Lakeland is expanding its partnership with Laketran to build an intermodal transit center on the college campus.
Scheduled to open in spring 2020, the Laketran transit center will serve the 65,000 annual passengers using Laketran's Local Routes, Park-n-Ride service to Cleveland, and the new Campus Loop - Route 7 shuttle service at Lakeland.
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 main 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. CT Consultants of Mentor is the designer and engineer of the project. Laketran plans to break ground early summer 2019.
In 2020, Laketran will begin operating state of the art, battery-operated electric buses. This 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 funding includes six federal grants, including a Transportation for Livable Communities implementation grant from NOACA and a Federal Transit Administration Low-No emission vehicle program that funds the purchase 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 Dr. 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," said Beverage.
Laketran CEO Ben Capelle said, "The purpose of this project is to build a sustainable, multi-modal transfer center at Lakeland Community College to improve access to higher education and job training, and house the charging infrastructure Laketran needs to deploy battery-operated electric buses coming in 2020. The project will leverage federal, state and local funding to install infrastructure that improves accessibility and safety for Laketran route buses, Campus Loop service, automobile pick-up and drop-off, bicycle transportation, and pedestrian traffic on the college campus."
Capelle explained, "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. The new building will alleviate traffic to the area, improve multi-modal transit options and create safer pedestrian access on campus. Virtually all of the funding for the project is coming from federal grants through NOACA and the Federal Transit Administration."