January 22, 2010 Lack of quorum stalls vote on bus changes By TaMaryn Waters DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER The city of Tallahassee's Transit Advisory Committee, a citizen-advisory board, couldn't vote on StarMetro's proposed Nova 2010 plan Thursday night since it didn't have a quorum. A special meeting is now set for Thursday so the committee can vote on whether to support the plan, which includes changes in how the city's bus system operates. StarMetro planners will use the vote as a guide for finishing a draft report and map, which has had eight revisions since August. It's slated to go before the City Commission in March. During Thursday's meeting, several concerns were brought up by committee members and riders. Those include safety, particularly when crossing busy intersections, the elimination of a route into Governor's Square mall and a need for more audible signals. "The safety concerns are riding over everything," Kevin Davis, a committee member and StarMetro rider, said. Davis said he supports some of the proposals, but he said the safety concerns are "overwhelming" compared to the plan's benefits. Owen McCaul, a bus rider, agreed, especially since the new plan has 39 transfer points but only two audible signals, which he says are helpful for people with disabilities. "I really feel like they are not giving adequate attention to the safety concerns," McCaul said. Sam Scheib, a senior StarMetro planner, said the plan, which is designed to decentralize the bus system, would create bus-transfer spots across town rather than run all routes through the C.K. Steele Plaza. It would increase the number of buses coming to a bus stop during peak hours, and it would reduce routes in some areas. He said planners are looking into safety and logistical issues. The draft has been changed several times as a result of input from riders. For example, service to Trojan Trail was added instead of backtracking on Conner Boulevard, and a "loop route" was divided into two different routes in an effort to increase connectivity between the south side and Lake Jackson areas. Some riders were worried about the lack of sidewalks at some of transfer points. Scheib said the city is working on that, although he couldn't guarantee they'd be complete by nova2010's target launch in December. As for a route into Governor's Square mall, Scheib said it would cost $46,000 per year. He said the plan must remain "cost neutral." "If we can get Governor's Square mall to pay for it, then we can do it," he said. Or, Scheib said, some other service will be affected. 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.