Apartments, YMCA seek service from dueling transit districts

Apartments, YMCA seek service from dueling transit districts

CHAMPAIGN — A pair of large southwest Champaign facilities are hoping that two dueling transit districts can set aside their differences to provide them with bus service.

Representatives of the 316-unit Windsor West Apartments complex and the new Champaign County YMCA appeared before the Champaign Southwest Mass Transit District Board on Tuesday night to ask for full bus service. Because the two properties are south of Windsor Road, they are within the boundaries of the Champaign Southwest district, which does not provide any service, but are just outside the territory of the larger C-U MTD.

Bob Pratten, the president and CEO of the firm that owns the apartment complex, says he pays the MTD $8,000 a year for limited, contracted service but that it is inadequate.

"What we're paying for now, it's OK, but it gives our residents pretty limited service," said Pratten.

And Mark Johnson, the executive director of the YMCA, says he cannot get any bus service for his members.

"The number-one thing we get hammered about is bus service, far and away," Johnson said.

The Champaign Southwest MTD board members indicated Tuesday that they were open to the idea of entering into an intergovernmental agreement with the larger MTD, but would need more details from the YMCA and the apartment complex about the level of bus service they would need.

Pratten, whose complex now gets service for two hours in the mornings and two hours in the afternoons, said he wanted full-time service, seven days a week.

"We're here to seek guidance as to what can be done," he said.

He said he couldn't afford to wait too long because he soon will begin writing leases for the fall semester and wants to know whether he will need to contract for services again.

"And the YMCA's needs are greater than ours," he said.

Jack Dempsey, a recent appointee to the Champaign Southwest board, said a renewed discussion with the larger MTD gives the smaller district a chance to negotiate items it wants, including the possibility of reduced service in some southwest Champaign neighborhoods.

"This could be an opportunity to sit down with the MTD and make us all happy," said Dempsey, the executive director of facilities and services at the University of Illinois.

It was Dempsey's first board meeting and almost a more memorable one, as some Champaign Southwest board members were prepared to challenge his appointment as a replacement for five-year veteran board member Ann Parkhill Suchoff.

But Champaign County Board Chairman C. Pius Weibel attended the meeting and confirmed that he had nominated Dempsey to replace Suchoff, and that the county board approved the appointment.

The Champaign Southwest board approved a resolution commending Suchoff, one of its original board members, for her service on the board.

Board members also deferred action on a plan to abate some level of property taxes for the 75 percent of taxpayers in the district who are also in the larger MTD. Those property owners pay both the larger MTD's 27.25-cents-per-$100-of-assessed-valuation property-tax rate and the Champaign Southwest's 1.84-cent rate.

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rsp wrote on April 18, 2012 at 8:04 am

So 75% of the taxpayers are being double-taxed? And they're okay with that, paying taxes for a  service that doesn't exist? What I really don't understand is how the YMCA  went from being accessable to all to being an exclusive club. Before they moved anyone could get there. Literally. Now most people couldn't tell you where they are. And I don't understand this wait to get bus service arranged. That conversation should have started 6-12 months ago. 

dd1961 wrote on April 18, 2012 at 8:04 am

Who says the conversation did not start 6-12 months ago, or even further back than that.  Maybe you should check your facts before you post.

UrbanaElite wrote on April 18, 2012 at 9:04 am

Oh here we go again...


Now the Y is an "exclusive club."  RSP, have you spend much time at the new facility?  I have and I can tell you that the utilzation of the new facility is far greater than the old facilities.  As for the 'exclusivity' of the facility I can also assure you that the individuals and families that I see at the Y on a daily basis reflect the compositon and diversity that exists within our community.  The last time I checked the name of the facility was the CHAMPAIGN COUNTY YMCA not the Downtown Champaign YMCA.  What about the people who live in outlying communities without access to fitness facilities at all?  Shouldn't the new Y be for them as well?  The city folk have access to any number of health clubs, park district facilities and programs that people in the surrounding small towns do not.  Take time to learn the facts before you fire off.  Visit the new facilty...you might like what you see.  We would be more than happy to have you among our 'exclusive' ranks. 

