Friday, December 14, 2018 Elyria 41°
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Bus loop coming to Elyria

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ELYRIA — The county commissioners announced a new Lorain County Transit route that will run in downtown Elyria.

The new Downtown Elyria Loop will run from 7:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and will be a free service to everyone who boards the bus. The service will begin Dec. 17.

The new route will run from the Lorain County Transportation & Community Center parking lot on Broad Street and make stops at the City of Elyria parking lot, Elyria Public Library on Washington Avenue, Lorain County Health & Dentistry, Elyria Post Office, Lorain County Justice Center, Lorain County Administration Building, Riverview Plaza and University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center.

County Administrator Jim Cordes estimated the route will take 25 to 28 minutes. From 7:15 to 9 a.m. and from 3:15 to 5 p.m., there will be two buses running the loop, which will cut the time down to 12 to 15 minutes.

The aim of the service is to make it easier to get around the downtown area and is the first time riders will not have to pay a boarding fee, the commissioners said in a statement.

Cordes also said the loop is an attempt to fix a problem with parking for potential jurors at the Lorain County Justice Center. Often, jurors have to park at the city lot on Washington Avenue and walk to the courthouse.

“We always have problems with jurors parking,” Cordes said. “The problem is exacerbated in the winter coming up from that Washington Avenue lot. A lot of times the sidewalks aren’t cleared, so they’re walking in the road and in the slush. This loop will be able to get people from the Washington lot to the Justice Center.”

Cordes said the local share to fund the loop is about $78,000 a year if the service runs year round.

“When we try to move just jurors with a driver and a bus, we’re spending close to that and not producing any other outcome,” he said. “We can take just what it would cost to be shuttling people and amplify that into two bus routes with matching funds from the federal government and provide a lot of service to a lot of people.”

The county will not provide shelters for the stops along the route, Cordes said.

“There will be no shelters. People can remain in their cars until the bus comes in, get out of the car and get on the bus,” he said. “We’re not going to try to put up a shelter and shelter people. We really want them to stay in their automobiles. It’s a daytime service, so safety isn’t really a concern.”

Commissioner Matt Lundy said the downtown loop “is a good out-of-the-box approach.” Commissioner Ted Kalo agreed.

“Parking in Elyria has always been an issue, especially in the wintertime with losing spaces with the plowing,” Kalo said.

Elyria Mayor Holly Brinda said she hadn’t been aware of the county’s plans for the loop.

“Any connectivity is certainly better than no connectivity,” Brinda said.

“I know there’s a real need to expand transportation services all over the city of Elyria and, certainly, all over the county. Our concern is getting folks to doctor’s appointments, Lorain County Community College, grocery stores and all those things. Expanded connectivity is good, but I think they need more.”

Cordes said the new route isn’t meant to fix all of the county’s transit issues.

“Does this alleviate our transportation problem in Lorain County? No, but it helps an immediate need downtown,” he said.

The program is slated to be available during the inclement weather months and could possibly be extended pending rider participation. For more information regarding the transit bus schedule, contact Lorain County Transit at (440) 329-5525 or visit www.lorain

county.us/transit.

Contact Scott Mahoney at 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com.

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