Bloomington Transit will hold a public meeting Tuesday concerning potential changes to the Park and Ride bus route. The current system, which has been operating for 12 years and carries about 550 people per day, allows students to park their cars in the Bryan Park neighborhood and take a bus to campus.\nAfter hearing public opinion on this topic, a policy board will meet to make a decision. The board's recommended changes could go into effect as early as Aug. 30, which will mark the beginning of the fall semester.\nIn an effort to promote true efficacy, anyone can come to this public meeting. We applaud such a decision, but we recognize "can," of course, is the operative word. But unfortunately the majority of the users of this bus system -- that is, the students -- will not be able to do that since the majority of students are not in town because they are currently on summer vacation.\nThat's right: If you're not already in town, all you have to do is come back to Bloomington to attend the public meeting. It's that simple.\nResidents who live in the neighborhood around Bryan Park have voiced concern about the noise and emissions from the buses on the route. They are also worried about the narrowness of the streets the buses use and have asked that the service be eliminated.\nWe understand something needs to be done with the bus route, although we do believe keeping the Park and Ride system is important since traffic around campus is continually congested during the school year.\nBut we don't understand why the meeting has to be held in the summer when the route's primary users are not able to attend. It brings along with it a potentially negative perception. Do they not want students to attend because students could object loudly? If they would truly want student participation in the public meeting, why wasn't this meeting held in the spring, or simply postponed until after the first week of school?\nIn an effort to balance the concern of the neighborhood and the needs of the riders, we are told, this meeting was necessary and apparently it was imperative to hold it as soon as possible. After all, what's four or five weeks' worth of summer transportation when the route has been running for a mere 12 years?\nWe largely advocate the potential for citizens to be involved in changes in their community. Eventually, we may agree wholeheartedly with the transit's final recommendation, although we will have to wait to see their recommendation before making any conclusions. We wish we did not have to criticize a public meeting, but when a public meeting is scheduled suspiciously and scheduled when public attendance could be at its lowest, we must speak in protest on behalf of students who aren't here to speak for themselves.\nThe IDS Editorial Board voted 11-0 on this issue.
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