Skip to main content

Featured Post

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park infographics: what's built/what's coming/what's missing, who's responsible, + project FAQ/timeline (pinned post)

At Barclays Center, certain events drawing more vehicles still cause traffic snags, leave neighbors stalemated

This is the fourth of four articles on the 3/3/20 Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting, held by Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority overseeing/shepherding the project. The first concerned timing for the platform and other project elements. The second concerned the faulty elevator at the Barclays Center. The third concerned construction progress.

Neighbors again expressed frustration with traffic backups caused by the fraction of events at the Barclays Center that generate significant use of personal vehicles or car services/limos--and again got nowhere.

Jurassic Park, which attracted families with kids, "was not as nightmarish as we thought" it would be, given previous Disney on Ice snags, "but Celine Dion was crazy in terms of traffic," said Cathy Iselin of the North Prospect Heights Association. Such concerts attract older crowds and drivers.

That concert prompted traffic backups on Bergen Street to Vanderbilt Avenue, as well as along Dean Street and along Sixth Avenue. (I didn't get a full report on the second Celine Dion concert last Thursday, but it also caused problems.)

Iselin noted that, at the previous Quality of Life meeting, Barclays Center General Counsel Jeff Gewirtz promised to look into such concerns.

"The network of the pedestrian managers that they have currently is what they've established previously," said Tobi Jaiyesimi of Empire State Development, "so they've never had pedestrian managers" in the more residential parts of the neighborhood.

"When the arena first opened, there were definitely pedestrian managers on [residential] Carlton Avenue," Iselin said.

Arena rep Mandy Gutmann, Senior VP, Communication, said that the arena has been "consistent historically" with such management.

Iselin said they weren't making things up. (The other category is Traffic Enforcement Agents, or TEAs; I'm not sure if they instead were there.)

Flashback: as I wrote in June 2013, after the first report-back on Barclays Center efforts to encourage use of public transit, a rep of arena developer/operator Forest City was asked about the TEAs and pedestrian managers: for how long, and at what level will they continue?

Forest City's Jane Marshall was oblique: "The TEAs are deployed by the Police Department and coordinated with Barclays Center traffic management. They will continue to be deployed to service events. The ped managers are also a very important tool... They are also expected to be continued to be deployed."

Later she was asked about numbers. "The decision about where they're deployed  is made by the NYPD and coordinated with NYPD, and the staffing of an event--all of those decisions... that's all coordinated event by event."

Back to the meeting

Park Slope resident Pauline Blake noted limos filling blocks across from the arena.

Gutmann said that arena reps had talked to the 78th Precinct, which promised to take whatever measures they can. "I can't speak on their behalf, or what they've done, but that is a 78th Precinct issue," she said.

But the police, neighbors said, have said they don't have the resources. That's been a consistent mantra, given their focus on crime-fighting.

"If they want to meet their quota for tickets, they could do it one day," observed Prospect Heights resident Robert Puca.