Avenue Master Plan
Request for Proposals for a Master Planning Team
March 22, 2002
Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corporation (LDC), in
conjunction with the Atlantic Avenue Leadership Conference
(Leadership Conference), invites proposals from qualified
Master Planning Teams to prepare a Master Plan for Atlantic
Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. The Master Plan will describe the means by
which the Leadership Conference can achieve its vision of
Atlantic Avenue as a great boulevard and an effective link
among multiple communities and attractions.
at least 30 years, a host of community organizations, including
the LDC, have worked to beautify and strengthen Atlantic
Avenue from Flatbush Avenue to the waterfront.
The LDC sponsored the last Atlantic Avenue-focused
master planning exercise – 1988’s Commercial Revitalization
Study of about one half of this stretch of the Avenue.
In January 2001, the LDC became convinced that a
new Atlantic Avenue master planning effort was needed and
set out to organize and fund that effort.
The LDC’s conviction arose out of three developments.
of the recommendations of the 1988 study had been adopted,
and many of its predictions had come to pass.
However, much had changed in the intervening 12
years, and a comprehensive view of the entire stretch
of Atlantic Avenue from the waterfront to Flatbush had
never been undertaken.
the market surged in the mid- to late ‘90s, the generation-long
efforts of local community organizations to ensure the
appropriate revitalization of the street were showing
fruit. For instance, the Atlantic Avenue Betterment
Association (AABA) publishes an annually updated Shopping
Guide and a Walking Guide and is sponsoring on-going graffiti
removal. The LDC and AABA have sponsored streetscape
treatments; these are “spreading” and being adopted by
private businesses on the street.
Community organizations urged a study of traffic
calming; the City is conducting that study.
Major public investment in infrastructure along
and abutting the Avenue is underway.
As these investments of public funds are being
made, a growing number of destination and neighborhood
retail establishments catering to an increasingly affluent
population are opening; and commercial vacancy rates have
fallen to less than half of 1988’s more than 20%.
significantly, by early 2001, the State and City of New
York had announced full public funding of Brooklyn Bridge
Park, which will terminate at Atlantic Avenue’s East River
end, and significant public funding for the new Cultural
District, a proposed mixed-use, multicultural arts district
in the vicinity of the Brooklyn Academy of Music abutting
Atlantic Avenue just across Flatbush Avenue. These “emerging anchors” will have a profound
effect on Atlantic Avenue in the years to come.
the summer of 2001, the LDC had obtained funding for the
master plan and convened the Leadership Conference, a consortium
of local resident and business groups, as well as individual
community leaders. In
the summer and fall of 2001, the Leadership Conference met
to discuss goals and objectives for the master planning
LDC and Leadership Conference now seek professional assistance
to achieve their goals. Although a declining market and the events
of September 11 have slowed the momentum, it is still clear
that in the next economic cycle, the Avenue’s character
will continue to evolve. The LDC is convinced that commencement of a
master planning process now – while change is still nascent
– is the best means of ensuring that the changes will be
for the better.
Leadership Conference wishes to see Atlantic Avenue emerge
as a great urban boulevard -- one with a distinct “tone”
or “feel,” at least partially set by anchor institutions
... with a mixture of neighborhood and destination retail
drawing a diverse range of local and regional shoppers ...
characterized by a well-planted, clean and inviting
street treatment that encourages pedestrian activity ...
unique in its historic character but welcoming diverse and
contemporary influences … with sufficient commercial and
residential density to ensure a healthy retail climate and
a lively atmosphere ... on which pedestrian and vehicular
traffic co-exist with minimal tension for the mutual benefit
of local residents and businesses, as well as to enhance
regional economic development.
achieve that vision, the Leadership Conference has adopted
five goals for the master plan.
