Thursday, January 01, 2009

bus begone

Mentioned earlier, but now picked up by the City Paper. If I let myself, I would rant incessantly on this, some things just are not right. If you didn't see it, read the City Paper this week on how buses are being banished from some local malls. I honestly don't understand how this is legal, and if it is it shouldn't be.

Actually it is quite remarkable. If you think for a second any of this has to do with 'road damage', go and read the original Post-Gazette article on this, the mall was quite clear that they had banished the buses because of the people
At one time, the authority hailed mall management for being so accommodating to public transit. Over the years, the mall has complained that while the buses bring workers and patrons to its stores, they also bring a number of people who basically loaf and spend little money. (emphasis added)

Funny no mention of 'road damage' in that article at all. Grata knew the score. I also wonder how many mall patrons are there just to 'loaf' and what percentage of them come by bus. No mall rats with their parents' cars I suppose.

Is it legal? I guess it is since I don't see anyone threatening litigation. But you would think zoning laws would require large (often publicly subsidized) malls be required to let the public in. Even if not direct public subsidies, I bet any development that large had public road or other forms of infrastructure moved to accommodate it's existence.

Finally, I don't understand why the workforce development types are not making noise on this. It seems that after decades of kind of ignoring what has been a major issue elsewhere there is more and more talk locally about the issue of about spatial mismatch here. Well, here is just about as clear a case as you can get on why transportation matters to jobs. And in this case it's all about this artificial reason that 'the bus does not stop here'.

It's more than just jobs. Illyrias was ahead of me, but there has been greater push to put social service and other government functions into malls across the country because that is where the people are these days. Can't really place those things in a location that is inaccessible to the populations being served. Deep down I suspect the goal is to get those non- commercial activities to move out more than anything else and attacking the bus routing sounds at least a bit more palatable to the public than denying the lease for Goodwill for example.

Just one mall? Just one problem? It is one of those things that if one mall operator finds it possible to get away with this, more will follow. Some may be a bit more creative than others at it, but in the end the result will be much the same.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not just malls that are waking up to the fallacy of buses as viable public transportation but city managers are as well. Boston I believe was the first major city to banned buses from their downtown due to the destruction and congestion they create and others are making plans to follow.

Oversized, particulate belching vehicles that constantly stop, make illegal turns across multiple lanes of traffic at intersections and guzzle the same amount of fuel when they're running around empty or nearly empty during non-peak hours (which in the vast majority of the time) as when they're full is the least efficient and an obsolete way to move people around in the narrow streets of urban centers and narrow closed road systems like those around malls.

Kudos to Century III for being the first in the region to step up and ban them, hopefully the city will wake up soon and ban them from downtown so the streets can become passable again.

Friday, January 02, 2009 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Excellent! Someone advocating that Pittsburgh invest in 5 subway lines, 12 rail lines and even a few boat ferrys to service Downtown commuters just as Boston has. No need for buses then for sure.

That or maybe a comprehensive Downtown Personal Rapid Transit system is what you had in mind?

Friday, January 02, 2009 11:47:00 PM  
Blogger EdHeath said...

I think everyone needs to buy Ford F-350's and Lincoln Navigators and drive them (alone) to town to park in the parking garage that will be built where Point State Park used to be. Because nothing says maneuverable like a five or ten thousand pound vehicle (not to mention fuel efficiency and pollution in a ten MPG vehicle).

Saturday, January 03, 2009 9:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah loafing ... just like my Grandpap used to do on the Avenue! Of course, the Avenue is dead now and almost all the businesses are gone. And all because of that dang nasty loafing!

Monday, January 05, 2009 12:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to be frank and maybe even a little crass, but plain and simple, no matter the reason given: road damage, environmental particulate (lol), etc (all lies lies lies); the real reason for the hassle, is buses bring the 'wrong' kind of people to the mall and this is creating an image and an atmosphere that is counter to what the mall is trying to foster. You see some patrons are beginning to feel a little uncomfortable about shopping at the mall, with thoughts like 'I thought I was going to the mall, I feel like I'm going to the ghetto.' or 'That dude dressed from head to toe in the same color, does he just really dig red or is he flying "gang" colors?'

So don't try and deny it, reason or dance around it (IMHO) this is certainly the direct intention of management at Ross Park, keeping the 'wrong' kind of people out.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009 10:16:00 AM  
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