The Yakima City Council will consider cutting bus service west of 72nd Avenue and other cost-saving moves as the city continues to shore up its public transit budget.
A handful of residents weighed in with calls to save the routes during an earlier public hearing and comment period. Among them, was Royal Schoen, who told the council that given his a partial disability, he relies on public transit to get around.
City transit officials are asking council to eliminate Route 8, which runs between downtown Yakima and 96th Avenue, and to modify Route 1 to cut bus service west of 72nd Avenue in order to keep the line closer to more densely populated areas.
The proposed changes would save the city about $300,000 a year, according to estimates from staff.
Currently, Routes 1 and 8 don't draw enough riders to be financially self-supporting and are heavily subsidized by the city, according to a staff report.
Yakima Transit currently runs 10 public transit routes in Yakima and Selah.
If approved, the changes could take effect as early as Nov. 1.
The council also will hold a public hearing and then vote on extending a moratorium on billboard construction.
The city adopted a six-month moratorium on new billboards in early April after staff raised concerns that the city's design standards were too loose and that the proliferation of signs along North First Street runs counter to the city's plans to improve the streetscape.
With the moratorium about to expire, the council will consider extending it to buy more time to consider policy for billboards. City staff members say they need until at least mid-January to draft new standards.
A staff report prepared for the City Council slams billboards and offers five policy suggestions ranging from an outright ban to severely restricting new billboards.
The report's findings include that billboards hurt property values, don't really help public coffers, suppress economic development, increase traffic accidents, are much more common in the city's low income areas, and are banned in most larger cities in Eastern and Central Washington.
Copyright 2013 - Yakima Herald-Republic, Wash.