Courtesy of dimaruss34 via Flickr

Some Manhattan Beach residents are saying the MTA dropped the ball in their preparations for Memorial Day, leaving hundreds of people stranded and in the rain along Oriental Boulevard.

The critics say the problem is that thousands flooded to the beach, but, when weather soured, there was only one bus to serve the crowd. According to the Manhattan Beach Community Group:

Late afternoon there was a thunderstorm and the beach emptied. Manhattan Beach is capable of holding 10,000 people and in the lot approximately 900 cars. The problem now became that there was only one bus available to thousands of people trying to get home.

For the past two summers, the Manhattan Beach Community Group (MBCG) has been requesting additional buses on hot summer weekends and holidays such as Memorial Day. The situation of weekend schedules for these busy days is unacceptable and does NOT WORK.

The MTA needs to devise plans to provide buses to ensure no one gets hurt and people can go home in a safe way. Hundreds of people waiting at a bus stop is dangerous.

Following a stabbing and other criminal incidents at Coney Island, police began directing beachgoers to neighboring beaches. Manhattan Beach quickly became overburdened, according to the MBCG. Police responded quickly, said MBCG President Ira Zalcman, and the day was without incident. But the MTA let down riders.

“They have to have contingency plans for these things,” Zalcman told Sheepshead Bites. “People should really be treated better than that. It’s amazing – you could have all the bus stops in the world but you have no buses. They didn’t even run a shuttle to the train station and back like they do during the week.”

But accounts of the day appear to differ, with Community Board 15 Chair Theresa Scavo saying the city and transit agencies handled the situation appropriately. Scavo wrote to us:

The NYPD phoned Transit and requested additional shuttle buses directly to the train and MTA obliged. There were no incidences and everything went smoothly. The MTA responded quickly and I hope in the future they can continue to do so. I believe there are differing stories as to the events of Monday but, I tend to believe the people that were physically there, the Police. I spoke with the Captain several times during the course of the day and I was told there was no problem. I personaaly visited Manhattan Beach several times over the entire weekend.

The Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association – a separate group from the MBCG – said there were indeed much larger crowds this weekend than expected. Spokesperson Edmond Dweck admits there was a backup, but largely due to “unexpected” rains. Here’s what he wrote to us:

The crowds were huge…agreed.

The NYPD did a very good job in containing the situation in MB; they were taxed even more after incidents in Coney Island pushed more visitors to Manhattan Beach.

What through a wrench into the works…….were the unexpected rain storms at the end of the day which basically caused the logjam @ the Bus stops.

I was in touch with the Captain and the MTA at about 5:00pm on Monday and with everyone’s efforts…… everyone made it out of MB in a safe and secure manner.

We’ve written the MTA and are also reaching out to others in Manhattan Beach regarding the issue. We’ll update the story as soon as we hear back.

But we want to hear from you. Did you visit Manhattan Beach on Memorial Day? Did you find there was inadequate bus service? Let us know!

Related posts

  • brooklynq

    Damn. Living in Manhattan Beach must really be a different world.

    The MBCG wants the MTA to pay to have extra drivers standing by and available to get the crowds out of Manhattan Beach more quickly when it rains? In this time of budget crisis are you fucking kidding me?

  • kaela

    We tried to bring a friend to the train station in Sheepshead Bay and they had that closed also. There looked to be about 1000 kids in the station and the streets. The cops had the train station closed saying there was too many people. Never really saw anything like that before.

  • http://www.nedberke.com Ned Berke

    In her message, Theresa Scavo noted that a “kid” pulled the emergency cord at Sheepshead Bay Road station, and it took a while to reestablish service. I left this out of the above post because it didn't seem relevant. Thanks for filling us in, though. I had no idea that it was so bad there. (Next time, call us! :) )

  • BrooklynBus

    I was able to watch the beach most of the day. The crowds were actually light around 11 AM and I saw a police car keeping an eye on one of the barbeque areas. By 1 PM, the beach was moderately full and the police seemed to disappear. By 3, it was starting to get very full. By 4PM it was more crowded than I have seen it in over 30 years, possible the most crowded I've ever seen it. It just looked like wall to wall people. Then the skies started getting dark and I started wondering how everyone was going to get home. About 5, there appeared to be some trouble with 3 police cars and sirens. It looked like they were ushering people off the beach, because many appeared to be leaving.

    Usually when I see heavy crowds like this, I walk to the bus stop to see what is going on. But there was so many people and because of the police cars and the trouble, I just didn't feel comfortable to walk over. But I can tell you from past experience what probably happened. The Falmouth, Hastings and Jaffrey Street bus stops must have been full with between 60 and 80 people. When people see the stops that full, they know they won't get on the bus, so they either walk to Mackenzie Street (which probably had about 300 people) or just walk to one of the subway stations which is what most everyone probably did.

    No matter how many buses the MTA sent, it couldn't have been enough. It was a difficult situation to plan for and something like this rarely happens. It was like the 100 year flood. As long as we didn't see any incidents on the evening news, the police must have been doing their job well, and if the MTA sent a few extra buses, I don't think we could have expected them to do more.

  • http://www.trustytimeshop.com rolex daytona

    I just didn't feel comfortable to walk over. But I can tell you from past experience what probably happened.

  • BrooklynBus

    I was able to watch the beach most of the day. The crowds were actually light around 11 AM and I saw a police car keeping an eye on one of the barbeque areas. By 1 PM, the beach was moderately full and the police seemed to disappear. By 3, it was starting to get very full. By 4PM it was more crowded than I have seen it in over 30 years, possible the most crowded I've ever seen it. It just looked like wall to wall people. Then the skies started getting dark and I started wondering how everyone was going to get home. About 5, there appeared to be some trouble with 3 police cars and sirens. It looked like they were ushering people off the beach, because many appeared to be leaving.

    Usually when I see heavy crowds like this, I walk to the bus stop to see what is going on. But there was so many people and because of the police cars and the trouble, I just didn't feel comfortable to walk over. But I can tell you from past experience what probably happened. The Falmouth, Hastings and Jaffrey Street bus stops must have been full with between 60 and 80 people. When people see the stops that full, they know they won't get on the bus, so they either walk to Mackenzie Street (which probably had about 300 people) or just walk to one of the subway stations which is what most everyone probably did.

    No matter how many buses the MTA sent, it couldn't have been enough. It was a difficult situation to plan for and something like this rarely happens. It was like the 100 year flood. As long as we didn't see any incidents on the evening news, the police must have been doing their job well, and if the MTA sent a few extra buses, I don't think we could have expected them to do more.

  • Pingback: MBNA Meets Tonight, Will Discuss Summer Problems | Sheepshead Bay News Blog

  • Pingback: MBNA To NYPD: We Want Direct Access, Not 311/911 | Sheepshead Bay News Blog

  • Pingback: The Perfect Storm For Bungled MTA Beach Service | Sheepshead Bay News Blog

  • Pingback: MTA Caught With Their Pants Down: Part I | Sheepshead Bay News Blog