The new structure will serve the 65,000 annual passengers using Laketran’s Local Routes, Park-n-Ride service to Cleveland and the recently added Campus Loop – Route 7 shuttle service at Lakeland.
The center is scheduled to open in spring 2020.
According to a news release, the Lakeland board of trustees recently approved a 30-year ground lease with Laketran to build, maintain and operate the transit center on campus.
The transit center will be located adjacent to Route 306 in the Campus West Lot, where the current Laketran Park-n-Ride area is located. The new location will relieve traffic congestion at the Clocktower Circle, which over the years has become the primary pick-up and drop-off location for Laketran buses, shuttles and private vehicles.
The 2,200-square-foot transit center will provide an indoor, climate-controlled waiting area with public restrooms, outdoor shaded waiting areas and bike racks.
Mentor-based CT Consultants is the designer and engineer of the project. Laketran plans to break ground in early summer 2019.
Next year, Laketran will also begin operating state-of-the-art, battery-operated electric buses. The new facility will house the infrastructure needed to charge Laketran’s emissions-free electric buses.
When buses stop for a layover, they will charge for about five minutes.
Laketran and Lakeland have been working on the project since 2015 with most of the time spent securing grant funds to pay for 80 percent of the project, the release stated.
The funding includes six federal grants, including a Transportation for Livable Communities implementation grant from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, and a Federal Transit Administration Low-No Emission Vehicle Program that funds the purchase of the zero-emission vehicles and supporting infrastructure.
Lakeland and Laketran will contribute the 20 percent local matching funds to improve transportation access on campus for students, employees and visitors.
Lakeland President Morris W. Beverage Jr. said many current and prospective students rely on public transportation to attend college.
“This partnership is a great example of two Lake County institutions joining forces to improve access to higher education and job training in our community,” Beverage added.
The new building will alleviate traffic to the entire area, improve multimodal transit options and create safer pedestrian access on campus, said Laketran CEO Ben Capelle.
“The Clocktower Circle at Lakeland Community College was never intended to be a bus stop for four local route buses, two Campus Loop shuttle buses and cars dropping off students. Virtually all of the funding for the project is coming from federal grants through NOACA and the Federal Transit Administration.”