The Columbus Area Metropolitan Planning Organization held an open house Wednesday evening to talk to residents about potential improvements to the long-range transportation plan.
Resident Charlie Wells was one of just over a dozen people who turned out for the discussion.
“They have got to do something about the bus transportation from Columbus down to Walesboro, so people can hold a job,” Wells said. “.There are a lot of people who don’t have transportation. They lose their jobs, they get in trouble, they become transient people. I can tell you that by being a public defender for more than 15 years, that is a number one priority. I saw that as a big, big need, a long time ago.”
Wells said that the planning staff is doing a good job at getting the information in front of residents.
“The problem is that you have so many things here, it takes a lot of things to digest,” Wells said. “I am glad they are taking people around individually and showing them all of the information.”
Some of the options discussed include new and improved bus routes, road repairs, roundabouts and more. Wells, a former public defender, says the big issue needing immediate attention, is bus service to factories in Walesboro.
City Councilman Tom Dell was among those in the audience, listening to the presentation. He says that these open houses are a valuable tool.
“It gives us a plan to evaluate our investment in some of that infrastructure, whether it is reinforcing the road and the transportation that we have now, or looking to adding to that,” Dell said. “I think it gives us more information than we had before.”
Dell says that it is still too early to make a decision on what aspects of the plan need the most, and immediate attention.
Jeff Bergman, the city-county planning director, is hopeful that a similar event next week will draw more interest. He said the meeting will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at Columbus City Hall.
“It is open house format,” Bergman said. ‘We would encourage people to drop by on their lunch hour and give us some input on their transportation priorities.”