change the traffic pattern there.
May 29, 2011, 7:36 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

I was (and am) against the entire project. But Tal, it is there. Come to Brooklyn and look.

Adjusting the traffic patterns will make a bad thing for the neighborhood a little less bad.
May 29, 2011, 8:59 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Sorry Other Michael, but just because they have made progress on this, doesn't mean that I am just going to accept it. None of the website of those opposing it have shut down since that happened. I do know about that area and I have been there. Just knowing that this is one of the busiest intersections in the borough gives more of a reason not to have it there. Again, since this is not near a major highway, this will become an issue for the surrounding neighborhoods, because they know that they are going to get this traffic. The way you sound is sort of like the pro-Towers advocates who were really nothing but armchair activists who were really silent and then just told those that are active such as myself to just accept the Freedom Tower over at the WTC site, because it's being built, but I have not stopped my fight there to and my letter did make this weeks issue on the Downtown Express.
May 29, 2011, 9:36 pm
Chris from Brooklyn says:
you only see negatives tal, you fail to see positives, please, spare us the drivel that nobody cares about
May 29, 2011, 10:07 pm
Keith Gemerek says:
Thank Marty Markowitz for this nightmare. He has been a unique supporter of this boondoggle project from the beginning against all the wishes of the public and the advice of professionals. He is changing this area into the hell hole that 34th and 7th Avenue is in Manhattan. What a miserable concept. All projected benefits are propaganda and it will only serve those fat cats who have only themselves to benefit. A very low moment in the history of this city, unfortunately, to be around for ever.
May 30, 2011, 12:55 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Chris, you only say that, because you are probably one of those who is drinking the koolaid that Ratner and his cronies are giving you. I don't see what is so positive about building an arena where many people lived and were forced out by the abuse of eminent domain so it can be there. Would you like it if you were the victim of this, and others thought that you were too selfish to move? You probably wouldn't like that all. It's easy to support this when you are not the victim. You may not care, but others do. I suggest you come see the film, The Battle for Brooklyn, so that you can see what really happened.
May 30, 2011, 11:39 am
Chris from Brooklyn says:
if you were receiving 3 million dollars from ratner to leave your house, you would take it too, and i dont need to see the film because quite frankly, i dont give a ——, you rant about this stuff over at netsdaily, (i am member) and nobody cares, you are milking a dead cow, it's over, DG is a victim? the man received 3 million ——ing dollars just to leave his condo, man i wish i could get 3 million dollars to leave my house, thats probably way more than his condo was worth, and its 3x what my house is worth. Stop making it like this is some mortal sin, again, i dont give a flying —— about what you, DG, DDDB or any other "protestor" say, because the arena will be there, so it doesnt matter anymore
May 30, 2011, 2:42 pm
judahspechal from bed-stuy says:
Amen Chris! I raise a pint in your honor.
May 30, 2011, 3:06 pm
Chris from Brooklyn says:

May 30, 2011, 7:23 pm
Chris from Brooklyn says:
woops, i meant thanks lol
May 30, 2011, 7:24 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Don't come crying to me when Ratner breaks his promises, because I warned you about that.
May 30, 2011, 7:30 pm
Chris from Brooklyn says:
trust me, i wont, because once again, i dont give a ——
May 30, 2011, 8:27 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

Till I read your letter in the Downtown Express I had no idea that someone who know so little about reality could get published.

