Bishop City Council talks transportation, housing

By Deb Murphy
Katie Larsen, the Toiyabe Indian Health Project Community Wellness Program project coordinator, laid out plans for a bike share program to the Bishop City Council Monday evening.
Growing in popularity in urban areas, the concept is simple: users “rent” and return bikes from stations set up at convenient locations. Larsen’s plan includes a docking station at City Park, the Toiyabe Clinic on See Vee and a third west of the city.
Larsen pointed out that in addition to the obvious health advantages for local residents, the bikes would work well to give tourists a close-up look at the community.
One of two respondents to Toiyabe’s request for proposals, Zagster, would charge an annual $38,400 fee for the three stations and 24 bikes. The fee includes maintenance, installation, bikes and insurance; Toiyabe would retain the rental fees.
Larsen conducted a community survey. “So far we’ve gotten 67 back and they’re generally supportive,” she said.
Because of the grant funding for the project, Larsen said after the first four years, there was no guarantee Toiyabe could continue the program. Her presentation to the Council was to gauge interest in the City picking up the program.
Councilmembers were also generally supportive, but Joe Pecsi wasn’t too keen on the city in competition with local businesses.
Northern Inyo Healthcare District and Eastern Sierra Transit Authority have tackled another area transportation issue: what to do for patients coming from or going to area hospitals.
Dr. Kevin Flanigan, NIH chief executive officer, laid out the start of the solution, aimed at patients brought to the hospital by ambulance in need of a lift home or patients coming to the hospital or Rural Health Clinic for appointments or treatment.
In a meeting that included ESTA and representatives from Central Mono and Southern Inyo counties, ESTA came up with the start of a solution in the form of a donated, handicapped-accessible van.
According to Flanigan, non-emergency transportation will start between NIH and Bishop Care Center as a test, then broaden the radius, using volunteer drives. “We want to fill the gap, not compete,” he said.
City Council approved a $5,000 contract with Mason and Mason to appraise a 3.5 acre parcel at Spruce and MacIver streets, the potential site for a 71-unit affordable housing project.
“We’ve been working on the Silver Peaks project since 2010,” said City Administrator Jim Tatum. Community Development Block Grant funding was originally acquired by Inyo Mono Advocates for Community Action’s Larry Emerson to refurbish the apartments on Clark Street.
With the high cost of temporarily relocating tenants, IMACA and the City focused on the purchase of the parcel owned by Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. An appraisal was done several years ago, but is now outdated and inflated according to Tatum.
After the acquisition, Tatum said the City would transfer the land to IMACA and Visionary Home Builders, a Stockton-based company that specializes in affordable housing projects.
Future Agenda Item
 Not related to transportation or housing, the Council will have marijuana on its July 25 agenda as a discussion item. The legalized recreational use proposition made it on the November ballot, with signatures to spare.
Tatum suggested the discussion start with the proposed legislation and the proposition

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