Last night, Community Board 3’s transportation committee met to consider several new applications from intercity bus companies.
After hearing from residents concerned about congestion in the immediate area, the panel drafted a resolution asking the Department of Transportation to shift a stop from in front of 160 East Broadway to a location several hundred feet to the west, closer to Pike Street. A.A. Bus Inc. wanted one pickup/one drop-off daily for service to Chicago. Several speakers objected to the proposed location, which is just west of Rutgers Street. “It’s just a ridiculous place to have a bus stop,” said one local resident. A committee member, Morris Faitelewicz, noted that there’s a “no standing zone” along this stretch of East Broadway, the apparent result of the city’s Safe Schools initiative.
In other applications, the panel asked Z&D Tours, which wants to operate from 59 Canal St., to resubmit its application, due to a discrepancy in the number of trips requested (the company wants three daily trips). It approved a request from Hong Yun Inc. for one pickup and one drop-off from a stretch of Madison Street under the Manhattan Bridge. And the committee signed off on a request from Pandora Travel Inc. for a stop at 30 Pike St. Although DOT told the community board in a letter last month that another company, Asian Express, had been approved for a stop at this same location, last night an agency representative said no decisions have been made as of yet. Both CB3 and City Council member Margaret Chin have opposed the application, in part, because Asian Express offers service to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania casinos.
The decisions are now up to the DOT, which is obligated to receive community board feedback as part of a new state law. The agency is under no obligation to follow CB3’s wishes. A DOT representative, Colleen Chattergoon, was in attendance at the meeting. She said about 250 applications have been received citywide as a result of the new permit system now being implemented. Most of the requests have been in Community District 3, encompassing the LES and Chinatown.
Throughout the evening, Chattergoon was peppered with questions from residents and board members. What are the grounds for denying an application?, one person asked. She indicated the department could choose to reject a proposal in an area that is considered primarily residential. One resident, Trever Holland, said there seemed to be a high concentration of bus stops along Pike Street and lower Allen Street, creating a lot of congestion. Chatergoon said she’d take the issue up with the agency’s director of bus stop management. Another resident asked, “Is the DOT actually telling them (bus operators) that it’s a big city — you can go elsewhere (meaning not in Chainatown)?” She indicated that efforts were being made to disperse the permits and that a database has been created so the DOT knows precisely where each stop is located.
More to come…