Is it an eye sore to see buses parked around Rodney Square in Wilmington or a better way to move traffic around the city?
The City of Wilmington on Tuesday hosted the first of four public hearings scheduled this week to allow people to voice their concerns about the Delaware Transit Corp. proposed changes to DART bus routes. Transportation officials are looking for as much input from the public since some of the DART bus routes will either see schedule changes or trips permanently discontinued due to low ridership. New Castle County will see the most changes and multiple bus lines rerouted in downtown Wilmington to avoid Rodney Square at 10th, 11th and King Streets.
About 75 people came out for the midday session. Some of the small businesses in the area complained the new bus routes would put more traffic on smaller streets causing more congestion and pollution.
Wilmington bus patrons will also no longer be able to stop at Agilent Technologies on the 4 bus route and some trips will even be discontinued from the Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution. Several women spoke saying they were part of transition programs that let them go to the jobs needed to complete the conditions for their release. Many others complained about the Route 17 bus and believe changes will make it harder to complete the necessary transfers to get around.
One of the speakers, Martin Hageman of Downtown Visions, did come out in favor the plan. He sited the stabbing Monday night in Rodney Square as a reason to spread out the bus traffic.
Outside of the city, a few weekday services to Delaware City will be terminated as well as the 31 Newark Trolley. However, with the long list of changes, services will be added to bus lines such as the 20 route.
Transportation consultant and Wilmington Mayoral candidate Scott Spencer spoke out against the planned moves saying that many of them had already been decided before the hearings even began.
As for minor changes, most of them will take place in Kent County to the 104, 106, 107 and 301 bus routes. People who rely on public transportation can expect all of the proposed changes to go in effect by June 17th.
In the meantime, patrons who are unable to attend any of the hearings are encouraged to send in written statements to DART’s Wilmington office or visit the company’s website to email comments. Friday, April 13th is the deadline to send in written statements. A final decision will be made in June.