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Archive for Wednesday, October 18, 2000

Transfer station location familiar

Bus panel recommends Ninth and Mass.

October 18, 2000

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Members of the Lawrence Public Transit Advisory Committee say the bus stop for KU on Wheels on Ninth Street just west of Massachusetts Street is the best place to have a city bus transfer station.

The location would mean 20-minute delays for some riders of the city's new bus service when it begins and would take away six metered parking spaces.

But it would offer a traffic signal for safe street crossing and a shelter against the weather.

Besides that, it is an established destination point for Lawrence residents, said Karin Rexroad, city public transit administrator.

"Being the busiest corner, that implies that's where people come," Rexroad said.

The transfer location recommendation, voted on Tuesday, will be considered by Lawrence city commissioners next week. The city plans to start the Lawrence Transit System by the end of the year with leased buses.

The six advisory committee members present were deciding between the Ninth and Massachusetts location and another block of Ninth between New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Those were the two preferred options chosen by a subcommittee from an original list of seven.

Committee members first needed to decide whether the transfer point should accommodate seven buses at one time or two alternating shifts of buses at the site.

Holly Krebs, committee member, spoke in defense of the seven-bus station because it would allow people to change bus routes without waiting.

"I feel it is very important to make our system as convenient as possible to use," Krebs said.

By running two shifts, some riders wanting to connect to other routes would wait 20 minutes to make the transfer. Krebs said the delay would cause her to seek another form of transportation.

But the other members said the inconvenience was outweighed by the risk of one delayed bus throwing the entire system out of sync and by the vision of seven idling buses downtown.

"You are going to have seven diesel-belching, noisy buses at one place at one time," said Jerry Bottenfield, executive director of Downtown Lawrence Inc. and a member of the committee. "It's not going to be pretty."

The members were unanimous in their support of the Ninth and Massachusetts location, which they said would have the safety of nearby traffic lights and would not require much in the way of sidewalk repair or shelter construction.

The idea was well-received by businesses near the bus stop.

None had problems with the KU on Wheels buses passing through.

"We're used to bus traffic being here already," said Earl Reineman, vice president of Weavers, 901 Mass. "We think since Ninth and Mass. is basically the heart of downtown, this is basically the logical location for it."

Lora Duguid, owner of Au Marche at 19 W. Ninth St., said she hopes the 20-minute layovers will boost business as the KU on Wheels stop has.

"It does just bring us a few customers," Duguid said. "Maybe it will just bring us a few more every 20 minutes."

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