Sunday, September 30, 2012

Second night of Barclays Center operations: no traffic jams, lots of cops, Atlantic Avenue overrun post-event (with NYPD coordination/dismay), idling vehicles proliferate nearby

Line at arena plaza, 8:22 pm
On the second night of Barclays Center operations, there were again no major traffic jams, thanks to the use of transit by arena-goers, a massive police presence, again little use of the surface parking lot, and copious pedestrian managers.

Also, it's likely that event-goers recognized that they need not converge on the arena by 8 pm, given that headliner Jay-Z wouldn't start for an hour.

From BarclaysCenter.com
(On opening night, the delay was about 90 minutes.) This was the second of eight sold-out concerts.

As shown in the photo above left, and in videos below, there were still long lines well after the official starting time of 8 pm.

 The lag likely was also caused by the security precautions, including use of metal detectors, but given the pleasant weather, people were generally calm.

Unlike on the first night, there was no major pre-event blockage of  the Atlantic Avenue sidewalk, given no red carpet for celebrities and attendant paparazzi.

Idling, Atlantic Avenue, 10:51 pm
A block party and area idling

For the second night, however, Atlantic Avenue was turned into a post-event block party, as concert-goers streamed into the street, given that the main Atlantic Avenue entrance is not coordinated with any crosswalk.

This was managed somewhat better by the police, who stopped traffic for about 12 minutes, as shown in a video below, though they still seemed frustrated.

S. Portland above Atlantic, 10:50 pm
Given the arena's tight fit, encroaching on several residential neighborhoods, residents nearby reported several episodes of limos and other vehicles idling improperly and blocking crosswalks.

For example, as reported on Atlantic Yards Watch, a white stretch limo parked in front of an apartment building at Sixth and St. Marks avenues in Park Slope, blocking the the crosswalk.

The driver, according to the report, said he wished there had been a limo parking lot as with the more suburban Meadowlands; his clients would pay.

Will police step up?

These issues are quite frustrating for neighbors but are, at least by the benchmark of pre-event worries, likely deemed by officials as secondary.

Post-event accident, Vanderbilt/St. Marks
Still, if police can manage to avoid traffic chaos, surely they could step up--as they have apparently not yet done fully--to deal with quality of life and health issues such as illegal idling, honking horns, and noisy (and drinking) pedestrians.

One resident said at least five SUVs and limos were parked on Dean Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues, mostly in front of a church, where's there's no parking, and others impeding the bus stop.

Police let it all slide, the resident reported.

Parking and biking

The generally young crowd profile for the Jay-Z concert likely was a good way to begin the series of Barclays Center events, since they'd be more likely to use transit--even, apparently, on a weekend evening like last night.

Post-event beer (it seems) in a cup
Older crowds, such as for Barbra Streisand, and families, such as attending family shows and Nets games, may be less likely to use transit--though we'll see how promotion works.

It's likely we'll see much more use of the surface parking lot, between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues and Dean and Pacific Streets. Last night it was perhaps 20 percent full; event capacity is 541 spaces.

There was significant use last night of the nearest parking lot, at the Newswalk building on Pacific Street east of the arena block.

I'd be interested to learn reports of the other parking lots. The shuttles to the remote parking lots, at least when I spotted them, didn't look too busy.
Surface parking lot, 8 pm

There were a handful of bikes parked at the bike racks at the southeast corner of the arena block: Dean Street and Sixth Avenue.

Atlantic Avenue: "This is not a street fair"

After the event, police seemed somewhat more prepared for pedestrians crossing Atlantic Avenue, stopping traffic going east and westbound for about 12 minutes after they streamed into the street.

They also gave up on the metal barriers aimed to block people from crossing over the median. The shutdown on Atlantic Avenue did not appear to cause major traffic problems, given the late hour, but it surely can't be managed post-event on a weekend afternoon.

Starting at about 11:05 pm, the 17-minute video below shows people going into the street at about three minutes in. At about 12 minutes, a police official on a bullhorn tries a bit fruitlessly to urge people to cross. "This is not a street fair," he declares. Shortly before the 15-minute mark, traffic starts flowing.



Videos describing events, in chronological order

FUREE held a march, ending the arena plaza, with red-jacketed arena staff gathered to form a cordial security cordon.



A look at the police posted at the plaza before the event, watching the protest.



The police and fire staging area on Pacific Street, just east of the center of the arena, including vehicles on the sidewalk.



At the parking lot officially requested for TV vans at the northeast corner of Dean Street and Sixth Avenue, there are other vehicles parked there. Then a FDNY truck exits from its Dean Street firehouse and has a rather narrow turn.



At the Dean Street entrance just after the concert's official start, a large but not unruly crowd gathered. People were walking there from the plaza.



At the subway station, at 8:15 pm, the flow was light, but there was a plethora of police and MTA staffers.




On Dean Street, between Sixth and Flatbush avenues, there are several vehicles, most official, in the No Standing area.



On line outside Dean Street entrance, 8:50 pm.




At about 11:30, police gathered at the subway entrance, and a crowd of what seemed to be subway newbies massed at the vending machines and token booth to buy MetroCards and (presumably) get directions. But the overall crowd was not overwhelming at this point.



Busy but not crazy at Flatbush Avenue and Pacific Street, at about 11:40 pm.



At Atantic Avenue and Flatbush Avenue, outside Modell's



Two previous episodes

Also, as reported on Atlantic Yards Watch regarding the first concert, at 372 Bergen Street (between Fourth and Fifth Avenues) and across the street as well:
Two limousines idling while waiting for their clients to return from the Jay-Z concert. One was a Cadlillac sedan (License No: 5) and one a Cadillac Escalade. I asked a nearby officer on patrol if he could do something, but he said he did not "deal with stuff like that -- its more of a traffic thing."
Another reported regarding a bus idling on St. Marks Avenue between Flatbush and Carlton at about 9:30pm:
I called 911, not 311. The bus eventually moved on, after several neighbors came out to complain to him. It was an enormous concert bus with a trailer on the back, idling on a residential block. The driver was belligerent when we asked him to move. Only after several people called the police did he move.

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