Wednesday, March 20, 2013

At Precinct Council meeting, complaints about parking problems (not just arena-related), circus set-up, idling trucks

At the monthly meeting last night of the 78th Precinct Council, there was talk about continued problems with parking--some but hardly all related to the Barclays Center--as well as the upcoming protest tonight outside the circus, and the arena’s continuing inability to manage trucks that idle in neighborhood streets.

A church's impact

One resident pointed to a line of unbroken double parked cars, on Dean Street east of Sixth Avenue and St. Marks Avenue east of Carlton Avenue.

Deputy Inspector Michael Ameri, the commanding officer, said it’s “safe to assume it was the church,” citing the Temple of Restoration at 515 Dean Street. “It's an ongoing problem. I've met with the church several times, we're trying to be good neighbors, trying to have a delicate balance.” Apparently such diplomacy doesn’t quite work, so he said he’d make another visit.

Robert Puca, a resident of the Newswalk building nearby, said he now was seeking street parking because his building’s garage raised its price in the wake of arena patrons. “The people who live here don't get the same break that they're getting,” he observed, citing the need sometimes to extract a car from a double-parked vehicle attending the church.

“I hear you loud and clear,” America said, noting that while the police department extended the church a courtesy, “every once and a while I have to bring them back to reality.”

Puca, noting that the north side of Pacific Street lost parking as part of railyard work, stated, “I don't know if there is a solution.” Along with the demand from neighbors and the church, of course, some fraction of arenagoers seek free parking on the streets.

What about the police?

Also, after expressing respect for the police, Puca pointed to ongoing problems caused by the police themselves--”the constant parking on the sidewalk... you have the vans literally backed up on the sidewalk” of Bergen Street near Sixth Avenue.

“It’s a fair point,” Ameri said. “I'm going to revisit the issue.”

Puca asked if police and fire personnel have assigned spots at the arena parking lot.

“We have 24 spots on [Block] 1129,” Ameri responded. “They're utilized, probably being underutilized... I'll have to get back on top of the guys, once in a while it needs to be brought to my attention.”

Peter Krashes of the Dean Street block association warned that the situation would worsen when residential buildings, and attendant pedestrians, are built around the arena block.

Truck Route warning?

Krahses noted that the “No Truck Route” sign that had been requested for the corner of Dean Street and Sixth Avenue has been delayed.

“I hate to pass the buck,” Ameri said, but “it's a DOT [Department of Transportation] issue.. but I would like to see it posted as well.”

Derek Lynch of Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing Atlantic Yards, said he’d try to push the issue.

The circus

Krashes reported multiple incidents in which trucks delivering materials for the circus were parking in the Dean Street bus stop or no standing zones. “Every truck today was idling,” he said, “ I know it's a nonemergency response and hate to distract you from your business, but it would be much appreciated if the arena did the job they were supposed to do.”

“Please, call 311 so it's brought to my attention,” Ameri responded. “I encourage you to help me put pressure on the Barclays Center at the next [Atlantic Yards] Quality of Life meeting... Their loading dock manager has been told about managing these trucks.” (The next meeting should be in late April.)

Though reports on Facebook suggested that there would be as many as 400 protesters outside the circus opening tonight, Ameri said such numbers are likely overblown, predicting between 25 and 100 people, but “we always prepare for the worst.” Protesters will be staged on Flatbush across from the arena, in front of Modell's and the Brooklyn Bear's Garden.

As to Krashes’s question about whether pre- or post-event times are the worst for sidewalk congestion, Ameri pointed out--as seems obvious--that people arrive at the arena intermittently but there’s a “mass exodus” afterward. “Sidewalks are definitely more congested upon the conclusion of an event.”

Public urination

Pauline Blake, president of the Precinct Council, asked about people coming from arena using side streets for public urination.

“I monitor 311, I don't see too many urination complaints,” said Ameri, noting that Pacific Street west of the arena have been tamped down due to the presence of an officer. There have been “some issues” outside the Newswalk parking garage, he allowed.

Blake reported an incident on Bergen Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues.

“I haven't seen much of an uptake,” Ameri said, noting that the main issue “really is parking.”

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:28 PM

    As a long time homeowner in Prospect Heights, I would like to suggest residents' parking permits as a solution to the street parking problem. I have noticed a huge decline in the availablility of street parking since the arena was opened. There is adequate public transportation serving the arena, so why should non-residents use their cars to take our parking spaces? We were promised this would not happen as alternatives would be provided.

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    Replies
    1. Rest assured, this has been on the agenda for a while. Local legislators mostly support it, others outside the area are more mixed. It requires both city administration support and the state legislature. Not happening yet, but it may recur.

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