Overall, given circumstances, the NYPD seemed to be doing what they could do, (minus ticketing anyone), and Sam Schwartz's personnel weren't perfect, but at least were there. The key problem was that even with the elimination of parking on Flatbush, there was nowhere near enough parking space for the number of buses. And since buses were coming from all over, it was inevitable there was going to be confusion.
There were buses on most local streets nearby. I didn't walk around Fort Greene, which I heard also had buses, but there were plenty of buses on Bergen (the worst local street on the Prospect Heights side in my opinion), St. Marks, Carlton, Pacific and 6th Avenues. Bergen was jammed with empty and full buses. St. Marks and Carlton were used for parking, (as well as loading and unloading apparently). Carlton to Pacific to 6th was an unexpected route to Flatbush and the arena.
Bus stops up and down Flatbush and throughout the area (Bergen for example) were used for parking. If this was approved, it was never disclosed. What accomodation was made for the public who use public buses to get around?
What accomodation was made for the fire department? I don't see how they could have gotten out, at least in certain directions.
I arrived just after 10 am, so only caught the last of the arrivals. There were still plenty. I was also there at the end of the event when there was a lot of what appeared to be confusion. Crowds of enthusiastic young women, (with near Bieber-level enthusiasm in some cases), were wandering up and down Flatbush in very large, close groups. They may not have been eager to get back on the buses, but they weren't shopping either. It was hard to walk in the opposite direction on the sidewalks on the east side of Flatbush. Some intersections were controlled better than others by the pedestrian monitors, (hard work given the crowd). Although there was a pedestrian manager there, the Dean Street crosswalk at the Flatbush Avenue intersection wasn't being held up for traffic, plus young women were in the street on Dean Street anyway, so the street was functionally closed to traffic when I passed by.
Clearly the logistics were complicated for this, (I saw women with maps and clipboards trying to direct the young women to their buses throughout the neighborhood), so notice should have happened a long time before it did.
It would be good to know how many buses came (one driver said over 300) and how many buses were anticipated to fit on Flatbush. If the bus stops were planned to be closed, that should have been part of the public notice so the community could either lay plans or raise a ruckus. All the bus drivers seemed to know where the arena was, but they arrived using lots of different routes. It will be useful to know what the routes in and out were planned to be.
Finally, here is my most apt conversation with a well-meaning driver (parked on Carlton at Dean Street) who spoke unprovoked and was aware he was being recorded:
Me: "They didn't give you any advice about where to park?"
Driver: "Up and down Flatbush Avenue. Have you been on Flatbush Avenue? It is a madhouse. We had over 300 buses. I don't see where you are going to put 300 buses! If you look, they are on the sides, yeah uh . . . I was actually able to come down here and park on the corner and they walked.
He then explains the kids are coming now and that he has to move carefully not to damage the tree he is parked very near. And then:
Driver: "I was tempted to go out and pick them up, but it's crazy. I don't see how they scheduled something like this for Barclays Center knowing there was no parking for 300 buses."
There are several photos attached. In addition, here are some more videos:
Pacific Street buses just after 10 am:
6th Avenue, Bergen, Flatbush buses after 10 am:
Bergen Street jammed from Flatbush to Vanderbilt:
Bus in bus stop on Bergen Street:
Buses on St. Marks Avenues:
Walking down Flatbush from St. Marks toward arena:
Flatbush Avenue sidewalk on arena block is hard to pass:
Flatbush Avenue sidewalk/plaza hard to pass:
Dean Street/Flatbush Avenue intersection: Dean Street functionally closed
|Bergen Street jammed.jpg||742.31 KB|
|Crowd around construction on Flatbush.jpg||555.23 KB|