Hearing will outline bus route changes (2/11/10)

CCTA seeks citizen input on proposal

Feb. 11, 2010

By Greg Elias

Observer staff

The Chittenden County Transit Authority will hold a public hearing to detail route changes that will bring buses into Williston Village and shorten travel time to Burlington.

The hearing takes place on Thursday, Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. at Williston Town Hall. It is the latest in a series of meetings on the route changes, with sessions already held in South Burlington and Essex Junction.

The Williston meeting will include a PowerPoint presentation and a chance for residents to ask questions and express opinions, said Meredith Birkett, CCTA planning manager.

Al Turgeon, one of two Williston representatives on the 14-member CCTA Board of Commissioners, said he will attend the meeting. He called the route changes “a good news story for Williston” because they will improve service in Williston.

The existing Williston bus circles commercial areas around Taft Corners before heading to either South Burlington or Essex Junction. Riders going to downtown Burlington must transfer at the University Mall in South Burlington.

The new route would run along U.S. 2, taking riders directly between Williston and downtown Burlington without requiring a transfer.

The tentative schedule includes two morning and two afternoon weekday runs into Williston Village. Service frequency will increase around Taft Corners, reducing wait time for passengers to no more than 15 minutes during commute hours.

The new route will replace the current Williston and University Mall/airport bus lines. CCTA plans to use money spent on the current routes to create feeder buses serving South Burlington and the airport, and to provide an Essex Junction connection with Williston.

The one downside to the current proposal is that the new Williston route will no longer directly serve Burlington International Airport, Turgeon said. Those headed to the airport will have to transfer in South Burlington.

A $2.1 million federal grant is funding the expanded Williston service and a new route to Milton. The money is part of a $3.9 million Federal Transit Administration grant that will pay for public transportation projects in Vermont.

Turgeon said CCTA is still gathering input on the route changes and so residents can still have an influence. The proposed schedule and stops are detailed on the transit agency’s Web site, www.cctaride.org.

For those who can’t attend the Williston meeting, one more session will be held at CCTA’s administrative offices, 15 Industrial Parkway in Burlington, on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 1 p.m.

The new Williston route is expected to begin by early summer.