Community Participation


Mayagüez Transit Study (MTS)

Minutes of Public Workshop #2 held March 19, 2015

Download the presentation for the public workshop #2 of March 19

 

Time and place: 6:00 p.m. ‐ 7:10 pm at the Cultural Center Facilities, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

The forum began with welcome remarks by Mrs. Esther Krumhansl, Acting Manager, Office of Economic Development and Planning, Municipality of Mayagüez (MAM). Mrs. Krumhansl explained that the Mayagüez Transit Study (MTS) is a public transportation project, which follows the process established by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) under the “Small Starts” program. This project is currently completing an evaluation of a small selection of alignments, which were presented to the public by architect Javier Mirandés of archUD‐AECOM, the consulting team in charge of the MTS. Mrs. Krumhansl also stated that information specific to the Mayagüez Integrated Transport System (TIM) can be found on the website (www.mayagueztim.com), including existing routes and other information related to, or discussed in the first Public Workshop held in December 2014. The presentation held during the second Public Workshop will also be made available on the website.

Presentation: The meeting continued with a PowerPoint presentation of the project by architect Javier Mirandés (see copy attached). The presentation included an introduction of the current four TIM routes and the proposed four ‘rural’ routes and one route south on PR‐102. The MTS is studying the feasibility of implementing a bus rapid transit (BRT) system that provides the TIM with a greater capacity and effectiveness in its service offering within Mayagüez. Of the initial 47 alternatives considered, three alternatives were presented that met the established evaluation criteria and will include a more detailed analysis of these before selecting the ‘Locally Preferred Alternative’ (LPA) which will be submitted to FTA during the Summer of 2015, as part of an application for Small Starts Program funding. The three alternatives under evaluation are summarized below (see illustrations in the copy of the attached presentation).

  • Alternative I: BRT service with exclusive lanes, stations and stops along the North‐South Corridor of PR‐2. In proximity to Suau Park (under the PR‐2 viaduct), a proposed stop would allow transfers to the TIM system for possible connections to the East‐West Corridor (Méndez Vigo and Candelaria Streets). This alternative may require changes to the current TIM system operations, but does not include substantial improvements to physical infrastructure, such as the creation of exclusive lanes.
  • Alternative II: Two independent paths or circuits for BRT service, with exclusive lanes, along the North‐South Corridor and East‐West Corridor. A circuit would serve a northern segment of PR‐2, entering the urban center through Candelaria Street, Oriente Street, and Méndez Vigo Street, then returning to the North via PR‐2. A second circuit provides BRT service from the southern segment of PR‐2, entering the East‐West Corridor, and returning to PR‐2 (South) at the viaduct area. Stops would be placed in the Suau Park area to facilitate more direct north‐south connections. The potential for offering an express service along PR‐2 in order to provide faster access to businesses and institutions, etc. in the North‐South Corridor, without entering the traditional city center, is also being evaluated.
  • Alternative III: Creation of a combined or interlaced BRT service, between Western Plaza and Mayagüez Mall, serving the downtown via the East‐West Corridor, with exclusive lanes along PR‐2 north‐south and the East‐West Corridor. BRT vehicles operating on PR‐2 southbound from Western Plaza will reach the area of Suau Park, circulate through the traditional urban center (via Candelaria, Oriente, and Méndez Vigo Streets), before proceeding south on PR ‐2 towards Mayagüez Mall. In the northbound direction, service will proceed from Mayagüez Mall on PR‐2, circulate through downtown, then returning to PR‐2 to continue north to Western Plaza. Stops would be placed in the area of Suau Park to facilitate more direct north‐south connections. The potential for offering an express service along PR‐2 in order to provide faster access to businesses and institutions, etc. in the North‐South Corridor, without entering the traditional urban center, is also being evaluated.

