Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Public Hearing Starts at 5 p.m.

The public hearing before Community Transit's Board of Directors on the three service alternatives for the 2012 system change takes place tomorrow, Thursday July 7 at 5 p.m. The meeting will continue until the last person present has had the opportunity to comment.

That last little phrase has been promoted heavily the past couple weeks on our website and through rider alerts because the 2012 System Change Alternatives brochure that outlined the service options originally said the hearing would run from 5-8:30 p.m. That was the time the room at Mukilteo's Rosehill Community Center was booked, but it has always been the intention of the board to allow everyone present a chance to comment, whether that meant ending earlier or later than 8:30 p.m.

The reason the board meeting is taking place at Rosehill is that last year there were about 100 people who showed up for the hearing on the June 2010 service cuts. Community Transit's board room, where such meetings usually take place, only seats around 40 people. Last year the hearing was held at Boeing's Future of Flight Museum, a location that wasn't easily accessible by bus and was still a little cramped.

Rosehill is just off several bus routes (Routes 113, 190, 417 and 880 as well as Everett Transit Route 18) and is even larger. There is no way of predicting how many people will show up to testify, but this year we have received more than 1,560 online comments compared to the 600 or so total comments received last year.

At the hearing, each person signed up to comment will get three minutes to do so. Board Chair Dave Gossett will run the meeting and will call people by number. Everyone who signs up to comment will get a number and is expected to line up just prior to their turn to speak. There should be three people lined up at the microphone at all times. A roving mic will be available for those who cannot get in line.

Since the board members will focus on hearing the comments, staff will be available outside the hearing room to answer questions, as they did at the five open houses held in June. Even if you have not had a chance to form your opinion about the service alternatives, you can show up, learn all about them, ask some questions then testify before the board.

The formal public comment period runs through Monday, July 11.

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