rsp wrote on April 18, 2012 at 10:04 am

I can't walk that far. Sorry. There are a lot of people in town who can't get out there as well. I'm sure it's wonderful. But it wasn't a "county" facility to begin with. The name was changed with the location.

dd1961 wrote on April 18, 2012 at 10:04 am

Again, you have your facts wrong.  It was the Champaign COUNTY YMCA when it was on Church street as well.  The MTD issue appears to be a fued between two districts, one which is NOT providing needed bus service.  The YMCA and obviously people living in the area would love to have bus service.

rsp wrote on April 18, 2012 at 12:04 pm

McKinley Family YMCA

 

 

"The McKinley Family YMCA has been located at 500 W. Church Street in Champaign for more than 70 years. According to the News-Gazette, it was originally built around the turn of the 20th century and was known as the Phillippe mansion, then was acquired in 1937 by a group that formed the McKinley Family YMCA. Over the years, the building was expanded to include two indoor pools, men's and women's fitness centers, and a gymnasium, among other facilities. The McKinley Family YMCA derived its name from Senator William B. McKinley, who made a bequest to start a YMCA in Champaign-Urbana."

 

dd1961 wrote on April 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm

It has been the Champaign County YMCA officially at least 17 years.  My kids swam for the team all that time and all the letterhead and everything was Champaign County YMCA CCYMCA.  They are listed with the national YMCA association as the Champaign County YMCA. The name changed it from McKinley to Stevens, but it is still a county YMCA, before and now.

whatithink wrote on April 18, 2012 at 9:04 am

Since there in no Champaign Southwest Bus Service, how much of the 1.84-cent rate goes to the pockets of the board members of the non-existant service?   What a rip-off.  We know the real reason the district was started was just to keep the buses out of their neighborhoods and now the surrounding areas are stuck with nothing.

Moruitelda wrote on April 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Yep. Protect their tax rates, keep out the poor, and thereby protect their property values and preserve wealthy suburban homogeneity, where everybody can drive their massive SUVs alone to work every day.

What a vile concept across the board. 

WestChampaign wrote on April 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm

You got it we are all haters, please stay out!  Seriously, people in those neighborhoods are not interested in bus service, most people in SW Champaign would be willing to pay for the MTD to service the core of town understanding its value to citizens who live there, but why have a service that isn't used or desired?

What is wrong with protecting home values? I paid a lot of money for my home I want it to appreciate, why is that a bad thing? I don't have a massive SUV but thanks for the demagoguery.

Speaking of keeping out the poor please mention that the city has not installed sidewalks on the overpasses on Kirby and on Windsor in your next class warfare post.divis

Amanda Baker wrote on April 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm
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So, are you not for a sidewalk overpass on Kirby and Windsor? I'm confused as to how that would impose anything on anyone. Keeping people safe should be a priority!

WestChampaign wrote on April 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Sorry I meant that sarcastically. The lack of sidewalks is extremely dangerous. Because I chose to live on the other side of the interstate that is my burden, not yours as I would like to be able to ride a bike or walk over the interstate without being maimed by a neighbor in a huge SUV. I called the city and they indicated that the overpass is owned by IDOT and they had no authority to "modify" the overpass.  My sarcasm was based on the fact that Matilda was implying that I prefer nondiversity so I was helping her make her argument and having her jump on my sidewalk bandwagon.  Yes I think there should be sidewalks over I-57 funded by the city providing the funds are available. Just no empty MTD buses! 

Amanda Baker wrote on April 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm
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Yeah, missed the overpass sarcasim. We also called about it and had heard that funding was not available.

I'd actually like to know on average how many people use the Navy line on a average basis. Anyone up for actually finding this out? NG? WestChampaign? SWMTD? Bueler?

Amanda Baker wrote on April 18, 2012 at 9:04 am
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This disput is ridiculous. The CSMTD should disband and and let the CUMTD service the entire area. The fact that CSMTD is charging for a service that doesn't exist should be criminal!

