By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Changes approved to transit bus route

Just three bus riders testified Thursday morning on route changes under consideration by the Yamhill County Transit Authority Board. And all three said they were generally happy with a package of changes proposed for McMinnville’s Route 3, despite some lingering concerns.

Commissioners Mary Stern and Leslie Lewis unanimously approved the changes, which are slated to take effect on Dec. 3. Commissioner Kathy George was not able to attend. 

All three witnesses thanked the board for listening to rider concerns, saying they depend on bus transportation and the new stops will improve service.

The Lafayette Avenue stop was eliminated. In exchange, stops were added along Evans Street.

New stops at 27th Street and Burnett should help riders left stranded by the previous changes, said Transit Manager Tonya Saunders said. The buses on Routes 33 and 44 will make stops at Safeway, the Redwood Commons apartment complex, Orchard Avenue and Riverside Drive to improve service at problem points, she said.

Riders Paula Palmer, Ronda Armour and Florence Hoffman said those changes will help, but they still have some concerns. They cited difficulties making connections between city and commuter routes, a need for earlier and later runs and a lack of stops at some high-traffic points, notably Walgreens.

The city asked that the Walgreens stop be eliminated because there is no crosswalk there and crossing busy Highway 99W can be hazardous. The women argued for its restoration.

Armour said she shared the city’s safety concerns, after watching people, including some in wheelchairs, try to beat traffic across the road. However, she noted many people rely on Walgreens.

Hoffman agreed, saying she herself patronizes the pharmacy there. “I’ll donate paint for a crosswalk,” she said.

Armour said she also was concerned about lack of notices in Spanish for the benefit of Latino riders.

Stern said that the board had considered that, but was concerned that might lead to a requirement for Spanish-language interpreters at  hearings. “That costs money and takes money away from the routes,” she said.

The board will continue to discuss the issue, she said.



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