Bus merger could add city routes

Con­sul­tant out­lines pro­posed com­bi­na­tion of tran­sit sys­tems

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Ariél Zangla azangla@free­manon­line.com arielat­free­man on Twit­ter

KINGSTON, N.Y. » A study that looked at com­bin­ing the Kingston and Ul­ster County tran­sit sys­tems is propos­ing new city routes that would re­duce the amount of time a per­son must spend rid­ing the bus to reach his or her des­ti­na­tion.

A draft of the Ul­ster County Tran­sit Sys­tems On­te­gra­tion Study was pre­sented to the pub­lic dur­ing a fo­rum Mon­day evening at City Hall. As part of the pre­sen­ta­tion, Dan Su­raci, a se­nior con­sul­tant with Tran­sPro Con­sult­ing, out­lined the pro­posed routes as well as a new “de­mand-re­sponse ser­vice” that would be avail­able in cer­tain ar­eas out­side the fixed routes.

“We wanted to cre­ate a sys­tem that pro­vided more fre­quent and di­rect ser­vice through­out the city of Kingston,” Su­raci said. He said the con­sul­tants, in cre­at­ing the in­te­gra­tion study, did

their home­work by talk­ing to tran­sit cus­tomers, bus op­er­a­tors and em­ploy­ees of the city and county tran­sit agen­cies.

Su­raci said two of the pro­posed routes on week­days would op­er­ate at a 30-minute ser­vice fre­quency, mean­ing a one-way trip should take a rider 15 min­utes to com­plete. The third week­day route would have a 45-minute ser­vice fre­quency, he said.

Su­raci also said two routes would be of­fered on

Satur­days, in­te­grat­ing the week­day routes and op­er­at­ing at a 45-minute ser­vice fre­quency.

The cur­rent Citibus routes op­er­ate at 60-minute ser­vice fre­quen­cies, ac­cord­ing to the study.

The pro­posed new “red route” on week­days would largely travel be­tween Kingston Plaza and the area of the Golden Hill health care fa­cil­ity and Ul­ster County Law En­force­ment Cen­ter, Su­raci said. He said the pro­posed “blue route” on week­days would travel largely along the Broad­way cor­ri­dor in Kingston, but also would go to the Mary’s Av­enue Cam­pus of HealthAl­liance Hos­pi­tal.

Those two routes would op­er­ate at 30-minute fre­quen­cies, Su­raci said.

The pro­posed “yel­low route” on week­days would take rid­ers to the Busi­ness Re­source Cen­ter in the town of Ul­ster, as well as to the Ron­d­out area of Kingston and to the Eso­pus ham­let of Port Ewen, Su­raci said. He said that route would have a 45-minute ser­vice fre­quency.

The week­day routes would op­er­ate from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., while the two Satur­day routes would be avail­able from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We did our best to cap­ture as many of the key lo­ca­tions, com­mer­cial cor­ri­dors, im­por­tant routes as we

can to make sure that when we’re planning our routes, we’re hit­ting as much of that as pos­si­ble,” Su­raci said. “We know what’s im­por­tant to the com­mu­nity, and we did our best to make sure that we’re hit­ting these des­ti­na­tions.”

Brian Slack, prin­ci­pal trans­porta­tion plan­ner for the Ul­ster County Trans­porta­tion Coun­cil, said those routes are based on the as­sump­tion that Ul­ster County Area Tran­sit, the county’s bus sys­tem, would be pro­vid­ing the ser­vice.

Su­raci said the de­man­dresponse ser­vice would al­low peo­ple to sched­ule a ride from cer­tain city ar­eas to the

fixed bus routes.

Slack said Mon­day’s pre­sen­ta­tion was not the end of the study. He said the Trans­porta­tion Coun­cil will con­tinue to ac­cept pub­lic com­ments through Nov. 30.

Den­nis Doyle, di­rec­tor of the Ul­ster County Planning Depart­ment, said the in­for­ma­tion out­lined in the study will be used by the Kingston Com­mon Coun­cil and the Ul­ster County Leg­is­la­ture. He said it will be up to those two leg­isla­tive bod­ies to de­cide whether the tran­sit sys­tems should be in­te­grated.

The pro­posed in­te­gra­tion of the two sys­tems was part of a sales tax rev­enue-shar­ing agree­ment be­tween the city and county.

Doyle said that agree­ment in­di­cated the in­te­gra­tion could oc­cur as long as there was no ad­di­tional cost to the county. He also noted, in re­sponse to ques­tions, that the cur­rent Citibus staff prob­a­bly would be needed by the county should the in­te­gra­tion go for­ward.

Pub­lic com­ments can be mailed to Slack at the Ul­ster County Trans­porta­tion Coun­cil, P.O. Box 1800, 244 Fair St., Kingston, N.Y. 12402, or emailed to bsla@ co.ul­ster.ny.us.

In­for­ma­tion about the tran­sit study and pro­posal is avail­able on­line at bit. ly/2hrfxIg.

TA­NIA BARRICKLO — DAILY FREE­MAN FILE

A Kingston Citibus makes its way along Pearl Street in Up­town King­son, en route to a stop at Academy Green.

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