Second IDOT grant gives city $5.14 million to build bus transfer facility at Seventh and Jersey

city bus transfer

An aerial photo shows the area north of Jersey between Sixth Street and Eighth Street. A bus transfer stop will be built on the south side of the parking lot north of Jersey bounded by Sixth and Seventh. | Photo courtesy of Chuck Bevelheimer

QUINCY — City officials don’t expect any labor to start until 2024, but they were nonetheless elated to learn Tuesday that Quincy will receive a grant of $3.8 million from the Illinois Department of Transportation for the relocation of its bus transfer facility.

Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation awarded $113.8 million Tuesday to downstate transit providers as part of the Rebuild Illinois capital program. A press release from Pritzker’s office says the funding brings the total investment in downstate transit through competitive grants to $337.8 million.

Quincy received $1,249,440 from the Rebuild Illinois program in January 2022 for the relocation of the transit transfer station. At that time, the city also was awarded $13.2 million to improve capacity and operations at an existing dock and to build a second dock for the Mid‐America Intermodal Port Authority.

The city now has $5,141,834 for the transit transfer station project.

The bus transfer stop now is along the Jersey Street curb between South Seventh and South Eighth. The new transit transfer station will be built one block to the west on Jersey in the parking lot between South Sixth and South Seventh.

The station will have eight designated bus stalls to accommodate the city’s fleet of six fixed-route buses that operate daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. A bus stall also will be available for a Burlington Trailways bus that stops twice daily in Quincy at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

“It will be much safer, both for the drivers and for the passengers, because they’ll be off the street in the parking lot,” Quincy Transit Lines Director Marty Stegeman said. “The amenities will be much nicer, because they’ll have better lighting and better coverage (from the weather).”

This file photo shows the bus transfer facility to the west of the corner of Eighth and Jersey.

Tuesday’s announcement represents the third round of competitive grants in Rebuild Illinois funding to invest in transit outside the Chicago area. Thirty-two transit systems are receiving money to advance 44 projects.

“These awards to our transit systems will strengthen our status as a national leader in providing cost-effective public transportation that’s safe and accessible to everyone in our state,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said in the release.

The city of Macomb and McDonough County Public Transportation received a $2 million for new buses. A full list of recipients can be viewed by visiting IDOT’s Public Transportation Providers page.

The current bus transfer facility is essentially a large bus shelter, and city buses park on the curb. Buses run approximately 30-minute routes and return to Seventh and Jersey, where passengers can switch lines. The new facility will allow for buses to park off the street, allowing for two lanes of westbound traffic on Jersey.

“I don’t want to sound critical of the city, but it’s not really much of a bus transfer facility,” said Chuck Bevelheimer, director of planning and development.

“It’s an eyesore,” Stegeman said.

The city owns Municipal Parking Lot A, a 238-foot by 189-foot parking lot at 639 Jersey, which Bevelheimer says will be resurfaced and renovated as part of the project. He also says the city already is in talks to acquire an 89-foot by 189-foot property at 617-619 Jersey owned by Jack Holtschlag, a Democratic alderman in the city’s 7th Ward, and his wife, Lori.  

Approximately 100 parking stalls will be created to the north of the bus transfer facility.

“We were looking at trying to figure out how to rebuild this parking lot anyway,” Bevelheimer said. “When we started looking at the needs of the transit facility and the needs of the city and look at this parking lot, it all kind of came together. We’re able to, in many respects, address two pressing financial issues that the city has.”

Bevelheimer said the transit transfer station would accommodate up to four buses to pull in off the street along the curb under a canopy structure. Four other buses then could pull in along the north side of the canopy structure.

Plans call for decorative lighting and canopy lighting to be installed to improve visibility and safety. Electronic signs at each bus stall will identify the route a specific bus will travel. The signs also may include arrival/departure times and possibly identify delays in any routes.

The new station will have sidewalks and ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It also will have bicycle parking and stations to charge electric vehicles.

Bevelheimer says the city only has a letter from IDOT explaining it has received the funding. He believes city officials will need to attend a webinar about the training associated with the grant award procedure. They also will need to learn about special conditions for the grant, and the Quincy City Council must vote to authorize acceptance of the grant.

“Then we’ll move into the acquisition and design phase,” Bevelheimer said. “All that has to happen before we turn a shovel of dirt. More than likely it will be 2024 before we start moving dirt.”

Stegeman said city buses make 6,000 trips throughout the city each week. Each bus stops between eight and 10 times on each trip.

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