C-Tran plans relocation of WSU Vancouver stop

On May 10, the C-Tran Board of Directors held a public meeting to discuss and approve changes for transit routes across the Vancouver area, including Route 19. Route 19 is the only bus line that directly serves Washington State University Vancouver.

Held at Vancouver City Hall, the meeting allowed citizens of Clark County to discuss the viability and accessibility of C-Tran’s proposed route changes and how the changes may affect users.

Beginning on Sept. 4, the Route 19 bus stop at Washington State University Vancouver will be moved to 29th Ave., near the walking trail that is located next to the basketball court. This stop is a quarter of a mile away from the fountain located in the Quad.

C-Tran decided to change the route to provide service to other residents of the Salmon Creek area who require transportation to local medical clinics.

Forty-three WSU Vancouver faculty members sent C-Tran a letter urging them not to move forward with the elimination of the route. The Columbian also published a letter from faculty members to rally support.

In addition to the letters, WSU Vancouver professors and students sent individual emails expressing their concerns and encouraging the board to reconsider moving Route 19 from its current location.

“Students are being asked to assume more and more debt to attend college,” said Desiree Hellegers, associate professor of English. “So now we’re supposed to tell students who are entirely dependent on public transportation… that in the winter, they’re going to have to cap off what is for many a three or four hour round trip bus ride with a daily walk the length of eight football fields in the driving rain.”

Pavithra Narayanan, associate professor of English at WSU Vancouver, said that more time was needed to discuss the proposed changes. The proposals were not introduced until early March, said Narayanan, and there were only two options for changes on the route.

“Within a few weeks, the elimination of the campus bus stop became the only option. We didn’t have enough time for discussion,” Narayanan said.

Route 19 is not the only route being changed. Other routes are also under scrutiny, including Route 25. Andre Provost, community service coordinator of the Friends of the Carpenter day shelter, spoke out about the changes. “This change on the 20th Street bus stop will affect a number of our participants… [such as] the homeless, people with very low income, the disabled [and] people that are on community service,” said Provost.

After hearing from Clark County residents, and discussing some of the changes that were outlined in documents and presentations provided for the audience, board members were asked to vote on all proposed changes for C-Tran routes.

Mike Dalesandro, city council member for Battle Ground, said he approved of all the changes with the exception of Route 19, saying, “A quarter of a mile is the equivalent of walking four-and-a-half football fields.”

Many clapped and cheered as Dalesandro’s dismissal of the changes led to another vote. The amendment to change Route 19 was quickly opposed, being outvoted two to six.

For students who want to know more information about route changes or want to attend a C-Tran meeting please visit C-Tran’s website at www.c-tran.com.

Correction: May 24, 2016

An article on Monday about C-Tran’s plans for relocating its WSU Vancouver bus stop incorrectly stated that the distance between the future location of the Route 19 stop and any buildings on campus is a quarter of a mile. The distance between the future stop and some buildings on campus is actually less than a quarter of a mile, and the quarter mile distance originally stated referred to the distance between the bus stop and the fountain in the Quad.

Photo credit: C-Tran

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