From stimulus to bicyclist

bicycle-shadowYou don’t have to go far in this town to find someone frustrated by the lack of bike lanes, connectivity of the trails or the difficulty of getting across town without your own hood. But that may get at least a partial fix soon.

The city’s transit department has $6.6 million of stimulus money (that federal cash viewed by some as a boost in a down economy and by others as wasteful spending with lax oversight). That will equip virtually all buses with bicycle racks (they each hold two bikes on the front of the bus). And the city is also considering placing bike racks or lockers where trails intersect with bus paths, said Mike Vinson, the city’s transit director.

The stim cash will also be welcomed by the nonprofits that shuttle people with disabilities. (The city must provide transportation to people with disabilities – either by doing it themselves or paying someone else to.) But the city has shorted them for years, something the city has only recently acknowledged and begun to fix. The stimulus dough will help fund their services and buy some new vans.

The spending, which is expected to get a formal endorsement from the city council this Tuesday, will also buy heaps of other equipment . Here’s a look:

Equipment and storage for the new regional van maintenance facility; · Purchase of new replacement paratransit vans for Wichita Transit’s aging fleet; · Bike racks and bike locks to help tie-in this aspect to our transit system; · Purchase of ITS hardware and software (Phase II) to implement for our van and bus fleets; · Purchase “hybrid” vehicles (for administrative functions) to improve our local carbon footprint; · Purchase and installation of safety strobes for our bus fleet to improve the visibility of the vehicles to reduce accidents; · Preventive maintenance and ADA non-fixed route service operating funds; and · Purchase and installation of air-conditioning units at our Transit Center facility · Purchase paratransit vans for agencies · Administration costs

Drop a note and let us know how you feel about stimulus cash for the transit system.