BENNINGTON — The Green Mountain Community Network received approval from the Select Board Monday to utilize a town parking lot, allowing the group’s plan to create a transportation hub to proceed.
The nonprofit group that runs public transportation in the area has developed a plan to utilize a $328,000 federal earmark secured by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. The plan will allow for a hub at the organization’s existing property on Pleasant Street by constructing a bay to house up to 12 small buses and six cars.
Additionally, a new driveway will be constructed to allow for the GMCN’s buses, as well as coach buses that pass through town twice a day, to loop around the facility to pick up and drop off customers, according to Executive Director Donna Baker.
The Select Board granted unanimous approval for GMCN to use part of a municipal parking lot adjacent to the group’s property, so long as the town is not liable for any mishaps.
Baker said the approval will alleviate a backup of traffic. “We need to make it safer and we need to make it less congested,” she said.
The town has sought a facility that could serve as a hub for buses, taxis and pedestrians for a number of years. Original ideas in 2001 included a parking garage. While the current plan less ambitious, town officials said it will help increase the use of public transportation.
GMCN is expected to seek local permits from the Development Review Board next month. Bennington Planning Director and Zoning Administrator Daniel Monks said he does not foresee any issues that would prevent the board from issuing a permit.
Reprinted with permission from The Bennington Banner, written by NEAL P. GOSWAMI, Monday April 26, 2010