Denton County Transportation Authority board members tackled the need for bus shelters in Denton during a recent board meeting.
Board members voted to award a $60,000 contract to build several new shelters at some of the busier stops in Denton.
“It’s been in the pipeline for a while, at least trying to keep pace with demand,” said Charles Emery, board president. “It’s something we have promised the public. This is a fulfillment of that.”
The stops will be upgraded with a bench, trash can and overhead covering for those waiting for the buses. The agency had been working with the city of Denton to sort out rights of way and concerns over the location of utilities related to the installation of the new shelters.
The agency had to prioritize which locations to place shelters based on ridership and the number of people picked up at a given location, noting that some stops in Denton and Lewisville were crossed off the list because of a lack of riders. Emery said that while it would be great to see, he doesn’t expect every single stop to have a shelter before his tenure on the board comes to an end.
“Maybe some day. We’re making an attempt to do all we can,” Emery said. “I think they are [a] good thing to have. [But] there has to be a certain level of passenger traffic if you are limited on funds. I think we’re doing what we need to be doing and a lot of that is in Denton, obviously, and that is where the passenger traffic has been.”
Board members also came to a decision on bylaw amendments needed to help them form partnerships with area agencies for future expansion projects.
Agency officials were looking at ways to create partnerships with area agencies like Dallas Area Rapid Transit and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority for future projects such as rail expansion. Local government corporations are a way to do so, but DCTA officials needed to make a few changes to the bylaws to even be able to form a local government corporation in the first place.
DCTA President Jim Cline said one issue that came up in the discussion of creating such corporations was the need to make sure a rigorous process was in place.
“To make sure if in the future we enter in them, it is a good decision,” he said. “It’s a positive step for the board as we continue to mature as an agency. We’re trying to be very transparent, to further enhance transparency and accountability.”
A local government corporation would have its own financing package that wouldn’t involve or jeopardize sales tax. It would not be a separate agency but a separate business unit, Cline has said.
Emery said the corporations are something officials have been talking about for some time, and now that they are working more closely with DART and the Fort Worth T to continue with the regional passenger rail system, it is a good way to consider expansion and protect the member cities.
Action will be taken on each local government corporation on a case-by-case basis, Emery said.
Board members approved a motion that would call for the majority of the board and two thirds of the member cities — Denton, Lewisville and Highland Village — to vote in favor of any proposed local government corporation motion for it to pass.
“It was well received,” Emery said. “It’s good policy, and I think it came out right.”
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.