Trumbull is the most populous county in Ohio without public transportation.
By SHERRI L. SHAULIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
NILES -- Provided the timetable goes as planned, the Niles-Trumbull Transit Service could be running before the end of the year.
City council agreed Wednesday to have Safety-Service Director Donald Allen advertise for bids for operation and management of a countywide bus system.
Mayor Ralph A. Infante spearheaded the program, which really got moving when Eastgate Regional Council of Governments approved Niles' application to the Federal Transit Administration for $248,200 in federal funds for a one-year pilot program.
Law director J. Terrence Dull told council that advertisements for bids will be published beginning Sept. 26, with responses due by Oct. 24. A contract could be awarded by Nov. 26, and service could start as early as Dec. 16.
Infante started the drive for the service because Trumbull is the most populous county in the state without public transportation. The system would feature discounted rates for the elderly, people with disabilities and residents of participating communities.
The total project cost is estimated at $620,000 and includes about $226,000 from Trumbull commissioners and seven local communities.
Niles, Cortland, Howland, Liberty, McDonald, Vienna and Weathersfield each are pitching in $1 per resident.
The system would differ from the one operated by Western Reserve Transit Authority in Mahoning County, in that clients in Trumbull County will call for a ride from one specific point to another and back.
WRTA operates on a fixed-route system.
Also at Wednesday's meeting, residents of Cedar Street again expressed frustration about speeding motorists and traffic crashes, asking council members what else can be done.
After asking council for help last month, residents were informed by police Chief Bruce Simeone that extra patrols and radar units would be put in place to deter speeders.
Residents wanted four-way stop signs, but Engineer Mark Hess said a 1992 study conducted by the Ohio Department of Transportation determined the stop signs were not necessary.
Cedar Street resident Helena Watkins said she thinks the patrols have slacked off in recent weeks.
Simeone said Cedar Street is a major street that is patrolled more often than most, but noted that officers must also attend to other duties, not just traffic.
"We're doing everything possible right now," he said.
Hess suggested that rather than installing four-way stops, the city should look into placing additional signs on the side streets informing drivers that the cross traffic does not stop. That, he said, may cut down on the number of crashes.