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.