The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

October 9, 2012

Racks extend public transit reach

Bus equipped to take bikes

BY JENNIFER BAILEY
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — New Danville Mass Transit Director John Metzinger is excited about the potential to increase public transit in the city even more with new bicycle racks on buses.

Metzinger said residents who don’t reside near a bus stop could ride a bicycle to one and then ride the bus to work or school.

“It extends the reach of public transit …,” he said.

Aldermen got a chance to see what a bike rack on a DMT bus looks like. A bus with a demonstration rack was on display outside city hall prior to Tuesday night’s Public Works Committee meeting. A sample bike rack provided by the manufacturer for a 90-day evaluation has been installed on one bus. The rack can hold up to three bicycles on the front of the bus.

The idea came from Metzinger, who said a lot of other cities have the racks. The DMT racks would hold three bicycles, however, not two as most other cities have.

There would not be an additional cost to bus riders for the bike rack usage.

Metzinger said it will cost $12,000 to install bicycle racks on all DMT’s 15 buses. He said DMT has some federal capital project funding to purchase the racks, but he also will be applying for more federal grant funding.

Metzinger would like to have the buses equipped within a year. Spring would be ideal for more usage, he added.

DMT employees are getting used to how the bikes snap in, and the new 3-foot added length in front of the bus with the rack and bikes there.

So far, no riders have used the rack yet. This isn’t a concern given that only one bus is now equipped, according to Metzinger. He said there have been several inquiries from riders asking when the bike racks might be available on the entire fleet.

Also Tuesday, the committee recommended:

Mervis purchased four lots in the area and cleared them. The alleyway sits between them and near the Congregation Anshe Knesset Israel synagogue that is now for sale at 14 E. Ridgeview St. — the former Ridgeview Baptist Church.

The purpose for the alleyway vacation is to assist in marketing the property, according to Pat Wolgamot.

This agreement from Jan. 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2015, calls for 100 percent of Burton’s salary to come from the Harrison Park Golf Course fund.

“One of the primary reasons is we’ve been blessed with a lot of good golf …” Ahrens said about the compensation change.

Burton also will now focus entirely on the golf course and not Danville Stadium and Winter Park ball fields.

Ward 1 Alderman Rickey Williams Jr. questioned why Burton was seeing a salary increase despite fewer duties.

Ahrens said this is due to revenue numbers and the good revenue year this year for the golf course.

Revenue is expected to top $420,000 at the end of this year. Revenue hasn’t reached $400,000 since 2009 and 2005, according to Ahrens. Revenue fees (not hotel/motel tax money that helps with golf course capital improvements such as cart paths) in 2011 totaled $335,817. In 2010, revenue fees were $370,608.

Some of that has to do with the good weather, Ahrens added. But memberships have increased from 221 in 2011 to 268 in 2012.

Ahrens said Burton also is being paid about $10,000 less than previous golf course operators. Burton also pays for his counter staff and other personnel.

Ahrens said a “significant amount” of the golf course’s net difference will be put into the golf course reserve at the end of the year. Plans also call for more cart trails to be fixed next year.

Among the fee increases, the adult single regular 2013 fee would increase by $25 to $700.

The property is owned by the Schlorff family.

Ahrens said aldermen discussed in closed session earlier this year the property and entered into a real estate option agreement. The option price was $1,000. Extending the option that has expired isn’t costing more.

Ahrens said the permit review process is moving forward with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

City officials could have an ordinance to purchase the property at the end of November.

“At this stage it appears the site is suitable,” Ahrens said.

Sometime in 2013 the city will have to leave its leased yard waste site at the Brickyard Landfill. Costs for a new yard waste site were included in the city’s five-year plan of increased garbage and yard waste fees.