Moscow and UI get rare chance to showcase the Intermodal Transit Center

21-Jul-2014 Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News – July 11, 2014

“We’ve been waiting to show off the Transit Center,” said Gary Riedner, city supervisor, to a group of state transportation officials swinging through the area on Thursday.

The Intermodal Transportation Center at the corner of Railroad Street and Sweet Avenue, completed less than two years ago, was part of a tour for members of the Idaho Transportation Board.

Many of these officials from various parts of the state saw the center for the first time.Officials were touring pertinent locations in the Idaho Transportation Department’s Second District, which includes Latah, Lewis, Idaho, Nez Perce and Clearwater counties.

Riedner talked about the importance of city’s partnership with the University of Idaho to provide the center on the UI campus but available for all to use.

The center brings together SMART Transit, the local fixed-route bus service, UI’s Vandal Shuttle, and transportation services such as Northwestern Trailways.

It provides a centralized location for people walking or bicycling to ride buses or carpool. The ITC is close to Paradise Path and other non-motorized routes for these travelers to reach their destinations.

It also offers people a place to access taxis, van pools and carpools with a covered loading zone and includes ample parking for buses, bicycles and passenger vehicles.

“The project is a true collaboration,” said Ron Smith, UI’s vice president of finance and administration.
It provides UI students and staff the “safest most efficient transportation system we can,” Smith said.

The city owns the building and leases the land from UI for free. Construction was financed primarily through a federal economic stimulus grant of $1.2 million.

UI has been adding to the landscaping, and the building includes art displays.
Moscow City Councilor Wayne Krauss, who heads SMART Transit’s board, told state officials that the city has had a fixed-route bus service for about a decade and usage has gradually increased to 180,000 rides a year from only 32,000 in 2004.

“It’s one of my most heartfelt projects,” he said. “An economical and environmentally friendly mode of transportation.”
He wants to see the addition of a third route that focuses on north and south stops.  Krauss said he also hopes to keep the government grants and community donations that keep rides free, because charging likely would result in a loss of up to 40 percent of the system’s ridership.

And Cleto Achabal, president of Northwestern Stage Lines Inc., said, “I wish we had a whole bunch of these.”
Most of the transit centers his line uses were constructed in the 1940s and 1950s, and because they are old and in locations that aren’t as nice as Moscow’s, it’s difficult to attract transit users, he said.

Board members also toured the Port of Lewiston and the final proposed route for the widening of U.S. 95 south of Moscow.

They were scheduled to make stops in Potlatch, Plummer and Twin Falls before returning to Coeur d’Alene.

The board is scheduled to meet in Coeur d’Alene today.

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