Sarasota News Leader

06/06/2014

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and thus increase ridership. (Headway is the amount of time riders wait at a stop for the bus to arrive.) Kirschner added that he thinks the "city really needs to have a place at the table" when plans for the station relocation are being discussed. "It is critically important for the city to step up and take a role in that conversation," he pointed out. With that estimated cost of $2.2 million, per- haps the biggest challenge is how to fund the new facility. Other important factors are the logistics of the move and the need to seek neighborhood support for it. In an email he sent to County Commissioner Joe Barbetta on June 1, the day before the City Commission meeting, Kirschner reminded Barbetta of the debate about 10 years ago over where to build the downtown transfer station. At the time, residents who live near Ringling Boulevard, the area originally con- sidered for the facility, objected to the plan, saying it would add traffic and create danger for pedestrians. "Hate for us to do this same rodeo in another decade," Kirschner wrote in his email. In his reply, Barbetta stated reasons for con- sidering the move. "The bottom line is that our Staff tells us that we have totally out- grown the downtown facility with no room at that location to expand, that they are in need of a larger one to accommodate the increased ridership and additional [buses], and we have a superb location on Ringling at our Parking Garage, which is much more accommodating and fits into a Master Plan for that area." Barbetta added, "Also, the existing location, when vacated, could be put back on the prop- erty tax rolls and be an excellent location for strong economic development such as a downtown Drug Store, Retail, etc., with upper story rental residential, sorely needed in the downtown core." Barbetta also said it would make sense for the city to implement a downtown "circula- tor" system, employing smaller vehicles akin to trolleys. People would use the circulator to move around the city and to reach SCAT stops. % Kelly Kirschner/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader June 6, 2014 Page 32

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