Sunday, December 09, 2012

Around the Rolling Stones concert: despite new parking zone, lots of limos idling on streets; congested corner at Dean and Flatbush could use better management; slow going into subway

The Rolling Stones played the Barclays Center last night (New York Times review, fan profiles).

I wanted to see how this crowd--one-time arena event-goers, unlike many in the Nets crowd--would navigate streets and sidewalks, especially given the truncated access at Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue caused by scaffolding and barriers set up for construction of the B2 modular tower.

Short answer: there's still significant room for improvement, notably in terms of signage and staff directing people from the Dean Street entrance and then managing traffic and pedestrian flow at the congested, contested corner of Dean and Flatbush.

I saw a bunch of cops, including Deputy Inspector Michael Ameri of the 78th Precinct, but, at least at Dean and Flatbush, no civilian pedestrian safety managers hired by the arena to help manage crowds.

Also, while numerous black cars and limousines did take advantage of controversial free parking along the south side of Atlantic Avenue east of Sixth Avenue, I also saw other such vehicles double-parking and idling along the north side of Atlantic and also on South Portland Avenue north of Atlantic.

I didn't go below Atlantic Avenue, but reports on Atlantic Yards Watch noted numerous vehicles double-parking and idling along streets in Park Slope (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)--including in front of bus stops and hydrants--as well as some enforcement by police.

Video: illegal parking/idling on Atlantic Avenue outside arena

Some of the vehicles may indeed have had permission to be there--police, media--but I doubt all had permission. This was filmed around 10:15 pm.



Video: free parking on south side of Atlantic

As shown in the video, I counted 25 vehicles between Sixth and Carlton, but only 16 between Carlton and Vanderbilt, though not all were black cars and limos. A good number of limos were double-parked on the north side of Atlantic Avenue, pointed back toward the arena, making it easier to pick up concert-goers. This was filmed around 10:15 pm.



Video: parking/idling on South Portland Avenue north of Atlantic Avenue

This is right around the corner from the arena. The number of vehicles was much higher in October at the Barbra Streisand concert, but there's still a problem. This was filmed around 10:15 pm.



Video: the crowd exiting on Dean Street

There were few if any Barclays Center staffers outside, so several event-goers asked the cops for directions. The narrowed, five-foot pedestrian passageway slowed the crowd but did not cause major problems. This was filmed around 11 pm.



Video: the crowd at Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue

Congestion became more of a problem when the crowd reached Flatbush Avenue and encountered another group of people exiting from another exit very close to the corner of Dean and Flatbush. People waited for limos and cross the street.

When I first got there, which was well after the crowd left the concert, there was nobody managing  traffic and pedestrian flow, police were around and soon sent a uniformed traffic safety agent.

"They're a little light on the pedestrian managers here," I say at one point, to an unseen person, who happened to be Chris Hrones of the Department of Transportation, who I presume can offer feedback to arena operators. This was filmed after 11 pm.



Video: outside the subway entrance

Note slow going into the subway entrance--not quite gridlock, but slow, steady progress. The down escalator, as well as one set of stairs, was cut off, to avoid getting the platforms below overloaded. This was filmed well after 11 pm.

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