New York politicians push to keep tour buses away from 9/11 Memorial area

Daniel L. Squadron

April 18, 2011

NY Daily News

By Doug Feiden
Daily News Staff Writer

Originally Published:Friday, April 15th 2011, 5:38 PM
Updated: Friday, April 15th 2011, 9:33 PM

Noxious, fume-spewing tour buses that clog the streets and choke the air must be kept away from lower Manhattan when the 9/11 Memorial opens in September, a group of downtown pols demanded Friday.

After huddling with city officials, they disclosed details of a proposed crackdown that would dramatically reduce the legions of charter buses expected to descend on Ground Zero on the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

The local lawmakers want bus owners to pay for parking privileges, permits and other fees - including steep fines for any violations - and intend to use at least some of that cash to pay for stepped-up enforcement.

So far, the city Department of Transportation has signed off only on a metered parking plan.

That program, the city's first, would subject all buses to three-hour maximum time limits and curtail the fleet further, DOT officials said; so would permitting fees and aggressive enforcement.

Another proposal involves having buses drop off visitors at locations in New Jersey and possibly Brooklyn, where ferries, subways and PATH trains would quickly whisk the tourist hordes downtown.

"The idea is to reduce idling, cruising, illegal parking, excess traffic, congestion and other quality-of-life problems when 5 million annual visitors to the memorial begin to arrive," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who represents downtown.

Added state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Lower Manhattan), "The more you bring in visitors by means other than tour buses, the more time - and money - they spend downtown."

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