Galveston City Council today held a workshop discussion with transportation consultant Barry Goodman and Dancie Perugini Ware about the Island Transit Marketing and Identity Program.
“This is the biggest, largest investment in transit equipment in the city’s history,” Goodman said about the fleet of new buses that will arrive early next year. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
“This is a perfect time in Galveston’s history, in the wake of recovery, that we move ahead on a strong branding effort to reposition and reinvent our entire transit system,” Ware said. “With the great new buses arriving and new and improved service we are going to have an aggressive marketing plan next year implemented to increase ridership and make people really proud as Galvestonians for the Park & Ride system from UTMB to Victory Lakes and then for the new trunk service down Seawall Boulevard to the Strand and it is going to just be a phenomenal improvement in all the transportation across the island for Galvestonians and Islanders alike.”
Council Member Elizabeth Beeton, who has opposed the park and ride service in the past, noted that it was a 4-3 vote to have the service in the first place and she still is opposed.
“Our concern is that it is contrary to Galveston’s interest because we are trying to encourage people to live here,” Beeton said. “To ride this bus costs $1 each way.”
Council Member Dianna Puccetti was impressed with the marketing program.
“I just want to thank you Dancie, you and your team,” Puccetti said. “I think you hit it right on the head when you said this will make not only our bus riders, but islanders proud of our transit system.”
Goodman updated the city council on the Livable Communities Initiative and the Downtown Transportation Terminal. Click Here
“We completed one phase of this some years ago,” Goodman said. “We called it LCI 1 which is the Strand improvements, sidewalks, landscaping, lighting. We did the planning for LCI 2, which is the rest of downtown between 20th and 25th and we have done preliminary planning on what we call LCI 3, which is between … essentially 13th and 20th Streets.” Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
Discussion of the Downtown Transportation Terminal included a spirited exchange between Council Member Elizabeth Beeton and Bill Ross of Mitchell Historic Properties.
Ross explained that when Mitchell purchased the parking lot at 25th and the Strand from the Brown Family Trust for the terminal, it was with the idea that a ramp from the Shearn Moody Parking Garage would provide ingress and egress to parking spaces on the top of the terminal. Because the Port of Galveston was the successful bidder on the sale of the city-owned Shearn Moody Garage, and the sale was contingent on the owner of the garage providing access to the terminal, there must be a sharing of revenue at the gate.
Ross said that MHP was surprised by the port’s bid on the garage days before the bids were to be opened.
“They asked for an extension of the proposal,” Ross said. “I hate to say this publicly, but one of the main reasons is, do we ever see a representative of the port coming to a council meeting or a planning meeting or a chamber meeting or an economic development meeting? They operate in a vacuum over there.”
“Given the fact that the agreement between the city and Mitchell Historic Properties didn’t include Shearn Moody Plaza (parking garage) but now I’m hearing you say that without it, the site is not workable,” Beeton said.
“Elizabeth, let me say this right up front,” Ross said. “We have been back to workshop with this group three different times. The second time we appeared here we talked about the Moody Plaza garage. You all were kind of positive about it. You can’t sit there and tell me you didn’t know about it.”