Como Park residents oppose new bus route

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Honking buses and congested streets have some Como Park residents upset over a new bus route running through their neighborhood.

“It’s not the right spot for a bus, everybody knows it and we’re stuck with it,” said resident David Erickson.

The controversial Route 3 started running on Como Avenue on July 1 after months of public debate. And residents are still divided over the busline.

Erickson said the Metropolitan Council planned the route poorly. The bus runs on a street that’s too narrow. And the council didn’t handle residents’ concerns well either.

“They really didn’t open (the issue) up again, they reneged on their promise to have a committee work on alternatives,” Erickson said.

But the few disgruntled residents had more than enough time to raise concern, said Lee Paoxiong, Metropolitan Council member and Como area representative.

Residents have gone back and forth over safety issues. Paoxiong said the bus line was going to run on Gateway Drive. But residents complained that buses passing Como Park on Gateway would cause safety problems.

Theresa McQuade, another Como Avenue resident, is also unhappy with the Metropolitan Council’s actions.

She said the Metropolitan Council bypassed proper procedure to appease a small portion of the community by switching the route to run on Como Avenue, after it had been approved to run on Gateway Drive.

“They’re just going to do whatever they want because they can,” McQuade said.

She also said the new bus traffic has been a problem. It would have been best if the Metropolitan Council put the route on Gateway Drive because it’s safer, McQuade said.

The alternative was to put the route on Como Avenue, Paoxiong said. He said extensive planning was involved and the new route has been successful.

“It’s impossible to make everyone happy,” Paoxiong said.

“We have a sizeable number of people taking the bus; our ridership projection was exceeded.”

And the council has received positive feedback from many residents, he said.

Bob Treumann is one of those residents. He said the Metropolitan Council has been very cooperative.

“The Metro Council has spent a lot of time and money going through ridiculous proposals,” he said, “The process that the city followed listening to those people was about four times longer than it should have been.”

Treumann said the group of people against the new bus route don’t represent the whole neighborhood.

“We need to stand up for the people who are transit-dependent; we will all be in 30 years,” Treumann said.

Another area resident agreed. Susanne Maeder said buses are needed on Como because of the heavy ridership.

“There are people who want them and need them and prefer not to drive,” Maeder said.

Every time the route has been moved to a new place, the people in that place are annoyed, Maeder said. “Nobody wants it going in front of their house.”

 

Robyn Repya covers East Bank
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