Gate functions for 2002 included entrance control for our event, perimeter control, and the production and distribution of laminate badges. One Volunteer Coordinator managed coordination for all three aspects.
Once again the team at the Gate did a great job. Almost all of last year’s team came back, and we increased our numbers by 20 people overall. Things went smoothly between the gate and box office, though supplies were sometimes mingled, making accountability challenging. DPW wood deliveries for fire barrels were kept up very well, helping to keep our night crews happy. Cross-pollination between Gate and Perimeter staff served both teams well. It provided flexibility in scheduling that made us able to tailor schedules to volunteers’ needs, so shifts were enjoyable and teams tighter.
As in the past, meetings began early in the year. Trainings and list discussions were productive, and we developed a new training manual. To no one’s surprise, having our staff express their thoughts on this paid off in great team spirit as well as an excellent manual. The counterfeit ticket problem of 2001 was practically eliminated with our new ticket design. Vehicle search efforts were enthusiastic and as polite as possible. Gate staff caught over 300 stowaways.
Several groups worked together to develop a road-watering system that protected the Gate Road and reduced the amount of dust blowing into our city. First, the city planning committee had the DPW widen the road between the Gate and Greeters stations, to hold more traffic lanes. Through the day, at 20-minute intervals and coordinated by radio communication, a lane was sprayed and then Greeters and Gate workers coned it off to divert traffic to the other lane. As a result, water was absorbed into the playa surface rather than creating ruts. This collaborative effort was extremely effective at reducing fugitive dust and decreasing wash-boarding. It accelerated the playa’s ability to recover to a “Leave No Trace” condition, and will become part of our standard procedures.
Perimeter technology (night vision especially) was invaluable. The perimeter team caught nearly 200 would-be gate-crashers! We are planning to increase our recruitment and extend our enforcement hours and days to cover the entire event, from the day we close our perimeter until the day our event is officially over. This means the pre-event infrastructure must grow and develop.
Having auxiliary entrances and exits closed except for the water truck and Law Enforcement (LE) gates made patrols much easier and eliminated many unnecessary “false alarm” calls. Cooperation between and LE and Perimeter staff was excellent and respectful. Response times were prompt and appropriate, though we are hoping to work with LE to increase their presence along the fence-line for 2003.
The laminate process is under review for 2003. The team worked hard creating laminate designs pre-event and coming up with processes to output laminates, but they ran into some heavy mechanical difficulties on the playa. To their credit they were able to fix, on site, the software problems that occurred, but the accumulation of additional difficulties backed up production far enough that recovery became insurmountable.
We are reviewing who will manage this department, who will receive laminates and how they will be produced.
DAILY POPULATION NUMBERS – (As of noon each day)
Mr. Freeze and Harley K. DuBois