Question and Answer (Q&A) Session: Following the presentation, questions and comments from the audience were addressed. Questions were written on a form distributed by the municipality. Most of them were answered at the time, either by Mrs. Krumhansl or Mr. Mirandés. Answers to remaining questions are attached to this summary. All questions and answers will be posted on the website.
Questions/Comments:

  1. Mr. Jesús Portal pointed out that there are now fewer businesses in the town center and that past studies concluded the existing (lack of) parking problem. He added that this project eliminates more parking spaces. He then asked if there is an estimated number of parking spaces that would be eliminated by this project and also wondered what would happen to freight delivery trucks, if only one lane is designated for public transportation (vehicles).Response: It is known that there is a real problem related to parking in the ‘casco urbano’ – the historic center‐ and it would lead to approximately two hundred (200) parking spaces that would be eliminated, but points out that the proposed public transportation system is a positive insertion that will help mitigate the problem, given that it reduces the need for vehicles to enter the town. It was also stated that the municipality has other initiatives underway, such as the creation of a parking lot in the town and the reestablishment of parking meters, which would create time limit on the use of on‐street parking spaces (such as eight hours at a time per day or other arrangement) for employees of public and/or private entities, releasing these spaces for customers in the area. As the project continues, it will also establish a schedule and locations for loading and unloading areas during off‐peak traffic hours.
  2. Mrs. Estela Torres wanted to know how the passengers who arrive at Barcelona Terminal through the new TIM rural routes will transfer to Plaza Colón in order to access the proposed new BRT system and other TIM routes. Currently only Route 4 gives access from the Terminal to El Maní. She also asks how the stops are distributed along the proposed rural routes and what will be the price for these services.Response: Graphics with the current TIM routes were presented. Barcelona Terminal is less than 400 meters away from Plaza Colón, which is within the acceptable distance for pedestrian access to transit, according to FTA guidelines. Also, the municipality currently provides a paratransit service which schedules appointments by phone, serving those people with mobility problems. As for the distribution of stops along the TIM rural routes, a map was presented to the audience. She was also referred to the website (www.mayagueztim.com) for access to the map and more detailed information on proposed routes and stops. Regarding the fare for new transit service, it is premature to give out such information because the evaluation process on whether there will be a specific fare at all and to what magnitude is still inconclusive.
  3. Mr. Ferdinand Ramírez, resident at El Seco stated that the traffic jam (“tapón”) and the lack of parking spaces downtown often make people run late or behind by about an hour, in carrying out basic activities. He asks what would happen, once the public transportation project gets implemented, if it does not work and people’s preference is to keep using their private vehicles. Mr. Ramírez also asked about what kind of luggage would be allowed to carry on board these buses, for example, bicycles, suitcases, etc.Response: Currently the MAM operates the TIM System and so far it has been a success story. The MAM believes that this project would improve service even more. In addition, FTA guidelines for planning mass transit systems recommend intercepting drivers further out of town, relieving traffic within it. In terms of allowed items for passengers to carry inside the bus, it would include everything that fits on the bus and, if needed or desired, bike “racks” can be installed on buses.
  4. Mr. Abel Carlo – Discusses his concern about parking for town residents, vandalism and parking ticket problems. He also raises a concern about what would happen with the loss of parking, when dropping and picking up children at the local schools, or picking up patients in hospitals of the town. He understands that the loss of parking will lead to increase in bankruptcies of small merchants in town, and the town is already a ‘cemetery’ with over 50 empty stores.Response: It was stressed that public transportation is conceived as a service for the residents. All removed parking space will be replaced with a new parking lot, which in fact the municipality is in the process of implementation. Also, parking meters will also be installed. It is informed of the importance to educate the public about the advantages of using public transportation for getting around the city, and walking to different places. The municipality seeks to promote accessibility and mobility in the town center.
  5. Merchant: States that the people from the town are not dead but dying (“moribundo”). He understands that parking is needed for commercial viability of the town, and Puerto Ricans are very ‘individualistic’, it is part of their nature. Merchants prefer to offer parking for their customers. He asks about the location for the new parking facility that the municipality is considering to develop. He also says that merchants have proposed the development of “pocket parkings” in abandoned properties, which would provide more parking space near their shops. He understands that the creation of alternative parking should be a priority before implementing the proposed public transportation system. He asks the municipality to meet and communicate with merchants in order to listen to their ideas related to this issue.Response: The city understands that it must mitigate or replace any reduction of “legal” parking lots that may be affected with the proposed condition. Public transportation is one of the tools that the municipality has been using to solve the problem of lack of parking in the town center and intends to continue to do so, capitalizing on multiple benefits for residents and merchants. Mrs. Krumhansl extends an invitation to merchants to contact her office at any time to continue with the exchange of ideas.
  6. Mr. Orlando Serrano – Asks why the exclusive lane runs in the same traffic direction, instead as the lane used by AMA / Metrobus of San Juan, which runs against general vehicular traffic.Response: It is clarified that studies have shown the condition of “counterflow” encourages more traffic accidents, and / or more serious accidents, when compared with buses circulating in the direction of the general traffic flow. In addition, for the bus to go in opposite direction is required to have a wider lane in order to avoid accidents and care conditions. The public right of way in the town core of Mayagüez does not have enough width in all its streets to provide this condition. It was clarified that private vehicles may not use exclusive lanes for general circulation, and this would expose them to fines.
  7. Mr. Luis, resident at El Maní ‐ Explains that Puerto Rico is a jurisdiction with 4‐5 cars per person, he also understands that the reaction to the proposed project would be initially negative, but indicates in the U.S. these proposed projects have worked. He asks how many jobs will be generated by the project and what will happen to the “público” cars.Response: The Mayagüez Transit Study has not concluded evaluating capital investments as well as the operation and maintenance aspects associated with the implementation of the system. However it is expected to create jobs in the civil construction and infrastructure phase, as well as in the operations, management and maintenance of the bus system. The municipality is in the process of analyzing alternatives for integrating “público” cars tracks to the TIM system, which will communicate once it is completed.
  8. Mr. Armando Lamourt – Asks about the types of funds that would be used for this project. He also raises a question if proposed Alternative I could function without removal of parking spaces. Finally, he asks if the efficiency / effectiveness of the current TIM system has been studied.Response: Funds used in this project (planning, design and construction of Mayagüez Transit Study) is federally funded with “matching funds” from the municipality. These were granted, among other reasons, for the success of the existing TIM system. The funds for future design and implementation phases (construction, vehicles, etc.) of the project will be obtained through a competitive application process for funding under FTA program “Small Starts” which requires “matching funds” from the municipality and / or state funds.Alternative I will require substantial improvements to the TIM service, which currently operates at capacity in the Candelaria / Méndez Vigo streets, to achieve transfer and synchronization with the service fullest capacity and efficiency that provide the Bus Rapid Transit (North‐South Corridor in PR‐2). This may require the creation of exclusive lanes for TIM use if the implementation of an efficient system is desired.The current TIM system has been studied and findings suggest it has been successful, but with limited growth and efficiency opportunities, given the traffic congestion that prevails in the city center.As the questions were finalized, the meeting ended at 7:10 pm.

