FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Connect Berrien to Host Public Input Opportunities to Improve Public Transit in Berrien County
Benton Harbor, MI, April 27, 2017 – The Connect Berrien project team is hosting open house meetings to discuss public transit in Berrien County. The meetings are part of a larger planning effort, known as Connect Berrien, to develop the Berrien County Transit Integration Plan.
Right now, there are four existing transit providers in Berrien County: Berrien Bus, Twin Cities Area Transit Authority (TCATA), Niles Dial-A-Ride Transportation (DART), and Buchanan Dial-A-Ride. According to Greg Strangeways, consultant with Nelson\Nygaard “Berrien County is the only county of its size in the United States to have four transit systems. The ability of the public to utilize these systems to move between and among these providers is extremely difficult.” Even with the four transit systems, a significant portion of the county has limited transit service, which restricts some residents’ access to employment, shopping, healthcare, and educational opportunities.
The Connect Berrien project is an effort to create a countywide service plan with a menu of transportation options that will be efficient and beneficial for residents and visitors alike. The study will evaluate routes, identify unmet transit needs, and propose service strategies to address such needs. The study will also recommend modifications to existing transit services to better serve current and potential new transit users.
As part of the study, several public meetings will be held throughout the County to gather input from interested participants. Everyone is encouraged to stop by the meeting nearest them to share their wish lists for public transit in Berrien County. Meetings will be held as follows:
|Tuesday, May 9th||Wednesday, May 10th||Thursday, May 11th|
|3:00pm – 4:30pm and 5:00pm – 6:30pm||5:30pm – 7:00pm||5:30pm – 7:00pm|
|Niles Public Library||Southwest Michigan Planning Commission||New Buffalo Township Library|
|620 E. Main Street||376 W. Main Street||33 N. Thompson Street|
|Niles, MI 49120||Benton Harbor, MI 49022||New Buffalo, MI 49117|
Following the first round of meetings, participant input will be combine with market analysis and evaluation of existing transit services in order to recommend alternatives to meet the transportation needs. Additional meetings to present findings will be held during the fall. This project is administered by the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission and is funded by a federal grant from the Federal Transit Administration with matching funds provided by the Lakeland Foundation, the Berrien County Manufacturers Association, and the County of Berrien.
Free Rides to Community Meetings
Call MyWayThere at the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission by Friday, May 5th to schedule your FREE ride. 269-925-1137 x1519 (Mon-Fri 9:00am – 5:00pm)
Visit Connect Berrien website to learn more
May Public Meeting Flyer