Apartment complex will stay on bus route
|Susan River Apartments will remain on the Lassen Rural Bus route, a decision approved by the Lassen Transportation Service Agency at its Monday, March 11 meeting. Photo by Ruth Ellis|
March 19, 2013 — Susan River Apartments will remain part of the Lassen Rural Bus route.
In a four to one vote, the Lassen Transit Service Agency board of directors approved maintaining the current route, which goes into the apartment complex on Riverside Drive, at its Monday, March 11 meeting.
Chairman Brian Wilson and commissioners Jim Chapman, Larry Wosick and Cheryl McDonald voted yes, while Aaron Albaugh voted no.
The discussion was continued from the board’s January meeting where the commission approved temporarily going back into the apartment complex until a permanent decision could be made.
The apartment complex was dropped from the bus route in December 2012 and residents had to walk to and from the bus stop on Riverside Drive and Alexander Street. However, some residents expressed concern particularly with the winter conditions and icy sidewalks and streets.
During the recent meeting, Gary Felt, general manager of Paratransit, the company that has the operating contract with Lassen Rural Bus said, “Continued access into the (Susan Garden Apartments) parking lot represents a departure from the normal public transit practices, which includes not normally entering private parking spaces or parking areas.
There is a fixed city route bus stop located on Riverside Drive, which Felt said meets the Transit Design Manual the board approved as a nominal distance between stops, approximately 668 feet. He said it could be possible to move the stop another 100 to 160 feet closer.
If residents from the Susan River Apartments are not able to access the stop on Riverside Drive, they may be eligible for Dial-A-Ride services.
The city route passes through the Susan River Apartments 12 times every week day and eight times every Saturday. According to Felt, passengers board or de-board at this stop only about once every 21 trips.
Felt also noted some safety issues regarding entering private properties such as narrow aisle ways and travel paths, irregular traffic paths, pedestrians, pets, children, poor visibility, tight radius turns and liability questions if a collision were to occur. He also provided information regarding specific safety concerns at Susan River Apartments.
LTSA commissioner Jim Chapman said, “Our purpose is not about serving the convenience of the bus, but about serving the convenience of the people and that to me is the overriding evaluation.”
If the Susan River Apartment complex was just opening and the LTSA were discussing going into the parking lot now, Chapman said, “I would say no, we would probably not give that consideration.”
However, “We have had people who have grown accustomed whether its just one person a day or three people a week or whatever the minimal amount of volume that has been part of the route,” Chapman said.
Enid Earll, a resident at Susan River Apartments, and Amy Caudill property manager also addressed the board.
Earll said, “The bottom line being, this has been happening for 20-25 years. And there’s never been a problem in coming down into our apartments when there’s inclement weather. It seems to always be cleared and I’ve never seen or heard of an accident or actually any problem with that.”
Regarding the bus going into the apartment complex, Caudill said, “We do feel it’s a wonderful service upon which our residents do depend whether they use it every day, their needs change — sometimes they have family that can give them rides, sometimes they don’t,” she said. “We also have applicants on our waiting list that are on our waiting list partly because of the bus. Because they are now disabled and they are no longer able to drive, and they want to move into our property, it’s clean, different amenities and the bus is one of the amenities that they are actually looking for.”
She explained residents are able to get around the property pretty safely with minimal falls as the driveway and sidewalks are plowed and de-iced during the winter months.
“Coming out of the property of Susan River Apartments there was absolutely no safe passage whatsoever in this area,” Caudill said of the route residents would take to access the bus stop.
There was also some discussion about Lassen Rural Bus going into other private parking lots. Earll pointed out the bus goes into the Eskaton Lassen Manor on North Mesa Street.
The bus also goes into the parking lots at Northeastern Rural Health Clinic, Banner Lassen Medical Center and Safeway.
According to Chapman, if safety was the reason for moving out of the Susan River Apartments then there should be uniformity and if a policy were adopted it should address everybody and everything, “rather than selectively having one here and one there.”
Felt said Chapman was correct.
“All the other parking lots you have mentioned have been brought up for discussion, the uniformity would be we don’t go into any parking lot,” he said.
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