Embark Bus

An Embark bus drives Friday down East Brooks Street.

The City of Norman wants to know what the public has to say about future public transportation routes and challenges in its transit system.

City leaders will hold a virtual listening session from 12:30-2 p.m. Tuesday and from 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesday. Residents can join the Zoom meeting at gonormantransit.com.

The city will present proposed routes and designs based on previous public meetings and studies as part of an improvement plan during an ongoing comprehensive evaluation of the transit system, a statement from the city reads.

Residents can also make their voices heard through a survey regarding the routes, available on the project website.

The result of the study will contribute to a plan that will guide the program for years to come.

“The study is also soliciting information from other stakeholders, including transit operators, businesses and organizations, and large employers such as the University of Oklahoma and hospitals,” the statement reads. “The outcome of the comprehensive study will be a strategic plan to help city leaders optimize and expand transit over the next 20 years.”

The ongoing study has identified areas of urgent need for improvements which include improving service frequency, later service, Sunday service and extending rides to the Moore Norman Technology Center and Classen Boulevard, a presentation shows.

“So far we’ve learned a lot through the Go Norman Transit Study about how people utilize public transit and how we can improve it,” said Taylor Johnson, Norman public transit coordinator. “We want to continue gaining valuable public feedback, especially during these last stages of planning, so we can provide our citizens with transportation that works for them.”

Despite extensive coverage, several locations are underserved, but may possess the infrastructure to be included in routes, the presentation shows. Some destinations that could be included are “Walmart stores, Norman Public Library East and residential areas in northeast and southeast Norman.”

Some areas have infrastructure issues, like a lack of sidewalks in older neighborhoods, that need improvements before routes can be added.

Study findings show that transit service in northwest Norman “is not convenient,” the presentation reads. The existing route requires “two transfers for most riders starting or ending a trip along 36th Avenue NW. Providing more direct service would reduce rider travel times.”

Southeast Norman, where demand stems from lower vehicle ownership rates and depressed income levels, “warrants a higher level of transit service,” the presentation reads.

Mindy Wood covers City Hall news and notable court cases for The Transcript. Reach her at mwood@normantranscript.com or 405-416-4420.

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