Responses to Written Questions

Summary of answers to questions, from attendees to the 2nd public workshop, received in writing form during the activity, in order to be addressed afterwards.

  1. Mr. Angel Serrano
    Question: I have no question. But I congratulate you for this innovation to our people. Thank You.
    Response: Thank you for your support to innovative projects of the Municipality.
  2. M J González
    Question: Once completed, what percent of the community would you expect to use the buses?
    Which parking area would you suggest to use for those who own a car and those who use buses? Once implemented, will it justified to change for the “Playa” (bay or beach) area in the future?
    Response:For purposes of the Federal Transit Administration, any new system of Bus Rapid System must provide service to a minimum average of 3,000 users (“passenger boarding”) per work day, to qualify for the funds. Preliminary results of the ridership projections being done as part of the Mayagüez Transit Study, indicate that the proposed scheme will significantly exceed this minimum criterion.
    •   Potential “park & ride” lots are being evaluated near the terminal stations of the proposed Bus Rapid Transit system along the PR‐2 corridor, in the surrounding areas of Western Plaza and Mayagüez Mall. The study process has not concluded.
    •   The “Playa” area will not be affected directly by these proposals, beyond providing better accessibility through the implementation of the expanded public transport system (TIM).
  3. Janice González
    Question: If the bus runs in an exclusive lane, when entering the Candelaria Street, will it provide an exclusive lane in this street? What measures have been taken in favor of merchants and shops in regards to parking and loading /unloading areas?
    Response:
    •   Vehicles of the proposed Bus Rapid System, like those of the TIM system, will use the exclusive lane proposed to enter the Candelaria and Méndez Vigo Streets.
    •   The Municipality will implement parking meters and specific periods for the limited use of the exclusive lane for loading and unloading, trash pick‐up, etc. Finally, parking impacted in part by the construction of a parking garage in the center of the town will be mitigated.
  4. Carmen Romero
    Question: When are we going to have a bus to go to the Mall, Plaza del Maní or Highway # 2? Response:
    •   The proposed Bus Rapid Transit system will provide access to these malls, as well as to other activity centers along the PR‐2 and the traditional town center.
  5. Annie Montalvo Vélez
    Question: Will there be transportation in areas we still need? Ex. Mall and other important routes.
    Response:
    •   Yes, new routes will provide access to different destinations. The proposed Bus Rapid Transit system will provide access to businesses and activity centers along the PR‐2, in addition to the traditional town center.
  6. Ferdinand Ramírez
    Question: What alternate plan do you have if the Project becomes a reality, but the citizens, because of their individualistic idiosyncrasies or interest, decide not to use it? Ex. They prefer to use their own vehicles, to walk, use their bikes or public or private taxi. What type of luggage will be allowed to be carried in the proposed public transportation system?
    Why not to invest in parking lots near the town given the historical reality of Puerto Rico, where citizens prefer to use their cars, and invest in intelligent traffic lights in conjunction with traffic agents?
    Where will people going to work be able to leave their cars before approaching the transfer station and route? Again, parking is needed. Which leads to the question whether the public transportation project is looking ahead for the creation of more parking.
    What will be the transit system cost and schedule for the public?
    Response:
    •   Currently the Municipality of Mayagüez has the TIM transportation program, and so far it has been a success story, so we don’t foresee how this new project would not work.
    •   Several individual items may be brought inside the bus (bags, shopping bags, etc.), and if needed, bike racks can also be included.
    •   The Municipality of Mayagüez is implementing a multimodal strategy to address traffic problems. The implementation of the public transport system (TIM) and its expansion does not mean we have discarded considering other measures to improve traffic, as mentioned by Mr. Ramírez, where these are commendable.
    •   The rules of the “Federal Transit Administration” related to the planning of public transportation systems recommend to intercept the driver out of town, in order to relieve traffic within. To accomplish this, the possibility of providing “park and ride” parking has been evaluated in the surrounding areas to the terminal stations in the PR‐ 2.
    •   The public transportation project will replace legal parking impacted by the implementation of transit exclusives lanes.
  7. Alicia Rodríguez Guzmán
    Question: Can I go to the Mall (using the proposed transit system)?
    Response:
    •   Yes. The proposed Bus Rapid Transit system will provide access to activity centers along the PR‐2, as well as to the center of the town.
  8. Gloria E. Báez
    Question: What happens to the San José / Ramírez de Arellano route?
    Response:
