Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Sierra Club releases transportation report

On Tuesday, the Sierra Club and their partners will release Arrive Together: Transportation Access and Equity in Wisconsin, a first-of-its-kind report that shows how people’s needs are not being met by the state’s transportation system. The report examines the effectiveness of public transit access to major employers and other areas of interest in nine cities and regions across Wisconsin, including La Crosse.

Community members, local leaders, and report authors will give an overview of La Crosse’s transit system, and transit riders will share their personal experiences and challenges using the transit system. With the growing recognition of the challenges in the state’s transportation system, the report’s analysis offers insight into the problems and solutions available to better connect people to opportunity.

Join us for the release and hear from transit riders, report authors, and more.


10:00 a.m.

Grand River Station Transit Center

Third & Jay Streets

Thursday, October 11, 2018

November 14: MTU Open House

Please plan to attend this upcoming event. If you are a public transportation advocate, bring your neighbors, friends, and co-workers to learn about the environmental, economic, social, and health benefits of public transit!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Coming next month: Public Transportation Conference in La Crosse!

The Minnesota Public Transportation Association is holding a Public Transportation Conference in La Crosse next month. Unfortunately for public citizen advocates, the registration fees are pretty high. If you can afford $150 per day, you may be interested. 

Here are the details. Registration link below.

MPTA’s 2018 Minnesota / Wisconsin Public Transportation Conference and Expo is Monday, October 15 through Wednesday, October 17 at the La Crosse Center, located at 300 Harborview Plaza in La Crosse, Wisconsin. There will be a block of rooms reserved at the Radisson Hotel , located at 200 Harborview Plaza.

Conference Agenda Monday, October 15
  • 8:00 AM  Registration opens
  • 10:00 AM  Training Session I - Safety & Security in Transit: Best Practices, Rules & Regulations
  • Lunch Provided
  • 1:00 PM  Training Session II - Transit Technology: Apps, Social Media & New Tech Developments
  • 2:30 PM  CEO Summit
  • 4:00 PM  MPTA Membership Meeting
  • 4:00 PM  WIPTA Membership Meeting
  • 6:00 PM  Welcome Reception
Tuesday, October 16
  • 7:30 AM  Registration opens
  • 8:30 AM  Welcome
  • 9:00 - 10:00 AM  Keynote Speaker
  • 10 - 11:00 AM  Break in Expo area
  • 11:00 - 12:00 PM  Concurrent Sessions (5)
  • 12:00 – 3:00 PM  Lunch and Vendor Expo
  • 3:30 – 5:30 PM  La Crosse Queen Tour
  • 6:30 PM  Reception
Wednesday, October 17
  • 7:30 AM  Registration opens
  • 8:00 - 9:15 AM  General Session
  • 9:30 - 10:30 AM  Concurrent Sessions (5)
  • 10:30 – 11:00 AM  Break
  • 11:00 - 12:00 PM  Concurrent Sessions (5)
  • 12:00 - 1:30 PM  Lunch and Keynote Speaker
Please register here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Report from the Ride-Along

It was a sunny morning and the Transit Center was bustling. Besides the usual buses moving in and out of the Center, a new ride was waiting to take its first public run.

Mayor Kabat was there along with new MTU Director, Adam Lorentz, Operations Director, Jim Kreuger, and the La Crosse Area Planning Committee's Transportation planner, Jackie Eastwood. Some members of the public (LATA board members RoZ Brooks, Obbie King, and Cathy Van Maren included) also attended along with members of the local media.

The "community circulator" (CC) will connect the downtown with some major stops around the city's south side, providing more direct service for some and closer, more convenient stops for others. One goal is to provide access to food, businesses, and heath care for residents of the Powell-Poage-Hamilton neighborhood, but the benefits extend far beyond those few blocks.

The CC "Ride-Along" left the Transit Center at 9:40 and headed to Fifth Avenue. The new route will provide convenient access to the People's Food Co-op as it heads south on Fifth Avenue. A jog east at Farnam, and another turn onto 7th take the circulator directly past the Southside Neighborhood Center. This also provides a connection point with the Route #1.

The CC stops near Gundersen Health Center's Founders and East buildings. Today, we stopped there and were greeted by several Gundersen employees. (Gundersen participates in the MTU Works program providing public transportation education and subsidized bus passes for employees.) Then we continued east along Denton to West Avenue.

Another short jog south on West Ave brought us to Green Bay where we turned east, headed for Losey and stops by Central High and the Village Shopping Center. Here, connections with the #4 and #2 buses are possible.

Heading north on Losey, we came to the State Road intersection. If the old K-Mart is developed into a shopping/housing complex (personally, I'm hoping for a Trader Joes and a hardware store in the mix), the CC riders will have even more retail options.

The circulator turns west onto State Road with a stop by JavaVino and continues to Jackson (Jackson Plaza) and on to West Ave near Viterbo, Walgreens, Powell Park, and, after a turn north on West Ave, Mayo Health System.

