June 20, 2016
At the request of the residents of Nevada Avenue, Chief-of-Staff Jeff Greene hosted a neighborhood meeting to discuss the buses on Nevada Avenue through ONEN between Uintah and Jackson Streets. Jeff Greene, MMT Supervisors, and City council member Jill Gaebler were in attendance as well as other City staff. Also in attendance were several concerned citizens.
Craig Blewett and Brian Vitulli (MMT) opened the meeting by presenting their objectives and rationale for making the route changes that placed core bus service on Nevada Avenue on May 1, 2016. They explained their initial goals for 15-minute service down core corridors to improve the efficiency of the bus system between transfer hubs (Downtown and UCCS). One of their goals is to save money by eliminating redundant routes and create combined core corridors to improve efficiency and gain “choice” riders. They referenced the City’s 25-year transit plan (2040 plan).
Brian Safigan (ONEN Transit Committee) followed with a presentation explaining the importance of protecting Nevada Avenue as an historic street. He referenced the ONEN Master Plan, which protects our historic districts by not encouraging one of our streets to be excessively overloaded with non-local traffic. He noted that a transit core corridor, as defined in the 2040 plan, is meant to serve non-local traffic, and this should be placed on less busy streets. He presented the analysis of the ONEN Transit Committee that included the best routes through ONEN based on the ONEN Master Plan, location of amenities, convenience for bus patrons, and safety issues. He presented the recommendation of the ONEN Transit Committee, based on this analysis and a poll of ONEN and Patty Jewett neighbors, to move one of the two routes to Wahsatch Avenue to serve local bus patrons, and the other route to I-25 to establish a core corridor between UCCS and downtown hubs outside of the historic districts. He presented an alternative plan to keep a route on Cascade Avenue as an interim step until high-capacity transit is required along I-25. He argued that this plan better fulfills the objectives of the 2040 plan while respecting the ONEN Master Plan.
Mike Anderson (SOS Nevada) followed with a presentation showing how neighborhood associations were excluded from the initial planning process, and that neighborhood complaints were were not addressed during the initial public meetings. He expressed concerns over the core corridor and future growth demands of development projects around UCCS. He presented a plan that also split the high-corridor routes between Cascade and Wahsatch Avenues.
The three presentations were followed with a comment/question session to address individual concerns of attendees. Comments included safety issues, noise pollution, lack of notification and feedback, as well as other concerns. There were also comments that Wahsatch Avenue was a better street to service the bus patrons and local businesses. We were especially glad to hear from a member of the Transit Coalition, who was advocating for those that rely on bus service, and from actual bus patrons’ concerns and needs.
The meeting ended with Chief-of-Staff Jeff Greene calling for a meeting between MMT, ONEN, SOS, and a member of the Transit Coalition to come up with a recommendation to be included in the next MMT route change (September 2016). Jill Gaebler also volunteered and City traffic will also attend. This meeting is scheduled for June 23, 2016.
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