[tabi] Re: from today's Democrat: Seniors, people with disabilities anxious about new routes

  • From: "carl mccoy" <cmcoy09@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2009 11:06:51 -0400

good job Lynn. Stay involved you are an effective  advocate. It takes a lot of 
patience and persistence and you seem to have it. Carl
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Chip Orange 
  To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 10:12 AM
  Subject: [tabi] from today's Democrat: Seniors, people with disabilities 
anxious about new routes


  tallahassee.com
  October 20, 2009
  StarMetro changes may strand some

  By TaMaryn Waters
  DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER


  Lynn Evans has never driven a car.
  He is legally blind. Anything beyond 20 feet from him is a blur. Armed with a 
red
  and white cane and a thirst for independence, Evans depends on the city's bus 
system,
  StarMetro, to get where he needs to be.
  He has doubts, though, about how well a planned overhaul of the operation, 
known
  as Nova 2010, will adequately serve people with disabilities. And many others 
believe
  the system will be a disservice to senior citizens.
  In 2008, 52,949 trips were taken by people with disabilities, and 89,078 
trips were
  taken by seniors. About 4.2 million total trips were taken the same year, 
according
  to StarMetro.
  People are mainly concerned about the longer distance riders will have to 
walk to
  get to a bus stop and being forced to wait for buses at congested 
intersections.
  Many see it as an attempt to attract new riders while diminishing service to 
those
  who need it most.
  Gripping the blue hand rail on a bus last week as it rumbled toward its next 
stop,
  Evans wondered how his life will change with the new plan.
  "I don't have a good idea of the plan because they keep showing me maps," 
said Evans,
  who's attended three information sessions. "And I can't see the maps."
  He lives in Miccosukee Hills, a subsidized housing community off of 
Miccosukee Road.
  And it will no longer get direct bus service under the new plan. Instead, a 
bus will
  stop at the entrance of the subdivision.
  Miccosukee Hills residents, many of whom are seniors citizens, will have to 
walk
  uphill to access the bus.
  Last week, they pleaded with planners to reconsider the change in their 
service.
  They said Miccosukee Road, a canopy road with no sidewalks, is not an ideal 
spot
  for a bus stop.
  "That lets us know you don't care," Luetta Thompson, 64, said during the 
presentation.
  Ron Garrison, executive director for StarMetro, said his staff is trying to 
make
  this system work for residents. At the same time, planners insist the plan is 
a viable
  step toward improving an outdated system.
  The plan proposes the creation of several transfer spots instead of all 
routes funneling
  to C.K. Steele Plaza. It also increases the number of buses coming to a stop 
during
  peak hours.
  The plan would whittle the current 26 routes to 11 or 12 routes, completely 
eliminating
  some areas currently being served. And riders will have to walk half a mile 
instead
  of a quarter of a mile to a stop. Garrison said, "I'm not trying to be a bad 
guy
  to a couple of people, but I'm trying to make it better for the greater 
masses."
  That could be more difficult than it appears.
  "We have mixed feelings," said Dan Moore, director of programs for Ability 
First.
  He said the plan may be ideal for people who don't have a tough time walking. 
But
  it may be a nightmare for others.
  If the City Commission approves the plan in March, riders will have to decide 
to
  use it or find other means of transportation. And that raises a new set of 
concerns.
  Riders like Evans say Dial-a-Ride, the city's federally mandated attempt to 
provide
  service to people with disabilities, is not an automatic option.
  Dial-a-Ride is available to eligible residents, and it costs $2.50 one way, 
compared
  to StarMetro's $1.25 fare. A lower price is given based on income. The city 
also
  contracts with another company to provide transportation for people with 
disabilities.
  But because of budget cuts, that service is forced to handle priority calls 
first,
  like medical appointments. A ride to the mall or to the Senior Center might 
mean
  a longer wait or no service at all.
  Donna Peacock, who supervises these alternative services for StarMetro, said 
she
  doesn't have a clear idea if Dial-a-Ride will see an influx in riders as a 
result
  of Nova 2010.
  "Is it going to put a strain us?" Peacock said. "To be honest, I can't really 
tell
  you."
  Additional Facts
  Here are routes affected by Nova 2010:
  d Centerville Road from Betton to Woodgate
  d Woodgate subdivision
  d Lonnbladh from Hermitage to Raymond Diehl - Instead, service is on Capital 
Circle
  d Miccosukee Hills - Service will be on Miccosukee Road
  d Bermuda Road - Instead, Service will be on Henderson
  d John Knox Road from Meridian Road to Monroe Street - Instead, Service on 
Meridian
  and Monroe
  d Allen Road from Monroe to Fulton - Instead, Service on Fulton/Sharer/Monroe
  d Hartsfield from Atlas to High Road
  d High Road from Hartsfield to Tharpe
  d Roberts from Eisenhower to Rankin - Instead, Service on Eisenhower
  d Rankin from Roberts to Tallahassee Museum
  d Meridian from Perkins to Paul Russell - Instead, Service on Monroe and 
Orange
  d Lake Munson and Lake Palm - Instead, Service on Orange Avenue
  d Gaile From Woodville to Tram
  d Zillah from Tram to Paul Russell
  d Shelfer from Ross to Capital Circle
  d Capital Circle from Shelfer to Crawfordville Road
  d Crawfordville Road from Capital Circle to Shelfer
  d Victory Garden Area - Instead, Service begin on Park Ave. to Apalachee 
Parkway
  d Blair Stone from Park to Orange - Instead, Service will begin on Park 
Avenue to Apalachee
  Parkway
  d Old St. Augustine from Blair Stone Road to Midyette
  d Sutor from Apalachee Parkway to Trojan Trail - Instead, Service on 
Apalachee Parkway
  d Trojan Trail from Sutor to Conner Boulevard - Instead, Service will begin 
at Conner
  Boulevard

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