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Outrage From Chelsea Block Delays BoltBus Move

By Mathew Katz | August 24, 2011 4:35pm
The BoltBus stop was scheduled from Midtown to this block on Eighth Avenue in Chelsea.
The BoltBus stop was scheduled from Midtown to this block on Eighth Avenue in Chelsea.
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DNAinfo/Mathew Katz

CHELSEA — BoltBus was scheduled to pull up to its new stop on Eighth Avenue, between 24th and 25th Streets, on Thursday, but outcry from Chelsea residents and business owners has delayed the move, according to the Department of Transportation.

The coach bus will remain at its current stop on the corner of 33rd Street and Seventh Avenue until  BoltBus can meet with Chelsea's community board next month.

Many in the neighborhood had no idea that the bus was coming — and didn't want it on their block.

"I think it's kind of rude," said Joshua Yaghoobian, owner of Towne House Grooming and Pet Supplies at 288 Eighth Ave, near 25th Street. "It'd disrupt the quaint aspect of Chelsea that we've still got going on."

Yaghoobian had not heard about the stop that was planned to park in front of his store until asked about it by DNAinfo. Other business owners in the area were also in the dark.

BoltBus, which provides low-cost rides to cities like Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., announced this week it would be moving from the congested corner of West 33rd Street and Seventh Avenue to a new stop along a more residential stretch in Chelsea.

The Bolt stop — and the lines, luggage and idling buses that come with it was long a source of complaints in Midtown.

Business owners, residents, and community members near the new Chelsea stop are now worried they'll have similar problems.

Yaghoobian said a lot of large dogs come by his shop, and he's worried that long lines for the new buses would cause traffic jams and spur barking.

"They should go further west," he offered.

The stop on Eighth Avenue would be in front of many businesses, including spas, a bagel shop, and a Rite Aid. It's also across the street from Penn South, a large residential co-op.

Corey Johnson, chair of Community Board 4, said he was not notified of the move.

The Department of Transportation typically consults with local community boards before moving a private bus stop into an area, DOT officials acknowledged, saying the agency would re-assess the stop's location after local leaders give their input.

"We are a little perplexed and disappointed that the proper community consultation wasn’t done," Johnson said. "It's a highly residential neighborhood, and Eighth Avenue is already congested enough."

Johnson said the board asked the department to delay the move. The board would like to see the stop moved further west, potentially on 34th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues.

In a statement, Tim Stokes, a spokesman for BoltBus, said the company was not informed that they should meet with the community board about the move but have asked to be part of its next meeting in September.

"We are willing to continue working with the city to continue our search and find a location that is convenient for our customers and that fits into the fabric of the community," he said.

BoltBus will meet with CB4's Transportation Planning Committee on September 21st.