November 29, 2009 Ron Garrison: At StarMetro, we're listening (and rerouting) Ronald L. Garrison My View Have you ever wondered about the difference one person can make? With StarMetro's route-decentralization project, nova2010, one person can make a huge difference. Over the past two-and-a-half months, StarMetro staff has directly communicated with more than 1,500 residents about nova2010. This project is designed to make StarMetro an even better transportation system. It will allow us to change from the current hub-and-spokes system, in which all riders must go downtown to transfer to another bus, to a more grid-like system with multiple transfer points scattered throughout the city. We've met with 80 special-interest groups, held 20 public listening sessions and conducted three special listening sessions with bus riders at C.K. Steele Plaza. We've also received your input through two social networking sites, an e-mail address and a phone hot line. The result has been many ideas and suggestions for improving this system, and we've been able to incorporate over 70 percent of those citizen suggestions into the latest nova2010 concept map. All other suggestions are still being reviewed. With the addition of these new changes from our community, the nova2010 concept map has evolved and is now on its sixth version. All of these changes provide better connectivity and higher potential ridership and ultimately benefit the entire community. Most of these changes include service improvements to: d Destinations. d Employment centers. d Low-income housing developments. d Public schools. The malls, Koger Center, Gibbs-Mabry Manor and Lincoln High School will now have better transit service than in the first version of the concept map. In the case of the malls, two routes were rerouted to travel closer to both the Tallahassee Mall and Governor's Square mall - the Meridian Road/Hartsfield Road route will now travel on Allen Road versus Sharer Road, to come closer to the Tallahassee Mall, and the Tharpe Street/Park Avenue route will now travel down Governors Square Boulevard versus staying on Park Avenue in order to come closer to the Governor's Square mall. Even though the nova2010 concept map has changed, it is not yet final, and StarMetro planning staff continues to consider suggestions. Over the next several months, StarMetro staff will review additional data and analysis with a consultant to fine tune the nova2010 concept map and draft a final report. In early 2010, the Transit Advisory Committee, a mayor-appointed citizen-oversight group, will review options to consider for the draft map of nova2010. Subsequently, the city manager and staff will make a recommendation to the City Commission. If it's approved, StarMetro will begin the process of locating Star Stops (bus stops) along the proposed routes and begin the massive internal changeover to the decentralized system in spring/summer 2010. A targeted implementation date is currently set for late 2010 or early 2011. Even though the route structure for nova2010 has not been finalized, Star Stop placement is an important facet of this plan to our current customers, businesses, various organizations and prospective new customers. Questions concerning Star Stop locations and customer amenities have been raised at many nova2010 listening sessions. However, the various Star Stops cannot be specifically located until the routes have been finalized. Once they are finalized and approved by the City Commission, the StarMetro planning staff will begin working more intensely with interested citizens, advocacy groups for the disabled and seniors, the Public Works Department and the Tallahassee Police Department, to identify the best Star Stop locations. In this preliminary stage, part of our work involves conducting an inventory of each proposed transfer intersection to evaluate the current condition and what changes may be needed. For example, of the 41 proposed transfer intersections, nearly 90 percent are equipped with painted crosswalks, pedestrian signals and complete sidewalks with curb cuts on all four corners of the intersection. One challenge we are working to address is the lack of audible crossing signals or chirpers at these transfer intersections. With the help of the blind community and the Public Works Department, we are prioritizing a list of intersections to tackle first and pursuing additional grant monies to help pay for improvements, such as chirpers. StarMetro staff and I would like to thank every individual for submitting questions, comments and suggestions via group meetings, listening sessions, social networking sites, e-mails and phone calls. Your comments and suggestions have been invaluable and will go a long way in making nova2010 a success for the entire community. Our long-term goal is to ensure that, through the city's overall transit system, we meet the needs or our community to make riding StarMetro a fast, efficient and convenient way to move about Tallahassee. Additional Facts FIND OUT MORE d To learn about nova2010, provide input and follow the progress: On the Web: www.talgov.com/starmetro (Click nova2010 on left side of page) E-mail: nova2010project@xxxxxxxxxx Phone: Call the nova2010 hot line at (850) 891-5283 You also can follow nova2010 on Facebook and Twitter. ABOUT THE AUTHOR d Ronald L. Garrison is executive director of StarMetro, the city's of Tallahassee's transit service. Contact him at Ron.Garrison@xxxxxxxxxxx Check out the TABI resource web page at http://acorange.home.comcast.net/TABI and please make suggestions for new material. if you'd like to unsubscribe you can do so through the freelists.org web interface, or by sending an email to the address tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject.