Lawrence and Douglas County planners are looking for help deciding how to connect with city and county residents when it comes to transportation issues.
To help guide the process, take an online survey.
Written surveys also are available in Lawrence from the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt.; City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets; Community Building, 115 W. 11th St.; East Lawrence Recreation Center, 1245 E. 15th St.; Lawrence Jewish Community Center, 917 Highland Drive;Outside of Lawrence, written surveys are available from the Baldwin City Public Library, 800 Seventh St.; Eudora Public Library, 14 E. Ninth St.; and Lecompton City Hall, 327 Elmore St.
The deadline for survey responses is Dec. 19.
A commuter bus route between Kansas University and its Edwards Campus in Overland Park will get added service next year as a result of the Johnson County Commission’s decision to spend more money on its transit system.
Earlier this month, Johnson County commissioners approved Johnson County Transit’s emergency funding request for $2.5 million. The funding includes $1.4 million to purchase as many as seven buses and a $1 million transfer from the general fund to add 50 more operating hours a week, aiding the K-10 Connector route between Lawrence and Overland Park.
Alice Amrein, Johnson County Transit transportation director, said the county would expand service on popular routes with the arrival of the seven buses in late January or February.
One of those routes to see new buses is the K-10 Connector between Kansas University and the Edwards Campus.
Another bus would be added to the route during peak morning and evening hours so they departed at the two campuses at half-hour intervals instead of on the hour, Amrein said.
That’s good news for people like Danielle LeFever, a second-year KU law student from Overland Park who rides the route four days a week. She said she has to occasionally stand up for the entire route because of crowded buses.
Donna Hultine, KU director of parking and transit, said that while the university has no direct financial stake in the routes, expanded bus routes would still impact the university.
The K-10 Connector buses drop off students at KU’s Park and Ride lot on West Campus, meaning that more service may require an adjustment in the way KU’s Park and Ride buses operate, Hultine said.
The department would monitor ridership numbers before making any adjustments to service, Hultine said. She said that she was pleased to see an expansion of Johnson County’s commuter line.
“We do hear that it’s filled to capacity at certain times of the day,” she said. “It’s very popular.”
The new buses will not stop in De Soto, Eudora or other communities despite interest in the communities for service. Amrein said. Stops would make the buses slower for riders than driving cars from campus to campus and decrease riders, she said.
Johnson County Transit has been a victim of its recent demand and has lost potential daily commuters because of crowded buses, Amrein said. That was particularly true on the K-10 connector route, she said.
“We’re going to have to do some marketing, especially with the K-10 riders,” she said. “We lost some people because of the waits or because they couldn’t find a seat and were late for class because they had to get to their car. We’re going to have to work a little to get those people back.”
LeFever agreed that the buses had lost riders in recent months.
“The people that stopped riding would probably come back and ride again if they knew they wouldn’t have to stand,” she said.
Lawrence residents approved two sales tax questions Nov. 4 to operate and expand that city’s transit system. Amrein said down the road, Johnson County Transit officials wanted to discuss shelters and other enhancements for the K-10 route with their Lawrence counterparts.
“It’s on the to-do list,” she said. “They have an interim director and have to get their arms around what they have with the tax and how they are going to coordinate with the university.”