Anchorage’s People Mover bus system is actively seeking a permanent location for its downtown transit center to enhance the area’s accessibility and support local business activity. Bart Rudolph, who oversees transit planning and communications, expressed hope that the new center could spark further downtown development. “Can transit help be a catalyst for that sort of development?” he pondered.

The search has been narrowed down to three potential sites. Two of the sites would facilitate off-street bus circulation within a city block, improving the boarding process for passengers. One proposed location near the ConocoPhillips building would require a $91 million investment, while another option situated on a parking lot currently utilized by Anchorage Fur Rendezvous and the Anchorage Market is estimated at $25 million.

The third and most cost-effective alternative involves returning to the original bus hub near the Sixth Avenue parking garage, located between G and H streets, at an approximate cost of $800,000. This site has served as the interim transit center, where buses continue to pick up passengers along the curb and drivers can take breaks.

However, the indoor waiting area at this location has been closed since late 2020 due to the pandemic. The closure was further extended by the Anchorage Community Development Authority due to persistent issues of drug use and public disorder within the facility. As a remedy, a new public-private initiative aimed at constructing a 12-story hotel above the transit center was launched, though it has faced delays with an unsettled construction start date. Despite the setbacks, a smaller waiting area of 2,900 square feet is being reserved for the transit department upon the hotel’s completion.

Reflecting on the situation, Rudolph expressed disappointment over the prolonged closure of the indoor facilities, noting its adverse impact on winter ridership. “This was intended to be temporary, and so now we’re just trying to find where our permanent home will be,” he stated. The search for a new transit center continues as the community anticipates a solution that meets both operational needs and public safety standards.

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