A community meeting was held on Wednesday, June 30 in response to Mammoth residents protesting the proposed public transit stop/shelter/turnaround on Woodman.
The turnaround would allow for a 40’ bus to provide public transit along Old Mammoth Road, as far up as Woodman, before turning around and heading back towards town.
However, the residents near Woodman clearly do not want a bus – especially a 40’ one – constantly driving through their neighborhood.
“Over and over again it feels like the town rolls over like a stray dog looking for a treat,” resident Traci Walker said at the meeting. It was clear that all those who attended felt similarly.
Approximately 20 or so residents gathered to speak with Mammoth Public Works Director Haislip Hayes, Associate Engineer Amy Callanan, and Executive Director of the Eastern Sierra Transit Authority Phil Moores about the proposed project.
Tensions were high. This was not the first meeting that’s been held surrounding the issue.
The Sheet covered the first event back in our May 22 edition, where an informal survey was conducted, revealing 4 people being supportive of the shelter/turnaround, and 24 being staunchly opposed.
“They’ve already made up their mind. This is just a token conversation,” one resident uttered under his breath during the meeting.
Hayes explained that the Town of Mammoth needs to extend the bus route’s red line, in order to service transportation for the people living in the newly developed housing past Snowcreek; namely, Aspen Village, whose residents are allowed one parking spot per two-bedroom unit. Just one.
In order to put this bus route in, they need a place for the bus to turn around. Woodman is apparently the only location where this is possible, despite it being quite a ways past Aspen Village.
The most interesting part of the meeting was that none of the residents who the proposed red line would actually service were there. Instead, it was just people who opposed the turnaround, whose properties will be affected by its construction.
“The people who want this, don’t show up to meetings like this,” said Hayes.
*Editor’s note: Hmm. So how do we determine they want this in the first place?
When the Sheet previously covered the story, it found that a 2019 Eastern Sierra Transit Authority (ESTA) “Limited Route Service Analysis” determined that the previous Old Mammoth gray line drew an approximate 3.7 riders per trip. A 40’ foot bus, for 3.7 riders.
Mammoth’s Council shifted resources away from Old Mammoth Road in 2016 by discontinuing the gray line, since there was very limited demand for public transportation past Aspen Village.
But now they’re using this low ridership to justify expanding the red line, arguing that while ridership numbers are extremely low, there’s still need for the service that cannot be ignored.
When confronted with the inconsisntency in their logic, Callanan and Hayes argued that the gray and red lines are not comparable. The residents begged to differ.
When asked about the level of frequency and service the bus turnaround would offer: Hayes explained that around 2/3 of the time the red line does its route, it will loop around Minaret. The other third of the time, the bus will turn around at Woodman instead.
The red line trolley plans to run from about 6:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., once every 20-30 minutes, completing about 46 trips a day.
The Sheet did the math. That makes it so the bus would be turning aroud at Woodman about 15 times per day.
That’s about 30 times a day that the bus will drive by houses in that neighborhood.
“It’s a quiet street, full of animals … We live there for a reason,” said one resident.
When asked if there could at least be a smaller bus serviced for the turn-around, Hayes said it wouldn’t work.
One resident suggested using the Catholic Church as an alternative turn-around. This seemed to be the most feasible suggestion proposed for an alternative, and Hayes said he will look into its potential.
There is a PEDC meeting regarding the proposed Woodman Street/Old Mammoth Road bus turnaround scheduled for July 14 at 2 p.m., in Suite Z at the Minaret Mall.