Bus Improvements (more transfers & longer walks)

During the surrender of the British at Yorktown the band played a fitting tune: The World Turned Upside Down. Perhaps this tune should have been played at the public hearings Thursday, Feb. 10, where the Metropolitan Council heard the public speak out on the Northeast Metro Transit Restructuring Plan, "Simpler Faster Better." Most of the audience was perplexed: How in the world (other than upside down) could you eliminate a bus route that had been established since 1949 (Bus Route 12) and replace it with routes that would require regular ridership to walk further to their bus stops and to transfer at least once?

At the County Board Meeting of Feb. 8, a presentation by the Metropolitan Council on Transportation and Jobs turned to a discussion of the Transit Restructuring Plan. Commissioner Rettman read into the record 3 bus riders’ comments, (Minutes of 2/8/00 containing the entire text are on the Ramsey County home page). A sentence from Jeannie’s letter in regards to the elimination of the No. 12 route says it best. "I was shocked. How could Metro Transit even consider proposing such a thing? Metro Transit states in their following brochure, ‘Northeast Metro Restructuring Plan Proposed Routes and Frequency of Service’ –an improved system to our neighborhood? What a joke!"

Janice stated that she doubted that the restructuring plan is even doable. A north, south Lexington Ave. route through Como Park is not allowed by City Ordinance. Melinda in her e-mail to Janice said, "How about a petition to prevent this from happening? Janice thought this was a good idea and a petition was started on 2/18/00 for 15 days.

Will the delivery of 1,245 signatures to the Metropolitan Board have an impact? Some say no. They say the "stakeholders" workshop last March was a sham. Many doubted the credentials of "stakeholders who drew the new routes. They say that the reroute is set and that new bus route brochures are already printed. True? Well, according to Randy Rosvold, (2/28/00 Pioneer Press) project manager of the restructuring plan, the staff was still digesting the flood of public comments before suggesting changes to the plan. "Clearly, we’re going to make changes," said Rosvold. "We can’t tell you where yet because it’s too early."

Already, the Met Council has postponed their March 27 meeting and have yet to set an official date of when they will report to the people. Tentative dates are April 10 and 26.

The people, riders, and Arlington H.S. students were absolutely incredible in their pursuit of justice via the petition. Janice was awed by their diligence.

Janice believes that if the Metropolitan Transit and Met Council really took a serious look at the suggestions of the petitioners, they would see that adoption of parts of the suggestions could keep service running on the 12 route (maybe others also) and still allow for changes beneficial to new as well as old ridership.

What are the old camp song words? "Make new friends but keep the old, the first are silver and the other are gold…." Silver and gold are money in anybody’s book. There is no need to turn the world upside down

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Author: Commissioner Rettman / Information Services