Expectations exceed transit hub’s purpose

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Letís say it all together and then utter it no more: Kootenai Countyís transit hub is exactly what was promised.

Are modifications possible? Are they warranted? Thatís up for debate.

When county officials forged ahead with plans to build a transit facility in Riverstone where previously only a dirt lot had existed, it was without a community consensus on what should arise.

Based largely on political perspectives ó these days, what isnít? ó two camps emerged in 2017, when controversy over the planned project swelled:

• Those against, believing basically that the transit hub would prove a breeding ground for unsavory characters;

• Those for, believing basically that the hub would improve public transportation for the elderly and those who need it to get to work, to shop and to receive medical care.

Take a trip down memory lane with Phil Wardís My Turn on todayís Local section front page. Ward lists some of the headlines from Press articles documenting the issue in its various stages of development.

While the transit center opened just weeks ago, its funding was approved by Kootenai Countyís commissioners almost three years ago, in January 2017. The decision was reaffirmed in May that year. Keep in mind that a transit hub had been talked about openly long before 2017.

In essence, todayís anxiety stems from those who apparently didnít understand what the transit facility would be, and what it would not be. At no time was it planned as a bus station. Instead, it was going to be an office building for transportation employees while also serving as a transfer station for patrons en route to somewhere else on the Citylink chain. Our regionís early and unsettling cold weather blasts have perhaps put a fine point on what the transfer hub might have been, as patrons shivered outside while employees worked comfortably inside.

Speaking of cold, the cold fact is that many locations on the Citylink route offer far less protection from the elements than does the transfer hub. The painful juxtaposition of a nice warm building with workers inside and shivering customers outside does not change the reality that the hub is not a bus station.

This doesnít mean that county officials are prevented from adding amenities or changing the procedure on outdoor restroom use, for example. But thatís a different discussion and funding question for another day.

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