Attention, RMTD passengers—RATS board meeting May 20

The Rockford Area Transportation Study (RATS) board will hold a Policy Committee meeting at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, May 20, in the conference room of Loves Park City Hall at 100 Heart Blvd. This meeting is open to the public.

Item 6.7 on the agenda is “RMTD East Side Transfer Center.” Opportunities for public comment will be afforded on all agenda items. Any passengers having problems with either east- or west-side routes, now is the time to speak up.

Major items of consideration come under the FY 2005 Unified Work Program (UWP). The Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has set a number of goals to be achieved. Specifically, these are:

1. Support the economic vitality of the Rockford Metro Area, especially by enabling the global competitiveness, productivity and efficiency.

2. Increase the safety and security of the transportation system for motorized and non-motorized users.

3. Increase the accessibility and mobility options available to people and for freight.

4. Protect and enhance the environment, promote energy conservation, and improve the quality of life.

5. Enhance the integration and connectivity of the transportation system, across and between modes for people and freight.

6. Promote efficient system management and operation.

7. Emphasize the efficient preservation of the existing transportation system.

Planning grants to RMTD

“When applied for, RMTD administers its FTA-awarded planning grants (5307 and 5309 sources) separately and independently from this work program (UWP). While the scope of work to be conducted by RMTD is broadly defined in this work program, the suballocation of funding to specific work tasks will be defined by RMTD, independently.” Some partial RMTD budget figures are shown in the chart (on page A5).

Special considerations

Under “Minority & Environmental Justice,” the plan says: “A significant goal of RATS is to assure that the delivery of public transportation services and the priority setting for transportation improvements does not disproportionately distribute the benefits of these publicly-funded activities away from minority persons or groups (racial or ethnic) or persons or groups with low income or economic status. Conversely, these efforts also seek to assure that the adverse or detrimental consequences of transportation services or improvements are disproportionately burdened upon minorities or low-income persons or groups.”

RMTD passengers tell of problems

Billie McWherter told of her experiences with the Big Loops. “Going to Greyhound on Saturday,” she said, “I have to catch the Big Loop South from home downtown and then to Colonial Village and other points in that direction. Then [I go] to Forest Plaza or near K’s [Merchandise] and get off that bus. After this long ride, I get on the Circulator bus because if I catch East State or the long, other route of the Big Loop North to Wal-Mart, MCI, and then to the Mulford Mall, I will have missed the Circulator by three to five minutes. Then I have to wait for the next Circulator bus 30 minutes [later], catching the Big Loop North at 6:10, Mulford Village at 6:50. The next Circulator is at 7:15, and Greyhound [arrives] at 7:25.

“Why should I go to Colonial Village or Wal-Mart, MCI, etc., to get to Greyhound on a bus that doesn’t have any passengers most of the time instead of East State, which picks up people all the time? If the Circulator was held back five minutes to make connections, it would benefit every East State RMTD rider.”

She had some recommendations. “The Big Loop North and South and the Circulator need to meet at Mulford Village at the same time, or [within] no more than 10 minutes of each other. East State needs to always make connections with the Circulator.”

Florence Swinson said the Huffman bus is the closest to where she lives, about two blocks to the stop. “The new route doesn’t go to North Towne as it used to,” she noted. “It turns west and goes over to Rockton Avenue. I think it goes a little farther north and goes back downtown. I was told that to go to North Towne, I have to go downtown and then come back on the North Main bus. If I want to take the North Main bus, I have to walk about five to seven blocks. It was more convenient the way it was before. It would go to North Towne. You could get off in the North Towne area or take the North Main bus, and they would connect so you could transfer from one to the other.”

Eddie Dorsey, aboard the West State, commented: “This West State bus—in order for someone to go other places, the buses that connect with them leave before they get there. For instance, the Alpine bus leaves from Lynmar at 9 o’clock [a.m.]. If this bus gets there at 9:01, the other bus is gone. They don’t wait for the connections. So you have another hour wait. Part of it is the schedule; part of it is the drivers.”

Some elderly people at Olson Plaza would like to have the North Main route restored as it was. Others have requested the School Street route to run both ways as it used to. Still others preferred the old Kenmore route, which was split up into other routes.

New Route Change–No. 20 South Alpine

As of March 10, the No. 20 South Alpine bus leaves the transfer center at 5:20 a.m., going right on Mulberry, right on Church, left on Chestnut, right on East State, right on Alpine, left into Colonial Village. From there, it goes left on Alpine, left on Sandy Hollow, left on Lonergan, right on Hydraulic, left on Gunnard, left on American, right on Alpine, right on Harrison, right on Forest View, left on 28th St., left on East Rock, right on Wansford, then turns around in a circle to go right on East Rock, left on Harrison, right on Alpine, right on Newburg, left into Colonial Village. The inbound takes Charles to Jefferson to Winnebago. Note: This bus does not go out Samuelson Road to Rock Valley College.

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