Silver, Squadron, Chin Urge City to Rescind Essex Street Bus Stop Permit
The following letter was sent today by State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senator Daniel Squadron and City Council member Margaret Chin to Transportation Department Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Greyhound President Dave Leach:
We are writing to express our disappointment at the approval of a temporary bus stop in front of 3 Essex Street, and to urge that the Department of Transportation (DOT) find another location. As you know, earlier this year, working with DOT, we passed legislation that will bring oversight to the growing and important low-cost bus industry. This legislation will help give stability to an important industry that caused a “Wild West” atmosphere in Chinatown, the Lower East Side, and around the city, while also greatly strengthening community consultation in the process of locating bus stops. The law was signed by Governor Cuomo on August 17, and will not become effective until ninety days after that. As such, this proposed location does not emerge from the process outlined in the bill. Though we appreciate that DOT voluntarily asked for the Community Board’s input, we also believe that for a high- volume and controversial stop, the process outlined in the bill is preferable. Second, the proposed location was strongly opposed at the Community Board 3 (CB3) meeting on September 11, 2012 and a resolution in opposition passed unanimously. In addition, a petition against this bus stop that was created by local residents has already gathered more than 1,300 signatures. The bus stop is on a relatively narrow street and the crowds that will gather on the sidewalk, as well as the exhaust from idling buses, will negatively impact many children and their families who use Seward Park and the adjacent library. We believe there are more suitable places for this stop, such as near parking lots, on wider streets that are less residential and not close to schools, parks or other facilities frequented by children. When a community board speaks with a unanimous voice against an application, we believe that DOT must seriously consider such a resolution. I look forward to working with you, the community, bus operators, and our partners on the federal and local levels to implement the bus permit system later this year and continue to improve both safety and quality of life downtown and around the City.
As we first reported yesterday morning, the DOT decided to approve a six-month permit for “YO! Bus on Essex Street, just days after Community Board 3 forwarded a resolution to the agency urging it to find another spot for the new bus service. We’re checking with the Transportation Department for a response. The new route is scheduled to debut next Thursday.