Bradenton residents offer input on possible bus service to Lakewood Ranch

srocco@bradenton.comAugust 13, 2013 

BRADENTON -- The Sarasota-Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization on Monday reached out to Bradenton bus riders interested in a potential bus route to Lakewood Ranch through an open house at the Manatee County Central Library.

The purpose of the open house, held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., was to assess the need for extra transportation to East Manatee through surveys administered to the public.

Representatives from the MPO, Tindale-Oliver and Associates, the MPO's consultant for the project, and MCAT answered questions and took the surveys in front of a small table set up in the library's lobby.

Bill Wheeler, a resident of Oneco for more than 50 years, came to stress the need for multiple bus stops along State Road 70 in between U.S. 301 and the Lakewood Ranch area.

There's a Walmart, a Sam's Club, a Publix and other shopping destinations along State Road 70 and not enough stops, Wheeler said.

Even though he doesn't ride the bus, Wheeler feels for the elderly citizens who do.

"Older people cannot walk far down the road," he said.

Erin Rosenwinkel, an 18-year-old student at Southeast High School, said her godfather drives her everywhere. But now that she's trying to get a job in the Lakewood Ranch area, the bus route would be nice.

From here, the consultant will take the public's input and incorporate that into recommendations they provide to the MPO for Lakewood Ranch service.

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