Shooing Away Buses

Some upscale shopping centers in Raleigh, N.C., are now forbidding city buses from entering mall parking lots, according to the News & Observer.

The rationale, one assumes, is that buses detract from the ambiance owners are trying to create at the properties. However, it's creating hardships for workers at some of the stores that rely on public transportation to get to their jobs.

"Some people have to walk all the way to Target," said Denise Watkins, 48, gesturing to the horizon beyond Brier Creek where she works. "They really don't want shoppers unless they have cars."

The city lists four shopping centers that have denied access: Brier Creek Commons, Towne North and Brennan Station on Creedmoor Road, and Bent Tree on Falls of the Neuse Road.

On weekdays, buses passed into Towne North each hour. The property manager, Debi Hunter, of Craig Davis Properties, began writing the city in March complaining about the buses. She described senior citizens afraid to leave the Kroger there for fear of being struck, adding that she often had to jump back to avoid buses. She asked that the city stop using the shopping center.

Carmalee Scarpitti, who works with the city's transit program, called the danger exaggerated. She said a pedestrian would have to be halfway across the street to cross a bus' path, and at the exact moment each hour.

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