With the opening of the 9/11 Memorial to happen in September this year, concerns were raised over traffic and sidewalk congestion in Lower Manhattan, prompting Community Board 3 to vote in favor of charging charter buses a parking fee.
After nearly two hours of discussion with officials from the Department of Transportation, CB 3 committee members voted 4-0 in favor of charging charter tour buses for parking in their district. CB 3 covers the Lower East Side and Chinatown.
“The Department of Transportation is in the process of implementing a metered bus parking policy in CB 1 (where the 9/11 Memorial is located) and would like to extend the offer to CB 3”, explained Josh Crouse, a DOT representative.
Metered parking would force buses to pay up or leave the area, a strategy aimed at clearing the congestion in the area around ground zero. Charter buses trying to find free parking could possibly leave CB 1 and come to CB 3.
There was a clash between DOT official Juan Sanchez and CB 3’s District Manager Susan Stetzer over metered parking rates for buses. Ms. Stetzer raised concerns about pricing the buses stating as this was a new policy they did not know how much to charge. Mr. Sanchez acknowledged this was merely a pilot policy that had not yet determined fixed rates.
David Crane, Chair of the CB 3 Transportation committee, was in favor of the metered bus parking policy. He resolved the parking issue by explaining to the 30 people in front of him that, “it needs to be priced just right. High enough to have vacancy in the residential areas otherwise its not going to help our community.”
Traffic congestion has always been a problem in Lower Manhattan. With the near completion of the 9/11 Memorial, CB 3 decided to take early action in attempting to keep their streets as clear as possible by accepting the DOT’s policy. A decision clearly endorsed by the public.
“I wholeheartedly support charging buses parking fees”, said Zak, a NY resident who lives on the corner of 2nd and Bowery, “but we have to be careful. If we price too low we’re stuck with them (tour buses) glued to our sidewalks, and if we price too high we scare tourists away!”