Bus shelters crop up around town

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By Jennifer Garcia

With cold weather already upon us and the chance of snow showers looming ever closer, Transit Manager Mike Davis and Engineering Project Manager Betsy Lucido are coordinating efforts with construction crews to erect bus shelters around town for Atomic City Transit riders. So far, two shelters have been built, but more shelters will be installed as part of the Diamond Drive project.

One of the shelters being built is on Central Avenue, near the library, while the other shelter is being built in front of the hospital. Transportation Division Manager Nancy Talley said that these two locations have high rider ship and serve both Atomic City Transit and Park and Ride systems.

The idea to install the shelters came about two years ago when Los Alamos Medical Center requested a shelter be built at the hospital. “We were not operating the transit services at that time,” Talley said. “Since we began operations a year ago, we were able to obtain funding for both of these shelters,” she continued. Talley said that the county was able to secure 80 percent of the shelters’ costs from funding through a federal grant. As for the shelter being constructed in front of the hospital, LAMC is paying for the remaining 20 percent of that shelter’s cost. The other 20 percent for the shelter near the library is coming from the county’s transit budget.

Talley said that the Arts in Public Places Board is involved in the shelter project, as well. “The Board will provide guidance, expertise and funding for placing art on these two shelters,” she said. “The Board would like to have murals suitable to these locations etched on the glass panels. This will give the shelters a very nice local feel,” she said. The shelters are currently being installed and work should be completed within the next 1-2 weeks.

Meanwhile, according to a press release, the Arts in Public Places Board is seeking artists to create graphic images that could be sandblasted onto the back glass panels of the bus shelters. If interested in the project, please contact Stephani Johnson who is the liaison to the Art in Public Places Board. She can be reached at 663-1755. Information packets regarding this project are available at her office at Mesa Public Library. Submissions of artwork will be due by the end of the day of Monday, Dec. 8, 2008. Although there will not be a financial payment to the successful artist, the Board does plan to issue $500 in Chamber checks to the successful designer. In addition, media releases will be issued featuring the winning artist, as well as recognition of the artist at a reception and ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Art in Public Places Board was created to promote and encourage public programs to further the development and community awareness of and interest in public art. The County Council appoints the Board members. One of their duties is to encourage the integration of art into the architecture and public spaces of municipal structures and lands. Their funding is prescribed by County Code — the Art in Public Places public art account receives one-percent of the budget of any capital improvement project in addition to one-half of one-percent of the budget of any road project. These monies can only be spent on acquiring, installing and maintaining County-owned works of art.