Also, the idea behind the new YMCA is that it is accessible to people of all abilities. People with disabilities who cannot drive or don't live within walking distance must be able to have access to the Y. Denying public transportation to it makes the whole concept fall apart!

I live in the WW apartments and LOVE the new Y! I am proud to be a part of both!

I am extremely ashamed of the SWMTD and the people who support it.

WestChampaign wrote on April 18, 2012 at 11:04 am

The dispute is not ridiculus, the citizens in that area are uniformly opposed to empty buses driving around our neighborhoods.  Does Mass Transit have a purpose? Most certainly but not in subdivisions that don't want or us it. Perhaps the MTD should stop trying to impose their will upon us!  Furthermore SWMTD was created long before the YMCA and Regency apartments located into that area.  If those folks want bus access, great work out a deal with MTD separately. Just keep empty and unwanted MTD buses off the streets of the subdivisions west of I-57. 

rsp wrote on April 18, 2012 at 12:04 pm

I don't understand how people in southwest only see empty buses. I've been on buses all over the area that were standing room only. People had to wait for a special to get where they were going. Of course if all you believe is that all the buses are empty then that's all you'll ever see, even if they just dropped off all their passengers.

WestChampaign wrote on April 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Sure the buses are full near Wright Street and Neil Street, a little less at Mattis...by the time you get to Duncan and beyond the ridership is non-existent.  Please tell me the efficiency of 10 ton bus getting 10 mpg driving one or two people around? The argument here is not to disband the MTD, the argument is that the citizens west of I-57 don't want buses in their neighborhoods. So much so that they organized, raised funds, voted and are willing to pay more in RE taxes to prevent the MTD from coming into our neighborhoods.  Do you need a clearer picture? It isn't that we are opposed to paying taxes to support the MTD in the core of town, where it is used! Bill Volk and Tom Costello et al believe that we should all enjoy the utopian advantages of mass transit and therefore foist it upon unwilling citizens to prove their point.  Here is an intersting thought, exclude University of Illinois students ridership and fees and see how viable the MTD is- let me be clear I am not excluding professors / academic professionals who ride the bus to work- only students, whose daily ridership might be 4+ rides per day. Which is great. but don't use that participation to argue that if people have access to MT that they will use it.

Moruitelda wrote on April 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Well, apparently they're going to censor me here - my lengthy and detailed response to your post got deleted. 

But, in short, it's pretty clear to those of us who have actually ridden the CUMTD bus service that you haven't yourself. The buses are not empty. They're absolutely packed. There's ample demand for the service, and you don't have the right to keep out the bus service because you don't want to use it yourself. 

WestChampaign wrote on April 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Wrong, I used the MTD when I went to school at UIUC. Please tell me what areas of town you are riding packed buses? Please define packed? I would surely love to know people are riding the bus past Duncan Rd.

Not sure what right you are referring to? Life Liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Or are you referring to an actual referendum of citizens who went to the ballot box and voted by a majority of its citizens to create the SWMTD? 

Please keep riding the CUMTD by the way, it just isn't for me and any of my neighbors.

dd1961 wrote on April 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

But it is for people who want to get to the YMCA and the new apartments. The SWMTD is blocking that from happening.  That is the problem.  A small amount of people in this area(small compared to the whole city) are keeping people from a service.  Sounds to me like you do not want it on your streets, but I do see people being picked up by the Navy line that goes out to the apartments and they are West of Duncan.  They also did not look like students, they had briefcases and looked like professionals.  I think if the service were offered on a more regular basis, then there would be users. 

 

And yes, the city does need to do something about all of those overpasses.  They are very scary to ride a bike over!

Moruitelda wrote on April 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm

I ride the Brown and Navy regularly. 

Today, there were 18 people on the Navy line when it crossed I-57. 

Amanda Baker wrote on April 18, 2012 at 12:04 pm
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I am a citizen of SW Champaign, and I am not opposed to the MTD in SW Champaign. "Does mass transit had a purpose?" Yes, to serve Champaign County, not just parts of Champaign County.

