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Roseville bus commuter wants improved park and ride lot

Says overcrowding is uncomfortable, unsafe for passengers
By: Sena Christian, Staff Reporter
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Roseville Transit provides a great service for commuters, says one passenger, and has become quite popular, especially at the Taylor Park and Ride Lot — and therein lies the problem.

Resident Stuart Mori has used the commuter bus service to travel to his job in downtown Sacramento for the past nine years. He always takes the 6:40 a.m. bus from the Taylor lot. He wanted to do his part to minimize congestion on local roadways and reduce air pollution. Plus, taking the bus is convenient.

Over the past few years, the number of daily passengers waiting at that park and ride lot has increased to around 100, Mori said, ever since Placer Commuter Express started offering a route there, which also travels to downtown Sacramento.

“We all appreciate the service, and enjoy the service,” Stuart said. “We just want to make the service (better).”

Roseville’s Alternative Transportation Manager Mike Wixon said the city’s commuter ridership is at an all-time high, with 127,000 passengers annually.

“That’s a good problem to have,” Wixon said. “(But) we’re trying to address it.”

The crowding has become commonplace, said Mori, who travels daily to his job as a transportation planner for the state of California. He said the problem is especially evident during winter, when residents wait in the rain, wind and cold.

He said the city has made minor improvements, such as enlarging the concrete pad, but the bus shelter has remained the same size, with passengers forced to line up in the parking lot and motorists having to avoid potential collisions with pedestrians.

Mori has written city staff and appeared before the Roseville Transportation Commission to voice his concerns, but said he has felt largely ignored.

“To me, it’s the general attitude of the transit agency and transportation commission,” he said. “They’re not really willing to listen to what the public has to say to improve the service.”

Wixon said the Taylor Park and Ride Lot is owned by Caltrans, and the state of California’s funding is limited, but the city is proposing to help with some changes.

“We need some improvements out there,” Wixon said. “We recognize that.”

He said the city has budgeted $135,000 for new shelters with increased capacity, ADA accessibility improvements and eCard bike lockers. Construction is expected to begin in fiscal year 2014.

Last summer, the city added a weekday morning and evening route to downtown Sacramento, to more evenly distribute ridership and lessen overcrowding. That new route leaves at 6:55 a.m. from the Taylor Park and Ride Lot, and arrives back in Roseville at 5:25 p.m. Monday through Friday. At the time, the downtown routes were seeing an average of 31 passengers per day per route.