Residents lined up to urge city council members to reconsider plans to relocate the downtown Pace bus shelter at a meeting on Monday.
A proposal to relocate the bus shelter currently in the 1400 block of Miner Street, across the street from the Metra depot, about two blocks southeast to the northeast corner of Miner and Pearson streets has been met with criticism from the residents of River Pointe Condominiums, located near the proposed location.
Irene Rozansky, president of the River Pointe condo association, told council members the alternative locations looked at in the city’s research were not serious considerations. One included buses making U-turns on Miner Street.
“Of course that’s too dangerous,” Rozansky said. “Those were not real options in my opinion.”
Rozansky asked the council for a continuance on discussion of the matter for at least a month.
City council approved tabling the discussion about relocating the bus shelter, 6-1, until the city council meeting on Aug. 20.
The condo association has been in communication with the city on a number of concerns including noise, pollution and safety, and residents expressed similar criticisms at the city council meeting on July 2.
The city hired consultants to study noise and air quality related to the proposed bus shelter and staging area. Peter Knysz, of Chris Burke Engineering, said they studied the current bus shelter and the proposed location for noise, and the difference without any change is about three decibels, a difference not detected by the human ear, he said.
“We measured during the peak hours, there was no discernable difference between the current bus stop location and noise currently at the proposed location,” Knysz said.
Fifth Ward Alderman James Brookman said adding a bus shelter and staging area to a street corner would undoubtedly add noise to the area.
“It just doesn’t make any sense to me that the noise is not going to increase at that corner with buses driving in, driving out, idling — it just doesn’t make any logical sense,” Brookman said.
Brookman said the bus shelter and staging area would also impact the residents’ current use of the outdoor space.
“The sidewalk around these buildings is the immediate environment of the people that live in those buildings,” Brookman said.
That’s where people walk and circulate around the buildings, he said.
“I think that the idling buses are definitely going to be a detriment from the standpoint of noise,” Brookman said. “There’s just no way around it.”
Seventh Ward Alderman Mark Wilson said the bus shelter and staging area could be an unattractive addition to the downtown area.
“If these people don’t like the buses where they’re stopping and going to stop, they really won’t like this thing being there 24/7, I’ll guarantee you that,” Wilson said.
The project was estimated to cost $250,000 to $500,000, said Tim Oakley, director of public works and engineering.
“There’s no way I would support one of these being put up,” Wilson said.
Sixth Ward Alderman Mark Walsten said he would support the proposal if every consideration possible was made to reduce the impact of noise and exhaust.
“For me to support this, we got to look at it like maybe you’ve never looked at a bus shelter before,” Walsten said.
Walsten said the bus shelter should be longer to reduce noise and disperse exhaust.
“It’s going to cost a little more than an average bus stop as far as I’m concerned, or I’m not going to support it,” Walsten said.