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Archive for Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lawrence, KU hosting public forums to discuss public transportation, transit depot idea

Talk of a new transit station on the eastern edge of downtown will increase next week, as will proposals to change several routes that are part of the city and Kansas University’s bus systems. The city and KU will host three public meetings next week to get feedback on proposed changes to the transit system, and city leaders said they still want to hear feedback about the idea of locating a transit hub in the Santa Fe Depot at Seventh and New Jersey streets.

Talk of a new transit station on the eastern edge of downtown will increase next week, as will proposals to change several routes that are part of the city and Kansas University’s bus systems. The city and KU will host three public meetings next week to get feedback on proposed changes to the transit system, and city leaders said they still want to hear feedback about the idea of locating a transit hub in the Santa Fe Depot at Seventh and New Jersey streets.

February 8, 2012

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Talk of a new transit station on the eastern edge of downtown will increase next week, as will proposals to change several routes that are part of the city and Kansas University’s bus systems.

The city and KU will host three public meetings next week to get feedback on proposed changes to the transit system, and city leaders said they still want to hear feedback about the idea of locating a transit hub in the Santa Fe Depot at Seventh and New Jersey streets.

Lawrence Transit Administrator Robert Nugent said his department hosted a meeting about the transit station idea last week, and sensed there was still a lot of misinformation about the possibilities.

“The neighborhood was churned up about it,” Nugent said. “I think a lot of people believed it already was a done deal, and that is not the case.”

The proposal calls for the depot to be used as indoor waiting area for transit riders.

City commissioners also have expressed interest in the idea because it may qualify the 1950s-era building for federal grant money that could be used to improve its condition. A citizens group has urged the city to buy the depot from the railroad, so that the building can eventually be restored.

Nugent said his office is now more confident the depot can accommodate the number of buses the transit system would run through the location.

But the buses would have to load and unload on Seventh Street because the parking lot of the depot is not large enough to accommodate all the buses.

One parking lot also would be used as a turnaround area so that buses would be able to both enter and exit the station via Seventh Street.

Nugent said his office also is evaluating creating a transit hub at Ninth and Massachusetts, much as existed before construction work at the intersection required the outdoor transfer hub to be moved.

“We really just want the public to know that we’re going to be doing something regarding a transit hub at some point, and we want their feedback,” Nugent said.

Transit leaders also will be seeking feedback on several other transit proposals. They include:

• A new route that will travel from the Clinton Parkway and Inverness Drive area to KU’s main campus. Currently that area, which has a number of apartment complexes, doesn’t have a route that travels direct to KU.

• Discontinuing Route 30x. The route is an express route from the Meadowbrook Apartment complex to KU. Three routes serve the Meadowbrook area near Bob Billings and Crestline. Ridership numbers indicate two routes can serve the demand, Nugent said.

• Discontinue the southern third of Route 32, which travels from near Lawrence Memorial Hospital through KU to 23rd and Louisiana. Nugent said ridership numbers on the southern third of the route suggested it could be eliminated. Eliminating that portion of the route will help pay for the new southwest Lawrence route.

• Converting Route 3 — which runs from the Riveredge Industrial Park in northern Lawrence to downtown — into a full-time flex route. A flex route requires riders to call ahead for service, usually about an hour in advance of the ride. The system also allows riders to make standing appointments. The route currently operates on a flex system during non-peak times, but Nugent said the city wants to convert the route over to a full-time flex system in order to make it more efficient.

Public transit leaders will host three meetings to get feedback on the changes. They will be:

• 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 15 at Building 1 of the Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper Street.

• 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Malott Room of the Kansas Union.

• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 17 at the Lawrence Transit Administration offices, 933 N.H.

Comments

Melissa Isaacs 2 years, 10 months ago

I would be interested in knowing why Nugent is "now more confident the depot can accommodate the number of buses the transit system would run through the location." I attended the open house at the depot, and there was no information at all about how lining buses up along a two lane street on a blind curve would not create a traffic hazard. Also, the plan to have the buses turn around in the parking lot would effectively reduce the amount of parking available at the station to the tiny brick lot immediately west of the station. I don't think the neighborhood is riled up because they think it's a done deal; it's because it's a plan that just doesn't make much sense.

gilly 2 years, 10 months ago

The No. 3 bus is the one that goes to the hospital. If the city changes this route to flex service, you will have to call the transit company to arrange transportation.

lawrencian 2 years, 10 months ago

It looks like route 6 would be modified to go to the hospital -- you can see the map if you click on the links from www.lawrencetransit.org.

Randall Barnes 2 years, 10 months ago

The empty lot there at 9th and new Hampshire. hello..........OHHHH wait compton wants that lot.

JackMcKee 2 years, 10 months ago

oh goody. more money flushed down the drain on the T.

JackMcKee 2 years, 10 months ago

Hey look! In that picture how many riders on that bus? None!

Jonathan Fox 2 years, 10 months ago

I agree with Jack. Federal grant or not, this is a lot of money for a money loosing operation. I still say they put it in a centrally located place like the huge parking lot by the Shenk Sports Park that is already a major KU transit hub. I don't see why it should be so far east of town, in a neighborhood that obviously doesn't want it. It would be much cheaper to use the massive space they have for busses (since the Jo already uses it) near Shenk.

JackMcKee 2 years, 10 months ago

well one thing is for certain, with Mayor Cromwell in charge no expense will be spared. There is money to be spent and he's just the man for the job.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 10 months ago

It is a good idea to use the depot as one of the hubs on the T routes.

However a ton of study went into designing the T routes and where hubs should be located. 9th and Mass got one of the prizes which is also an excellent location. There is no reason to move this nor is there any reason not to redesign the depot parking area complete with very low maintenance new landscaping. Let's put OUR federal tax dollars to work in Lawrence,Kansas

As train routes change local public transportation should be in place to meet new demand.

Taxi service as well. Topeka/Lawrence/KCMO/JoCo Metro commuter train service will be here sooner than we think if for no other reason it is a better investment than more roadways. Commuter train service actually reduces the number of passenger vehicles.

Kansas should be pushing for commuter train service now instead of waiting until gasoline is actually $5-$8 at the pump. This will happen.

Let's bring some of our federal and state transportation dollars to Lawrence,Kansas as opposed to other communities.

Let's rehab the depot and and rehab the area immediately in the depot area to accept The T which will not be that difficult. Yes design the parking area to accept the T off street such as a half circle drive concept.

The current parking area is designed poorly and in need of rehab as we speak.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 10 months ago

Just think what public transportation provides:

  1. safe texting

  2. safe cell phone use

  3. safe computer use time

  4. reading the newspaper

  5. safe social interaction

PLUS COFFEE....

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