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Transit concerns heard

Posted: August 31, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 31, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Santa Clarita Transit Manager Adrian Aguilar speaks at a transit development plan community workshop at the Santa Clarita Activities Center on Thursday.

City officials and the Santa Clarita Transit bus system held an open forum Thursday to determine how community members want their public transit to improve.

Low-income areas, disabled patrons and late-night services were just a few of the topics brought up by residents during the forum at the Santa Clarita Activities Center.

“We’re in the information-gathering phase of the project,” said Adrian Aguilar, transit manager for the city. “We’re trying to get input from the community, trying to determine what their needs and wants are.”

Thursday’s meeting was the first of three officials are holding to determine what needs to be done to improve Santa Clarita Transit.

Once city officials receive the community’s comments, Aguilar said, they will look at all suggestions and their resources, then develop a plan that would help reach community goals.

“What we didn’t want to do was come to the community and say, ‘Here’s your choices: A, B and C. What do you want?’” Aguilar said. “What we’re looking for is input.”

John Hall, 65, of Newhall, who occasionally uses public transportation, took the bus to the meeting to get a feel for what Santa Clarita Transit is currently doing.

“I want to see them appeal more to the rank and file,” he said. “We need to get more people — who have big cars and SUVs — to think again about occasionally using public transportation.

“No one’s telling anyone to sell their car, but we’re going to have to act as individuals to do anything about this whole climate issue.”

Hall is also a frequent bike rider and wants to see a bike rack system for the transit’s commuter buses that travel down to the San Fernando Valley. Buses that service local routes already have bike racks.

Rebecca Lienhard, director of integrated community services for the Tierra Del Sol Foundation, brought of the issue of disabled patrons.

The foundation is an organization aiding and assisting those with disabilities, ranging from the physically handicapped to the mentally challenged.

She would like to see the transit service offer better audio and visual notifications so patrons with cognitive disabilities would have an easier time using it.

“They have risk at becoming lost or finding themselves in unfamiliar surroundings,” Lienhard said. “(Those improvements) are just something that we want.”


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