Lodi Coun­cil looks at un­met tran­sit needs

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Oula Miq­bel NEWS-SEN­TINEL STAFF WRITER

Sally St. John waited anx­iously to ad­dress the Lodi City Coun­cil on Wed­nes­day evening, to pro­vide feed­back on un­met tran­sit needs in Lodi dur­ing a pub­lic hear­ing at Carnegie Fo­rum.

The hear­ings are held each year to en­sure that the San Joaquin County com­mu­nity’s tran­sit needs are be­ing ful­filled. The San Joaquin Coun­cil of Gov­ern­ments, which is the re­gional trans­porta­tion plan­ning agency, ad­min­is­ters Trans­porta­tion De­vel­op­ment Act funds for lo­cal agen­cies within San Joaquin County.

TDA funds pro­vide two ma­jor sources of trans­porta­tion fund­ing: the Lo­cal Trans­porta­tion Fund and the State Tran­sit As­sis­tance Fund, be­fore any left­over funds from the TDA are used for other projects like road re­pairs.

After suf­fer­ing a stroke 12 years ago, St. John stopped driv­ing, re­ly­ing on pub­lic tran­sit to com­plete her daily er­rands.

“There are a lot of un­met tran­sit needs in Lodi,” St. John said.

St. John, who moved to

Lodi three years ago, said she has not been able to im­merse her­self in lo­cal gov­ern­ment and the cul­ture of the com­mu­nity, due to the lack of evening routes.

“There are a lot of things I would like to do here, like come to coun­cil meet­ings, there are events down­town and shows and en­ter­tain­ment at Hutchins Street Square, and I can get to it, but there are no buses avail­able to get back home,” St. John said.

The city con­tracts with MV Trans­porta­tion to run five fixed routes each week­day, and four routes on week­ends. For th­ese routes, a GrapeLine bus ar­rives at each stop about once an hour. Five ex­press routes run on week­days, with buses ar­riv­ing at stops ev­ery 20 min­utes.

In 2013, the City Coun­cil voted to ex­tend the hours for bus routes after rid­ers re­quested more evening ser­vice.

The depart­ment ex­tended its hours to 9:15 p.m. on week­ends and 7:15 p.m. on week­days and Sun­day ser­vice ends at 3 p.m. Fixed routes be­gin at 6:30 a.m. and the Ex­press route hours were un­changed.

De­spite the lack of later fares, she said a sim­ple out­ing to the gro­cery store could take all day be­cause she has to switch buses and wait in be­tween routes.

Coun­cil­man Alan Nakan­ishi asked Lodi trans­porta­tion man­ager Ge­or­gia Lants­berger why later routes were not avail­able for res­i­dents try­ing to at­tend City Coun­cil meet­ings and spe­cial events.

Lants­berger said the city’s tran­sit sys­tem was limited by both its staffing and its fund­ing to add later routes.

Coun­cil­man Doug Kuehne, who serves on the SJCOG board, said there was po­ten­tial to broach adding later routes and fund­ing them with SJCOG if the city uti­lized the routes for spe­cial events.

Mem­bers of the com­mu­nity are en­cour­aged to reach out to the Coun­cil of Gov­ern­ments for feed­back or concerns, they take re­quests all year by mail or email. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit Res­i­dents do not need to wait for a pub­lic hear­ing to sub­mit their re­quests for trans­porta­tion ser­vices.

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