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CB3 Votes Against Greyhound’s “Yo! Bus” on Essex; Suggesting Alternate Location
Tense. Anxious. Blood boiling. Just a few adjectives to describe last night’s 3.5-hour Community Board 3 subcommittee hearing regarding a Greyhound curbside bus initiative beside Seward Park on Essex Street. Before we dive into meeting minutia, the board voted unanimously to deny this particular location and delay the permitting process, asking the applicant to instead return with alternate locations. Greyhound is not willing to comply; ergo, not willing to work with the neighborhood. The advisory recommendation will be punted to the DOT before the full board vote due to the short 45-day notice and comment period (they’ll presumably ratify).
Greyhound is teaming up with Peter Pan to create “Yo! Bus.” Now, neighborhood vitriol notwithstanding, that seems like a direct assault on the intellectual property of Yo! MTV Raps. So there could be an issue there. But we won’t get into that. Here are some key points from the presentation alongside our summary of community response:
- Operators are willing to slash the initial service from 28 to 16 trips. Response: just a bait-and-switch to garner short-term approval.
- Use “low emissions” vehicles, claiming clean and efficient. Response: still dangerous pollution for all who utilize park.
- The park environs are highly unlikely to be a passenger waiting area. Response: total bullshit, people will queue and/or loiter before the trip.
- Buses are fixed capacity and not oversold. Response: people still queue for prime seating unless assigned.
- Tickets purchased around the corner at INT Travel Group at 98 East Broadway. Response: why can’t the stop be moved there? No bathroom or waiting area at the agency presents huge problem.
The packed room of concerned residents wasn’t having any of it, standing united against the invasion. Further concerns raised included safety of the children and elderly who frequent both the park and the schools in the immediate vicinity; the dangerous intersection; that the bus isn’t benefiting the community evidenced by its suspicious position beside the F train escape route; traffic caused by two buses being there at once.
Later in the meeting, we learned that this wasn’t the only spot considered, and that DOT specifically recommended Essex Street. (This led some to vocally assert that even having the meeting was moot since the bus stop is probably just a done deal.) At first, Greyhound brass dodged revealing said alternatives, but ultimately acquiesced at the behest of the community. 62 Allen Street (denied due to SBS) and 3 Pike (city has plans for bike share space).
To reiterate, the motion to deny was passed, along with three main stipulations should a new location be chosen. Staff member onsite for loading/unloading, assigned boarding system, and proper trash bag collection and disposal.
Our takeaway from the meeting – if the DOT ultimately approves the spot, shit is prolly gonna go down big time…