SMTD seeking Online Public Comment for Route 7 optimization

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SPRINGFIELD –The Springfield Mass Transit District (SMTD) Board of Trustees is accepting public comment online for its fifth route in a bus stop optimization plan that was passed last July.

The plan that was approved July 27 works to study bus stops throughout the SMTD system, make proposals for adding or removing bus stops, take public comment and implement changes over the next 18 months.

As of March 2016, four routes have been optimized, and SMTD is now entering the public comment phase for its fifth route.

Route 7 West Washington travels west along Adams then Washington past Springfield and Sacred Heart Griffin high schools, Fairhills Mall and a number of retirement homes and apartment complexes. Turning south onto Durkin Drive, the route continues to Monroe and Old Jacksonville Road, Koke Mill, West Iles, White Oaks Mall, West White Oaks Drive and to Parkway Pointe and back.

SMTD Service Planning and Marketing Specialist Steve Schoeffel says the board plans to “shake things up a little” by taking public comment via SMTD’s website.

“Because turnout at our previous public comment sessions has been low, we are rolling out online public comment this time to see how the public responds,” Schoeffel explains.

He says by utilizing the website, residents will have more information available to them and be able to submit any questions or concerns in writing directly to SMTD. While public comment is not legally required, SMTD officials say it is important to gauge rider concerns before any bus stops are actually changed.

“The goal of SMTD’s Bus Stop Optimization Plan is to provide balance between on-time service and convenient pedestrian access to bus stops,” Schoeffel says.

He says, so far, SMTD has not received any complaints while implementing this plan.

The Bus Stop Optimization Plan is expected to be complete in 2017.

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