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Athens Public Transit Proposed Changes

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Michael Lachman

on 28 March 2013

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Transcript of Athens Public Transit Proposed Changes

PROPOSED SYSTEM CHANGES Opportunities Challenges Challenge #2: The main stop leaves no room for growth. Opportunity #3:
fixed stops
for high traffic
areas. Basics Who? What? When? Where? Why? Who runs Athens Public Transit (APT)? What changes are being proposed? The proposal includes additions of new service and changes to routing and rider policies. When are the changes intended to start? The system would be revamped in late August of 2013. Where will the impacts of the changes be located? Proposed changes are centered on uptown and far east Athens and are expected to have positive impacts.

No major loss of bus access is planned for any part of our current service area. Why are changes to this bus system being proposed? They are being proposed because Athens itself is changing. As a public service, we need to stay up to date with the needs of our town… The Picture Today Explore the
current system Imagine this scene: The local population is growing Traffic congestion has increased and fuel prices are near record highs A wave of older drivers seek continued mobility, while students face steeper school costs than ever before, And our part of Appalachia continues to lag behind when it comes to economy and transport. There is an urgent need for quality, affordable, accessible community transportation. Explore the proposed changes Well, data from around the U.S. shows that a bus system in a college town like ours can have many more riders than Athens Public Transit currently has. Today’s proposal is designed to make local bus travel useful
for a larger number of Athenians – more frequent, fast, and reliable. APT is managed by Hocking.Athens.Perry Community Action (HAPCAP) on behalf of the City of Athens. McDonald Transit Associates, Inc. operates the system. HAPCAP also manages other systems, including the GoBus and the new Athens On Demand van service. + 11.6% City of Athens Population 2000-2010 Challenge #1: Routes are slow
and confusing. Challenge #2: The main stop leaves no room for growth. Challenge #3: The hail model reduces safety and efficiency. Challenge #4: Hours of operation
are limited. Opportunity #2: Move main stop to a better location. Challenge #3:
Hail model
reduces safety
and efficiency. Opportunity #1 – Streamline and add routes. Opportunity #2 – Move main stop to a better location. Opportunity #3 – Provide fixed stops for high traffic areas. Opportunity #4 – Start to expand APT hours. Opportunity #4 – Start to expand APT hours. Challenge #4 – Hours of operation are limited. In order to do good planning, we need to understand where people live... Far East Side
1,060 people West Side
2,568 people North Side
1,469 people South Side
1,492 people East Campus and Mill St
8,072 people ...and where they are going. West Campus
2,335 people Near East Side
2,059 people Uptown
2,497 people Our Local Business Districts, by approximate scale of attraction. The East State Strip dominates, followed by the Court St./Uptown District. For a small town,
Athens has unusually high
population density
at its core. Then there is Ohio University,
the town's largest employer. There are many thousands
of visits to campus buildings
daily. The average person will outlive their ability to drive by 8 years. (source: Area Agency on Aging) Central Athens
is compact
and walkable,
but spurs
to the east
and south
are not. 1 Square Mile The green arrows represent flows
of cross-town trips
that a bus is well suited to provide. Notice the South-East
axis that runs
through town. We understand need, we understand travel patterns...but how much more demand could there really be for a redesigned system? Students at public colleges spend an average of $90,000 over four years, and the average additional cost to own a car during that time is over $12,000 (source: College Board, AAA) 30% live below poverty line Rural road and transit networks are underdeveloped Athens Public Transit/Ohio University:
Pullman Transit/Washington State University:
Macomb Transit/Western Illinois University: 65,000
1,960,000 2012 Public Bus Ridership How many more? These numbers should give you some idea: The proposal names 4 challenges that are barriers to better bus service...

...and 4 matching opportunities to meet those challenges and move forward. W Union Street on a Tuesday evening, March 2012. Let's examine these challenges and opportunities in detail. #2 #3 #4 Challenge #1: Routes are slow and confusing. Opportunity #1: Streamline
and add routes. #1 Right now, 3 The main bus stop, the transfer point between all routes, can fit exactly small buses. No more. This makes expansion
of the system

adding routes is difficult,

larger buses out of the question. Transfers to other local services -
the OU CATS shuttle,
apartment complex shuttles -

requires a walk of several blocks at least. The stop is across from City Hall,
but is mainly hidden
from Court Street,
the focus of uptown life. And the place itself,
under the concrete shadow of the Parking Garage,
is a bleak spot to stand waiting.

Few comforts for riders are possible at this location. ACCESS
PRESERVED Uptown Athens is largely built out, but one spot, on West Mulberry Street Baker University Center near would offer several distinct advantages. All other local bus services
already stop at West Mulberry,
making it a valuable coordination point
where passengers can transfer
conveniently. Sidewalks and crosswalks
meet ADA specifications,
and are in good repair. benches, a pole clock, and sun, are plentiful. Other amenities, such as bicycle racks, Baker is the campus gateway,
and more pedestrians flock
to pass through its doors
than anywhere else in Athens,
creating a natural node point
in a multimodal transport network. In other words,
it's a great place to catch the bus. By turning left
up S Court St,
routes avoid conflict
with the full flow
of foot traffic across the plaza. With curbside car parking removed,
the site could fit 4 full size buses,

more than double the curb space
that the current stop on
East Washington offers.