The master planning effort will have been a success
if, at the conclusion of the process, these events have
come to pass:
means by which Atlantic Avenue will physically connect
adjacent attractions and communities – particularly Brooklyn
Bridge Park and the Cultural District -- has been described
and at least conceptually approved by both the surrounding
communities and the public agencies needed to effect the
built out, the Cultural District and Brooklyn Bridge Park
will “bookend” the section of Atlantic Avenue of interest
to the Leadership Conference. However, there are, at present, no plans
to actually link these future attractions to Atlantic
Avenue. Achieving effective connections would
strengthen the Atlantic Avenue retail corridor. By improving connections to the Cultural District and the Park,
these new developments will also be strengthened. Likewise, we seek better connections via
Atlantic Avenue to Downtown, the residential neighborhoods,
MetroTech, colleges and universities, and other shopping
strips. Ensuring that these linkages are created
and are effective probably involves some combination of
alterations to infrastructure, traffic management, streetscape
improvements, signage, transit improvements, and, potentially,
changes in property use/tenant mix and marketing of the
Avenue, e.g. to encourage “spillover” from the Cultural
District and the Park.
means by which Atlantic Avenue will become increasingly
“walkable” has been described, and at least some small-scale
projects designed to make the Avenue an appealing place
to stroll have been launched. Building on the increasing strength
of the Avenue as a mixed-use retail and residential corridor
requires making the Avenue more pedestrian-friendly. At present, long wide blocks; signals timed to speed traffic,
including regional truck traffic; and the presence of
certain municipal functions, including a jail, detract
from walkability. It is unrealistic to think that these
constraints can simply be removed.
Infrastructure constraints and the location of
regional industry dictate continued use of the Avenue
for at least some trucks; further, diversion of commercial
traffic onto the surrounding residential blocks is highly
the Leadership Conference believes that some combination
of parking and traffic management practices (e.g., pedestrian
medians and cross walks and/or neck downs), transit adjustments,
new plantings with plans for their continued maintenance,
and other streetscape improvements could do much to improve
the current situation.
Likewise, new lighting schemes to keep the Avenue
well-lit and safe and to promote “24-7” use should be
location, nature, and amount of desired new density has
been identified. Increased
density is necessary to ensure the continued health of
the retail corridor, particularly pedestrian-oriented
neighborhood retail. It is also desirable from the point of
view of engendering a lively street “feel.” The Leadership Conference is seeking a practical strategy that
examines the relative merits of residential, office, and
other development (with street level retail) along the
Avenue. Such a strategy must consider the location
and amount of different types of new development, impact
on parking and traffic management, required changes in
zoning (if any), means and timeframe in which such development
might be incentivized, adequacy of landmarks regulations,
etc. It must also
consider that substantial new development is either underway
or planned – notably including redevelopment of the City-owned
Court Street garage site and development of the State-owned
lots at Smith/Hoyt/Schermerhorn Streets.
consensus regarding the traffic and parking management
policies necessary to effect the vision of the Avenue
as a great boulevard has emerged. Underlying the preceding three goals
is a recognition that a solution to traffic and parking
problems is necessary if the vision of Atlantic Avenue
as a great boulevard is to be realized.
The Leadership Conference also recognizes the regional
importance of Atlantic Avenue to economic development
in the city. What
is needed is a process by which local and regional needs
are balanced, following full and open discussion among
all interested parties, including all members of the Leadership
Conference, and based on facts and rigorous analysis.
Leadership Conference has evolved into an effective advocate
for the policies required to implement the Master Plan. Implementation of the Master Plan is likely to be a multi-year
process that will not occur in the absence of sustained
Leadership Conference is envisioned as the means by which
the host of community organizations, businesses, and individuals
who care about the Avenue develop and advance that advocacy
position. In addition, it is hoped that the Leadership Conference evolves
into a vehicle by which the group as a whole advocates
for projects of particular interest to member organizations. Achievement of this final goal will necessarily
influence the nature and focus of the Master Plan itself: the Master Plan must be primarily concerned
with actions that are achievable by a coalition of committed,
but volunteer, organizations.
planning process will consist of the following phases: (1)
Investigation, (2) Development of Alternatives, and (3)
Development of Draft and Revised Master Plans, as described
Planning Team will undertake a short investigatory phase
of work. The LDC
will coordinate the collection of existing studies, investigations,
interview notes, etc. and turn these over to the Master
Planning Team immediately following selection. The Master Planning Team will doubtless identify
additional documents during the Investigation phase, but
the Leadership Conference’s presumption is that the vast
majority of documents will have been collected and work
related to investigation of site conditions will have already
been performed when the Master Planning Team comes on board. Respondents’ proposed budgets should reflect
that presumption. (Exhibit
1 lists all currently identified material, which will be
housed in a Respondents’ Library, and indicates the procedure
for using the Respondents’ Library.)
