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Addressing questions about Facilities and Bag Lines


Hello Everyone,

There were a lot of questions and concerns related to facilities and bag inspection lines at Anime Boston 2015 and we would like to try and address as many of those as we can.

Hynes 2nd Floor North Escalators: We were informed at the start of the show that MCCA staff noticed that this set of escalators was not operating properly at peak occupancy. To avoid having the escalators break down in the middle of the weekend, they limited the occupancy to 10 persons per escalator at a time. They thought that this solution would be better than losing the escalators all together. Because this particular set of escalators is at a very high traffic point, they expected a bit of a backup, and set up stations to help direct the flow of people.

Prudential Courtyard: For every year the courtyard is not open, this is due to weather. This decision is made by the Prudential Mall. If the ground is still too soft and wet, heavy foot traffic will damage the area, so they keep it closed to preserve this space.

Hynes Prudential Entrance: During Anime Boston 2014, it became clear to us that we needed a better plan to address the time it took to get through the Hynes/Prudential entrance bag inspection and we needed a place to put the resulting line.
 
Our security manager at the MCCA put a lot of thought and effort in to crafting a plan to increase the speed and efficiency of the bag inspections at the Hynes/Prudential entrance. This plan cut down the average wait time from 28 minutes (2014 time) to 14 minutes during peak times. This wait was only existed on Saturday. On Friday, there was virtually no wait. As this was our first year implementing this plan, it was not without some flaws. We did discover that combining the Exit line with the No Bag line became problematic at peak hours where people would be leaving the convention center to get lunch or dinner. You might have noticed that during these hours, the No Bag line was absorbed in to the Bag Check line to accommodate for the increase in outflow of people into the mall.

Despite the plan we had to address the bag inspections themselves, we still anticipated there would be a line during peak times, so we moved on to address the placement of this line. The Sheraton hallways are too small and are not an option. This led us to look to the Prudential Mall. We were finally able to speak with the Prudential Mall about this but it was very close to the date of our event. This is the first time we have been able to make contact and work with the Prudential Mall. They informed us that the crowding we experienced at this entrance in 2014 was a life safety risk and they would not allow us to house this line inside the mall, as it would only exacerbate the problem.

The main pain point they were looking to address was the hallway leading from the Microsoft Store to the Hynes Convention Center. The Prudential Mall informed us that they planned to allow traffic to flow from the Hynes into the mall, but for those returning to the Hynes their goal was to move people around to the front of the mall to the Boylston St. entrance, or to move them to the back exit by the Cheesecake Factory so that they could loop around to the Sheraton Hallway Entrance. They deemed this hallway as the appropriate place to house any line that may form at the Hynes/Prudential entrance. 

The Prudential Mall asked for our help in executing this plan and with the goal of safety and cooperation in mind, we agreed. They asked us to post some of our own volunteer security staff inside the mall to help direct attendees with the same message as Prudential Security. They also asked us to place signs outside the building to help direct people from the Cheesecake Factory exit around to the Sheraton Hallway Entrance, which we did. Midway through the day on Saturday this line of communication became muddled, which did result in some confusion. 

This plan as it was given to us was also very new, and its flaws were easily exposed on Saturday. We will continue to grow our relationship with the Prudential so we can continue to improve upon this plan. The goal of the Prudential Mall is to keep all people traffic in the hallways constantly flowing for the safety of those inside of the building.

We want our attendees and those sharing our space to be safe and avoid overcrowding. One thing we will continue to ask those attending the convention is to please use the very much neglected Boylston St. entrance to the Hynes. The walk from the Prudential to the Hynes via Boylston St. is exponentially shorter than the walk around to the Sheraton Hallway and offers escalators and elevators. We will also continue to urge our attendees to plan accordingly and utilize the bag check we have inside the Hynes. The convention pays extra money every year to provide this bag service at the lowest possible cost to our attendees so that it continues to be a convenience. 

We wanted to apologize to anyone who was confused or inconvenienced by the changes, especially to those with disabilities. Please know that we are doing our best to try and comply with the requirements we receive from our facility partners, while considering the safety and comfort of our attendees. We will be taking all feedback into consideration as we try to improve on our plans for future years. 

We have also heard many complaints regarding the volume and tone with which Prudential and MCCA security staff were giving their instructions. These security staff were trying to project their voices in such a way as to be heard by a large number of people. For any of you who felt uncomfortable because of this, we apologize. This feedback is being heard by our own security team, and will be passed on to the security teams of our facility partners. If any one would like to reach out to us directly with solutions, please don’t hesitate to send an e-mail to operations@animeboston.com .

Those of us who volunteer as staff for Anime Boston love this convention and truly want it to be enjoyed by all of those attending. To hear that we fell short in some areas is a disappointment, and we look forward to the opportunity to improve upon our systems for the betterment of your experience. Thank you all for your understanding and support.

Anime Boston 2015 
Executive Team

 

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