Lindsay gets wheels turning on transit center

(Rigo Moran)

Lindsay starts planning the phases of its upcoming transit center; city manager estimates phases one will be finished and ready for use in a couple of years

LINDSAY –  Residents can anticipate more accessible transportation in the coming years now that the planning phase for the city’s future transit center is underway.

On Oct. 10, Lindsay City Manager Joe Tanner gave an update on the state of the creation of the Lindsay Transit Center. In September, Tanner had the Transit Center listed as one of the key projects to prioritize in the proposed operating budget for 2023-24. Now the city is working with an engineer to design plans to construct the transit center in two phases.

“Addressing transportation needs is a top priority. We are working towards building a transit center that will improve public transportation options and connectivity within our city and the rest of the county,” Tanner’s report at the Sept. 25 meeting stated.

The site plans for phase one of the transit center, include a parking lot with solar canopies, bus stops, lamps, ticket booth, electric charging stations and a police substation for officers to deter crime in the area. The designs for this phase will be complete in the next nine months as the designs are refined. After that, Tanner expects the construction to last another nine to 12 months.

The transit center will have buses that connect Lindsay to many of the surrounding cities such as Strathmore, Porterville, Farmersville, Tulare and Visalia.

Phase two of the Transit Center is still up in the air as far as what will be included. The city has a space on the upcoming Transit Center lot that will be paved over until phase two is decided. In the meantime, the space will be paved and used as a community space where food trucks can park.

Lindsay is one of 10 communities that plan to have a stop on the proposed passenger railroad running between Porterville and Huron. Tulare County Association of Governments (TCAG) is coordinating the effort to use the existing railroad corridor stretching from southwestern Fresno County to southeastern Tulare County to serve as a regional transit system providing surrounding communities with connected, convenient transit centers and services, which may include buses before trains.

The city started working on the transit center back in December of 2019 when the Lindsay City Council voted in favor of purchasing Yokohl Valley Packing Plant, located at 125 S. Mt. Vernon Ave. in Lindsay.

The facility was purchased for $250,000 from Kern Ridge Growers, LLC. Under the agreement, the city was required to provide a security deposit of $2,500 with the rest of the purchase price being paid on the closing date. Escrow on the property closed February 2020.

Farmersville also began planning phases of its transit center in 2019. The Farmersville Transit Center, which broke ground in July of this year, will include two bus bays, passenger shade and seating, bicycle racks, a monument sign, a 31-stall parking lot and two electric car chargers. The total cost of the rail and bus station is estimated at $3.7 million.

Tanner confirmed that in the future when the Farmersville Railway is functional again, Lindsay would be interested in renovating the transit center to allow trains to stop there as well.

“We’re not putting the building on the (train) tracks,” Tanner said. “If (the railway) becomes available, we’ll have to make some improvements, but we’re thinking that that’s a possibility.”

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