WTA hosts public hearing to discuss route changes
Students load onto a WTA bus in front of the Viking Union. // Photo by Ian Koppe
By Esther Chong
The Whatcom Transportation Authority held a public hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at Carl Cozier Elementary school to discuss proposed revisions to bus routes.
At the hearing, WTA Transit Planner Mary Anderson said the WTA modified its 2019 service proposals after listening to feedback regarding route changes at a public hearing held on Nov. 27, 2018.
Some of the received feedback included the proposed elimination of service on a section of Samish Way, according to a WTA press release. As a result, the WTA has modified its proposal to preserve service on Samish Way. This would require the WTA to redesign some existing service, according to the press release.
The WTA Board of Directors will vote on these proposed revisions Thursday, Jan. 17. The route changes would begin this summer on June 16 and have been planned since early 2018, according to Anderson.
According to Anderson, revisions made to the 2019 proposal since the November 2018 public hearing include maintaining service four times per hour between Bellingham Station and Lakeway Drive, and four times per hour between Lakeway Drive, westbound between Woburn Street and Bellingham Station.
Revisions would reduce service to three buses per hour when traveling eastbound on Lakeway Drive between Lincoln Street to Woburn Street and eliminate service on Old Lakeway Drive.
Route 533 would serve Samish Way, Yew Street and Lakeway Drive in a counterclockwise loop. However, Western students Timothy Gatlin and Daniel Heppner urged WTA representatives to reconsider revisions to Route 533 before next Thursday’s vote.
Gatlin, an urban planning student, and Heppner, an engineering student, shared an interest in public transit and had not known each other prior to the public hearing. They discussed starting a student organization together to work with the WTA to improve transportation needs for students.