To the horror of Community Board 3 and Lower East Side residents, the Department of Transportation has given approval to Greyhound’s proposal for a new bus station on Essex Street in front of Seward Park, the nation’s oldest playground. Despite fervent rallying against the application from locals and the vote against it by CB3, the bus station will receive a six month permit. 3 Essex Street at Canal will be the new location for YO! Bus, and a ticket office will reside at 98 East Broadway.

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Last week, Community Board 3 voted unanimously against turning Seward Park into the new stop for the Greyhound/Peter Pan collaboration. Residents were concerned that the bus station would not only destroy the nation’s oldest public playground, but also change the entire neighborhood. Emissions from idling buses, increased traffic and loitering riders are all major concerns of LES locals, who also suggested that the bus terminal alternatively be located on East Broadway along with the ticket office. Unfortunately, the Department of Transportation failed to send a representative to the Community Board meeting, but they undoubtedly were aware of the express wishes of hundreds of area residents that the station not be approved.

Rather than listening to these concerns, however, the DOT decided to override the community’s desires, and grant Greyhound’s YO! Bus a six month residency on Essex starting September 27th. After the six months, the permit will be re-evaluated.

The loss of Seward Park will be a hard hitter for LES/Chinatown residents, as it is regularly used by local children and the area’s elderly.  The community can only hope that the location will be re-evaluated after the temporary permit is up.