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Kelsey Roseth, Forum Communications Co., Published January 05 2012

Fargo residents unhappy with bus depot location

FARGO – Residents of a Fargo neighborhood are upset about having a bus depot in their backyard and want the city’s help to resolve the issue.

Homeowner Allen Meyer and nearly two dozen others living in Westfield Townhomes are concerned about noise, traffic and safety, and they say it’s time to take action.

The townhomes back up to Jefferson Lines Bus Depot at 855 45th St. The Minneapolis-based company operated in downtown Fargo before moving to the 45th Street location about two years ago.

“It would be nice to do something different,” Meyer said. “They have two to three of them (buses) running all night long.”

Besides the constant buzz of buses, traffic problems are piling up at an intersection without a stop sign.

Homeowners said one of their biggest concerns is that the bus depot is only open a limited number of hours.

That means if passengers are in between routes, they’ve got nowhere to go.

Meyer said he’s seen some passengers stay in an area park overnight.

In a letter to the city, members of the townhome association report that “some of the people who are waiting for a bus on the Jefferson Lines have been soliciting the neighborhood for money.”

“People come and ask if they have any food,” Meyer said.

In the letter, the Westfield Townhome Association also asks if the business can be relocated to a nonresidential area to alleviate the problems.

“We feel this location was a bad choice for a bus line,” the letter states.

Fargo officials say there’s not much they can do.

“It’s legal,” Fargo Planning Director Jim Gilmour said. “It’s a commercial-zoning business district.”

When the city hears of problems, he said, it passes them on to specific departments, such as police for solicitors and transit for traffic issues.

Jefferson Lines officials say they’re surprised to hear homeowners are so concerned. They say they welcome feedback and want to change the stigma attached to bus stations.

“Part of our mission statement with Jefferson Lines is to be a responsible part of the community,” said Kevin John, director of sales and services for Jefferson Lines. “Absolutely, if people have concerns and questions, quite frankly I would prefer if people would come over and say we have this concern and can we talk about it.”

John agrees there are issues with nearby intersections and said he’d support stop signs or other forms of traffic control.

Kelsey Roseth is a reporter for WDAY TV