    •   The PR‐102 route (south) of the TIM system, is part of the five new routes that will be implemented in 2015, and it will provide services to the communities of San José / Ramírez de Arellano as well as other uses and communities along this route.
    •   Specific information on the bus stops of the Mayagüez TIM system may be found on the website (www.mayagueztim.com).
  9. Dujardín Sojo
    Question: Will it help the environment? What will happen with público drivers? Which will be the estimated time between stops? How will be the service shift change?
    Response:
    •   The implementation of public transportation systems are part of strategies linked to improving the environment by providing an alternative to private vehicle use and its consequences in terms of air pollution, accidents, and negative impacts on land uses.
    •   The municipality will soon be exploring alternate models to achieve better integration with the TIM system, in coordination with representatives of público service vehicles.
    •   Although operational aspects are still under analysis and evaluation, it is presumed that the service hours will be approximately 16 hours a day and the service frequency between 10 and 12 minutes.
  10. Luis (Bo. El Maní)
    Question: How many direct and indirect jobs will be created by the new trolleys?
    Response:
    •   The Mayagüez Transit Study has not yet concluded the evaluation of capital investment as well as other aspects of operations and maintenance associated with the implementation of the system. However, it is expected to generate jobs during the physical construction and infrastructure phases, as well as in the operations, management and maintenance of the bus system.
  11. Carmen Piñeiro
    Question: How long can we wait for larger bus route for El Maní?
    Response:
    •   The municipality has already ordered two additional buses with higher capacity (20 passengers) to replace the two vehicles currently in use. The delivery of these vehicles is expected soon in order to use them in the current year.
  12. Abel Carlo
    Question: Loading Area / Parking for residents living there.
    Response:
    •   The use of an exclusive lane for a public transportation system will be coordinated accordingly so it may be used during certain hours to provide services and loading areas for the use of merchants / residents of the town. The municipality will replace / mitigate legal parking affected by the implementation of the said exclusive lane.
  13. Gladys Ramírez
    Question: We would like to know whether the trolley running down the Ramón Emeterio Betances street is possible? There are also two more buildings: San Miguel, La Católica and Jardines.
    Response:
    •   The municipality will evaluate other system extensions of the TIM system in the future. Currently the Route 2 TIM trolley service provides partial service to a segment of the Betances Street. It will be evaluated whether the proposed rural route across PR‐348 could provide some stop near the Catholic University, in its way into town through Calle Betances.
  14. Evelyn Balleste Nicole
    Question: Does the trolley will pass along the Ramón E. Betances Street (Old Post Street) and Égida San Fernando?
    Response:
    •   The Bus Rapid Transit system under study does not provide direct access to the uses established in the Betances Street (south), such as The Egida San Fernando (453 Betances Street) near the Mayagüez Campus of the Catholic University. Currently only route 2 of the “Sistema de Transporte Integrado de Mayagüez” (TIM) provides partial service in a segment Betances Street near Nenadich Street. The municipality will be evaluating whether the rural route TIM system proposed by the PR‐348 could provide some stop near Catholic University, on their way into town through Betances Street.
  15. Armando Lamourt
    Question: How many parking lots would be eliminated in the Méndez Vigo Street and Candelaria Street? What action, if any, would it take to replace the parking lots being removed? How efficient and effective has been the current bus system?
    Response:
    •   The creation of an exclusive lane will require mitigating approximately 200 parking spaces.
    •   The Municipality will implement parking meters and designate specific periods for the limited use of the exclusive transit lane for loading and unloading. Finally, the parking impacted partly by the construction of a parking garage in the center of the town will be mitigated.
    •   The public transit system (TIM) has been successful, so it will be implementing a number of new routes in response to the need to provide mobility alternatives to sectors of the municipality in rural areas and along the PR‐102 (south). The municipality estimates that the 4 existing routes have been used by about 3,000 daily users (Monday thru Friday).
    •   The Municipality, in coordination with the Mayagüez Campus of the University of Puerto Rico (Progam ITE‐UPR), is participating in a “TIM Service Quality Analysis” study that started in 2014.
  16. Gloria E. Román González
    Question: When are you bringing the trolley to El Seco?
    Response:
    •   The municipality will be implementing during 2015 improvements to the bus service at El Maní TIM route, which provides stops on the PR‐102 adjacent to “El Seco” community. The municipality has already ordered two additional buses with higher capacity (20 passengers) to replace the two vehicles currently in use. We are expecting delivery of these vehicles soon and will put them to use during the current year.