product of this phase will be a Statement of Opportunities
and Constraints – a concise statement of existing conditions,
opportunities, and constraints relevant to realization of
the five goals established for the master planning effort. This statement will include discussion of urban
design, transportation/parking/pedestrian concerns, zoning,
planting, lighting, public art, organizational, and financial
addition, the statement will identify gaps, if any, in the
relevant knowledge base and will indicate how these gaps
will be addressed in the Alternatives phase of work. For instance, the statement will take a position
on whether these traffic and parking-related concerns have
been adequately studied to date:
Appropriateness of current parking regulations,
including “4-7 P.M. restrictions”
Pedestrian safety and satisfaction
Enforcement of current parking regulations,
including permit parking
Amount, location and configuration of parking
Enforcement of current speed regulations
Truck origin and destination
preceding are examples only; there are a wide variety
of issues other than traffic that will require similar examination.
Further, the Leadership Conference recognizes that
the fact that there is a gap in the knowledge base does
not mean that this Master Plan must necessarily address
it. Given a limited
budget, the challenge will be to identify the discrete list
of issues that can be effectively studied to increase the
likelihood of the Master Plan’s being implemented.
of this phase of work will necessitate initial outreach
by the Master Planning Team to the staff of a variety of
City agencies. The
Leadership Conference anticipates that these initial sessions
will form the basis for a working relationship with those
agencies that will evolve over the course of the project.
Development of Alternatives.
of alternatives will begin with a Planning Team-led “community
workshop.” (The LDC will identify all space needed for
public meetings for the Planning Team.)
This workshop will be an opportunity for public “brainstorming.” The Planning Team will present relevant portions
of the Statement of Opportunities and Constraints to the
public, and the public will suggest potential responses
to those opportunities and constraints.
on that workshop, the Planning Team will then produce scenarios
that explore different approaches to the opportunities and
constraints posed by the five goals for the Master Plan.
Because this is not a classic master plan in which
all or most of the affected land is owned or regulated by
the client, the classic three design-based scenarios are
not anticipated. Rather scenarios may explore different approaches
to street furniture and landscaping, different approaches
to traffic management, different approaches to bolstering
pedestrian safety and friendliness, etc.
For instance, alternatives might examine some or
all of these traffic and parking-related questions:
How to undo the Schermerhorn/Flatbush bottleneck
How to accommodate growth in demand for parking
Whether and how to establish new bus
routes and/or establish trolley or jitney routes
How to achieve pedestrian safety and friendliness
in the “gap” between Court and Smith Streets and at the
intersection of Atlantic/Fourth /Flatbush Avenue
LDC and the Leadership Conference recognize that the number
and nature of scenarios will need to be limited due to budget
LDC and Leadership Conference will work with the Planning
Team in the week or so immediately following the community
workshop to define the number and nature of scenarios that
will best meet community goals while remaining within the
Planning Team’s budget.
Respondents to this RFP are encouraged to discuss
in their proposals how they would consider defining the
scenarios to maximize debate while limiting cost and providing
a coherent framework within which to conduct debate.
any event, upon Planning Team completion of the analysis
required for the scenarios, these scenarios will be presented
at a second community workshop. This workshop should include an opportunity to “break out” into
“focus groups” that provide a format for a working dialogue
with major Brooklyn-based individuals/entities.
Scenarios will also be presented to affected elected
and appointed officials at the local and, potentially, State
and Federal levels of government as well as to selected
members of the development community. These latter presentations should focus on
identification of barriers to implementation of community
goals and the means by which those impediments can be overcome.
Development of Draft and Revised Master Plans.
Based on input
received and direction from the LDC and the Leadership Conference,
the Master Planning Team will then develop a Draft Master
Plan. The Draft
Master Plan will be reviewed with the public just as the
alternatives were. The Draft Master Plan will discuss these items,
presented graphically and in text:
Design. The LDC expects a conceptual plan, not working
the level of detail required will include a vocabulary of
site elements, such as paving, site furnishings, storefront
design guidelines, etc. The urban design section of the Master Plan will explicitly consider
and make recommendations regarding how the historic character
of the Avenue can be enhanced -- without precluding the
introduction of contemporary elements, indeed while encouraging
the introduction of contemporary elements where appropriate.
It will also explicitly consider how “walkability”
will be enhanced, including consideration of street-level
use, real and perceived pedestrian and retail establishment
safety, and lighting.
