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Syracuse is about to open a downtown bus terminal that will remove “large crowds of people waiting behind walls of noisy buses” from a nearby intersection. The 22-bay facility cost nearly $19 million.  The intersection that served as the transfer hub will soon be home to upscale apartments and restaurants.

The Post-Standard reports:

It’s a dramatic gentrification with few critics.

Nearly every group affected by the change – from the mostly poor and black bus riders to the mostly white bankers and lawyers who work nearby – agree the move is long overdue. The buses and people have far outgrown the intersection, pushing their way into street traffic, privately-owned bathrooms and sidewalk storefronts that make for an unsafe and unwelcome mess.

The riders, who must now wait for the bus outdoors in one of the country’s snowiest cities, are eager to move to an off-street, covered shelter where people can wait indoors. The businesses, some of whom have complained openly about violence, intimidation and unruliness from the crowds, are ready to enjoy more orderly stoops for their staffs and clients.

Sound familiar?

Rendering of RGRTA Terminal

The Liberty Pole bus transfer point is often a chaotic scene. The buses will be removed once RGRTA completes its bus station on Mortimer St. Construction just started. The sale of the Sibley Building will likely bring gentrification, with apartments and restaurants. Midtown’s development has the potential to do the same.

Some critics of the Syracuse station said the city is “herding” the poor to another area of downtown to make way for the rich. But supporters say the bus riders desperately need shelter and bathrooms and a safe and pleasant transportation experience. The Syracuse bus station seems to have generated far less controversy than Rochester’s project.

Rochester should monitor how things go in Syracuse.

Links of the Day:

– Energy companies are going door to door soliciting new customers, promising better rates. The state Public Service Commission is under pressure to release price comparisons to help consumers. The industry opposes the idea.

Should power lines be buried?

– Bystanders wounded by New York City police in the Empire State Building incident will likely sue – and lose.

Reporters, why are you in Tampa?

– A Democrat and Chronicle columnist suggests naming the Seneca Park Zoo lions after Maggie and Louise. After all, politicians want their names on everything. Why not smelly zoo animals? Nestor Ramos even suggests getting one of the lion’s manes cut like Maggie’s hair. Aside from the total lack of balance (Louise was thrown in for good measure at the end), I found the piece juvenile and a tad sexist. Lion imagery invoked the “catfight” cliche. Would this column have been written about male politicians?

Breaking up by text message is hard to do.

4 Responses to The Case for the Bus Station

  1. There are serious differences in design, placement and cost between the Syracuse and Rochester stations.

    I actually devoted a blog posting to the differences a while ago: http://folliesandlandmarks.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-differences-between-two-upstate-bus.htmll

    • August 26, 2012 at 11:30 pm Rachel Barnhart responds:

      Thanks – some in Syracuse are concerned the terminal there is too far removed from downtown’s core.

      One could say the Rochester station WILL help development by removing the wall of buses on Main Street and offering a more controlled, safe environment for riders. Sibley and Midtown and the rest of Main St. could benefit enormously.

  2. August 28, 2012 at 12:43 am RaChaCha responds:

    Although the devil can be in the details (which I haven’t seen), the station in Syracuse should be a positive thing. Shortly before moving to Buffalo, I did a short budget project for Onondaga County and commuted daily to DT ‘Cuse by intercity bus (and rail, when the infrequent schedules allowed). After arriving at the intercity/intermodal station near Onondaga Lake, I would catch a metro bus downtown, to Salina & Fayette — the ‘Cuse equivalent of Main & Clinton. At the end of the day, the same in reverse. For the trip home, finding the correct metro bus at Salina & Fayette to get to the intercity station was something of a daily nightmare. Buses and people all converged on that one intersection, and had to manage to find each other. All outdoors, no place to sit and wait and read, no restrooms, no one to answer questions or help interpret the paper schedules — or find a paper schedule, if you didn’t already have one. And did I mention this was in January?? The temp on some days was in the single digits — in the minus range. Brrr!

    ‘Cuse has a fairly compact downtown, so as long as the new station is no more than a couple of blocks from the major DT intersection of Salina & Fayette, it should work out well for everyone.

  3. I really believe if they fixed the difficulty of reading the schedules, or possibly making routes simple, they can attract more people to ride the bus in Rochester. I think moving the buses of main street will definitely help to jump start some businesses. Can you imagine parking along main street where the buses were and different cafe’s and brewery’s in the abandoned store fronts?

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