 

Mayagüez Transit Study (MTS)

Minutes – Public Workshop # 1 held on December 11, 2014

Download the presentation for the public workshop #1 of December 11

Time and Place: 6pm-7:30pm Cultural Center Facilities, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

Forum begins with welcome remarks by Ms. Esther Krumhansl, Acting Manager of the Economic Development and Planning Municipality of Mayagüez (MAM), who introduces the representatives of the team of consultants responsible for the Mayagüez Transit Project and other project advisors in charge of the presentation.

Presentation of the Mayagüez Transit Study (MTS): The meeting continues with a Power Point presentation of the project led by architect Javier Mirandés. The presentation starts with a historical background and the planning process of the project. It also provides a summary of objectives; status – present and future- of the TIM  (“Integrated Transport System Mayagüez”) system; alternative alignments of corridors and proposed stations, a brief summary of elements of a BRT system (“Bus Rapid Transit” or System Bus Rapid Transportation); the planning process for the Federal Transportation Agency (FTA) program “Small Starts”; MTS participation activities calendar; and a presentation of the internet page (website), estimated to start running in the next weeks.

During the presentation, several issues and topics were explained, as summarized below:

  • The history (summary) of the urban development of the center of the city and its relationship with transportation through several historical images. From 1875-1930, the city implemented a public transportation system which laid the foundation for the growth of commercial and residential in the area.  From the 1950’s to present, the use of private cars has changed the character of the city and has given way to suburban sprawl. It is further discussed that although the plan for a public transportation exists, but add to this, that despite a private car being an ally has also become our enemy.
    How it behaves in the city is of great relevance.

From 2004 to 2007 the way was paved to a greater effort to give greater importance to public transportation as a means to control the excessive and fragmented development of suburbia. The study created by the URS, and later the creation of a mass transit system for the 2010 Central American Games in Mayagüez confirmed the urgent need for improvements to the existing transportation system and the introduction of new systems to complement the existing ones.