Transit, and Parking.
The Draft will include analysis sufficiently
detailed and quantified to indicate how the five goals for
the master plan can be met in a manner satisfactory to the
local business and residential communities as well as public
agencies. The Draft will include recommended responses
to concerns about the impact of increased residential and
commercial traffic on the quality of community and neighborhood
life. In addition, it will examine parking options and recommend a solution
to the challenge of providing appropriate parking (amount,
location, and configuration), which will include analysis
of alternative modes of transportation.
Finally, the draft will include recommendations with
respect to physical alteration of the infrastructure as
well as changes in traffic management.
Zoning. The Draft will include any recommended changes
to the existing zoning required to effect the goals of the
Master Plan, particularly with respect to increased density
and parking. These recommendations will need to be made
in the context of other rezoning proposals being made. The Draft will identify all land use applications,
including any changes to the landmarks regulations, zoning
map and/or text amendments and other discretionary actions
and permits, which will be required in order to implement
Term Planting Plan. This
section will specify planting design elements and describe
a street tree management plan, as well as a maintenance
program for other plantings.
Plan. This section will incorporate, as appropriate, the work of the Downtown
Signage Consortium (see Exhibit 1).
Draft will include a recommended street lighting scheme
and other options for increasing nighttime use of the Avenue.
Lighting schemes should consider streetlights and
lighting of building fronts. The practicality (and desirability) of installing
light poles other than those currently in the City’s inventory
should be assessed.
Plan. This section
the nature, schedule and budget (including cost estimates
for capital items) of subsequent activities – in detail
for the 1-5 year period following adoption of the Plan and
conceptually for the 5-20 year period following Plan adoption;
roles and responsibilities of the Leadership Conference,
its members, relevant public agencies, and private investors.
on review and input, the Master Planning Team will then
prepare the Revised Master Plan. The Revised Master Plan is envisioned as a
primarily Web-based (PDF Acrobat) product.
A limited number of CD-ROMs (and hard copies of interim
analytic products) will be requested, but the Leadership
Conference does not anticipate this becoming a major cost
item. The Leadership
Conference explicitly does not wish to allocate scarce resources
to expensive printing of multiple copies of a paper document.
for Completion of Scope of Services
schedule for completion of the Scope of Services will be
made part of the contract with the selected Team:
for Selection of the Master Planning Team
March 20, 2002
April 4, 2002
April 17, 2002
May 3, and 6, 2002
May 13, 2002
Selection of Team
On or about July 15, 2002 Letter to Proceed
for Completion of the Scope of Services
30 days following Letter to Proceed Investigation Complete
90 days following Letter to Proceed Design Alternatives Complete
120 days following Letter to Proceed Draft Master Plan Complete
150 days following Letter to Proceed Revised Master Plan Complete
successful respondent to this RFP will demonstrate that
it has the requisite experience, expertise and understanding
of the issues required to realize the established goals.
Therefore, the Master Planning Team will include
planners, landscape architects, traffic engineers, and community
and economic development professionals.
Other disciplines may also be proposed.
The lead firm will be an urban design/planning or
a landscape architecture firm with substantial experience
in large scale planning exercises.
Teams should demonstrate:
Excellence in the design of urban streets,
including a demonstrated ability to plan for an effective
balance between commercial and residential needs, as well
as local and regional needs
Excellence in landscape architecture in similar
environments, including knowledge of planting techniques
and requirements in dense urban areas
Substantial experience in collaborative planning
that engages key concerned individuals/entities in the process
A history of design excellence that respects
existing neighborhood and community context
Substantial experience in providing innovative
solutions to challenges related to access, and experience
in planning development that accommodates mass transit,
vehicular access, and pedestrians
Involvement with projects that get built and,
when built, inspire superior design in surrounding development
Superior strategic, financial and market analysis
Excellence in establishing design guidelines
for architectural elements
Cost effective and timely fulfillment of contractual
The commitment of senior design talent to
A distinguished track record for the designated
A scope of work, including approach and methodology.
Respondents are urged to use this section to demonstrate
their understanding of the issues inherent in meeting the
five established goals listed on pages 2-3 of this RFP. Commentary on those goals is encouraged.
Rote repetition of the Scope of Services contained
in this RFP is neither expected nor encouraged.