We don't need that much space now,

but it's room to grow. not 4, not 5... Concerns about continued access to bus pass sales at City Hall could be met with a creative "umbrella" style shelter design at the corner of Court and Washington.

Three out of four proposed routes could stop at this location. The hail model is a way to pick up passengers
without fixed stops or signs. People wave the bus down,
in the same way they would catch a cab. photo by David Thompson, 2009 The hail model works well for cabs but not so well for buses. At more than twice the length of a cab,
it is hard for a bus to find safe curb space to stop. photo by HK Sheung Wan Drivers are distracted by every person who waves at them. A wave can mean a lot of different things. Hailing can also slow the bus down.
If five riders pick five places to board in the same quarter mile of road, the bus must stop five times instead of once.

This slows down the entire route for all other travelers. BUS BUS Vs. Athens already has some bus stop signs. Proposed stop site. Alden Library We also have shelters
and may be getting more soon. Moving to a fixed stop model would mean moving these
existing resources to fit the new routes. We propose switching to a fixed bus stop model for high-density areas within the Athens City Limits.

The Plains and other low-density portions of the routes would continue using the hail model.

This should make our bus network safer, more efficient, and more visible in the community. But what about the cost of purchasing signs and shelters? Guess what... Right now, routes make complex turning movements all over central Athens.

This makes the routes hard to understand. This "milk run" routing makes bus travel from Point A to Point Z incredibly slow. Routes also rarely return the same way they came. How often do we take a trip without wanting to get home again? For example, a round trip from Carriage Hill Apartments to Walmart takes 16 minutes by car, but 1 hour 47 minutes by APT bus - almost 7 times as long!! In the proposed system, Route 1 and Route 2 overlap from Court to the Market on State.

Timed a half hour apart, these routes provide two buses an hour in this high traffic area. Route 3 is added to give the dense residential areas on the east side access to campus and the E State shopping district.

It also adds the Ridges as a regular loop and preserves access for apartment complexes at the end of the current Richland Route. Route 2 turns around at Richland and Canterbury Drive. Route 4 is mostly unchanged from the current Plains/West Side Route. However, a spur into the West Side is proposed instead of a through-routing.

Stops at the Laurels, Connett Road in the Plains, and University Estates are also on the drawing board. The round trip between Carriage Hill
and Walmart sees travel time drop
from 1:47
to under 50 minutes! Most other trips see similar
improvements in travel time. When people talk about better bus service, they often bring up extending operating hours. We receive regular requests to: Make the Plains weekday hours 7-7... Our current hours are M-F, 7a-7p
and Saturday 9a-5p
on the Richland and State Routes, and M-F 10a-4p on the
Plains/ West Side Route. Extend evening service to 9 or 10pm... Add a late night bus on the weekend.... Add Saturday service from the Plains... And add service on Sundays to the schedule... There is a problem of where to start,

because all of these expansions cost money...

Big money! Based on observed, common patterns of demand,
transportation planners typically set these priorities:

1. Weekday Work Hours, 7a - 6p;
2. Saturdays;
3. Weekday Evenings;
4. Weekend Late Night Service;
5. Sundays. If we look at cost, we assume that each hour a bus is in service costs $60. Add an hour to one route six days a week: $18,420 yearly. Add 9 to 5 Plains Route Saturday Service: $24,960 Run a late night route Th thru Sat, 7p-3a: $72,480 Add 9 to 5 Sunday Service on all four routes: $99,840 Extend Plains Route to 7a-7p weekdays: $110,520 Run all four routes until 9pm weekdays: $221,040 with available funds and known priorities, We are reviewing expanding Plains/West Side hours to 9a.m. to 5p.m.


Adding Saturday 10-4 service
on the Plains/West Side Route. The combined annual cost of these changes would be about $50,000. We hope to add more hours in future years,
but will need to be strategic about seeking funding
so that we can afford them. Four challenges...
Four opportunities...
Some ideas for improving our local transit. But what do YOU think? Add your own ideas and perspectives,

by sending us an email: lachman@hapcap.org
Calling us: 740-767-4500 ext. 2179

Writing us a letter,
or stopping by to talk with us in person: Attn: Athens Public Transit
Athens Transportation Office
1015 E. State St.
Athens, OH, 45701 Explore this plan on your own time at the link at www.athenstransit.org...

There is more route detail that has been provided
for both the current system and the proposal.

You can zoom around freely in the presentation. Thanks! If you have questions or comments,
now is a great time to share them! Here is an overview
of some major flows
of Athens traffic. Individual Routes Individual Routes
Full transcript