By: Diane Benjamin
When you drive into a town, what buildings are often the most beautiful? Bloomington has opted for designs that don’t stand the test of time, so they don’t count.
Normally it is City Hall, the library, the Capital building etc. – in other words government buildings!
Connect Transit isn’t happy with their downtown digs. Funny how their routes bring people there on purpose to switch buses. They demand a new home now.
Connect claims 1500 people a day use the downtown transfer station. Assuming they return from where ever they went, that means 750 people twice a day. (1% of the estimated population of 75,000 – even fewer if Normal is included)
They want to be able to fit 8-10 buses all at once at their new location.
According to the website, on most days Connect runs from 6:00 am to 9:30 pm. That is 15 and half hours a day for 1500 people. That means around 96 people per hour on let’s say 8 buses at a time. TWELVE riders per mega bus!
Have you ever seen 12 people on a bus? Send me a pic please.
Connect’s plans end the need for Bloomington to build restrooms downtown, unless Bloomington thinks they need their own. The building they want is 6000-7500 square feet.
The buzz words mentioned were:
Safe, Safety, no crossing roads, amenities, bike path access, bike racks, bike repair, 500 x 250 land needed (more than an acre), development surrounding the station, public parking completely separate from the buses
Karen Schmidt asked the question everybody asks: Why such big buses? See 56:23
They want to standardize buses. Issac Thorne claims no difference in operating cost (fuel?!?) and the purchase price difference between 30 and 40 foot buses is only $7000. According to him that’s minimal. Wear and tear on the roads wasn’t mentioned.
Amelia Buragas (who probably never rides the bus) is very excited about this downtown development!
Connect received a State grant of $250,000 for a feasibility study. They want Bloomington to suggest sites.
Alderman Bray wants to look at transfer stations in other cities like the one Farnsworth is proposing. A Farnsworth rep is going to get her a list. He did mention Normal’s is multi-modal, sounds like the wording in yesterday’s McLean County Regional Planning Commission story: https://blnnews.com/2018/02/26/transportation-planning-funding-and-the-mcrpc/
Connect claims when gas prices were high, they had 2.7 million riders a year. Now they have 2.2 million, hopefully up 10% from last year.
Connect claims they have money saved for this project. If that is correct it is being hidden, the monthly financial statements show the capital account loaned almost $3 million to operating: Listen at 1:05:45.