SOUTHINGTON - The New Britain-Bristol Division of CTransit discussed plans to extend a bus route through town at New Britain Library Thursday.
The public meeting was headed by Eryn Rosenblum, associates with project consultant Nelson Nygaard and Cara Radzins, principal transit planner with CRCOG (Capitol Region Council of Governments). Less than a half-dozen people attended.
“Southington is an area which we believe warrants transit service,” said Rosenblum. “It has a need and the bus route does not exist there today. It is an unserved market.”
“Phase 1 is cost neutral but we didn’t want to stop there,” said Radzins. “In theory there will come a time when the state’s financial system is not where it is right now and we wanted to have a plan ready for further improvements when the time comes.”
Rosenblum broke down the studies that were conducted to arrive at the proposed route.
“We are looking at how well we are serving riders and opportunities to improve service,” she said. “We are also looking at where we are not performing well, unmet service needs and opportunities to expand. We want to serve our current riders well and possibly make the bus more attractive to new riders.”
Rosenblum said the study also considered areas with high concentrations of jobs and employees as well as areas where people have low income or disabilities and don’t have as easy access to vehicles.
“Our guiding principles are that service should be simple, should operate at regular intervals, should operate along a direct path, should be symmetrical, should have well-defined markets and should be well coordinated,” she said.
The study coordinators have held public meetings and communicated with riders at bus stops as well as community leaders. Rosenblum said that they have also done online surveys and received 84 responses, 42 percent of which were from riders and 37 percent of which came from non-riders. The proposed alignment is a result of that feedback. The final draft report is expected to be submitted to the Department of Transportation this winter. They will then begin to implement the changes.
The proposed route alterations, which would affect bus line 542, would take place over course of a three-phase project. The current route 542 circles around Center Street in Bristol.
The first phase of the project, which was presented as a cost-neutral change, would see the 542 route head sout down Pine Street and Emmett Street in Bristol and then east on W. Queen Street before heading north around Southington Shopping Center into Plainville. This would be about a five-mile route through town.
The second phase would see a seven percent service increase on all routes. This would see the 542 route heading south along Pine Street and Emmett Street and continuing south into Southington until around W. Center Street. It then heads East around the Arc of Southington toward Clocktower Square before starting to head North. It will pass through Southington, passing by Southington Care Center, The Orchards, Southington Shopping Center and other locations on the way toward East Street in Plainville. This is a roughly nine mile route through town.
The third phase of the project would have a 12 percent service increase on all routes. The 542 route through Southington will be largely unchanged from the second phase during this phase. It takes some of the routes up through Unionville.
To view the maps of the proposed routes or leave feedback, visit hartfordtransitstudy.com.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com. Follow Brian Johnson on Twitter @brianjohnsonBP.