Our tour continued north to Main Street and a stop near the YMCA, and then west to a stop at the Main Library, Ho-Chunk Three Rivers House, and Burns Park.

We ended at the Transit Center aboit 1/2 hour later where riders provided our driver and MTU staff with a round of applause.

Riding this new route, it was hard not to dream about similar circulators on La Crosse's far south (bringing service to new developments near Southern Bluffs), north, and far north (including full service for Onalaska and better connections with new City housing near the landfill, plus Woodmans and the DMV) areas. (And then it was hard not to day dream further about a north-south bi- directional express route going from Woodland straight down to the Goodwill on Mormon Coulee Road every half hour with just a few stops along the way where riders could connect with other routes (or even just finish their commute by bicycle).

The great parts about the new CC is that it runs both ways most of the day and continues one direction with half hour service into the evening. The sad part (so far) is that it is only a Monday through Friday route right now (I think). And by the way, there are definitely stops in between the major time points so access should be good for everyone near the route.

LATA hopes to work with the MTU on a public Open House this fall to provide info about the exciting changes coming and collect input and ideas. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, try out the new circulator and leave your impressions in the comments.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Ride the new circulator!

On Tuesday, September 3, the new MTU circulator will be introduced with a public media event and ride-along. The new circulator will travel from the transit center to the Village shopping center. There will be buses moving in both directions during the day with the counter clockwise route continuing into the evening.

It will travel along Main, past the public library, to West Ave (YMCA) to Jackson and State Road, down Losey to Green Bay and back toward downtown past Gundersen Health Center, the Southside Neighborhood Center, and People's Food Co-op.  It will run every half hour during week days.

The ride-along will depart from the transit center on Tuesday morning at 9:40 a.m. Come a little early to meet the new MTU director, and the mayor, and show your support for public transportation.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Summer's over ... back to work

Thanks to all who came to our May meeting and especially those who shared ideas and volunteered to help out in the future. And thank you to James Krueger, interim MTU Director, and Jackie Eastwood, La Crosse Area Planning Committee Transportation Planner, for volunteering their time to talk and listen to us!

A few updates.
  • Badger Street at UWL is now off the table for a bus route. In their remake of the Badger/East Avenue area, the University has totally removed the intersection and deconstructed the street. This will have adverse effects on student bus ridership for a long time. When the University starts in on their next multi year planning process, we must be sure to have bus advocates, including students, faculty, and staff, at the table (and global warming). Stay tuned on this one.
  • There is a now a new MTU director and  I hope we can arrange a meet and greet some time this fall.I
  • A new circulator route will replace the current UWL to downtown route. You can view it here. It will be rolled out after Labor Day. The new route covers much more ground and connects the Village Shopping Center/Central HS area with the downtown via West Ave. There will be a media event to introduce the new route - if anyone has details, please comment or email.

  • On Sunday, September 2 between noon and 5 p.m. the city will block car traffic on Main from 8th to Fifth Ave, on Fifth Ave from Main to King, and on King to Fourth (Burns Park to Cameron Park) for OPEN STREETS. The MTU will have a bus there and I hope we can have a LATA table right next to it and help encourage people to learn how to ride the bus, pick up a schedule, and learn how to get their bike on and off the bus. In the past, buses at community events have not offered much info about the benefits of public transportation. So, if anyone is available to help staff the table, please fill out the form. (https://goo.gl/forms/GrU2JiEM56IO48cq1) We will be someplace on Main between 8th and 7th. (FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/199420267349944/ and for non Facebook users: http://www.bfw.org/rides/open-streets-la-crosse/

  • Kevin Hundt had a great letter to the editor in the La Crosse Tribune recently asking why local government can't spend its transportation money to enhance PUBLIC transportation. Letters to the editor are a great way to keep a topic in the public mind. Especially now that wheel taxes and road projects are in the news, reminding our neighbors that not everyone has or drives a car and none of this will help them/us have better transportation options would not be a bad thing.

  • The La Crosse Sustainability Commission has had public and alternative (to private cars) transportation as a sub group focus this past year. At their next meeting (Thursday, September 20 at 4:30 p.m. at the La Crosse County Admin Center) they will be talking about what to focus on in coming months. The meetings are open to the public and offer a chance to show support for continuing work on improving public transportation in our area.
  • La Crosse's MTU Board meets, it appears, every other month on the third Tuesday at 4 p.m. in City Hall. These meetings are also open to the public and a good opportunity to learn first hand what's happening. If anyone regularly attends these meetings and would like to post a summary here, please email or comment to be added to the list of bloggers.
I hope we can come up with a schedule of quarterly meetings and other events. I would love for us to have a meeting in the back of a bus sometime, for example, or take a SMRT bus field trip. For our fall meeting (second half of October?) I hope we can meet and talk with the new MTU manager and maybe share a generic info presentation that we could all use to help educate at our work places, schools, clubs, neighborhood centers, etc. Also, I'd really like to get some volunteers to plan a monthly, HOW TO RIDE THE BUS ride (maybe on a Sunday late morning or some time that's not usually busy) that might leave from UWL. Well, there are lots of ideas.