If MTD was available in those areas, I think you'd be surpirsed by how many people would use it considering that people in SW Champaign tend to pride themselves on being green. (Windsor West apartments is the one of the largest geo-thermal communities in the state) And how do you know the buses would be empty? Has there been reliable and accessible public transportation in SW Champaign before? If you don't think there is a purpose for public transportation in SW Champaign, then why does SWMTD exist? Why are they taxing property? Basically you're paying to not have bus service! How is that fair to the people that would like bus service? To possible senior citizens in your area, to people who cannot drive due to illness or disability?

Public transportation and community needs trump your selfish desire to have bus-free  SUV filled, McMansion subdivisions.

 

 

 

WestChampaign wrote on April 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm

First off MTD does not serve Champaign County- perhaps the goverance of CUMTD indicates this, but folks in Broadlands and Ludlow would argue that point!

Second, you claim to be "green" and you mock our subdivisions of McMansions and SUV's, yet by living in a new vinyl clad, urban sprawling land development you indicate to me that you are actually not very green. There are plenty of apartments closer to the center of town where you can enjoy "govenrment" benefits.

How do I know the buses are empty? Because I have lived in Champaign for 30+ years and have the ability to look through windows and count riders as they are driving by! When you are only counting 1 or 2 people surprisingly, it is not that difficult.

People in SW do not pride themselves on being green, hence our McMansions, SUV's and other cabon footprint enlargeing practices.  BTW your paragraph two and paragraph three contradict each other. SWMTD exists to obstruct CUMTD, I doubt that is in their by-laws (I am not affliated) but pretty clear that was the purpose of its formation.  Yes we are paying not to have buses, exactly right, that is how much we dislike them! It's is like extortion in a way but hey whatever works.  How fair is it to people who like Mass Transit? I don't care, don't move to SW Champaign if you want buses! How hard is that to comprehend? There are lots of lovely areas to live in C-U that have bus access, Priuses, public libraries and NPR, please move there. Heck go all in and rent a zip car!  Am I selfish? Last time I checked my RE Tax bill it doesn't feel that way! Perhaps I should move to Mahomet and give you and yours Champaign, but as you recently moved to SW Champaign, you move as I was here first. Afterall shouldn't you live in Urbana anyway?

Moruitelda wrote on April 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Don't like how cities work? Don't live in a city. You hit the nail on the head - maybe you should move to Mahomet. 

WestChampaign wrote on April 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Ah yes the old "love it or leave it" ploy, as I said I was here first. Also I don't live in a city, I live in a subdivision that was outside of the city limits when I built it 6 years ago. The city "forceably" annexed us into the city and brought with it dirty, empty, loud, black smoke belching buses.

I will move to Mahomet, when you move to Urbana!

Moruitelda wrote on April 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Cities expand. If you didn't realize that when you bought your property after 24 years of living in Champaign-Urbana, you obviously weren't paying very close attention. 

The buses aren't empty. You're making that up. I've ridden the buses, and they're frequently quite full when they cross I-57. Your anecdotal evidence of "I can look in bus windows" is inferior to my anecdotal evidence of "I rode the bus every day for several years."

WestChampaign wrote on April 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Yes you are right I made that up and my efforts to sway you into my anti MTD camp have failed. My ancedotal evidence of 2 people on a bus at 6pm every night at Windsor and Mullikin is inferior to your ancedotal evidence that the buses are quite full at some time of day crossing over I-57. I apologize.

BatmanIllini wrote on April 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm

That settles it, one bus a day that has 2 people on it...that obviously means the MTD is completely useless.

Moruitelda wrote on April 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm

And citing Mullikan? Sorry that the Champaign poster children for why the U.S. needs a more steeply progressive income tax system don't ride the bus. 

Amanda Baker wrote on April 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm
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I spy a conservative!

And you don't enjoy "government" benfits? Water, electricty, roads etc? Did they not have to expand those services when those divisions popped up? Or did those subdiviions set up their own non existent services to block out the "extortion" the regular services are imposing. Bus services are needed among a diverse pool of people, expand that service and a community is actually created, instead of seperate subdivisions.

As Moruitelda pointed out in a deleted post, that the buses traveling west of Duncan are actually packed. Are you counting while you drive?

