In my last post, I discussed the brewing storm over bus capacity in Manhattan. It wasn't the first time: in 2008 I wrote that the Lincoln Tunnel vans were a shining beacon of profitable transit that Dick Gottfried was threatening to firebomb. In 2009 I wrote that Alan Gerson (anybody miss him?) was holding up the East River Esplanade because he didn't want buses stored on West Street in Tribeca. A better way, I argued in both cases, would be through-running of commuter buses from New Jersey to Brooklyn and Queens.
As Joel pointed out in the comments to yesterday's post, and as the Wall Street Journal detailed recently, the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan serves a truly staggering number of buses. It has already been expanded once, in 1979, and has been at capacity for years - anyone know how many years it's been full without anyone in power trying to add capacity? This is why buses are picking up and dropping off passengers on the street - if you want to add a route, there is literally nowhere else to go.
There has been significant discussion of bus storage: I've been very critical of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign recently, but they have been involved - in their high-level way, without much organizing at the local level. Christine Berthet, of the Hell's Kitchen community group Chekpeds, has been a strong and sane voice on this issue, as she is on most transportation issues. City Planning has undertaken a study of bus parking in Chinatown, and something called the Mayor's Midtown Citizens Committee did a study in their part of Manhattan. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation is looking to adapt the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel garage for buses.
I'll have more about potential solutions and about the media and governance issues, but in the meantime I want to highlight the fact that I've been talking about this for two and a half years now, and not much has changed. I'm loath to compare bus frequency to the shooting of unarmed civilians, but I have to ask: how long do we have to keep repeating that the bus riders matter? How long must we sing this song?