New Y, Windsor West won't get bus service

CHAMPAIGN — The new Champaign County YMCA and the Windsor West apartment complex in southwest Champaign will not get service from the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District — not until the Champaign Southwest Mass Transit District goes out of business.

That was the gist of a resolution adopted unanimously and with little discussion by the C-U MTD board Wednesday.

The YMCA and the 316-unit apartment complex had asked the smaller MTD in April for more service. The problem is, the Southwest MTD has never provided transit service in its six-year history and because of its meager budget it could never afford to.

In fact, members of the Champaign Southwest MTD board have suggested that the larger MTD should serve the YMCA and the apartment complex, even though both are within the boundaries of the smaller MTD but outside of the larger MTD.

"If they feel strongly about that then they should just go out of business and we'll have no problem at all in serving that area," MTD board Chairman Ron Peters responded Wednesday.

But Edward Vaughan, the chairman of the Champaign Southwest MTD board, said the C-U MTD can fix the problem by providing more service to the intersection of Windsor Road and Fields South Court, which is a few hundred yards north of the YMCA and the apartment complex.

"That is clearly in their territory. The C-U MTD is collecting over $400,000 from people who are joint residents, who live west of Interstate 57," Vaughan said. "They're not really providing transportation to those people. And they're not providing transportation for the people that live in the massive area of the C-U MTD east of I-57 to that corner of their district that is near the YMCA."

If the standoff between the two transit districts is going to be resolved, Peters said, it will require prodding from the approximately 2,000 homeowners who live in both transit districts and pay taxes to both.

"It will have to come from out there, after all that area is paying two sets of taxes and tax bill time is around. They see those two transit districts on their tax bill," Peters said. "People are saying, 'What are they doing?' But that's up to the people who live there."

The four-paragraph resolution approved Wednesday says that the larger MTD "will not further extend mass transit service into territory outside its boundaries that is already part of another mass transit district."

The reason, Peters said, is that "it would certainly be confusing in the future in terms of having two transit districts in that area, in terms of future growth. We just feel that we don't want to participate in that kind of thing that would just add to that confusion."

Peters said that "frankly we hope that they can be out of business not too far into the future."

At least two of the five Champaign Southwest MTD board members recently have suggested that the smaller MTD — formed to block expansion of the larger and heavier-taxing MTD — should be dissolved. More discussion on that item likely will come up at the next Champaign Southwest MTD meeting June 19.

Meanwhile, C-U MTD director Bill Volk said his agency would continue to provide special service, by contract, to the apartment complex.

"We already are serving the apartment complex, but we're not going to do any more," he said. "The apartment complex will remain in place if they pay for the contract that we currently have."

He said he has not had discussions with the apartment complex owners about extending the contract. It expires later this year.

In other business Wednesday the C-U MTD board:

— Approved applying for grants to purchase two 40-foot hybrid buses at a cost of $603,400 each. Federal funds will provide 83 percent of the cost, with the rest coming from the state. Once the buses are in service in about a year, Volk said, the MTD will retire its 1996-vintage buses. None of the MTD's buses then will be more than 12 years old, he said, and the MTD fleet will average "six or seven years," the newest it has been since the 1970s.

— Set a public hearing for 4 p.m. June 6 at the Illinois Terminal in downtown Champaign on the bus system's $38.7 million operating budget. The budget is up about $3 million from the current year, with $1.6 million the result of increased debt service, Volk said. The debt service covers spending on capital items such as buses, bus shelters and kiosks and technological equipment. Most of the rest of the increase is the result of higher insurance costs and pay raises for employees. Revenue to cover the higher costs will come mostly from the state — which covers 65 percent of all MTD operating costs — and a new contract with the University of Illinois that provides $52 per semester per student, up from $50.

— Learned that April ridership was up 3 percent and that year-to-date ridership is 4.9 percent above the previous year's.

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Orbiter wrote on May 31, 2012 at 8:05 am

It seems to me that the folks out in that part of town haven't been wanting or needing bus service for the past 20+ years, since if they chose to live out in the suburbs in the bean fields.   And having a YMCA built in their backyards won't change anything--they're probably delighted that it's close to them and inaccessible to the many in central Champaign and Urbana who can't afford private auto transit to get there.  The REAL insult is that the YMCA elected to build it's new facility in such a poor location, and then expects the bus system to send a special line out to service them, so that their neediest constituents can get to the facility.  