Maybe only parts of SW Champaign prides itselfs on being green, clearly you do not care. I'd like to take you up on your offer and have you move to Mahomet, since that is clearly more of a community in which you'd like to live in. And since you've been here for 30+ years, isn't time for you to move to Florida or something, where all your conservative dreams can come true!

I'd like Champaign to be accessible and progressive just like (some) of its people are. Blocking out a community service because you and your friends don't like it is exactly why communities like this have issues with building community among its people. The new Y stands for progression and diversity and accessibilty, let's stand with them.

 

WestChampaign wrote on April 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Wow Shorty, you nailed it I am a conservative. I do enjoy city sewer, snow plowing, police and fire protection.  I also use the Champaign Library as well!  Though my electricity comes from Ameren and my water Illinois American not sure how you are getting yours from the city.  When the subdivision was built they paid a "fee" to have that infrastructure extended to those subdivisions to pay for its cost. Later the city annexed us and required us to pay RE taxes to pay for those services.  This is an advantage to the citizens in the center of town as the new subdivisions pay high taxes but require little upkeep because they are new.

Well the buses I see are empty, yes I can drive and and count people in empty buses.  Kind of like walking and chewing gum, some can, some can't. Perhaps that is why I drive a car and you ride a bus.

Actually I was born and raised in Champaign so at 39 years of age I have lived here 30+ years, excluding 4 years in the military, not quite ready to retire, but thanks for assuming that as a conservative I am 70 year old WASP, and you think we aren't open minded!

 

 

Amanda Baker wrote on April 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm
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Right, and I should live in Urbana because I believe that community "government" services should be expanded to serve reasonable areas or our expanding town.

Bus services is needed to create accessibility to the people that don't have the privledge of owning a car or having a lincense. MTD will not expand into a subdivision if no one is riding the bus. So why is this an issue. Expand bus service out to the ones asking for it, (read: the communties that this article is talking about) and be done with it.

There are people that need this service, and enjoy this service.

 

WestChampaign wrote on April 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Who can afford to live in a $275,000+ house with $7000 a year RE tax bills (i.e. surely the average value and tax bill in aggregate of homes west of I57) but not afford a car or pay the $10 for a cab? 

Amanda Baker wrote on April 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm
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I wasn't talking about subdivision people, I'm talking about the people that want to get to the Y, or the people/students in the apartment buildings.

But since you asked, people with disablities who would like to rely on public transportation. People who enjoy riding the bus, rather than diriving. Bikers? People who for whatever reason, cannot transport themselves or their families. Wouldn't it be nice to say they they can live in these subdivisions and also enjoy public transportation.

 

 

WestChampaign wrote on April 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm

First off MTD does not serve Champaign County- perhaps the goverance of CUMTD indicates this, but folks in Broadlands and Ludlow would argue that point!

Second, you claim to be "green" and you mock our subdivisions of McMansions and SUV's, yet by living in a new vinyl clad, urban sprawling land development you indicate to me that you are actually not very green. There are plenty of apartments closer to the center of town where you can enjoy "govenrment" benefits.

How do I know the buses are empty? Because I have lived in Champaign for 30+ years and have the ability to look through windows and count riders as they are driving by! When you are only counting 1 or 2 people surprisingly, it is not that difficult.

People in SW do not pride themselves on being green, hence our McMansions, SUV's and other cabon footprint enlargeing practices.  BTW your paragraph two and paragraph three contradict each other. SWMTD exists to obstruct CUMTD, I doubt that is in their by-laws (I am not affliated) but pretty clear that was the purpose of its formation.  Yes we are paying not to have buses, exactly right, that is how much we dislike them! It's is like extortion in a way but hey whatever works.  How fair is it to people who like Mass Transit? I don't care, don't move to SW Champaign if you want buses! How hard is that to comprehend? There are lots of lovely areas to live in C-U that have bus access, Priuses, public libraries and NPR, please move there. Heck go all in and rent a zip car!  Am I selfish? Last time I checked my RE Tax bill it doesn't feel that way! Perhaps I should move to Mahomet and give you and yours Champaign, but as you recently moved to SW Champaign, you move as I was here first. Afterall shouldn't you live in Urbana anyway?

