February 17, 2010


Cortland Transit improvements on the way

By April bus service will include 2 new buses, four new shelters and expanded routes to Cornell

TransitBob Ellis/staff photographer
Jon Hicks of Cortland waits for a Cortland Transit bus outside the Cortland County Office Building Tuesday morning.

Staff Reporter

Cortland County residents will benefit from more comfortable and frequent bus service by April as two new buses arrive and four additional bus shelters are installed.
Planning Department Director Dan Dineen told last week’s Agriculture/Planning/Environment Committee that two buses have been ordered for the Cortland Transit bus route that goes from Cortland to Cornell University in Ithaca on Route 13.
The county is piggybacking on a bid for buses put out by Rochester. Dineen expects the buses to arrive in two months.
Approximately $232,000 in federal stimulus funds is paying for the buses, Dineen said. The funds were awarded last summer to rural transportation providers. Cortland applied to replace the bus servicing the Cornell run, since it was old and in need of replacement, Dineen said.
The two buses will allow for additional runs to Cornell. The buses will have 26 seats plus two handicapped accessible seats.
Dineen said the hours of the runs have not yet been decided but one will likely be the same as the existing run, which leaves Cortland at 7 a.m. and returns at 5 p.m.
“One will be the same, and whether the other is an hour earlier or later hasn’t been decided,” Dineen said.
The additional bus shelters will be funded out of $25,000 left over from a $570,000 state Department of Transportation grant used to purchase eight buses in 2009. The shelters will be Plexiglass with a steel frame and will be the same size as the shelters outside the County Office Building, approximately 15 by 8 feet, said Dineen.
Dineen is preparing the bid specifications and said he expects to go out to bid for the work within a month. He hopes the shelters will arrive by late spring.
The locations of three of these shelters are decided while the fourth is still uncertain.
The county currently has two shelters in front of the County Office Building and one in front of the senior apartment complex on Church Street as well as several located throughout the SUNY Cortland campus.
One of the new shelters will be located at the J.M. Murray Center on Route 13 in South Cortland. Another will be at the J.M. Murray Center’s employment connections branch located at the end of Madison Street in the city on Route 281.
The third will be placed at the McGraw Community Center.
The fourth might be constructed as a second location in McGraw or in Cincinnatus, or possibly at the new Department of Motor Vehicles building on River Street in the city, Dineen said.
Dineen said a second location in McGraw would be advantageous since the bus coming into McGraw from Cortland takes a different route than the bus that comes through McGraw from Cincinnatus.
“So the shelter at the McGraw Community Center is a good location when the bus is coming from Cortland to Cincinnatus ... but when it is coming from Cincinnatus and it passes through McGraw to Cortland, it doesn’t go near that location,” Dineen said.
Dineen said a location in Cincinnatus would also be advantageous because several people commute from Cincinnatus to Cortland daily.
But since private landowners would have to agree to house the shelters and remove snow from them in the winter at these locations, Dineen said he is awaiting a property owner to volunteer to maintain the location.
The county would have to take on the liability of the shelter if the DMV site was chosen but the Agriculture/Planning/ Environment Committee did not agree to that last week.
Committee member Sandy Price (D-Harford and Virgil) said she wants more information before deciding what location would be best.
“I’d like to look at the ridership and the statistics. I’d like to look at that data and then decide,” Price said.
Subcommittees formed by the county’s Transportation Advisory Committee are also examining which location the public may benefit from the most.


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