Wednesday, January 30, 2013

NYPD: Barclays Center running smoothly overall, except for problem of idling limos; Quality of Life Committee meeting Feb. 7

Police overseeing the Barclays Center say things have gone smoothly overall, but some neighborhood complaints still surfaced last night at the monthly meeting of the 78th Precinct Community Council, held at the precinct, located at Bergen Street and Sixth Avenue a block from the arena..

Richard Goldstein, president of the Carlton Avenue Association, said a neighbor had reported that limos and black cars are illegally parked at hydrants regularly on “game nights”--presumably event nights--but not getting ticketed. (The law says there should be 15 foot radius from the center of the hydrant in each direction.)

Deputy Inspector Michael Ameri directed Goldstein to speak to the sergeant assigned to the arena and said complainants should call 311.

Desmond Atkins of Community Board 8 reported consistent complaints about such hired vehicles idling on streets east of the arena.

Community Council President Pauline Blake responded that the such vehicle complaints are the predominant ones emanating from the arena and, pointing to areas south of the arena, said “your community is not the only one impacted... we're trying to see what solutions can be worked out.”

Alfred Chiodo, an aide to Council Member Letitia James, said he’d heard that the limos are not taking advantage of designated free parking on Atlantic Avenue.

Ameri said that “we implemented a strategy... we’re working with TLC [Taxi and Limousine Commission], we’re working with Barclays.” (There’s no automatic summons, however, if the car is occupied.)

Quality of Life Committee meeting

Ameri said the strategy would be re-evaluated at the next Atlantic Yards Quality of Life committee meeting.

The next committee meeting will be held on Thursday, February at 6:30pm at Brooklyn Borough Hall. The meeting is open to the public for observation but participation is limited to invited representatives from community groups.

Overall smooth ride

"Overall, we haven't, in my opinion, had any major interference, major gridlock... crime has been minimal,” Ameri said, with “minimal” complaints regarding such things as vending, noise, and public urination. (There were several urination complaints early on. Ameri made no public mention of regular open scalping outside and occasional rampant pot smoking inside.)

DNAinfo reported:
The few crimes at the Barclays Center have been limited to property thefts, such as cell phones stolen from the employee locker room, Ameri said. Cops have also seen minor issues like disorderly conduct and ticket scalping, he said, and police responded to a crowd of rowdy Justin Bieber fans in November.
The “biggest issue is black cars,” Ameri said, suggesting it “maybe wasn't anticipated as much” by city and state agencies. (Actually, the Transportation Demand Management plan assigned enforcement to the police, without checking to see whether that would be a priority.)

Ameri said the precinct, with expanded boundaries and got new officers when it assumed policing of the arena and nearby malls, is up some 25% officers. He said from ten to 30 officers are typically assigned to arena events--there were many more on opening weekend, I’d say--dependent on the size and nature of the crowd.

Blake responded to what she interpreted as suspicious that the arena may be drawing away officers from patrolling the community. “I don't think that's happening because we are too smart” to let that happen, she said, observing that Ameri will make sure to keep a balance. Ameri said that, when there’s no event, ”we have more officers than we ever had.”

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