From 2013 to 2014 an alternative to conduct an analysis study with the FTA arises, but this confronts a temporary hold given changes in legislation at the time.

  • The Municipality of Mayagüez has a mass transportation system (Mayagüez Integrated Transportation System, TIM), with routes that originates at the center of the city.  It aims to reach populations on the periphery of the municipality. There is also a desire to transform Mayagüez into an accessible and vibrant city. Quality of mobility is quality of life. It’s widely spoken of the success of the buses during the 2010 Central American Games. The system has helped mobilize people from place to place and it has proven its effectiveness to transport significant amount of people.
  • Goals and Objectives of the study: seeks the development of the city to incorporate a collective public transportation. All city planning and transportation must go hand in hand; a better public transportation translates into better quality of life. It is important to have a transportation route to and from the centers where greater activity is concentrated. To effectively serve the population that depends entirely on public transportation. This will bring bigger opportunities for the workforce. It will also connect the university campus with the community. It is also important to improve the operational efficiency of the public transportation network.  To support local and regional planning, appropriate land use and design. To meet goals and vision criteria in accordance to the “Mayagüez 2032” municipality vision and to fulfill the increasing demand.
  • Proposed Corridor alignments:
    Use of exclusives lanes for stops and preferential lane.
    Use of an exclusive lane throughout the alignment.
    Use of exclusive lane for a period of time each day.
    Use of a lane for construction of a new exclusive lane.
  • The TIM system will be modified to complement and feed the operation of the new BRT system provided in the North-South and East-West corridors.
  • Definition of a BRT: The shuttle transportation system (“Bus Rapid Transit – BRT”) is a high performance system, with a certain technology different from the traditional one. The goal is to get from point A to point B with better mobility than a private vehicle. The objective is to combine bus lanes with stops, stations and high quality service to achieve quality of service of a light rail or subway system, with flexibility, cost and simplicity of a bus system.  It will give flexibility without the cost and impact of a track system.
  • Advantages of the BRT: Bus Rapid TransitIt does not depend on traffic congestion; therefore it complies with the established schedules and offers less travel time.  It will have less number of stops and will only stop at certain stations.  It will allow the boarding and disembarking of tens of passengers in shorter periods, with an efficient ticketing system.It is essential to watch over climate (weather) conditions since in Mayagüez rains every day and this should be considered in the design of the stops. It will give priority to the traffic sign. It gives priority to make turns before private vehicles. It incorporates a precise alignment of the system of bus station, leaving no distance separation from the sidewalk. This will help especially disabled people to board and get off easily and faster.  It allows for a better level boarding
  • Phases:
    1. The development of alternatives April-December 2014, including field studies that have brought us to this day.
    2. Selection of alternatives to be analyzed, December 2014-March 2015
    3. Selection of locally preferred alternatives, April-May 2015
    4. Complete application of “Small Starts” for evaluation of FTA, June-July 2015
    5. Preliminary design and financial agreement with FTA.
  • The calendar for next meetings is presented at the forum:

 

Initial Meeting with the Community, the Business Community and the First Community Public Workshop – December 2014

  Small Group Meetings – late January to March 2015

  Second public workshop to be held at the end of March 2015.

TIM system Website: the pre-final design of the website was presented. It is expected to be available to the public in the coming weeks.

Questions and Answers Session: Following the presentation, several questions and comments from the audience were addressed, summarized as follow:

