Buses will soon stop only at designated spots downtown

Buses will soon stop only at designated spots downtown

URBANA — In a move aimed at improving route efficiency, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District buses will begin limiting their stops in downtown Champaign, effective Aug. 17.

The change was announced Monday, along with a number of minor route changes that go into effect the same day.

The move to designated stops will be within an area bounded generally by Church Street, First Street, Springfield Avenue and State Street. The MTD already uses designated stops in the University of Illinois campus area.

"Generally, it will be (stops) about every other block. We're trying to improve efficiency," said Karl Gnadt, who starts as MTD managing director today, replacing 40-year veteran Bill Volk. "That's the goal in areas that are very tightly clustered. The more you can spread those out a little bit, but be definitive about where stops will and will not take place, that just helps speed things up."

The stops will be identified by signs, Gnadt said.

Two years ago, the MTD discussed establishing designated stops systemwide, but withdrew the idea in the face of opposition by users.

"This is not technically an incremental move toward that goal, but effectively it turns out to be that way," Gnadt said. "We're not attempting to move toward that. However, that is kind of a back-pocket goal that we have at some point because I think that will be better for the entire system. But we're not biting off of that apple right now. This isn't a move toward that. This is something we needed to do to help our overall efficiencies."

Virtually all the MTD's routes run through downtown Champaign, which magnifies the effectiveness of the introduction of designated stops, Gnadt said.

The other route changes are less significant, he said.

"What we're trying to do is make some little tweaks here and there that will improve efficiencies," Gnadt said.

Those changes include:

— The Ruby line no longer will serve Bartlow Road in northeast Urbana because of poor road conditions. It will continue north on Willow after serving the intersection at Beason Road to Airport Road.

— Green line service now will include the Stone Creek subdivision in Urbana and multifamily housing along Stillwater Landing. The route will operate Florida to Smith to Stone Creek Boulevard to Cyprus Point to Stillwater Landing to Stone Creek to Smith. The service will be limited, with only a few trips in the morning and evening.

— The Green line no longer will serve Parkland College on Saturdays. Service on the 50 Green Saturday route will end at Country Fair Shopping Center. Parkland will be served by the 180 Lime on Saturday.

— The 180 Lime no longer will operate south of Kirby or west of Mattis. After serving Kirby and Mayfair, the 180A will operate Mayfair to Broadmoor to Mattis to Kirby and then continue until Duncan, where it resumes current routing. The 180B will operate the same routing but counter-clockwise. Limited service will be available to Plastipak, the Developmental Services Center on Clark, and Caterpillar Logistics Services during weekday evenings but not on Sundays.

— The Grey Saturday route will no longer serve Parkland. After serving Bradley and Mattis, the 70 Grey West will continue on Bradley Avenue to Country Fair Drive, where it will turn south and serve Country Fair.