Original Town residents riled over Go Line traffic in neighborhood

VERO BEACH — Some Original Town residents say their neighborhood is going downhill after a temporary Go Line Indian River Transit bus transfer center began operating out of the old County Administration Building and they want city officials to do something about it.Several residents spoke during the public comment section at the last Vero Beach City Council meeting, detailing increased trash, vagrancy, public drunkenness and undesirable traffic due to bus passengers using the Original Town neighborhood near Downtown as a pass-through. They also complained about the portable toilets that had to be placed in the parking lot of the old county building because bus patrons were going to the bathroom in residents’ yards and on business property while waiting for the bus to arrive or after exiting a bus. “This is uncalled for, we don’t need this bus terminal in our neighborhood, said Linda Hillman, who heads up the Original Town Neighborhood Association.Resident Dorothy Knapp complained that she residents like her afraid to walk or to walk dogs at night in the neighborhood, and that when she walks her dog during the day, she have to carry a trash bag to rid the right of way of litter tossed from car windows or dropped by people walking to and from the bus transfer terminal.”It’s beer bottles, Red Bull cans, dirty diapers,” she said.The boundaries of the Original Town neighborhood are 26th Street on the north, 20th Street on the south, 15th Avenue on theeast and 20th Avenue on the west.Original Town is an established, mixed-use neighborhood where families, professional offices, nonprofits and businesses have lived and worked in close proximity for close to a decade.Plans are on the books to move the current bus transfer station to a facility west of 43rd Avenue at the county’s large service complex, but for now, Original Town residents are expecting the City of Vero Beach to take up the issue with the county on their behalf, since they live within the city limits and have worked diligently on a neighborhood preservation and enhancement plan — a plan they now feel is being thwarted by the negative elements being brought into the neighborhood by the bus traffic.The Go Line bus system is funded through the Board of County Commissioners, which pays the Senior Resources Association between a half million and more than one million dollars per year — depending on capital needs for vehicles  — to act as county transportation coordinator.”There are things in the works as we speak, we’ll address the crime issues and the trash issues,” said City Manager Jim Gabbard. “We were all hoping it would be OK for a while until the county figured out what it was going to do.”Residents also commented that they had recommended reduced speed limits in their neighborhood to encourage traffic calming and do discourage people cutting through on residential streets as opposed to using main thoroughfares. They had heard that some speed limits in beachside residential neighborhoods were being reduced to accomplish those same goals and wondered why the slower speeds hadn’t been implemented in Original Town.Though staff promised to follow up on the issue immediately, it is expected that the council, at least Councilman Ken Daige, will ask for a report on the record at the next meeting as to what has been done and what will be done to correct the problem.”This pisses me off. You do not have to fight the county on this bus issue, we’ll take care of that,” Daige said. “Next council meeting this council member will have your answer.”The Vero Beach City Council meets again on June 15 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

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