Please comment or email with your additions, correction, questions, or ideas.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

May 17 LATA meeting

Join us at 6 pm on Thursday, May 17 at the Southside Neighborhood Center for our first official meeting as a non profit transit advocacy group. We will go over our organization and connections to the Wisconsin Transit Riders Alliance and other groups and plan actions to help us be effective advocates in our area. We hope to include a local transit pro in our agenda and will update this post as details are finalized.

For now, please plan to attend if you support public transportation and want it to expand and improve in our region. The gathering is FREE and open to everyone.

Use the .jpg for online sharing.

Here is a one sided mini flyer to post at school or work or laundromat, library, co-op, etc. (Four per page. May print black/white).

Here is a two-sided handout you could hand out at your next community gathering, club meeting, neighborhood association get together, etc. (Ten per page with cut guides. May print black/white).

Copies of flyers and handouts will be available at Sunday's EARTH FAIR! See you there! (By the way, "Lamers FREE Trolley shuttle will be circulating between the Earth Fair  in Myrick Park and two commuter lots at UWL every 1/2 hour. Pick up available in lots C-7 and C-12 (nearest the ramp).")

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Upcoming Meetings

On Monday, April 30, the Wisconsin Transit Riders Alliance will hold its annual meeting in Madison. Here is a great opportunity to meet and connect with transit riders from around the state, share ideas, learn how we can improve our advocacy, etc. Our own La Crosse Area Planning Commission Transportation Planner, Jacket Eastwood, will be thevfeatured speaker! Find more details and RSVP link on the flyer.

And on Thursday, May 17, the La Crosse Transit Riders Alliance will meet at 6 p.m. in the Southside Neighborhood Center. We`ll introduce our new group, rank goals and projects for the year, and hear from a transportation professional in our community. Flyers will be available soon (check back April 21 for a dowloadable file). Please spread the word! A strong transit advocacy group can makevavdifference!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Our meeting ... next steps

Five of us met at the library and talked about ideas for improving ridership on public transit. I talked to the public transportation subcommittee of the Sustainable La Crosse commission about getting together with LATA members and public transit riders as they consider priorities for this year. I am also hoping to set up a March meeting with Jim Krueger, interim director of the MTU. As soon as something is set up I will contact you.

In the meantime, at today's Clean Cars Campaign press conference, Mayor Kabat said that the city is looking at buying some ELECTRIC buses and adding to its fleet of hybrids. That's good news.

And here's a great article about YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK trying to lure Chicagoans to Wisconsin by dissing their wonderful public transportation system. Not going so well. What could that $1 million plus ad budget have done to improve public transit here?

Chicagoans to Wisconsin: Thanks but no thanks. We'll take the train.

Monday, February 5, 2018

New resource for transit advocates

from T4A (Transportation for America)

Fight for your ride! 

New guide for transit advocates available today

Transportation for America's new guidebook, Fight For Your Ride: An advocate’s guide for improving & expanding transit, offers local advocates and transit champions practical advice for making real improvements to public transit. Drawing examples from successful campaigns and reform efforts in small, medium, and large cities across the country, the guide illuminates effective ways to speed up transit, expand its reach, and improve service for riders. It offers tactical lessons on building a coalition, developing an effective message, and organizing a campaign for better transit in your community.

Join us this Thursday for the launch

Hear two stories directly from local advocates 

Register now and join us at 2 p.m. EST this Thursday for the guide's launch webinar. Karen Rindge, Executive Director of WakeUP Wake County, will share the story of how a broad coalition led a campaign to pass long-awaited new funding to expand transit in Wake County, NC, part of the Raleigh-Durham metro area. And we'll hear from Houston METRO board member Christof Spieler, who led the effort to reimagine and redraw Houston's bus network to provide faster, more convenient bus service to more riders. In addition, we will walk through the new guidebook and show how you can use the guide’s case studies to shape your own successful campaigns.

Share this guide!

Spread the word on your social networks

Friday, February 2, 2018

Second try

Last year we hoped to get a LA Crosse Area Transit Advocates group started under the state Wisconsin Transit Riders Alliance. Unfortunately, we are all too busy! and it was hard to find a meeting time.

Here we are one year later and this year we will get going because transit needs our support and advocacy!

Our first meeting will be on February 12 at 5:30 p.m. in the Trustees Room of the La Crosse Public Library.  We'll briefly discuss goals for the year,  talk about future meetings,  and see some inspiring slides of public transportation in the UK and Netherlands.

If you can't make the meeting, there will be others.  If you are interested in joining,  please let me know and we'll email you with a schedule once set.

In the meantime,  consider attending the WTRA annual meeting on Monday,  April 30 at the Madison Public Library. Public transportation in La Crosse will be on the agenda with guest speaker,  Jackie Eastwood,  La Crosse County Transportation Planner. Here's the flyer.