A driving need for a bus stop

Woman aims to convince other seniors to ditch their cars and use public transportation, but a stop at senior center is needed, she says.

August 18, 2011|By Barbara Diamond,
  • Skipper Lynn boards the northbound trolley near the Montage Resort bus stop en route to the Susi Q Senior Center. Lynn is advocating seniors use public transportation instead of driving.
Skipper Lynn boards the northbound trolley near the Montage… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

Skipper Lynn, a driving force behind the construction of the senior center in Laguna Beach, no longer drives a car.

The 80-year-old was involved in a serious traffic accident in July. Her car was totaled. She was not injured, but was unable to account for the accident and that worried her so much that she decided to give up driving.

"Shortly after I was admitted to the hospital, I was interviewed by an officer," Lynn said. "He asked what had happened, and I couldn't tell him."

"I took the insurance check from Allstate and put it in the bank. Since then I have taken city transportation, and I love it! Love it! Love it!"

Now she is driven to convince other seniors to park their cars and ride city buses.

"I want to emphasize that I did it of my own volition, and I'd like to see other seniors think about it," Lynn said.


Lynn can catch the bus a block from her home, but getting to the Susi Q Senior Center on Third Street, where she spends most of her days, is inconvenient for her and out of the question for less-active seniors.

The closest stop when headed downtown is the bus depot on Broadway, about three blocks from the center. The closest stop leaving downtown is in front of Hobie Surf Shop on Forest Avenue, which is less than a quarter of a mile from the center.

"I think we must be the only senior center in Orange County that doesn't have public transportation to its door," Lynn said. "We need it, and the City Council needs to know we need it."

Lynn plans to attend a council meeting and make a pitch for the service.

"At this point, there are no plans to provide a bus stop there, but I have asked Public Works to take a look at it and see what the options are," City Manager John Pietig said. "I know there are routing concerns."

Susi Q Executive Director Nadia Babayi said Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson is also aware of the complaint.

"[Pearson's] feeling is that the bus stop is close by and turning at Mermaid Street is difficult because it is so narrow," Babayi said. "But any public facility that serves the community — not just the seniors — should have public transportation service."

Programs at the center are restricted by the number of spaces in the garage.

"My life is the Susi Q," Lynn said. "Everything for us is over at 3 p.m."

Lynn is a spry senior, but come fall, the days are shorter and city buses don't run as often or as late.

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