A management plan describing the composition
of the Master Planning Team, including an organization chart
and discussion of the role of each Team member in the overall
A discussion of the Master Planning Team’s
approach to structuring and maximizing the value of community
participation in the Master Planning process.
Qualifications of the firms and individuals
proposed to be involved, including:
Description of relevant projects previously
Resumes of individuals proposed to be involved;
Biography of the Project Manager (the individual
with day-to-day responsibility for Master Planning Team
management) indicating which projects that individual has
A fee proposal, which should include the fully
loaded hourly billing rates of individual key personnel
and of categories of junior staff.
This fee proposal should also indicate the time proposed
to be committed to the project by the Project Manager and
other key personnel. Anticipated expenses should be separately
listed and detailed. Respondents
are advised that at this point in time, a total of $225,000
is committed to the master planning effort.
Respondents may suggest “extras” that would require
use of funds in addition to this amount, but respondents’
price proposal, inclusive of expenses, for a base scope
of services must not exceed $225,000.
In addition, the fee proposal should
make very clear the cost of all proposed traffic
analysis and what exactly is proposed for that cost.
The relative value of traffic analysis proposed will
be a key evaluative criterion.
are strongly urged to limit their responses to 25 pages
or less (exclusive of project descriptions and resumes).
Twenty copies of the document should be submitted
to the LDC’s offices by 5 P.M. on April 17, 2002. Envelopes should be clearly marked “Atlantic
Avenue Master Planning Team” and addressed as follows:
Avenue Local Development Corporation
assist respondents in preparation of their proposals, a
pre-bid meeting and Avenue tour will be held on April 4,
2002 at 11:00 AM. It will convene at a location to be identified that will be posted
on the LDC’s website not later than close of business March
22, 2002. Respondents
are strongly urged to attend this meeting, although we request
that the size of each Team delegation be limited to two
people. To aid in
the structuring of the pre-bid meeting, we request that
all questions regarding this RFP may be submitted in writing,
in advance, by close of business April 2.
These questions, and the answers to them, will be
summarized and distributed at the pre-bid meeting. Questions should be submitted to Carl Blumenthal
at the above address, or via fax (718, 385-7505) or email
posed at the pre-bid meeting itself, and not submitted in
advance, will also be answered at the meeting, and those
questions and answers distributed after the meeting to all
Teams attending the pre-bid meeting will be asked to identify
the proposed lead firm.
While this designation will not bind the Team, it
will dictate the distribution of subsequent correspondence,
if any (see below).
that arise after the pre-bid meeting date should be submitted
by the proposed lead firm of the responding Team in writing
to Carl Blumenthal. These
questions will be answered in writing, and the answers distributed
to all other proposed Team lead firms.
Other than purely ministerial questions, no questions
will be answered orally. After close of business April 15, 2002, no
questions whatsoever will be answered.
Leadership Conference will employ a formal scoring methodology
in evaluation of written responses:
Understanding of and approach to the problem 35%
Experience of lead firm in leading similar
Experience of proposed Project Manager in
leading similar efforts
Experience of other Team member firms in similar
Cost/benefit of proposed traffic analysis 10%
LDC and Leadership Conference welcome submissions from firms
not located in New York City. New ideas and new approaches are of very great
given the centrality of the traffic and parking management
concerns, respondents are advised that demonstrated success
in gaining approval of recommendations by the New York City
Department of Transportation (and other relevant local transit
and transportation agencies), especially of recommendations
new or novel to New York City, will weigh heavily in the
reviewing the proposals, highly ranked respondents will
be invited to make an oral presentation.
We anticipate scheduling these interviews for May 3 and/or 6, 2002, selecting
a firm the following week, and issuing a notice to proceed
to the selected firm by mid-July.
LDC and the Leadership Conference reserve the right to suggest
changes in Master Planning Team composition, as well as
not to make any award at all. The selection process will, in all respects,
be an open and competitive selection process and will afford
minority and women-owned businesses a maximum opportunity
undertaking its charge, the LDC is operating under contract
with the City of New York.
Therefore, the lead firm of the selected Master Planning
Team will, for contractual purposes, be a subcontractor
of the City of New York. This procurement will be subject to certain
City procurement regulations.
The contract between the LDC and the lead firm of
the selected Master Planning Team will be subject to the
availability of City funds.