Mayor suggests bus restrictions

By Tammy Sholer

Unless funding can be found to reconstruct north Greek Row streets, No. 3 buses will be restricted, said Mayor Greg Sparrow and his staff Sunday.

Sparrow told the Student Association Senate that he also is making this recommendation to the DeKalb City Council to extend the life of the streets that are deteriorating from the weight of the Huskie buses.

Funds are not available now to reconstruct the streets, so the staff recommends bus traffic north of Hillcrest Drive on Blackhawk Drive, Ridge and Normal roads be eliminated until after 6 p.m. daily, Sparrow said.

“The city has been trying to find funding for about five years, but it has only been successful in a limited sense from Build Illinois,” Sparrow said.

SA Services Adviser Todd Lipscomb suggested funding should come from a 20-year tax-exempt revenue bond. Sparrow agreed with this option, but said he is not sure the city will want a bond.

In response to Sen. Mark Harkness’ suggestion to add a 5 cent property tax, Sparrow said, “I guarantee the city council will not raise the property tax. The property tax has not been raised since 1979. It is one of the lowest in the state.”

owever, Sparrow agreed with Sen. Jon Pierce that raising sales tax is an alternative funding method. Sparrow said the city is looking at a possible increase of one-half percent.

The city also wants to cut the manpower of the fire and police departments without decreasing levels of service to find extra funds, Sparrow said.

Boden said the Section 18 funding the city was considering may be unavailable. If the city receives Section 18 funding, the city and the university each would control half of the bus system.

North Greek Row and Lucinda need reconstructing, said Gary Boden, assistant city manager. Of these two, Lucinda is more important for traffic and bus use, he said.

The buses take 566 trips a day over Lucinda, and it is the only east-west street that goes into the central campus, Boden said. The staff will attempt to obtain funding for Lucinda Avenue first, Boden said.

From 1974 to 1985, 14 percent of $140,000 was spent repairing Lucinda and north Greek Row, Boden said. Beginning in 1982, the city also increased their committment to Lucinda and north Greek Row by spending 22 percent of $3.6 million, he said.

alph Tompkins, assistant director of Public Works, said the thicker the streets are, the more weight they can support. North Greek Row and Lucinda only have two inches of blacktop, which will not support large loads, he said.