mankind wrote on April 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Your premise is off. MTD does go through that area, and I've seen riders disembark them even on Mullikin Drive, which has houses with 4 or 6-car garages. And I regularly see people from the mobile home park that's just across the road from the SW subdivisions waiting for the bus at the corner of Mullikin and Windsor. It's too bad that MTD makes the people from the mobile home park walk a quarter mile to catch the bus, though I understand the mobile home park isn't within city limits. Still, there are mothers with babies and young kids dashing across Windsor to get there. In any case, MTD shouldn't be cutting back the routes, and SWMTD should cease its sham "operations," stop double-taxing, and stop taxing residents for a non-service.

SoundsFunny wrote on April 18, 2012 at 9:04 am

Maybe YMCA CEO Mark Johnson and all thought only the competitive gymnastics individuals used mass transportation.

RamNation wrote on April 18, 2012 at 8:04 pm

We could not have said it better!!!Well Said!

 

DEB wrote on April 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm

The taxpayers in SW Champaign are not OK with double taxation. In fact, there is a petition going around (had about 200 signatures by the time I signed it) to do away with the bus system that won't bus.  I also heard that there is an attempt to make them buy busses and provide services, or go out of business and pay some penalties to the defrauded residents of Champaign.  Turns out, it isn't really legal to charge people for services you refuse to provide.

Amanda Baker wrote on April 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm
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I will sign this petition. Where can I find it! When I buy a house I want to be SWMTD tax free!

Moruitelda wrote on April 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Me too!

WestChampaign wrote on April 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Wouldn't it be easier if the CUMTD just agreed to limited service in SW Champaign and have the SWMTD disolve?

Also only citizens in SWMTD district (Lincolnshire Fields, Ironwood, Trails at Abbey etc) pay this "double tax". Not all City of Champaign RE Tax payers. Too avoid the tax don't move to those subdivisions.

Last while you signing petitions make sure you address the City of Champaign Township and Champaign Township double taxation issue or did you forget to mention that?

rsp wrote on April 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

The CUMTD is very good about only having routes that are needed. They don't put in a route just so a bus can drive in circles. There are three areas that are served by vans which have to be called, not buses. They link up with bus routes. They need service but don't have enough traffic to merit a fixed route. Think about that for a minute. That's probably what would have went into most ot that area, but I can't guarantee it. Instead of working with the CUMTD, a war was started. 

Amanda Baker wrote on April 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm
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Exactly! MTD would lose money if they had empty routes, so trying to optimize and efficeintly run the serivce is in their best interst too.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on April 19, 2012 at 8:04 am
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I thought the SWMTD was devised with the singular purpose of preventing regular MTD from annexing the territory?

rsp wrote on April 20, 2012 at 2:04 am

And the courts said they could co-exist. But they are still a mass transit district. They managed to get voter approval to raise taxes to pay the legal fees. There isn't any legal case going on anymore. I want to know how they would disolve the entity now. It was created by referendum. Now people are wanting the board to disband. Do they have to do that again?

Orbiter wrote on April 19, 2012 at 7:04 am

I'll continue to add my voice to those who decry the choice of putting the new YMCA on remote, prime farmland, rather than redeveloping one of the many vacant sites in town, where new parking garages abound and public transit already offers service.  It's Walmart-esque thinking to keep building on the periphery, allowing the core to decline. Never should have been allowed, let alone planned. The town and county administrators are to share the blame for this debacle.  Bad, bad choice.

dd1961 wrote on April 19, 2012 at 9:04 am

Perhaps if one of those vacant sites in town had been donated to the YMCA, and it was large enough, they would have built there.  The land was donated out on Windsor.  It was a enough for expansion, and worth 1 million dollars at the time.  I don't know about you, but if someone gives me 1 million dollars worth of land, I do not think that is something easily turned down. Especially for a not for profit where every penny to build had to be raised.