 

The siting of the new YMCA is absurd and they knew it years ago when the rich locals out there "donated" the land in order to secure their own private Y.  The YMCA was either duped or duplicitious in this, and should be ashamed.

Joe American wrote on May 31, 2012 at 9:05 am

HAHAHAHA!!!!  If you can't afford a cheap reliable car, you certainly can't afford their membership rates.  If you haven't seen them yet I advise you do before making uninformed statements.

And by "poor location" one can only assume you mean "inconvenient for YOU".  Isn't it funny how subjective anything really is?  Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh....

rsp wrote on May 31, 2012 at 9:05 am

Someone with epilepsy can't drive. But I suppose a "cheap reliable car" would be good in case of a seizure. Easy to replace. Now as far as the insurance...that may be a little tricky. Not sure why they have a problem with it though. What about blind people? You just aren't too familiar with the disabled, huh? Oh, and by the way, the YMCA has a sliding scale fee. It's based on income. But first you got to get there. "Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh...."

Joe American wrote on May 31, 2012 at 11:05 am

Excuse me?  Changing the rules AFTER we start the game?


Correct me if I'm wrong, but did the original poster not state, "inaccessible to the many in central Champaign and Urbana who can't afford private auto transit to get there."?  They stated nothing about disabilities, and I responded accordingly.

I responded to their comment.  Nothing more, nothing less.  I've forgotten more about IAC 1997 and the ADA than you know.

Oh, and their sliding scale is only a "while supplies last" type of deal (ask them, they'll confirm that for you as they did for me), and with the rates that they charge, I can assure you they won't last long.

Next issue, please.

rsp wrote on May 31, 2012 at 11:05 am

Private auto transit can include a personal car or in a cab, just not with a mass of people on say a bus. Considering you don't know me, you don't know what I know about disabilities. You don't know how long I've had to deal with them, what kind, how many family members, or how much knowledge I have about the issue. People with disabilities are not some separate class to be treated differently. We don't talk about issues affecting people and then say the disabled don't count. As for the reduced fees? I've known about the limited number for a long time. And what's with the next issue, please?

Joe American wrote on May 31, 2012 at 12:05 pm

"Private auto transit can include a personal car or in a cab, just not with a mass of people on say a bus."

Obviously.  And it could also include a private limo with a personal chauffeur.  Or it could include renting a ZipCar, too, for less than the cost of a cab.  But the overwhelming majority of "private auto transit" in this community is via personally owned automobiles, so for the sake of all but a few exceptions, let's stick to that.

Now, what's your point?  You really didn't make one.

rsp wrote on May 31, 2012 at 4:05 pm

From the Regional Planning District:

Citing census data from 2000, the transportation plan reported that 5,560 of the 43,618 households – or 13 percent - in Champaign-Urbana did not have a vehicle. 

You keep thinking you've made some magical point, but it's not the one you think you're making.

Joe American wrote on May 31, 2012 at 7:05 pm

1.  That study is 12 years old.  Bicycle usage was probably 10% of what it is now, too.


2.  Your study includes students who claim CU as their home for nine months of the year and who patronize CRCE, NOT the Y.


3.  Even if it is still 13%, which is irrelevant to the discussion, if only 5% of the population as a whole are members of the Y, then we're looking at .0065% of the population being affected - not enough to upstage the will of the residents.


4.  Of course I'm not making a point....I'm not making YOUR pont.


If they want to get there, they'll get there.   Quit your bellyaching and make it happen. 

Brad Cortright wrote on May 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Supply and demand will fluctuate as the facility ages and even during different seasons of the year.  During the winter months, the Y is packed, but when the weather turns nice then many members exercise outside or even let their memberships lapse. 


Joe American - If you need help in funding your membership, then I hope you are able to find it.  Good Luck!

Joe American wrote on May 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Thanks.

Can I drop your name for an additional discount?

Mark Taylor wrote on May 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Ha ha ha ha. You tell him, "Joe."

That's what he gets for using his real name instead of a pseudonym, right?

