MTA Memorial Day Mayhem in Manhattan Beach?

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!