Squirrel wrote on April 19, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Orbiter, you hit the nail on the head. Nothing green about the location of the project (try and get a LEED point for it, if you don't believe me). The move was ill-advised and not thought out. Now we have the YMCA begging someone else to provide transportation for their patrons as in "make a special trip to serve only us". For everybody else it means more time in the car, more traffic over the Interstate (don't ever try to bike across those overpasses - they are very dangerous), more fuel burned. Maybe Mark Johnson should've actually talked to the entire breadth of his patrons instead of the ones donating money (wonder where they live?)

Marti Wilkinson wrote on April 19, 2012 at 8:04 am

I grew up in Holiday Park which I consider to be part of SW Champaign and lived right on the Green line, When I was younger I would take the bus out to the mall, to Parkland, and to other places. I currently live within one block of the Lavender bus line and rarely use it, but I do see a need for it. The last time I took the MTD was when I had to drop my vehicle off for repairs and taking a bus was cheaper than ordering a cab. Since my job requires me to go out of town, I have to have a vehicle.

My parents are elderly and my father is legally blind after living with diabetes for years. A few years ago my mother suffered from a mild stroke, and she was restricted from driving until she fully recovered. So both my parents used the bus system to get around. They still live in the same house that I grew up in, so having access to service was a blessing for them. People use the bus lines for different reasons, and if there is a need to provide service to the YMCA and the apartment buildings, then I hope the MTD can find a way to do so.

sameeker wrote on April 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm

"State is against the Gover'ment/And the highway still ain't paved". Hank Jr, Hit the nail on the head.

spangwurfelt wrote on April 20, 2012 at 7:04 am

So, just to be clear here, the whole point of the creation of the SWMTD was to pre-empt CUMTD annexation of areas southwest of Champaign, and thereby avoid the CUMTD tax burden - which was replaced by the SWMTD tax burden, which while lower consists entirely of paying lawyers to lose lawsuits.

And now they're discovering that they want bus service, preferably one that someone else pays for.

Awesome!

Janet wrote on April 20, 2012 at 8:04 am

I'm coming into this when the discussion is pretty much over, but I don't exactly understand the hue and cry over the new Y's location. I doesn't serve the central part of Champaign as well, but it serves West better. I live in west Champaign, and I can't afford the new Y. There are more places than ever now, though, that are affordable (more than one place now that is $10/month). The Y doesn't receive government money, so I guess I don't see why some think there is a mandate that it serves a certain client. Like everything else in fitness these days (has anyone checked out the University lately?), upscale is in. I don't think it would have been affordable for them to build what they wanted in an existing facility, and they problaby couldn't afford to tear down an existing structure.


Also (feel like I'm throwing in gasoline now), I have seen empty buses going through Maynard at all times of day (no, I don't live there).  If 18 people are on a bus, how many seats are open? I've never felt that buses in those neighborhoods was anything but a MTD money grab. I keep waiting for someone's kid to be run over.

mankind wrote on April 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Yeah, that's a bit of gasoline, Janet, and that's even assuming that by "waiting" for someone's kid to be run over, you mean "dreading it might happen," because I can't imagine any accident more horrible. In any case, why would a city bus in SW Champaign be any more likely than any other vehicle to run over a child? School buses are around kids all the time. And if that's the reason they don't want buses running in SW Champaign, why is it okay to let them run through neighborhoods everywhere else? I haven't heard a good argument yet for preventing bus service out there.   

rsp wrote on April 21, 2012 at 2:04 am

First off the CUMTD has one of the best safety records in the country. Not the area, the country. They fire drivers who do not live up to their standards. Second, granted there are other fitness centers in town. That's a good point. Name one that has programs for children, and specialized programs for children with disabilities. They asked the community to raise money for Larkin's Place, but many of the children who could benefit have no access. So again I ask, who is it really for?

billbtri5 wrote on April 22, 2012 at 10:04 am

let's see, you plan and then build a facaility from the ground up in a location that does not have bus service, then after its up and going you complain that there's no bus service?  why not build a mile north where there is bus service?...

dd1961 wrote on April 22, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Because a million dollars worth of land was not donated a mile north.