Archive for Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Transit system thrown for loop

City’s order to move downtown transfer station complicates route changes

June 20, 2001


Members of the Public Transit Advisory Committee weren't happy with their task Tuesday: find a place to move the bus transfer station from its current location at Ninth and Massachusetts streets.

Their solution: Move most but not all the buses to the Community Building at 115 W. 11th St. A few routes will continue to stop at Ninth and Massachusetts, but on the north side where Kansas University buses stopped prior to the T's startup in December.

"You'd like to have everything together," said Mike Sweeten, division manager for MV Transportation Inc., which runs the bus system for the city. "But you can make it work without that."

The recommendation came a week after complaints from officials at Weaver's Department Store, 901 Mass., prompted the Lawrence City Commission to order the transfer point moved from the store's north side along Ninth Street.

Store officials said the transfer point which eliminated six parking spaces next to the store hurt business and threatened Weaver's survival in a "fragile" business environment.

Committee members grumbled Tuesday about the order.

"What the city commission has told us to do is keep (the transfer point) out of downtown," Ernie Dyer said. "Let's put it at Sixth and Wakarusa or 23rd and Louisiana."

Danny Kaiser called the commission's decision "uninformed."

"We've spent countless hours studying the situation," he said. "They had a couple of presentations."

Karin Rexroad, the city's public transit administrator, said the situation was complicated by the need to quickly make promised changes to problem routes and by the store's desire to have the transfer station moved within 60 days.

Sweeten said that creating two transfer stations would allow the quickest move with the least damage to the routes. But the transit officials expressed concern about how the changes would affect ridership numbers for the young system.

"We are," Sweeten said, "at a crossroads."

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