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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.

Courtesy, RochesterSubway.com, Mike Governale


RGRTA is building its new bus station on the site of the old RKO Palace. In probably the most shocking and horrific act of “urban renewal,” the ornate theater was torn down in the 1960s to make way for hotels that were never built. My dad kept his commemorative booklet of the theater. Read it and weep.

During the initial phase of construction, RGRTA has unearthed parts of the old theater, according to the Rochester Subway blog.

“We knew it was there. It wasn’t a surprise to find to find it,” said RGRTA’s Myriam Contiguglia. “Over the years the site has been disturbed.”

Let the nostalgia commence.









Links of the Day:

– Want to get an idea of what RGRTA’s new bus station will be like? Check out the one that is opening in Syracuse.

– A Herkimer County town “built by guns” is worried its Remington factory could split if New York continues to get tougher on firearms.

– Nineteen people were shot overnight in Chicago, which is in the midst of one of its most bloody years.

– There aren’t a lot of women firefighters, but a Buffalo firehouse found itself staffed entirely by women.

A Penfield love story.

Can we fix the Sibley clock?

Links of the Day:

– Trailways and city officials celebrated the opening of a modular structure on Central Ave. near the train station to serve intercity bus passengers. I mention the fact it’s a pre-fab building because it’s supposed to be temporary.

If the city can secure federal funding, it would like to build a $26 million intermodal facility on the site. The facility would replace the aging, unattractive Amtrak station and serve intercity buses.

Even though the Trailways building is supposed to be temporary, the city spent $1.4 million moving Trailways and Greyhound out of Midtown to these new digs.

But this is site where temporary can quickly become permanent. The Amtrak station was built as a temporary structure – in 1978. I reported for 13WHAM News today:

Trailways owner Eugene Berardi does not view the new station as temporary. As for the intermodal station, he said, “Some day it may (happen), maybe not in my lifetime.”

Rendering of RGRTA Terminal

Meantime, RGRTA plans to break ground in three weeks on its own transit facility. Mayor Tom Richards said studies showed train and intercity bus passengers were not reliant on RGRTA buses, but there will be shuttles between the two facilities.

We’d have a truly intermodal facility, combining rail, intercity and intracity buses if the train tracks were not so far north of downtown. Yes, it’s a quick walk. But the train station is separated from Main St. by a virtual “no man’s land” of a highway and vacant lots. It’s too bad we couldn’t find a way to bridge the gap.

In the meantime, we will have an intercity bus terminal, a intracity bus terminal and a train station. All aboard.

– The New York Daily News hails the governor’s support of decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana in an editorial and a hilarious cartoon.

– Men are looked at suspiciously if they’re alone in parks where children are playing. Now they can’t shop in the children’s section of a bookstore.

– Chicago teachers are voting tomorrow to strike.

– There’s no such thing as a concert selling out 20,000 tickets in 30 seconds.

– I’m not a huge fan of commencement addresses, but this one is worth reading.

– Half the face of a man who’s been driving a truck for 28 years has prematurely aged.