May 31, 2011, 6:21 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
You guys who are supporting are very gullible. All Ratner really needed you for was just to go to events and be his puppets or yesmen to help him push it forward. After that, he will not need you for anything else. Eventually, you sheep will be lead into the slaughterhouse when Ratner shows his true colors. Nobody who opposes this projects is against developement on the rail yards nor are they against people having jobs and affordable housing, but Ratner has a history of broken promises and MTC is an example of just that. If the rail yards do get left undeveloped, it will be because of the MTA, not the opposition. Also, I suggest you come to the UNITY meeting on 6/15 to see some real promises. If you see the film, The Battle for Brooklyn, you will get to see what really happened.
May 31, 2011, 5:04 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
yes, Marty Markowitz is very gullible (or something else). But he traffic improvements in this article would be improvements even if the Atlantic Yards project becomes a nature preserve.
June 1, 2011, 7:02 am
Chris from Brooklyn says:
oh yes tal, we are puppets, you jumping every time an article about this comes up defending DG and every protester, but we are puppets LOL
June 1, 2011, 3:27 pm
Mustachioed Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
Why do you guys always take the bait from that moron Tal? I'm guessing he's a Brooklyn wannabe. He lives in his parent's basement in Pleasantville, inflates his academic credentials, and, from the safety of his keyboard, Tal takes potshots at Ratner and the Nets, those liberal bike lane "Streetbloggers" and other perceived enemies who quickly realize he's nuts. The real tragedy is that he'll engage in a fight, lose, accuse others of impersonating him and still fails to realize that no one cares.
June 1, 2011, 4:21 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Pete, I can say similar things about those on your side. What's with the personal atttacks? Did I call you a moron or make such other insults like the ones you are saying? The answer for that is no. You sound just like the paid the supporters that Ratner used at hearings to repeat the same mantra for him. If Ratner tells you how to jump, you will agree to how high it is. For the record, I have been to a number of events on this, and kept tabs, so I do know what's really happening unlike the rest of you who just hearing what you want to hear. Some of you even slam Norman Oder, who has done extensive research than any of you put together. If anyone is just hiding behind their keyboards, it's you, not me.
June 1, 2011, 11:32 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

This is not about "sides". On this issue I am on your "side". (Ratner is evil.)

This is about adding and exchanging information.

Just because you "have been to a number of events on this, and kept tabs", does not mean you "really know what's happening".

I live half a mile from this project and my kids will go to school around the corner.

So, please go back to your suburban world and stop saving us. We are fine.
June 2, 2011, 6:39 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, just because you see construction there, doesn't mean that it's over. There are many other places where people are still fighting projects despite all of that. Just look at the WTC site, Willets Point, or even Manhattanville. I am supposed to believe that the second they are building this, the debate must stop. If you don't want to talk about it anymore, then don't, because nobody is forcing you to do so, but if I still want to, then I have every right to do so. If I am waisting my time, then why are you giving me the time of day? My guess is that you are the one with nothing better to do. At least when it comes to fighting these projects, I don't hide behind my keyboards, because I am there on the frontlines.
June 3, 2011, 9:54 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

OK, you keep fighting the (almost) inevitable. Thanks. I hope you win. Really.

But this article is about improving traffic flow. Something that needs to be done if Ratner stops building the arena and makes it a mini golf course.
June 3, 2011, 10:41 am
normans odor from barclays center says:
Sorry Tal, even I took some Ratnerbucks and fell in love with the arena. I suggest you do the same.
June 3, 2011, 4:18 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Nice try from Mr. Idontuseaconsistantnamewhenicommenteventhoughiamthatverysameperson.
June 4, 2011, 5:26 pm
StateStResident from Boerum Hill says:
I don't believe this arena will ever return the hundreds of millions of dollars that taxpayer's representatives have given it. Sports facilities historically don't. And the Ratner family has a history here: at least 2 cities are still paying off bond issues (generational payments) to cover the costs of their failed arenas. I expect no less.

I believe Mr. Ratner et al are really interested in control of office rents over the next 50 years and any concern they may have regarding this silly traffic pattern are only whether they can tear down the surrounding buildings now or later.
June 9, 2011, 11:36 am
Marie from Brooklyn says:
There is no room for a stadium..Does anyone see how small this area is that they are putting this big stadium??? they dont care because they dont live or commute in Brooklyn.I think its a horrible idea for such a small neighborhood..I hope it collapses right after they build it.
Sept. 24, 2011, 8:07 am

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