Joe American wrote on May 31, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Frankly, I'm not "telling him" anything.  He wished me luck in getting financial assistance and I asked if I could drop his name.  You know how it goes - It's not what you know, it's.....ah, you know.  If I thought dropping your name ("Mark", on here anyway) would help, I'd ask too.

Brad Cortright wrote on May 31, 2012 at 9:05 am

RSP is correct.  YMCAs across the country including the Champaign Country YMCA offer financial assitance up to and including free membership to the following groups of people.  It is called the YMCA open doors policy:


The Champaign County YMCA is a not-for-profit organization committed to helping people grow to their fullestGod-given potential. The Open Doors Financial Assistance Program works from the premise that everyone,regardless of their ability to pay, should be able to participate in YMCA activities. The program is funded throughthe generosity of our donors and receives no public funding, therefore to the extent funds are available, they areallocated. Open Doors is based on a sliding fee scale designed to fit each individuals situation and is most utilized by:


Youth referred by schools, churches, and organizations


Adults who are temporarily out of work


Those who are recently divorced and are experiencing financial hardships


People on fixed incomes


People who are overwhelmed by medical bills


Those experiencing other financial hardships


 

rsp wrote on May 31, 2012 at 9:05 am

Creating a Mass Transit District to raise money for legal expenses when you have no intention of providing a service is dishonest. If you don't like seeing empty buses on the edges of town, get involved in fighting the urban sprawl. There needs to be a more global approach to planning with long-term costs and short-term costs considered.

Joe American wrote on May 31, 2012 at 11:05 am

It was the formed on the request of the vast majority of the residents of the area.

Why is that dishonest?

If you live in the district and don't like it, you can either get elected to their board and do something about it, or just move.

If you don't live in the district, I really don't see how it's your concern at all.  The residents don't need your help - they're all growed up big people now.

I'm betting your case is the latter.

rsp wrote on May 31, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Collecting taxes without any intent to provide the service should be fraud. It does concern me and others when it acts as a denial of service. A service is only available in that area so by refusing to either provide service or disband they are denying access. See how that works? I know it's complicated for you. 

Joe American wrote on May 31, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Oh, I see how it works alright.  And so did the residents of SW Champaign when they overwhelmingly approved the referrendum to form the SWMTD.  And the SWMTD has never been deceiving in their goals.  They don't want bus service in their neighborhoods, and unfortunately for those of you who think they know what's better for them than they do, that's their right.

I'm sure your neighborhood is a little utopia and there's nothing there for you to concern yourself with, right?

rsp wrote on May 31, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Do you know what Larkin's place is? You know where it is, right, at the Y? I know an autistic 3 year old, maybe he could ride his big wheel out there.They advertised it for kids just like him.  As for my neighborhood, it's inclusive. We talk to each other, wave, even sit on the bus together. You should try it sometime.

Moruitelda wrote on May 31, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Where did this myth about "empty buses" come from? Have any of you people making this stuff up actually ridden CUMTD buses? They're clean, they're safe, they're comfortable, and they're frequently packed to standing-room-only. There are a lot of students, but there are adult professionals who live on Winchester, Scottsdale, Cherry Hills, Wendover, Briar Hill, and Fields South who already ride the bus regularly. 

I would not be surprised if expanding the bus service also expanded the number of people willing to ride. I did for a long time; my wife and I might now, if there were more substantial service to the area that made it more practical, such that we could arrive in downtown Champaign by 8 A.M. and leave at around 5 P.M. 

That's not a problem of empty buses. That's a problem of insufficient services in the area because there's a sham MTD that's been incorporated to keep rich suburban neighborhoods inaccessible to people who own fewer than two Mercedes-Benz SUVs. 

aantulov wrote on May 31, 2012 at 10:05 am

The YMCA chose the location and direction to serve the upper middle class with more ease rather than provide a hostel as per their tradition. It seems the "M" in there name now stands for "moneyed" instead men. Was this choice influenced by donors  invested in property and future development in SW Champaign?


This trend is throughout the entire organization. The providing of tiny rooms gave school groups the ability to travel without parents needing to raise $5000 to let a kid compete in a band competition in wholesome environment, it let extended families take a break from each other strengthening families and encouraging the young to marry, the list goes on.


