Decorated veteran says bench is needed at bus stop - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Decorated veteran says bench is needed at bus stop

Veteran Frank Giaccone Veteran Frank Giaccone
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

It costs an estimated $6,000 to put a shelter and bench at a bus stop.

And Lake Charles city officials said they are not able to do all of them at once. 

For those who use the buses, waiting for one can seem like an eternity. 

Frank Giaccone is a Vietnam era veteran who lives at Chennault Place, an assisted living center, with other veterans.

Giaccone is not able to drive and said he counts on city buses to get around town when needed.

"I go downtown, go to Wal-Mart, go to Lowe's, shopping during the week," he said.

"I just have to get away for a while. I live at a facility that's being with a lot of emotional people and I just have to pull away and get away from it for a while," he said.

Giaccone said the closest bus stop for him is at Avenue H and J. Bennett Johnston Avenue. But there's no bench - no shelter.

"I'm a decorated veteran and my knees are going bad - 67 years young. I can't stand up like I used to," he said.

"No bench, no shade. I have to sit on the ground and I'd like to get a bench somewhere around here. Maybe get the city to put some pipes down and put a bench right there," said Giaccone.

Since he cannot stand for long, you may spot him sitting on the ground or on the concrete drains - if the ground is wet. 

He said some shelter, or at least a bench, would make a big difference.

"It would mean a lot to me - a lot to a lot of guys at Chennault Place," said Giaccone.

City officials said there are 196 bus stops in the city and that they try to add 10 new shelters at stops each year.

Matt Young, a city spokesman, said they'll  evaluate the one at Avenue H and J. Bennett Johnston to see if a shelter can be added at the site. The bus stops are ranked according to rider counts and whether the city has access to right-of-ways in order to to add a shelter.

Young also provided the following statement:

"We strive to provide a safe, effective and efficient service through our transit system, which adds to quality of life in Lake Charles. The new transit customer service center downtown offers a central hub for customers to comfortably and easily transfer from one bus route to another.

In addition, the City annually budgets funds for new shelters and benches and we apply for FTA (Federal Transit Authority) matching funds for new shelters.

There are 196 bus stops in the city. Roughly ten new shelters are added each year to bus stops across the city. These stops are prioritized based on two primary factors: On and off rider counts at each bus stop and the City’s access to right-of way. We will evaluate the Purple Heart Recreation Center bus stop in order to see if a shelter can be added at this site."

To contact the City of Lake Charles Transit Division, call 491-1253 or visit www.cityoflakecharles.com/transit

Copyright 2017 KPLC All rights reserved

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