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15,000 Orthodox Teens/300 Buses @ Ratarena: March 17, 2015/Bais Yaakov/St. Patrick's Day

Location: 
Flatbush Avenue and vicinity
When: 
March 17, 2015 - 11:00am

The following report was received from Patti Hagan:

     10 yellow school buses were double-parked, illegally the length of St.  Marks Avenue South side (also up & down Carlton Avenue) -- enraging 5 nearby  neighbors (I'm sure there were more) who were unable to go to work or  appointments because their cars were trapped by the Bais Yaakov buses. The  bus drivers went AWOL (for coffee? Ham sandwiches?) soon after they'd parked  & therefore  could not be asked to move.
--@150 St. Marks Ave.     Coach Bus Inc. 931        NY-BUS 49357-BA
--@144 St. Marks Ave.     Safe Coach                NY-BUS 49366-BA
--@138 St. Marks Ave.     Consolidated Bus Transit  NY-BUS 38215-BA
--@120 St. Marks Ave.     Consolidated Bus Transit  NY-BUS 26559-BB
--@110 St. Marks Ave.     Grandpa's Bus Co. Inc.    NY-BUS 52007-BA
--@102 St. Marks Ave.     Grandpa's Bus Co. Inc.    NY-BUS 46646-BA
--@ 98 St. Marks Ave.     Grandpa's Bus Co. Inc.    NY-BUS 27384-BB
--@SE corner SMA/Flatbush Bobby's Bus Co.           NY-BUS 45625-BA

    Tuesday morning was re-cycling pickup day for Sanitation.  The trucks  had a nail-biting hard time trying to move East on St. Marks Ave. due to the  double-parked, traffic-clotting Bais Yaakov yellow buses from the residential  streets.  I asked a Sanitman if he couldn't get the NYPD or Sanitation  Enforcement to clear out the double-parked buses.  He threw up his hands:  "They're [buses] everywhere! Flatbush Avenue is chaos! They're [cops/NYPD]  not gonna do anything! They're [15,000 Orthodox teenage girls] Jewish!"

    The car of a neighbor [lawyer] -- who drives 1 1/4 hours to work in a  nearby state -- was trapped in front of her house at 110 St. Marks Ave. by a  Bais Yaakov bus from  Grandpa's Bus Co. When she asked why the buses were  double-parked on St. Marks a couple of the bus drivers told her they had been  directed to park their buses on the South side of St. Marks Ave. Trouble was,  Tuesday was alternate side parking for the South side of St. Marks. When the  lawyer explained her car's entrapment to a nice cop he said: "If a sweeper  comes up the street you'll have to move -- or you'll get a ticket."

    Next, I asked a young guy wearing a chartreuse-green "SSE -- Pedestrian  Management -- Pedestrian Safety" vest if he could get the buses off St. Marks  Ave. "No. I'm from Sam Schwartz Engineering. We do pedestrian management!"  Dozens of Sam Schwartz pedestrian managers had been hired by the Ratarena.  They stretched from Atlantic Avenue up Flatbush to Grand Army Plaza & on  crossing streets. (Gridlock Sam is a famous TRAFFIC ENGINEER -- but not on  Tuesday.)

    After that I visited the 78th Precinct. Couldn't the cops ticket all the  illegally parked buses? "No." Then "They'll be gone pretty soon..." Well, why  were so many cops detailed to Flatbush Avenue? "We have to make sure the  buses aren't idling for 4 hours: engines turned off." (At one point I was  told the directive to do nothing about the illegally parked buses had come  down from "on high.")

    On Flatbush at Carlton Ave. I ran into another neighbor, Robert Keith.  [For years he's been documenting/protesting the abuse/illegal use of the  residential streets in this 'hood -- Carlton Ave., Park Place, St. Marks  Ave., Dean St. ere Ratner-narrowing -- by the Orthodox buses that run all day  between Borough Park and Williamsburg -- with all the women relegated  to-the-back-of-the-bus.] Mr. Keith told me he had chased away a Bais Yaakov  bus that had tried to park in front of his house at 641 Carlton Avenue. He  was amazed to be confronted by solid lines of parked yellow buses walling off  both sides of Flatbush Avenue.  He was furiously shooting pix of 300 yellow  buses (& some white ones) as far as the eye could see on Flatbush Ave. "Next  time a cop tries to ticket me -- I  show 'em these pictures!" Merchants &  restaurants on Flatbush could not take deliveries. NYC bus-riders could not board MTA Buses due to a solid 10 blocks of yellow Bais Yaakov buses blocking  Bus Stops.

    Finally, about 12:45PM the 15,000 Bais Yaakov girls, 9th-12th grades,  from Canada and all over the U.S., streamed up Flatbush Ave. I asked for a  translation of the  big pin -- with Hebrew writing -- many wore. One girl  explained: "It's from the Torah. It says we have to do what's right and be  modest." By 1:30 the yellow buses had moved on.

    This sort of "exceptionalism" is extremely disruptive to life in  Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. How come NYC allows/condones it? Will anyone be  held accountable for the traffic chaos on Tuesday, March 17, 2015? Can the  residents of Prospect Heights be guaranteed NO REPEATS?