Metrobus gets seat on city planning committee

Dave Bartlett
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The general manager of Metrobus has become a member of the City of St. John's planning committee.

At a committee meeting this week, Coun. Tom Hann asked for a motion that Judy Powell be given a seat.

"I think it's very important because there seems to be a disconnect when development takes place, because any development obviously has an impact on the provision of transit service," Hann, the chairman of both the committee and the St. John's Transportation Commission, told The Telegram after it voted to add Powell.

Hann said when the city considers subdivisions - or even a major large building for downtown where a lot of people would work, but where there is a lack of parking - transportation has to be factored in.

"There are all kinds of issues that come up," he said.

Hann said communication between council, city staff and the commission is important to ensure the city develops in the right way, and for Metrobus to make sure its service can accommodate the growth.

As an example, Hann cited the proposed development of land between Southlands and Cochrane Pond which would need bus routes to connect the area with the rest of the city.

At the meeting, the city's traffic engineer Robin King asked if he should also be on the transit commission committee so communication can be a two-way street. Hann suggested that decision would have to go before the commission for discussion.

He told The Telegram after the meeting a number of other groups have lobbied to be part of the commission.

But Hann said the reality is the commission's job is to run the business side of Metrobus.

He also said there are a number of avenues to collect feedback and get recommendations from the public.

Hann said the current commission has members from a diverse number of backgrounds, including a lawyer, someone in marketing and a younger person.

Powell was happy to hear she's been given a seat on the planning committee.

The suggestion was first made by Hann at a council briefing on the city's new transit study earlier in the week.

"We've had conversations with city staff over the years about the importance of, as the city moves forward, taking transit into consideration in terms of transit supportive development," she told The Telegram. "I think it's really important that we keep the lines of communication open, certainly with city planners and the engineering staff."

dbartlett@thetelegram.com

Organizations: The Telegram, Transportation Commission

Geographic location: St. John's, Southlands

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