By Matthew Bado, TSB Staff
Nearly 40 citizens collectively said public transportation is non-existent in McKinney and called for leaders to help populations who suffer the most during a public meeting held in the bowels of the McKinney Performing Arts Center on Oct. 30.
The meeting was conducted by the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), which is in the middle of conducting a transportation needs assessment for Collin County. This was one of several public input meetings held in the county.
NCTCOG reminded the audience that the area has experienced a 140 percent growth in population between 2000 and 2010 and public transit will likely play a role in connecting communities with ease.
McKinney’s current demographics, explained by NCTCOG, gives us insight into McKinney’s unique transportation needs compared to other cities within Collin County. For example, 10 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, the highest of our neighboring cities. Also, 12-15 percent of our population does not own a car. Not surprisingly, most families who fall into both categories live in clusters along the eastern side of Central Expressway/75.
McKinney only has one public transit option for its citizens – two bus routes operated by the Collin County Area Regional Transit (CCART). NCTCOG told the audience that DART is not an option because McKinney is not a member city, although that could change.
Those in attendance said there are virtually no practical transportation solutions to help seniors, the disabled and veterans get to critical appointments.
“CCART does a good job taking care of basic needs such as running errands but there is a gap for seniors, and especially veterans, getting to/from the doctors office,” said one person who works with seniors.
A visually impaired individual told NCTCOG, “Transportation is so bad in McKinney I actually have to lease an apartment in Irving during the week so I can get to work. Furthermore, I couldn’t even get to Plano if I wanted to.”
Two individuals said corporations are waiting for the opportunity to relocate to McKinney but they won’t until solid public transit exists. Another attendee said colleges and corporations have difficulty recruiting in McKinney because of the lack of transit options. “As companies are trying to attract a workforce, public transportation will be absolutely vital to job growth,” said the attendee.
The group at the meeting did cite the cost of increasing public transit options as a concern but overwhelmingly agreed that they would be willing to pay a little more to ease congestion and help the underserved populations.
“The cost of not having a transit network is far greater,” said one resident. “Having more access to jobs would off-set increased costs.”
What do you think? Is there a need for more more public transportation to get around McKinney? Or is more important to get in and out of McKinney – connecting McKinney to Dallas or Sherman and cities in between, for example? Would you take a bus to/from downtown McKinney if it ran until midnight?