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Published: Tuesday, 3/18/2014 - Updated: 4 months ago

TMACOG plan talks centering on bike access, buses, potholes

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Expanded public transportation in the Toledo area, improved accommodations for bicyclists, and — surprise! — “do something about all the potholes” have been recurring themes of public comments during an ongoing series of meetings about a new long-range transportation plan.

“We heard a lot about public transit and the loss thereof” during the latest session in Spencer Township, said Diane Reamer-Evans, transportation project manager at the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, which is soliciting public comments about what priorities should be listed in “On the Move: 2015-2045 Transportation Plan.”

Spencer Township residents narrowly voted in November to withdraw from the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority. Since the buses stopped running Jan. 1, the township has subsidized taxi service on its own, which for travel beyond the Meijer store on Central Avenue in Sylvania Township requires making connections to — and paying a separate fare for — TARTA service.

Among those speaking was Michael Hood, a township trustee, who advocated for establishing bus service throughout Lucas County, not just in the five municipalities and one township — plus Rossford in Wood County — that are now TARTA members.

While Maumee voted against a preliminary step toward pursuing countywide operation — which would change the transit authority’s local subsidy from property levies to a sales tax — several years ago, Mr. Hood said that effort should be revived.

“You don’t ask one time and then go back home and sit and pout,” he said Tuesday.

Other issues raised during the Spencer Township meeting, Ms. Reamer-Evans said, included safety complaints about Crissey Road’s angled intersection with the western leg of Angola Road.

A similar session last week at the Main Library in downtown Toledo attracted several people who urged public officials to improve drainage on area streets to reduce pavement damage, while others said they disliked the angle parking the city of Toledo recently made permanent on Main Street in East Toledo.

Also speaking during the downtown meeting, Ms. Reamer-Evans said, were two different bicycling interests — those who prefer riding public streets, who supported better pavement repairs, and those who called for stepped-up construction of bicycle paths.

But the most common recurring issue, the TMACOG manager said, has been calls for better “human-services transportation” for people who can’t use — or don’t have access to — personal vehicles to get to doctors’ offices, food stores, and other basic needs.

Seniors and people with disabilities are “the populations most dependent on others providing transportation for them,” Ms. Reamer-Evans said, but there are many others in the Toledo area who don’t have their own cars — or only have one vehicle that may not be particularly reliable — for economic reasons.

Data from the 2010 census show that in parts of central Toledo, more than 35 percent of households have no private vehicle, she said, while in some rural census tracts in western Lucas County and southern Wood County, that figure ranges between 10 and 20 percent.

TMACOG’s long-range planning effort covers Lucas and Wood counties and the three southernmost townships of Monroe County, the area for which it is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization. The agency is required to update its long range plans every four years to qualify for federal transportation funding, and in some years the plan is completely redrafted.

Planning areas include safety improvements, congestion reduction, bringing facilities into a state of good repair and reliability, personal mobility, freight movement, environmental sustainability, and efficient and prompt use of public funds.

Six more meetings to gather public input about the 2015-2045 Plan are scheduled between today and April 3.

Today’s session will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Heatherdowns Branch Library, 3265 Glanzman Rd. in South Toledo.

On Thursday, planning meetings are scheduled for 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the East Toledo Senior Activities Center, 1001 White St., and from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the North Baltimore Public Library, 230 N. Main St., North Baltimore.

Later meetings, all scheduled to run for 90 minutes, are scheduled for Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the Way Public Library, 101 E. Indiana Ave., Perrysburg; March 26 at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanger Branch Library, 3030 West Central Ave., and April 3 at 7 p.m. in Zion Church, 22 N. Second St., Waterville.

Light refreshments will be available. Lunch is available at noon to those making advance reservations for the East Toledo session. Reservations may be made by calling 419-691-1429.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.



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