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Published: Saturday, 11/5/2005

Planners receive lots of input at session on transit update

Lorine Cuomo walks slowly, with a cane, and worries every time she crosses Broadway at South Avenue that it could be her last such crossing.

"I never know if I'm going to make it because of the traffic there," the South Toledo resident said yesterday.

Pedestrian safety, not surprisingly, was one of the priorities Mrs. Cuomo yesterday asked local planners to consider when they draft a new long-range plan for improving metropolitan Toledo's transportation facilities.

She was one of about two dozen people who attended a lunchtime public-input meeting at the Main Toledo-Lucas County Public Library regarding the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments' 2007-2035 Transportation Plan. The workshop-style session was part of a series continuing until just before Thanksgiving.

Along with pedestrian safety - which several meeting participants said could be helped by lengthening traffic-signal cycles to provide longer crosswalk time - congestion on I-475 and inadequate public transit were the problems most commonly listed among ideas that meeting participants cited.

"We need to be able to get people to jobs," said Gregory Kane, a development specialist with Neighborhoods in Partnership, who argued for round-the-clock public transportation to suburban areas so central-city residents can find high-paying employment.

Many of the suggestions addressed everyday problems that meeting participants encounter. But several of the meeting's working groups rated such bigger-picture ideas such as better intercity passenger train service and improving Toledo's freight-handling capability among their tables' top five priority suggestions.

If adopted, several of the ideas would be repeats from the current 2025 Transportation Plan that the metropolitan council updated last year. Those repeats notably include I-475 modernization and expanding transit beyond the current Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority service area.

A TMACOG task force working on the plan expects to have a draft ready next year and a final version by early 2007.

The plan becomes a blueprint for the metropolitan council's use of millions of federal transportation dollars assigned to Lucas, Wood, and southern Monroe counties.

The next meeting in the public-input series will be at 7 p.m. Thursday in the main branch of the Wood County Public Library, Bowling Green.



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