Comfort is key to new Lake Erie Transit station

Model of new station along North Telegraph Road is shown with the roof off to show interior.
Model of new station along North Telegraph Road is shown with the roof off to show interior.

MONROE - Monroe County's public transit riders will be able to sit in comfort and be protected from the elements in Lake Erie Transit's new $1.2 million bus transfer station, expected to open late next spring along North Telegraph Road at Fredericks Street.

The design for the transfer station was approved earlier this month by the transit's board, which had hired Mitchell Mouat Architects of Ann Arbor to transform the corner lot from a medical supply building into a transfer station that would accommodate a large portion of the 1,500 daily passengers.

“It gets us off the street,” said Mark Jagodzinski, the bus service's general manager. “That was our No. 1 concern. And I think the public is going to like it.”

The new terminal will be a new look for Monroe, with a huge glass facade to protect passengers from the weather and a large overhang that will provide shelter as they get on and off their respective buses. It's overall design should evoke a sort of “window on the world” theme, as well as provide passengers with much more luxurious accommodations than to what they've become accustomed.

With the design in place, transit officials will let the project out for bid and hope to have a bid awarded and a contractor in place within 30 days. The demolition process may begin as early as October, Mr. Jagodzinski said.

“I think it looks great,” transit board member Joyce Hagen said. Mrs. Hagen, who is also a Bedford Township trustee with an avid interest in architecture, said she thinks the public will be very pleased with how the building turns out, even though it's not what the board had originally sought.

“I think the dynamics of the site kind of determine what exactly that terminal is going to look like, but I think the inside of that terminal and the comfort level is going to be pretty nice. It would have been nice to have it downtown, but that's a whole other story,” Mrs. Hagen said.

Lake Erie Transit had originally intended to build its transfer station below a new three-level parking garage in downtown Monroe.

But those efforts, which had already secured state and federal funding that would have paid a huge portion of the costs of such a facility, were abandoned when Monroe Bank & Trust officials announced that they would fight eminent domain proceedings against a bank-owned lot along South Macomb Street.

Bus riders have spent much of the last 12 months transferring buses from a makeshift area in downtown along the north and west sides of the Monroe County courthouse. While several small shelters were built along East First and Washington streets, for the most part, those using the county's only form of public transportation are still exposed to the weather and to dangers from the street.

The current downtown transfer site “works, but we still don't get the safety I'd like, because it's still on the street,” Mr. Jagodzinski said. “But the location is ideal.”