Riders battle to keep bus stops | VailDaily.com

Riders battle to keep bus stops

Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyKeith Foutz waits at the Buffalo Ridge Apartments in Avon for the bus to pick him up and take him to work at Wal-Mart.

AVON ” Monica Ruiz has two jobs, three children and no money for a car.

She moved to Buffalo Ridge because it was cheap and because of the bus service, which she says makes life easier for a single mother.

Now that Avon is canceling bus service at the Village at Avon, which includes Buffalo Ridge, Wal-Mart and Home Depot, she and other Buffalo Ridge residents are rounding up people to sign a petition letting local leaders know how much it hurts.

“This is a great place to live, and one reason I moved here is because of the bus,” Ruiz said. “I don’t know why they would take it away.”

About 300 people have signed the petition so far. They’re asking town leaders to reconsider their stances on the bus stops, which many people depend on for getting to work and buying groceries. The last day of service is April 29.

An ECO county bus route still stops at Wal-Mart but not Buffalo Ridge.

The volunteers have been waiting at bus stops, riding the routes, knocking on doors and explaining the problem to anyone who will listen. The petition encourages residents to attend Tuesday’s town council meeting and contains contact information for Traer Creek Metropolitan District, town staff and council members.

The stops are casualties of a dispute between the town and the metro district, the entity responsible for building roads and funding basic services such as snowplowing and police and fire protection at the Village at Avon.

The town, which added the stops less than a year ago, believes the district ” an arm of Traer Creek LLC, the developer of the shopping center ” should feel obligated to pay for the bus service, but the district says there is no such obligation and Avon started a route it couldn’t afford.

Richard Sonara said he usually drives his car around town, but he’ll miss the Wal-Mart bus stop on icy days during ski season.

“I’m just old. I don’t like driving in the winter,” Sonara said. “I’ll take the bus more when the ski nuts are out again. They all shop at Wal-Mart.”

Avon resident Greg Tinberg said he never takes the bus to Wal-Mart, but he still thinks it’s wrong to take away the bus stops at the Village at Avon.

“It doesn’t effect me personally, but it doesn’t seem right,” Tinberg said. “I would certainly be upset.”

Ruiz said she takes the bus to work, to the baby-sitter and to the doctor. She takes her children to shop with her at Wal-Mart and carry groceries on the bus. She doesn’t want to see them carrying groceries on a nearly two-mile walk home though, especially in the winter.

“It’s not a big deal in the summer or spring, but I’m not going to have them walking in the snow storm carrying those bags. I won’t put them through that.” Ruiz said.

Moving is a possibility, but it could cost a lot of money. Ruiz says it’s much cheaper to shop at Wal-Mart, and Buffalo Ridge has some of the best rent rates around.

“I’m just trying to give my kids a decent life, and I don’t know how I can do that now,” Ruiz said.

The bus route petition letter started by Buffalo Ridge residents:

“We are doing our effort to keep the Hurd Lane bus route open at Buffalo Ridge II. We are aware that the majority of our residents depend on this transportation. To accomplish this, we will need your assistance and involvement.

We are giving a list of the people you should contact, call, fax and e-mail. We are asking for you to call as much as possible (daily) for your voice to be heard. We are also asking for letters to be made with your opinion and faxed or mailed to every contact person on the list. If you need help to draft the letter, just stop by the office and we will be happy to help.

In the office we have a petition for everyone to sign, please stop by the office to do so. Remember the more signatures we gather the better our chance is. Please let any other relatives or friends know about our effort, they could also sign even if they are not a resident.

The next Town Council meeting will be April 24, 2007 at 5:30 p.m. We are asking residents of the town of Avon to make an effort and attend the meeting, located at 400 Benchmark Road, across from the fire station in Avon. The deadline for signatures will be Monday 23, 2007. Thank you.”

Staff writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.

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