Being centrally located in many small locations also provides wholesome and safe after school activates at a low cost.


The question now for members is ...does the "C" in the name still stand for Christian or callous if they continue to let those without the option of car not part pâté.


If they haven't budgeted for a contract they should have obviously anticipated their hands are not tied. They really can't organize the multitude of church vans in this town to provide a once a week visit or during high heat days for senior safety? How much do the administrators of that organization make?

Joe American wrote on May 31, 2012 at 11:05 am

And now for the $64,000 question:

Where is the membership funding for the less-advantaged coming from?

 

 

 

Hint:  the YMCA is not publicly funded.

Brad Cortright wrote on May 31, 2012 at 11:05 am

The funding comes from businesses, community groups, and individuals who give voluntarily.  I am not sure of the relevance of your question. 


Wouldn't it be a waste if the YMCA has capacity and funding for needy individuals and families, but those people do not have transportation to take advantage of that opportunity?

Joe American wrote on May 31, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Well, if you were the poster to whom I'm responding, I'd help you out understanding the relevance.  But you're not, so you're on your own with that one, Brad.   My advice to you - read their post first.

"Wouldn't it be a waste if the YMCA has capacity and funding for needy individuals and families, but those people do not have transportation to take advantage of that opportunity?"

Oh, and I'd recommend this as a means of getting there, at least April-November, but to the whiners nothing is sufficient:

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/people/2012-05-29/urbana-police-set-another-bike-giveaway.html

All those who want to do something about getting there should be there, so get in line early.

Brad Cortright wrote on May 31, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Thanks for the tip, Joe.  I think I will wait until after they widen the Windsor Road overpass before I try to bike there.  I might be too old to rock 'n roll, but I am too young to die.  The original city planners must have not have forseen all the sprawl occuring west of I-57 in Champaign when they built that road. 

msternke wrote on June 02, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Ride a bike across that overpass on Windor - seriously?  Have you seen how narrow that road is?  There is NO, absolutely NO, room for any kind of bicycle or walker if there are also two cars.  It's a blind overpass so you can't see what's coming as you come up - which means you can't pass any bicyclists you may come up on as you approach.  This, and the overpasses at Bradley and Kirby, are the last overpasses I would ever want to cross on a bike.  Dangerous - and someone is going to get hurt or, worse, killed one of these days. 

vnconn wrote on June 06, 2012 at 8:06 am

Joe, are you really suggesting that children from (implied) underprivileged areas ride their bikes all the way to the far southwest corner of Champaign? Seriously? I wouldn't do it myself, let alone allow a child to do it.

MissM wrote on May 31, 2012 at 10:05 am

Did the YMCA talk to the MTD at all about bus service before breaking ground on their new building? Or did they assume that if they built it, the MTD would go ahead and serve their building? The relationship between this area of town and the MTD has been well-publicized. I would think that the YMCA would have known that bus service to the area could potentially be a problem.

gamera wrote on May 31, 2012 at 5:05 pm

I asked this very question on a previous N-G article and was informed by someone on Twitter (Larkin's mom, actually) that the YMCA had an agreement in place with the MTD and that bus service had already been arranged. I'm not sure if that was incorrect information given to her or if she just assumed they would be in the MTD district rather than the SWCUMTD district.

rsp wrote on May 31, 2012 at 7:05 pm

They waited to make arrangements until around when they opened. Since they are in the South West district that's who they needed to contact. But they never bought buses. They just pocketed the cash. So they have to contact the CUMTD but it's out of their boundary lines. So now the south west wants the CU to break the law...just ignore the line and solve our little problem. We will keep pocketing our money and calling them greedy. 

ronaldo wrote on May 31, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Oh dear.

Are you really that in the dark regarding what happened???  Do you pay any attention at all???  The referendum to form the SWMTD was ALWAYS a block to keep buses out of their neighborhoods!  The taxation is strictly for legal fees to fight to keep them out, and that was made known all along.

