Twin City residents stand up against new transit proposal

By Beau Ebenezer

November 1, 2012 Updated Nov 2, 2012 at 8:32 AM CDT

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- Many residents in the Twin Cities fear they will be stuck without a means of transportation to work and that the elderly and disabled will be left to walk long distances to the closest bus stop.

Bloomington-Normal Public Transit system is looking to undergo route restructuring with the New Connect Transit System.

Officials say the proposed route changes are designed to increase pickup frequency at most stops and streamline the system, but many residents in the Twin Cities are not happy with what it could mean to their way of life.

"It works for work, it works for the grocery store. Not everyone can afford to take a cab to the grocery store. So our bus pass or our dollar token will get us there and it will get us home," said seven-year bus rider, Sherie McNeal.

The new proposal will eliminate all stops in parking lots except for certain shops and the mall.

With the changes, elderly and disabled could be required to walk great distances from the new bus stop locations. Something residents say Connect Transit is not taking into consideration.

"Residents of elderly places like Wood Hill Towers, West Minister Village, Anglers Manner. They are not gonna have the buses go into those areas," said Bloomington Resident, Raymond Coffey.

Some routes like the one on Linden Street in Normal will be taken away completely with the proposal.

People like Bonnie Johnson living at Landings Estate says this will put the next closest bus stop, her only means of transportation, at least 20 minutes away.

"I have never ever seen anything handled this way. There's no explanation, there's no studies being shown. They just handed this off to us," said Johnson.

Connect Transit says nothing is set in stone and they plan on discussing the public's concerns at the November 27 Transit Board meeting.

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