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.

CB3 Panel Rejects Greyhound at Essex Street Bus Stop

A large crowd gathered at University Settlement’s Speyer Hall last night for a contentious Community Board 3 meeting.

It was standing room only last night at University Settlement, where angry residents descended on Community Board 3’s transportation committee to fight Greyhound/Peter Pan’s proposal to establish a new bus stop on Essex Street in front of Seward Park.  When it was all over, the committee voted unanimously (5-0) to tell the city’s Transportation Department to find another spot for the stop, which would facilitate 16 arrivals and departures daily between New York and Philadelphia.  It remains to be seen how the DOT will respond.  No representative from the transportation agency was present last night.

In the past two weeks, outraged residents mobilized to oppose the plan to create the stop across from 3 Essex Street in front of the playground at Seward Park (at Canal Street).  They submitted letters, postcards and an online petition (with more than 1100 signatures).  More important, they came in large numbers to last night’s meeting to testify against a proposal they argued could destroy the fabric of the neighborhood.  It was one of the largest crowds assembled for a CB3 public hearing in many months.

Followup: Backlash Grows Against Essex Street Bus Stop; CB3 Meeting Tonight

Bus in front of 7 Essex Street this morning.

Tonight’s meeting of Community Board 3’s transportation committee is going to be a doozy.   As of a few minutes ago, more than 1100 people have signed an online petition opposing an application from Greyhound/Peter Pan to establish a bus stop in front of Seward Park, across from 3 Essex Street.  As previously reported, residents are outraged about the proposal for many reasons, including concerns about street and sidewalk congestion, pollution and loitering in front of an historic playground.  The application has touched off a furious response from many different neighborhood constituencies.  Here are the latest developments.

The original application called for 28 daily arrivals and departures from the proposed bus stop, which is currently used by the MTA.  Community Board 3 confirms that Greyhound has now reduced its request to 16 stops.   Greyhound is making the case that there’s a need for additional discount bus service in Chinatown and on the Lower East Side in the aftermath of the federal government’s decision to shut down 26 interstate operators in the past couple of months.  Greyhound did not specifically request the Essex Street stop; the location was suggested by the NYC Department of Transportation.

Residents Protest Proposed Essex Street Bus Stop

If you walked past the intersection of Essex and Canal streets over the holiday weekend you probably noticed flyers like this one — alerting residents to a proposal from interstate bus companies to establish new bus stops on the Lower East Side.  Community activists have launched a petition drive to stop the plans and are urging like-minded neighbors to attend an upcoming Community Board 3 meeting where the requests will be heard.

Greyhound and Peter Pan are asking for a stop at 3 Essex Street (park side) for a route between New York and Philadelphia. There would be 28 arrivals and departures as early as 7 a.m. and as late as 9:15 p.m.  In a separate application, Lucky River Transportation Company has requested a stop at 55 Chrystie Street for service to and from Boston.  there could be as many as 21 pick-ups and drops-offs daily.