Seeing Red (Line)
Hello Town Council,
First off, thanks for all you do with our town and thanks for trying to bring Red Line service to Old Mammoth. At one point, we were all for the Red Line coming down our street on Red Fir. Now we are not, due to the lack of planning and forethought.
With regards to the Red Line on Red Fir, here is a great question for you to consider and answer:
Why would Red Fir residents ever consider a temporary Red Line (large bus) service coming down their street when the plan is to abandon the residents of Red Fir in the spring and not provide service to them at all? The near term proposal to build a turn around at Woodman and force Red Fir families/residents to walk a 1/3 of a mile down a precarious section of Old Mammoth Road does not make sense or benefit Red Fir residents in any way. We don’t want to be used for our street for the short term then be completely abandoned to not have any service at all. It provides no long term benefit to us and only short term pitfalls.
We applaud Director John Helm’s and the TOML’s efforts to extend the Red Line Service. It is crucially needed and welcomed, however we believe the current proposal is shortsighted and fails to fulfill our recreational needs in Mammoth Lakes and doesn’t maximize on ridership to and from key recreational nodes within our town.
A viable solution?
Using Red Fir Road for this winter only as a turn around for the Red Line has many issues associated with it. Children’s safety, frequency, speed limit. There’s more negative than positive. Plus, the tentative plan to construct a bus turnaround at Woodman Street removes and abandons service to Red Fir residents and offers minimal recreational value. If any turn around is to be constructed, it should be at a location that makes sense and fits the master recreational/public transit plans of this town. The expansion of public transit needs to be in “lock step” with the already identified public transportation/recreational needs set forth by this town. The once Sherwin Working Group (SWG) which included the TOML, MLTPA, and the U.S. Forest Service, produced a plan, and while we realize this plan is a bit older, it still holds its value and relevancy.
As you know, The Sherwins Area Recreational Plan (SHARP), produced by the SWG, identifies that a multi-use staging area is needed on Old Mammoth Road at the intersection of La Verne/Fir Streets (Mill City). The SHARP document also states “This staging area will be served by public transit” and “Expanded routes support the Town of Mammoth Lakes General Plan vision for public transportation mobility and can help alleviate potential traffic congestion both on the roads and at the parking areas.” We realize the town and cooperating recreational partners are probably a while off from formalizing this multi-use staging area, but the public transit piece could be a reality in the near-term. This hub would provide access to many outdoor recreational activities that fall in line with the vision of Mammoth Lakes and provide access/egress to over the snow users accessing the Sherwins and beyond.
It would also serve as a trailhead for Nordic skiers/snowshoers to access the Lakes Basin zone via the Old Mammoth Road “back route.” Maybe Tamarack/MMSA would eventually consider grooming down to this location? It would reduce the impact of the Lake Mary access area with traffic and parking.
Summer recreational opportunities also abound at this location.
A direct non-transferable shuttle from/to MMSA to a Sherwins trailhead sounds “magical” and opens up all kinds of new recreational opportunities that don’t involve driving your car everywhere and battling parking. The shuttle will still provide access to all of Old Mammoth, including Red Fir, and increase ridership by providing a portal for infinite recreational opportunities. Ridership would open up to even more demographics than just Old Mammoth residents.
If we’re going to expand the Red Line, lets do this right initially and expand the service to a location that makes more sense and is in line with the TOML’s General Plan and vision. Lets not rush this expansion. If it needs to be thought out more, then so be it. We would rather see it done right. This service would further enact the needs identified by the SHARP/TOML and open up opportunities to not only Old Mammoth residents, but the entire Town.
We urge you to work with ESTA, have them go back to the drawing board, and develop a long term solution that benefits all of Old Mammoth and the Town.
Please contact me if you would like to discuss further. Thank you in advance for addressing this!
Red Fir Road
Ed’s note: To comment on Old Mammoth transit options, email John Helm at firstname.lastname@example.org before November 19.