Officials tout mass transit to handle convention crowds

Senator Charles Schumer during a news conference outside Senator Charles Schumer during a news conference outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Aug. 11, 2014. Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

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Where Brooklyn at?

Well, from Manhattan, you can take the Nos. 2 and 3 from the West Side, the No. 4 and 5 trains from the East Side or the B and Q trains from midtown.

Those trains run right through Barclays Center, where New York officials want to anchor the 2016 Democratic National Convention. The transportation system to and from the heart of the borough has been a selling point to the DNC delegation that will help decide the location.

Sen. Charles Schumer, who led a news conference Monday boosting Brooklyn, called the city's transportation network "second to none" and expressed confidence in the MTA and the de Blasio administration's transportation chief to handle the flow of delegates.

"Midtown Manhattan hotels are a lot closer to the Barclays Center than the convention centers in Chicago and Los Angeles and North Carolina were to their hotels," Schumer said, adding that he would encourage visitors to use mass transit.

There would be dedicated bus lanes and ferries to supplement the subway and car travel, while NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said there would be thousands of additional traffic agents to keep people moving.

A dedicated lane brought city officials and the visiting DNC delegation to Barclays from the Palace Hotel in midtown in 13 minutes and 25 seconds, according to Peter Ragone, a senior adviser to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

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"We have to essentially create a transportation system within the transportation system," Ragone said. "We have to give them a variety of modes to get here."

The last party to come to town was the Republican National Convention in 2004 at Madison Square Garden, an event that had "little inconvenience to customers" using Penn Station below, the MTA had said in an annual report.

A decade ago, average weekday ridership on the MTA network was 7.6 million. In 2013, ridership on just New York City Transit subways and buses was 7.6 million, with 8.1 million transit riders on an average weekend. The Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center stop has an average weekday ridership of 39,871 people and was the 24th busiest station in 2013, according to MTA statistics.

"Our Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station is one of the system's largest transit hubs, and we are prepared to work closely with the city to provide robust mass transit should the Democratic National Convention be located here," MTA chief spokesman Adam Lisberg said.

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