Don't go making misleading statements because you have sour grapes.  They NEVER intended to buy buses, and everyone knew that.  They NEVER just "pocketed the cash".  Those are lies plain and simple.  Every voter knew the intent of the SWMTD and the voters spoke.  I'm sorry you're sore, but life isn't fair.

shurstrike wrote on May 31, 2012 at 9:05 pm

rsp, your comment that they've pocketed the cash crossed the line of libel.  The SWMTD board members do not draw a salary, so if you'd be so kind as to share with us all how they're "pocketing the cash" (your words), that would really contribute to the discussion - that of which we all see you know very little about.

rsp wrote on June 01, 2012 at 3:06 am

What are they doing with the money? the legal case is over and has been over? Why the need to keep taxing people then? That is what I want to know. It's a public body. Part of the Champaign County Board.

billbtri5 wrote on May 31, 2012 at 12:05 pm

again, build from the ground up a new facility on a lot that does not have bus service and then complain that there is no bus service ....?????

and yes the MTD can quickly "solve that issue" by taxing every property owner in the area ...

ps  the property value of of those homes paying the bill will NOT be increased by having empty busses passing by...

 

rsp wrote on May 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm

I see a lot of ads that include the fact they are on the bus line as a selling point. Is it a selling point to pay taxes so board members can sit around? The legal issues were decided long ago. What do they talk about? What are they doing with the money? This is a part of the Champaign County Board. It reflects of the whole county.

Mark Taylor wrote on May 31, 2012 at 12:05 pm

I know the SWMTD doesn't provide any services except salaries to its board and legal fees to the lawyers on retainer, but I'm glad to be double taxed for two MTDs, even if one doesn't provide any transportation.

I'll gladly pay the extra double tax to stick it to those arrogant bureacrats who think an MTD should only be concerned with providing transportation to the people who pay taxes to it. The extra double taxes I pay to the SW MTD are money well spent because it tells the liberal socialistical communistics in the MTD TO BACK THE DANG HECK OFF!

DOUBLE TAXATION = TWICE THE REPRESENTATION!!

TEA PARTY!! WHOO HOO!!

Moruitelda wrote on May 31, 2012 at 4:05 pm

...kay.

rsp wrote on May 31, 2012 at 7:05 pm

What ever happened to King George and England?

pattsi wrote on May 31, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Note--the county board does make board appointments to both transit districts. That is all. There is no oversight, no budget approval, nothing else.

rsp wrote on June 01, 2012 at 3:06 am

 

Nobody is doing any oversight. That's my point. The claim was to raise money for a legal fight. Most times when people want to raise money for a legal fight they don't create a fake district to sue another. They ask people to contribute. The case is over and they are still collecting money for what? 

Also what did they spend $15,964 on last year? It's also interesting that when there was a choice between what kind of public utility they were, gas/electric/transit or other they picked other. So the filing with the state says they aren't anything but a fraud. 

Speakerman11 wrote on June 01, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Personally (yes, personally, so all you trolls keep your traps shut) I'd love to see the MDT restricted to campus and residential areas only.  They are slow and can be nerve racking to get around.  Stay off the main veins: Windsor, Kirby, Springfield, Bradley, Staley, Duncan, Mattis, Prospect, and Neil St.  They take thier sweet ars time taking off from stop signs and stop lights and are just a plain 'ol nuisance. 

Mark Taylor wrote on June 01, 2012 at 5:06 pm

That's right, personally. And tell those other people to shut it -- they have no right to commentate like you and I do, dang trolls. It's so dang silly having busses driving where people want to be. If we kept them to streets where no one goes, it'd be a lot cheaper cause we'd only need two or three busses for the whole MTD.

And remember, no one can legally disagree with me couse I said this was just me, personally.

nndsmom wrote on June 04, 2012 at 1:06 pm

If the YMCA and Windsor West wanted to have C-U MTD bus service then they shouldn't have built within the bogus Champaign Southwest MTD district.  


I have a car but prefer to use mass transit when it is available.  Also, my husband is a heavy user of mass transit due to his inability to drive due to a medical condition.  He and I will not join the YMCA due to its location and inaccessibility by mass transit.


I think people should be grateful for the service that the C-U MTD provides.  Where else in an area of this population could you have such a great service?  I don't know of any. I am happy to pay my C-U MTD property taxes and specifically bought a house on one of their routes for easy accessibility.  We can get almost anywhere we need to go on the bus.  Well, except for that darned southwest area covered by the bogus MTD.  No great loss I suppose since the residents there obviously don't want us there.