JAMESTOWN – Chautauqua County plans to use the area of Pine St. in downtown Jamestown as the hub for its CARTS buses until further notice, but it has yet to make the formal request to the Jamestown City Council.
The Jamestown mayor’s office said County Department of Public Facilities director Brad Bentley verbally informed the city on Thursday, Aug. 30 that CARTS would like to use Pine Street between E. Third and Fourth Streets beyond Sept. 1 as its downtown hub.
CARTS, which is overseen by the county DPW, has been using the street on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. since mid June to accommodate the Piazza construction project that had taken place at its regular hub along W. Second St. in front of the Gateway Train Station, now part of the National Comedy Center.
Because the temporary hub along Pine Street includes eight downtown parking spots, the city council had to approve temporary parking restrictions for that area. But those restrictions expired on Sept. 1, meaning that any further use of that roadway by CARTS must be formally approved by the City Council.
“Mr. Bentley did contact the city [Thursday] and verbally informed the city that it was the intention of the county to seek additional time on Pine Street while the county explores options for CARTS,” said Matthew Hanley, executive assistant to Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi. “Mr. Bentley was subsequently informed that request would have to be submitted to the city in writing and would need formal approval by the City Council.”
In addition to Hanley’s comments, city council President Marie Carrubba also said that formal action would have to be taken for the parking restrictions along Pine Street to be extended.
“Any change to the original resolution would have to be in writing, approved by the appropriate committees, and voted on by the City Council,” Carrubba confirmed in an email to WRFA on Aug. 31.
The City Council isn’t scheduled to meet again until Monday, Sept. 10 when it holds its first work session of September. Typically the council does not take action during work sessions, though a special voting session can be scheduled with enough advance notice to the public.
On Friday, WRFA spoke with Bentley and he said the county has asked the city to extend the length of time for CARTS to use Pine St. until further notice so that a permanent solution on the CARTS bus terminal for downtown can be made. He said the county wants to find a location that can be permanent and wont create confusion or inconveniences for those who use CARTS.
Because of the Second St. location being in close proximity to the NCC and Northwest Arena, there is the likelihood that the street will sometimes be closed down due to special events in that area, meaning future temporary relocations would have to take place. To avoid that, officials say they want to find a new, permanent location that won’t require adjustments due to nearby street closures.
During the W. Second St. piazza construction, the Coach USA bus stop in front of the NCC was also temporarily moved to an area of E. Fourth St. between Prendergast and Pine Streets, but has since moved back and as of last word, will remain in front of the NCC.
CARTS has used the area of W. Second Street as its downtown hub since February 2013 following the completion of the $12 million Train Station renovation project. Part of the funding for the train station renovation was covered by $6 million in federal transportation funding, with the understanding the property would see some type of public transportation use. Since no passenger trains currently utilize the train station, it was believed the property could meet the transportation usage requirements by having CARTS and Coach USA stationed near the property.
Before 2013, the waiting area for CARTS was at Baker Park between W. Fourth and Fifth Streets in the city.