Herewith, the text of a second communique to City Council members urging that they oppose the downtown bus facility. I keep trying….
We’re coming down to the wire now, with the Planning Commission hearing the issue this evening, and the City Council slated to hear the proposal tomorrow evening. I guess I know where I will be for the next couple of nights. Wasn’t it Firesign Theater who said, years ago, that what we need now is a really good futile gesture?
Council members, I want to share a few more thoughts on the plan for a downtown bus transfer facility in advance of this evening’s Planning Commission hearing. In addition to my earlier communication to you, in which I offered a series of reasons why you should oppose this project, I offer a few further thoughts.
1. The largest buses with the highest capacity, articulated buses, are to be located curbside on Mortimer Street. At this location there will be no shelter, so transit patrons using these vehicles will be forced to stand outdoors in inclement weather, and they will have to cross an active lane of traffic in order to transfer to other buses inside the facility.
Accommodation of these larger vehicles inside the facility is not be possible due to the tightness of the site – the facility itself cannot accommodate their length and wider turning radius.
Why would the city approve a building that cannot serve its function properly? On an alternate site, a building could be conceived that will not leave some of the most important transit vehicles outside the facility.
2. The building now is planned to accommodate 26 buses at a time. This is a very large number of vehicles in a very limited space. One of the consequences of this decision is that buses will be forced to move in reverse to leave their bays, and as they do so, they will block other vehicular movement inside the building. What does this mean? Slower movement of vehicles, and increases in bus dwell times and headways.
3. The plan of the building makes flexible, rapid movement of buses very difficult. If RGRTA replans its routing at some future time (as I have suggested previously), and the need for 26 bays inside the facility is reduced, the building itself will prevent a more appropriate and timely movement of vehicles. Reconstruction and replanning will be necessary in order to create a facility that will be able to respond to these modified operational requirements.
Whether this facility is considered from the perspective of urban design, or from the perspective of transit architecture, the current plan is deeply flawed. It will be a mistake of substantial proportion to approve this, a mistake that Rochesterians will regret for generations to come. I continue to urge you to oppose this proposal.
Stay tuned, Town Square visitors, for news of the outcome.