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LES Business Improvement District Voices Concerns About MTA Plan

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Yesterday, we posted a summary of several street construction projects on the horizon in the neighborhood. Among the proposals outlined by MTA officials at a CB3 meeting Wednesday night: the addition of high speed bus service along 1st & 2nd Avenues, continuing down Allen Street. During the meeting, the LES Business Improvement District expressed some concerns about how new bus stops at Allen/Houston and Allen/Grand might impact local businesses. More on that in a moment. First, here’s a look at where the MTA plans to juggle the express “Select Service” buses and the regular local M15  bus:

  • Northbound Select stop on Allen, south of Broome
  • Northbound local stop on Allen, north of Grand
  • Southbound Select stop on Allen, south of Grand
  • Southbound local stop on Allen, north of Grand (right now the stop is south of Grand)
  • Northbound local stop at Allen/Houston moved to 1st Avenue between 1st & 2nd Streets
  • Southbound local and Select Service would share Allen/Houston stop south of Houston

David Suarez, the BID’s acting executive director, says he’s concerned about the plan for a few different reasons. For one thing, businesses are worried about the loss of metered parking, which many of their customers rely on. They’re also uneasy about adding even more congestion to the northbound lanes of Allen, especially between Grand and Broome. In their presentation to the Community Board, the BID also pointed out the plan could make it difficult for carsheading downtown on Allen to make a right turn onto Grand. Finally, there are fears that the locations of the Select stops will confuse commuters and shoppers, because they’re not “contiguous to one another.”

As an alternative, Suarez and BID Chair Mark Miller proposed the following:

  • Placing both northbound & southbound Select Service stops across from one another, south of Grand Street, on Allen
  • Placing southbound Select and local service on Allen south of Grand, rather than creating a bus stop on the north side of the street; possibly separating the local and select service by moving one or the other closer to Hester Street.
  • Keeping the northbound local stop north of Grand Street.
  • Preserving metered parking on the west side of Allen between Grand and Broome
  • Rather than placing a northbound Select Service stop at 1st Avenue/2nd street, creating a north of Stanton Street on Allen.
  • Combining the northbound Select stop with the local stop at Houston/Allen

MTA and Department of Transportation officials said they would evaluate the concerns expressed by the BID. We’ll keep you posted on what they decide. See below for the BID’s maps comparing their plan and the MTA plan.

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