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Anyone planning to attend the Jay-Z concerts marking the grand opening of the Barclays Center this weekend are urged to take public transportation there, and drivers in the area should be aware of a major gridlock alert there.
The new sports and concert arena in downtown Brooklyn is expected to draw almost 20,000 people to the busiest section in Brooklyn -- Flatbush and Atlantic avenues -- at the height of Friday's rush hour alone.
According to local traffic expert Gridlock Sam, drivers should avoid Flatbush Avenue from Tillary Street to Grand Army Plaza, and Atlantic Avenue from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to Bedford Avenue, as well as streets near the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, particularly from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Additionally on Sunday, Atlantic Antic, one of the city's biggest street fairs, will close Atlantic Avenue from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to Flatbush Avenue beginning at 6 a.m.The street may not reopen until 7:30 p.m.
Barclays spectators should take mass transit. According to Gridlock Sam, “Flatbush and Atlantic Ave. is the easiest place, next to Penn Station, to get to by transit. Eleven subway lines: 2, 3, 4, 5, C, D, B, N, Q, R and G stop at the arena or are a 2 to 3 blocks walk.
"The LIRR stops at Atlantic Terminal, right across the street from the arena," he said. "Pre-concert there’s already plenty of service. Post-concerts and events, the MTA is adding subways to certain lines and doubling LIRR service from Atlantic Terminal to ensure efficient and convenient travel."
There is also an app that provides a real-time feed of transit conditions near Barclays. The Roadify app may be downloaded here.
The Barclays Center will be home to the Brooklyn Nets, partially owned by Jay-Z. The borough has not had a major professional sports team since the Brooklyn Dodgers left for Los Angeles after the 1957 baseball season.
But before Jay-Z's new team takes the court for the first time, the rapper will christen the new arena with an eight-show run beginning Friday.