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Archive for Monday, November 26, 2012

Editorial: Transit hub

Downtown still is an important business and government hub for Lawrence, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to maintain it as a hub for public transportation.

November 26, 2012

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The city’s bus transfer hub once again is being shuffled to a new downtown location, but, as Lawrence Transit staff members already know, it’s time to look for a more permanent solution to this problem.

On Tuesday, Lawrence city commissioners will be asked to temporarily relocate the transfer hub from Ninth and New Hampshire streets to the 800 block of Vermont Street. The move is needed to accommodate construction that will begin soon on both sides of Ninth Street just east of New Hampshire Street. Moving the bus hub would require the removal of 16 parking spaces on the east side of Vermont Street.

For many years, the transfer hub was located at the heart of downtown near Ninth and Massachusetts streets. In 2010, it was moved to its current location to accommodate construction of a new building at 901 New Hampshire St. Plans to return the hub to Ninth and Massachusetts were delayed by discussions of turning the Santa Fe Depot in East Lawrence into a transportation hub. That idea fell through, but by that time, opposition to returning the bus hub to Ninth and Massachusetts had surfaced so another temporary move is in the works.

It’s unlikely the hub could ever return to Ninth and New Hampshire, especially if a roundabout is constructed at that intersection, so a long-term solution is needed. To that end, Lawrence Transit is preparing to study the issue and hopes to have a final report by the middle of next year. It is desirable to keep the transfer hub downtown, but transit officials are considering other locations because the number of buses the hub must handle may make it difficult to maintain a downtown location without disrupting traffic too much or taking too many precious parking spaces.

The construction of a new parking facility at the Lawrence Public Library presents some tantalizing possibilities for a bus hub located next to the library, the Outdoor Aquatic Center, the Lawrence Senior Center and the Lawrence Post Office. If that site can’t serve as the main bus hub, construction to accommodate a secondary bus hub should be considered before plans for the library parking facility are finalized.

It will be interesting to see what the transit hub study shows. Maintaining a large transfer station in downtown may be difficult, but it’s important for the public bus system to continue to provide easy access to the many government offices and other businesses that are located downtown.

Comments

Keith 1 year, 8 months ago

"That idea fell through, but by that time, opposition to returning the bus hub to Ninth and Massachusetts had surfaced so another temporary move is in the works."

Where did this opposition come from, and who are it's cheerleaders?

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kuguardgrl13 1 year, 8 months ago

I have heard that opposition comes from business owners around that intersection not wanting the smog in front of their stores.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 8 months ago

"It’s unlikely the hub could ever return to Ninth and New Hampshire, especially if a roundabout is constructed at that intersection, so a long-term solution is needed. "

Likely a major reason the roundy was proposed-- can't have all of THOSE people at HIS intersection.

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OonlyBonly 1 year, 8 months ago

" easy access to the many government offices and other businesses " Farcical statement. How close to City Hall does the system run? Only the #6 inbound gets even close - The LJW building. #6 Outbound the Library. County Courthouse? Pretty much the same but different route number. Walk? You walk a (rhetorical) mile in my shoes and see if you keep up that chant. It, Lawrence Transit, is being run for Lawrence Transit not the users of the service. "No we can't stop there, it's unsafe." "No we're not going to serve that stretch of 6th street anymore for our convenience." At one time I actually supported the T now not so much and getting less.

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average 1 year, 8 months ago

Downtown is not at the center of town any more. Having a transfer elsewhere doesn't make downtown less accessible (unless service is further constrained). And having it elsewhere makes it more possible to coordinate the schedules better. We've had the "half the buses every 20 minutes" shuffle-n-wait-n-wait since the inception of the T, since there were only 6-7 parking spots along 9th St.

Coordinate better with KU. Move the 'transfer' for points west of Iowa to near the KU park-and-ride, where there's already bus staging going on.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 8 months ago

So you can crack wise about me, and also send whiny emails to me about how you don't like my commenting on your whininess.

Can you spell hypocrite?

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SloMo 1 year, 8 months ago

Why does there have to be a hub at all? Why can't there just be intersecting routes? Riders could transfer any place two routes intersect. Or how about the buses just going up and down the thoroughfare streets all day, and riders could transfer any place two main streets intersect. Seems to me that a single hub for all routes only benefits people who work where the hub is.

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jafs 1 year, 8 months ago

Why?

That leaves 59%, an obvious majority, who aren't either students or employees at KU.

A "grid" system, as described by SM above, is a better one, in numerous ways. It increases access and efficiency, since people don't have to go downtown to the hub, wait for a bus, and ride back across town to one's destination, but can simply travel the way one would drive.

For example, you could pick up a bus on 23rd going west, take it to Iowa, and transfer to one going north or south.

We would use the bus if it were reasonable to do it, but it's not reasonable to spend 45 minutes when driving directly takes about 10 minutes. Also, the inefficiency of going downtown and then back out makes the environmental benefits of public transportation harder to achieve.

