You Don't Have to Ride Jim Crow!

Jean Birkenstein Washington

Boston Herald

MSNBC feature

Robin Washington

Downtown bus stop move is terminally bad idea
Duluth News Tribune, Sept. 29, 2004

Let's get this straight: Downtown businesses and city officials want the Duluth Transit Authority to spend at least $4 million to relocate its Superior Street bus transfer center -- while at the same time wailing for more foot traffic on Superior Street?

OK, we know ostensibly the reasons for the proposed two-story Michigan Street structure and Skywalk extension are to create more parking spaces in front of the Holiday Center, save fuel for buses that won't have to turn around, and provide for safer and easier bus-to-bus transferring.

But it would also conveniently eliminate the congregations of riders in front of the current bus hub at Holiday Center, who along with loiterers, jaywalkers and teens that -- surprise! -- hang out at the mall, have had some business owners and town fathers grumbling for years.

Greater Downtown Council President Kristi Stokes agrees the new terminal would address the “congestion problem” but denies that there's any intention of discriminating against bus riders. But even if there isn't, the dawdler problem can be solved for far less than the cost of a new terminal by enforcing loitering laws already on the books, and a beat police officer can be deployed to kindly advise anyone who fails to board a bus after a reasonable amount of time to move on.

As for those who truly are bus riders, they're also called potential customers and more foot traffic when they alight, as Jack Seiler of nearby Security Jewelers notes. “I like traffic. I like people. I make a living off them,” he says.

That's something for the DTA board to keep in mind when voting down this wasteful idea today.

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