I observed that most of the news reports up to now about the 34th Street Transitway had been focused on NIMBYs fighting to preserve the right to pick up and drop off at the curb on their street, while ignoring the benefit to bus riders. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer made a very wishy-washy statement on Channel 5 about the transitway. The DOT has been holding regular "Community Advisory Council"
The problem is that the "stakeholders" that the DOT has invited to this "Community Advisory Council" seem to only be from the immediate area of 34th Street. It is widely acknowledged that many people from outside the area transfer to the 34th Street buses from subways, ferries and other buses, but as far as I know there has been no effort to reach out to any of them. I don't think there are any NYU Medical Center employees represented. The M16 is the only transit service for Waterside Plaza, but no Waterside residents were at the meetings.
As I've also mentioned, express buses from Queens and Staten Island bring thousands of passengers through 34th Street, but the DOT has not invited any of them to these meetings either. Mocker helped put me in touch with the QM21 rider, and I asked her about the "Community Advisory Council" meetings.
No one advised us of any Town Hall Meetings. The passengers should always be included in decisions that’s being made for them. Town Hall Meetings and Forums should always have Passengers attend their meetings. Who speaks on behalf of them? Never one day there is a notice posted on the Bus inviting anyone to a hearing.
Angus Grieve-Smith, a regular reader who is also an occasional rider of the QM1/5/6, says that there are no signs about any hearings or "Community Advisory Council" meetings posted on those lines either.
So what's going on? Is the DOT trying to make a hard time for itself by packing meetings with people who want to kill this project? Do they believe that curb access is the only relevant issue?
I also have a question for all you "BRT" proponents out there. Do you factor these situations into your choice of which mode to support? Competition for streetspace and curbspace is clearly not an intrinsic feature of buses, but it is an intrinsic feature of any dedicated surface transitway that uses space previously reserved for cars. When you talk about "BRT" being so much easier to build, do you take into account roomfuls of wealthy entitled NIMBYs screaming about curbside dropoffs and property values?