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gdubs 1 year, 8 months ago

I did a transit study last year in one of my classes at KU on the current transportation system in Lawrence and its appalling, especially the KU bus system which people think is so great actually is flawed in many many ways. It seems the transit system is focused on what town was like 10+ years ago and not what it is now. From the study I did it appears they do not or are afraid to change any routes in town even though ridership is almost non-existent compared to places that really need the buses. IMO I feel like the T and KU on Wheels can become at least twice as successful with a complete overhaul of the route system and how it operates time wise. To bad anyone that works for the T/KU on Wheels route planning will never see this article or post, I feel like I can really do some good with this issue in town.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 8 months ago

Make 20 copies and send one each to those who run the T and KU bus system. Send one to each city commissioner and to each person running for that office. Send one to the LJW hoping they'll print it. (Send one to Merrill who will cut/paste that thing to death). Maybe you'll get a city or KU job out of it. Urban planning might be in your future. Good Luck.

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gdubs 1 year, 8 months ago

That's what I am going to grad school for, I did a project on getting a bus added to West Lawrence for the The Grove and Legends Apartments last year (I don't know if it was before KU was planning theirs) and it was added this year. Don't want to self-promote myself but I think I got a knack for this sort of thing.

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jafs 1 year, 8 months ago

Give them a call at city hall, and talk to the guy in charge of the bus system.

I've done it numerous times - they always say I make good points, and have good ideas, but somehow never act on them.

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Briseis 1 year, 8 months ago

Is the transient hub needed to shuttle the homeless to the shelter by the prison on 23rd?

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 8 months ago

Again, the city is trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. The answer is to get rid of the empT in its entirety instead of continuing to throw good money after bad.

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Shelley Bock 1 year, 8 months ago

Wrong Can't!

After living in England for a period of time, I made the decision to not own a vehicle when I returned to Lawrence. No vehicle payments, tags, insurance and gasoline expense. I have adjusted. I do much more walking than before and ride the bus Monday through Saturday when it operates. I've even taken the "JO" to visit family in Johnson County.

Yes, at times, the T is nearly empty. At other times, it is nearly full. I have been surprised at the numbers who ride at all times of day. I live east of campus and am able to get service as far out as Walmart on 6th and the commercial areas south on Iowa. I once thought that it was underutilized, but my opinion has changed.

It doesn't rival bus service in Europe or in Latin America, but it is a beginning. I wish there was greater frequency on all routes, as well as, Sunday and night service.

Getting around Lawrence would be difficult without the T, so I'm in opposition to your suggestion of eliminating it.

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Shelley Bock 1 year, 7 months ago

You get the picture. I'm paying for your roads and street repairs, your traffic control and your greater environmental cost , but you begrudge me my small piece of the community infrastructure? My, my, aren't you greedy and want it all for yourself.

I'm so glad that you want what's yours and the rest of the world can go to .... I'm not out there competing with you for gasoline nor causing more congestion in the self-serve pump.. I'm not causing you more traffic headaches. I'm not driving up your insurance rate having accidents with you.

I still have to pay for your roadways, your bridges, your traffic control, your snow removal and your massive energy consumption. By your logic, why are you shifting your costs to me? Why should I pay for your conveniences? Maybe, I just have a better sense of community and see that the only way to survive is by working together rather than demanding services paid for by others, then denying the same opportunity to those who do not have your excesses.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 7 months ago

Every human who ever lived is a "moocher" on many levels throughout their lives. But, clearly, your posts are an indication of how some people vastly overestimate their contributions to the economy and society.

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Shelley Bock 1 year, 7 months ago

I'm a moocher? That is so funny, Can't.

You want, want, want, while I'm willing to adjust to doing with less, walk. consume less of what is out there and I'm the moocher? I'm the one who has down-sized while you demand more, more, more. More services, more roads, more gasoline. Then, you want to deny me my smaller piece of services I can use. Sad.

Needn't use your personal names on me.

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 7 months ago

Many people like hookers. Hookers are a product we can purchase ourselves just as is transportation. With your logic, the taxpayer should fund those who desire a hooker at taxpayers expense. Lets do this. I will get on your bus and you buy me a hooker? Or, maybe we could just pay our own way?

Your choice.

Oh, and if you have not noticed, your buddy Boohoozo is not only our resident expert on everything and also a moocher in addition to being this papers resident troll.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 7 months ago

Your posts generally lack much in the way of logic or coherent thought, but that one was just plain stupid.

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Shelley Bock 1 year, 7 months ago

Reflecting on your comments, I have come to the conclusion that you perceive that I don't contribute to the tax base. That is entirely incorrect. I have simply made the decision to avoid car ownership. I no longer have the various vehicles which I have in the past. As a consequence, I lack the need for all of the city provided amenities which are required to operate a vehicle and which I assume you do.

Yes, I do ride the T system. And, that makes me a moocher? That's very interesting when you have access to every public road in town, you demand greater access to the community through additional roadways, access to every potential parking space, demand snow removal and street repair, desire traffic control signals and, I assume, recognize the need for some sort of traffic ordinance enforcement. In your world of thinking, those are your rights. And, you want me to pay for them because you want, need and desire them?

Who is the real moocher here? Clearly, you, because you're taking advantage of the community infrastructure at a far higher rate of consumption than myself or others who ride the T. Now, quit thinking "me, me, me" and recognize that you live in a diverse community with differing needs. Support the general society instead of thinking of only yourself.

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