Bus service postponed to Thunder Mountain

Capitol Transit riders will have to wait until at least 2014 for easier access to lower Riverside Drive.

The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly had requested Capitol Transit add service to the Dimond Aquatic Center, Thunder Mountain high school and a proposed library. Assembly members placed on the project one caveat.

“The charge was to do this at no additional cost,” Rob Steedle deputy city manager of the City and Borough of Juneau said in a phone interview, Tuesday.

However, Steedle said CBJ staff and consultants found that an additional stop would result in either cost increases or degraded service through an uptick in missed connections.

To add the service without adding cost, Steedle explained that Capitol Transit found it would have been nessessry to reroute the number four bus, Steedle said.

“Inbound, the bus would have traveled down Mendenhall Loop Road as it does now,” Steedle said. “It would have gone down Steven Richards Drive to the intersection of Riverside Drive and Mendenhall Road. The bus would work it way back to Mendenhall Loop Road and carry on as before.”

This would have denied service to about a half mile of Mendenhall Loop Road, including Kodzoff Acres “with significant use there,” Steedle said.

The reroute would have shortened the current quarter-mile walk for Thunder Mountain students.

Steedle said Capitol Transit learned that the adjustment would add four minutes to the route, foiling connections at the Nugget Mall and Federal Building.

“We just don’t have another four minutes in the schedule,” Steedle said. “We are running a pretty tight schedule as it is.” During a Committee of the Whole meeting in May (goo.gl/ZPBnK) the assembly directed Capitol Transit to survey the public to assure the new service was wanted. Two-thirds of public comment from meetings held in June and July favored the new stop.

Steedle said Capitol Transit now plans to update its transit development plan, adopted in 2008.

“And take a comprehensive look to see how we can improve service including service to the lower portion of Riverside drive,” Steedle said. “We would love to provide service to Thunder mountain and aquatic center. We’ll see if we can do with the budget we are given.”

A revised plan could come before the Assembly by mid 2013, Steedle said. Before budget deliberations for fiscal year 2014.

Public can give input during the planning process, Steedle said. He said he expects public meetings and perhaps a survey.

“It’s an important part of developing the plan,” Steedle said.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.



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