  • Ms. Ana Ayala – Quality of Life Committee President /Chair
    Ayala shows concern about when would the project be presented to the rural communities. MTS representative answers that currently rural routes feeding the new routes are under study by MTS. Planned routes and purchase of vehicles are in place for the expansion of the TIM system, comprised by four rural routes and one for the communities in the southern segment of the PR-102 (towards Guanajibo). It is expected that by the end of February 2015 the purchase of vehicles for these five new routes be completed and received.
  • Ms. Estela López – San José Community Council
    López expressed she wishes to rely on a mass transportation system such as the one just presented and requests an educational campaign so that users be aware on how to  use it effectively. She was informed the educational campaign will be implemented, besides the web site and printed materials to be distributed in the communities.
  • Mr. Ferdinand Ramírez – El Seco Neighborhood Council Community
    Ramírez shared this is the first time he sees a presentation on the proposed mass transit system, and found it very complex. He says he would have preferred a simpler language use during the presentation and a little bit slow paced to enable a better understanding of all the material presented. He questions why the project website took so long before been made public.  Ramírez adds that he does not understand why if the study takes so long the website is so far behind. MTS representative answers the study recently began and at this stage is when the platform will be open and available to receive input from the community, agencies and private groups, in order to complete the study by June 2015. Mr. Ramírez suggests to include questionnaires for participants (at the forums) where they can express their concerns, doubts and help determine whether people are understanding what has been presented to them. He is told that indeed, there will be a platform included in the website where people may react to these workshops and also access documents that will be included there as well.
  • Dr. Rosario Davis – Community Council
    Congratulates the Municipality of Mayagüez for this initiative. “We come a long way but it did not take into account what the people needs.” Davis adds that the proposed plans have known well how to identify past public transportation stops and public cars and how to incorporate them into the new plan.  Davis explains how the Guanajibo Homes area is affected with tides and flood that lead to traffic blockage. Davis also notes that Mayagüez population has grown a lot, especially in Cabo Rojo (Joyuda) area. These neighbors (populations) use the city of Mayagüez to access services, schools, jobs, etc. She states the proposed mass transportation system must consider the needs of these communities and other nearby towns besides Mayagüez.
  • Mr. Orlando Serrano – Barrio Salud Residential Council President
    Serrano expresses his concern regarding people who come from other towns, for example Las Marías and Maricao, and asks if there is a proposition to designate a parking or safe area for people to leave their cars and use the proposed BRT system. MTS representative explains that the project would evaluate and consider the need to provide these parking (known as “park and ride” and other areas such as “kiss and ride”) as part of the tasks to be completed in the coming months. MTS will be working with an information model to define demand projections of the proposed system, including those who come from the north, south, east and so on. The PR-2 has a high volume in regional traffic. MTS needs to collect data from April to December 2014 in order to determine specific characteristics for the stations and whether there will be a volume of people willing to leave their cars at remote parking lots, what that proportion means, and if its feasible  to effectively implement these facilities. MTS representative recalls that the stops will be simple (not stations in the sense of the Tren Urbano Project in San Juan) and as such would not be the property of Mayagüez Mall or Western Plaza. These are used as references to the area and the public it will serve.
  • Woman in the audience- raises a question if the first phase of the TIM system has been evaluated. MTS representative answers affirmatively and reassures that the existing TIM routes, although short, have been successfully in their daily operations.
  • Ms. Estela López asks whether the system will be charged or not, and when it’s scheduled to start operations of new TIM routes and vehicles. MTS representative replies that the cost if there is one, would depend on public policy to be adopted and that MTS have not reached that stage of the study yet to determine options. The operation of the new rural routes and the PR-102 are scheduled to begin by the end of March 2015 with the use of buses.
  • Resident of Sultana Neighborhood: brings up the problem of traffic that occurs entering his/her neighborhood because it’s located east of the intersection with PR-2 Vélez Street.  Is his understanding that the problem is due to lack of synchronization between the traffic lights between the Medical Center (north) and this area. The situation encourages using, as an alternate route, the marginal of the Sultana Neighborhood (urbanization) for regional traffic. MTS representative answers that other aspects will be considered once the project enters into more detail during the future design phases of the BRT in the PR-2 corridor.
  • Mr. Edison Rodríguez
    Rodriguez raises his concern that if the buses for the proposed BRT system along the PR-2 would run along the “paseo” (shoulder lane) lane and in case an accident may occur, how this would affect, because that’s where people would be standing in line while waiting for the buses.  Rodríguez is doubtful regarding whom would run the system, whether the Municipality or any private enterprise? To address his first claim, MTS representative answers that regarding the “paseo” and in case an accident shall occur a closer coordination with the police will be done in order to clear the area as fast as possible.  In regards to his second question of who would be responsible to run the system, MTS representative answers that until the study matures, it’s not possible to tell who will bear the costs of maintenance and operations.

Upon Q&A completion, the meeting ended at 7:25 pm.

December 11,  2014

More than 50 community leaders participated in a meeting where the project was presented and had the opportunity to ask questions, address their concerns and offer suggestions.

December 9, 2014

Representatives and leaders of various business organizations of Mayaguez and the Western Area met to listen a presentation about the project as well as offer suggestions and ask questions.

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