Sunday, February 15, 2015

All-Star Weekend, neighborhood impact "creep," and the need to plan better for big Barclays Center events

So All-Star Saturday night last night at the Barclays Center, with the Slam Dunk Context and Three-Point Contest, among other events, was a fun time for TV viewers and visitors, among them numerous celebrities.

For the neighborhood around the arena, the event, as with the All-Star event Friday night, was more of a challenge, with more incursions than initially disclosed or even finally disclosed--an impact "creep" that is not unusual for such large events.

Belated disclosure

For one thing, only on Wednesday--a day after an Atlantic Yards Quality of Life meeting where preparations were discussed--was it disclosed that metered parking along Flatbush Avenue between 7th Avenue and Atlantic Avenue would be instead devoted to staging buses.

Note that this was in the second, not first, set of instructions to neighbors. See the two-page document at bottom, in contrast with the one-pager previously sent. I was not forwarded that document at the time.

And while the change was approved by City Hall, it still left locals uneasy. "This just another example of why there needs to a protocol set for the staging these large events; one that is mutually beneficial to the neighborhood, as defined by residents and businesses, and the Barclays Center," commented Regina Cahill of the North Flatbush Business Improvement District, noting the limitations that imposed on NF BID members.

"After two and a half years, we now have experienced a range of events that should allow the stakeholders to create one," she added. "I dare say that in the absence of such a protocol the Barclays management should promote events that don't require excessive logistics that adversely affect their neighbors.

Idling buses

Buses waiting on Bergen Street Friday night
According to the sole resident posting (so far) on Atlantic Yards Watch, there were numerous challenges last night. At 9:15 pm on Flatbush Avenue between 6th Avenue and Dean Street came this report:
11 buses with All Star Game placards parked and idling nose to tail along Flatbush.... One driver said they had been at Red Hook but were told to wait here instead. Is this what was planned? Many official looking handlers in the area. Some said they did not know why the buses were there, but he didn't know any plans.
Note that this contrasts with the carefully timed deliveries and pickups promised at the meeting on Tuesday. See the video below, which was taken at about 9:30 pm last night.

Buses on Flatbush Friday night near Dean STreet
Buses on Bergen Street

There was no disclosure that buses would be routed from Vanderbilt Avenue to Bergen Street to Flatbush, as I learned when I shot the video below at about 11:30 pm on Friday.

Yes, Bergen Street has periodic B65 buses, but the armada of buses idling on their way to Flatbush was at another level.

Buses in Park Slope


Idling limos on Atlantic Avenue last night

Note that how some limos got to wait with TV vans for hours, instead of being parked in Red Hook and then staged

Traffic and illegal parking

Also note this report from St. Marks Avenue between Fifth and Sixth avenues:
"Extraordinarily heavy traffic (because of closed streets nearby, for All-Star Game) all evening and is jammed now so that the block does not 'clear' at the green light. Don't know about other streets.
Here's a photo from Dean Street just west of Fifth Avenue last night, showing limos idling at the bus stop.

Here's a photo from Dean Street  between Flatbush and Sixth Avenues, showing limos idling outside the arena entrance.

Then there was illegal limo parking last night on Bergen Street between Fifth and Flatbush avenues:
Called in four separate illegal parking issues to 311. During All-Star game.
53 5th Avenue car parked at hydrant
429 Bergen
440 Bergen
474 Bergen
mostly black cars, one stretch limo, some with placards some not. All in bus stop, No Standing, or No Parking Anytime zones.
Note: this is a ONE-TIME, casual observation during egress from area and does not represent a survey. 
Note: All four complaints to 311 were responded to within 15 minutes and all recorded with same message, "...observed no evidence of the violation at that time."
Sixth Avenue closed

Note below the generator on the parking lot on the east side of Sixth Avenue between Dean and Pacific Streets, shot last night.

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