No bus shelters in Columbia for start of winter season

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COLUMBIA - CoMo Connect will not have new bus shelters installed by the start of the winter season, but the Columbia Public Works Department plans to make a proposal to the Columbia City Council at its January 5 meeting.

Columbia Transit has secured federal and local funds to build the shelters and plans to install 20-30 new shelters throughout 2015.

Public Works Multi-Modal Manager Drew Brooks said the department plans to use heat maps to identify high traffic areas before installation. The new technology will help project coordinators select data driven locations throughout the city.

"That's going to help us make better decisions about where we put those very expensive assets," Brooks said. "You don't want to put those out there and then have to move them."

Brooks said he understands the public is anxious to start using the bus shelters.

"As the weather turns bad, the good news is that we have technology that they can access weather on their computer or on their smart phone," Brooks said.

He said the city designed the routes to operate on first priority snow clearing areas in hopes of avoiding weather delays.

"We are going to move as fast as we can because we know having some shelters out there is really important," Brooks said.

The city has seen a decline in the amount of call it receives from riders waiting on buses because of the CoMo Connect app. Riders without access to a smart phone or the Internet can still call the office for time updates.

The city finalized the designs of the shelters in November.