Valpo to study options for transportation district
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent May 23, 2013 6:02PM
Updated: May 25, 2013 5:36PM
VALPARAISO — The city has outgrown the downtown area officials dedicated to transportation about three years ago, and now it wants to consider its options with a new study.
The Transportation Oriented District is currently centered where Campbell Street and Indiana Avenue intersect, which is where the Chicago Dash bus service picks up and drops off passengers.
On Thursday, the Board of Works approved going ahead with a $38,500 contract with Indianapolis consulting firm American Structurepoint to identify and design a new Transportation Oriented District.
But the size, shape and area are still uncertain.
“We’re open for suggestions, but we want to see continued investment and growth in the downtown area,” City Planner and Transportation Director Tyler Kent said.
“It doesn’t have to be on Lincolnway,” he said.
Mayor Jon Costas said that the new designated area must not only fit the new downtown feel and agenda, it must provide for future growth.
In April, The Dash line saw a total 4,674 riders on 22 service days, and the city added a fourth bus trip in April.
The Dash averaged 106.2 riders each one-way trip, Kent stated in email.
The parking area by Franklin House has 112 spaces, and the city added more along Campbell and Indiana.
How many more places could be needed is a matter for the consultants to predict.
“We thought 112 would be enough three years ago.” Kent said. “It’s been a success.”
Kent didn’t have a time frame Thursday for how long the study will last, but he said there will be public meetings, a site identified, a concept plan and colored drawings.
Valparaiso’s in-city bus line has also seen maximum capacity of riders during peak times, he said.
The Board of Works also approved a request for proposals for a route study of the V-Line.
Assistant Planner Taylor Wegrzyn said the study could last six to nine months to get an overview of ridership in seasons, including Valparaiso University students.
The study will identify what the city does right and wrong, whether to add buses at times, how to improve fuel efficiency, whether to add or change routes and what technologies would improve service.
Kent expects the study will survey riders and include talked with riders and groups of users.
Businesses making proposals need to have them in to the city by July 23.