Think the traffic in Lower Manhattan sucks now? Well, chances are it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
When the 9/11 Memorial & Musem opens at Ground Zero on Sept. 11, 2011, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the attacks, even more tourist-filled buses than usual will be descending upon our beloved Battery Park City. We say “even more” because a recent survey shows that Lower Manhattan already gets about 80 tour buses daily, and that does not count the bevy of MTA buses running their daily routes.
The 9/11 Memorial is expected to attract 2 million additional tourists per year, and as many as 7 million in its first year. And guess what? The camera-toting, finger-pointing masses are going to need a way to get down to Ground Zero. Translation: Prepare for the tour bus invasion.
But wait, you say, plans for this memorial have been in the works since 2002, so the Port Authority must have devised some kind of plan for dealing with the increased traffic from tour buses. Actually, they haven’t — at least, not yet.
According to AM New York, Community Board 1 official Michael Levine told the city council on Monday that, “It’s a major concern for us that we have not seen a plan for the buses.” He continued: “We have too many tour buses out there. We are concerned about the health, safety and security issues.”
While a Port Authority spokesman claims that the agency is working to formulate “an appropriate plan to accommodate tour buses,” he declined to say when that plan would be released.
Meanwhile, Battery Park City residents appear to be split on the issue. Some believe that BPC and the Ground Zero area are already too crowded and that the influx of more tourists will be a burden to the families currently living in the area. But others, business owners mostly, are salivating at the prospect of these bonus consumers.
Either way, one thing is certain: Beginning next year, you’re going to want to be extra careful to look for buses when crossing the BPC streets.