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Transportation & Environment

Request by Owl Bus, Inc., for an intercity bus stop on the east side of 8th Avenue between West 28th Street and West 29th Street

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, September 14, 2023, the following resolution passed with a vote of 36 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, Owl Bus, Inc. requests an intercity bus stop from the Department of Transportation (“DOT”) on the east side of 8th Avenue between West 28th Street and West 29th Street, closer to West 28th Street, for six daily pickups Monday through Sunday at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., and six daily drop-offs Monday through Sunday at 1:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m., and 9:00 p.m.; and 

WHEREAS, The requested location is currently marked No Standing, is an existing bus stop for the MTA M20 and Go, New York, and according to DOT can accommodate the addition of another bus company and the proposed schedule times do not overlap with the existing bus company's schedules; and 

WHEREAS, The proposed intercity bus service will operate between New York City and locations in Wilmington, DE, Baltimore, MD, Boston, MA, Philadelphia, PA, and Albany, NY; and 

WHEREAS, Owl Bus, Inc. reported submitting to DOT and being denied locations for alternative bus stop locations on Fifth Avenue from 29th to 39th Streets, Sixth Avenue from 29th to 39th Streets, and Seventh Avenue from 29th to 39th Streets, and DOT has not provided its rationale in recommending this location on 8th Avenue between West 28th and 29th streets; and 

WHEREAS, Owl Bus Inc. indicated it had not made an effort to obtain a berth at the Port Authority Bus 

Terminal on 40th and 8th Avenue, several blocks from the requested pick-up and drop-off location; and 

WHEREAS, Over 50 community members attended a public session to comment sharing universally negative feedback, comment, assessment, and objection to any additional bus stops at this location, underscoring the extraordinary organization and concern by the community about this proposed bus stop location; and 

WHEREAS, Residents of the Penn South Cooperative stressed its identification as a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC), comprising over 50 percent senior citizens with varied mobility needs, in close proximity to the proposed location; and 

WHEREAS, Residents cited previously adverse experiences with similar nearby intercity bus stop locations, specifically on 21st and 29th streets near 8th Avenue, as points of apprehension for the proposed location near their residence, and similarly cited the Megabus intercity bus stop on 7th Avenue between 27th and 28th streets as a scene of considerable disarray, loitering, and luggage congestion, sparking concerns about the the replication of these issues at the proposed site; and 

WHEREAS, Residents and business owners expressed specific and widespread concern about the pedestrian congestion that would be added at this location, due to the additional congregation of people and their intercity luggage, insufficient proposed crowd control measures at the corner where the new bus stop is proposed, the insufficient width of the sidewalks at the proposed location, and the location’s current use as storage for construction equipment; and 

WHEREAS, Community members pointed to ongoing three-year MTA construction projects on 28th Street as an additional factor that would compound new congestion; and 

WHEREAS, Community members raised past incidents involving collisions and pedestrian injury by vehicles at this location, further magnifying concerns about pedestrian safety; and 

WHEREAS, Community members raised concerns about the location already being used for idling buses in violation of city regulations were noted, along with the absence of necessary amenities like bathrooms; and 

WHEREAS, Community members raised additional complications regarding side street traffic, the potential for increased Uber and taxi activity, and ongoing noise pollution due to construction; and WHEREAS, Proximity to nearby facilities for cerebral palsy and a pediatrician’s office raised further alarms; and 

WHEREAS, City Councilman Erik Bottcher’s Office protested this proposed location, citing its location across from the Penn South retirement community; and 

WHEREAS, Representatives of the Fashion Institute of Technology protested this proposed location, citing its proximity to FIT; and 

WHEREAS, Community members suggested a variety of more suitable locations in the neighborhood, including the corner of 8th Avenue and 31st Street where the Flix Bus stop currently exists, on 9th Avenue or points further west closer to Moynihan Train Hall, or other western locations like the Javits Center; and 

WHEREAS, Community Board Five continues to call on DOT to develop a comprehensive plan for street use in the district in conjunction with the city’s appointed Chief Public Realm Officer, and reiterates its stated position that when the Port Authority’s reconstruction of the Port Authority Bus Terminal is complete, all point-to-point intercity bus service must be taken off the sidewalks of midtown Manhattan and moved into the new intercity terminal; therefore be it 

RESOLVED, Community Board Five finds universal significant objection to the proposed bus stop on the east side of 8th Avenue between West 28th Street and West 29th Street, including the potential for increased congestion, disruption of existing bus services, increased noise levels, and risk to public safety, and calls on the DOT to carefully consider these concerns and the community’s feedback before moving forward with any new bus stops added to this location.

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