DCTA plans community open houses

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The Denton County Transportation Authority will hold a series of open house events to share agency plans, discuss capital projects and collect feedback from the community to help continue increasing ridership.

Beginning April 11, the open house events and one online event will offer an opportunity to discuss service modifications coming in August. Other topics will include the agency’s long-term service plans and rail safety awareness materials.

“Open houses are where people can have informal dialogue with DCTA,” said Dee Leggett, vice president of communications and planning.

In an effort to get more people involved, DCTA will have two Saturday meetings, since the last round of meetings did not yield as broad a range of participants as officials had desired.

Jim Cline, DCTA president, said the agency wanted to hear from as many people as possible.

“The [Saturday meetings] are a chance to get input from people whose work hours conflict with the time of the [weekday] public meetings,” he said. “It’s an overall effort to cast a wider net in terms of getting public opinion.”

DCTA staff also will hold an online chat via Twitter.

“We did a Twitter town hall [meeting] last fall, and we had probably 20 people participate,” Leggett said. “We have seen other transit agencies do it successfully — [Dallas Area Rapid Transit] has done it in the past — we just wanted to provide another means to communicate with the public. If they can’t come to a public meeting, maybe they can engage with us through social media.”

Leggett said the agency received good feedback from the Twitter experiment last year.

“It may become a regular tool we use. It won’t be our only tool, but it will definitely complement some of the other efforts we do,” she said.

Leggett said feedback from the community is important and influences and informs not only the recommendations the agency implements in its fall service changes, which will occur Aug. 26, but as staff prepares information for 2014’s service changes.

“There may be something we hear in these round of meetings [that] could influence and inform the January changes in the spring we do at the start the budget process, so it helps budgeting,” she said.

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.

IF YOU GO

Following is a list of upcoming public meetings for the Denton County Transportation Authority.

April 11

•  6:30 to 7:30 p.m. — Highland Village Council Chamber, 1000 Highland Village Road

•  8 to 9 p.m. — Twitter online chat: Follow @RideDCTA and #DCTAPubMtg

April 20

•  10 to 11:30 a.m. — Lewisville Municipal Annex, 1197 W. Main St., Lewisville (Accessible via Connect Route 23)

•  1 to 2:30 p.m. — Downtown Denton Transit Center, 604 E. Hickory St. (Accessible via the A-train and Denton Connect)


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