Sunday, August 7, 2022

August updates

Our second annual SMRT 2 Viroqua trip went very well. We had nine participants this year. The bus was newer and the weather cooler than last year. Thank you, Senator Brad Pfaff for riding along and listening to us talk about the importance of regional and rural public transportation. In addition to our stories, Senator Pfaff also got to talk to other riders and drivers.

We may try another route in the future, but scheduling for other destinations, like Tomah or Prairie du Chien, is less flexible.

"We had a pleasant ride to Viroqua to explore more business and entertainment enterprises in our Coulee Region. The timing was punctual to the minute. Our drive back was remarkable and will surely be remembered. Our driver (while always driving safely) shared stories and lessons from his HoChunk culture with us. There are a myriad of benefits being connected to people and places in the region and we enjoyed them on this excursion."

A few months ago, a donation of tokens was made to Hope Restores in the name of LATA and we received a nice thank you card. Now, we've heard that they could use more adult tokens. If you are interested in contributing toward another donation of tokens, please email us to learn more.

Our next LATA Leaders meeting will be Wednesday, September 10 at 5:30 p.m. at the South Community Library picnic table. We will talk about fall programming, the Ride with a Guide initiative, and organizational business. All are welcome to attend; we can make the meeting available on Zoom, too, if needed. Please email us for more information.

On August 16 there will be two opportunities to weigh in on the La Crosse comprehensive plan for 2040 with respect to bicycle and pedestrian (and transit) issues. Please plan to attend and give your opinions on what changes we will need to see in La Crosse to make life better, easier, and more accessible for those who choose to move around without a car.

You may attend either session in person or online (see access information below):

* From NOON to 1 p.m. at the Southside Neighborhood Center (1300 6th Street South) 

* From 5 to 6 p.m. at the Black River Beach Center (1433 Rose Street),   

To attend online, join the meeting: https://call.lifesizecloud.com/4796124 OR call this number (you will only be able to listen if you call in, not speak): 877-422-8614  meeting 4796124#.

City of La Crosse Comprehensive Plan 2040

Bicycle and Pedestrian Issues Focus Meeting

(Hosted by the City of La Crosse Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Committee)

AGENDA

Introduction and Overview of the Comprehensive Plan

  • What is a Comprehensive Plan?

  • How the La Crosse Comprehensive Plan 2040 is being developed

  • How walking and biking issues and priorities in La Crosse connect with the Comprehensive Plan

Discussion Questions

  • What do you like about walking or biking in La Crosse? What works well? What are some of the city’s key assets or advantages for walking or biking?

  • What do you not like walking or biking in La Crosse? What are some things that don’t work well? What are some problems or issues?

  • How should we make things better? What ideas do you have for improving walking or biking in La Crosse?

Next Steps

  • How to contribute additional ideas and comments for the plan

  • Plan website and surveys: https://forwardlacrosse.org (new walk- and bike-oriented survey available after our session of August 16)

  • Questions, other items?

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

July updates!

This July, we have a couple of opportunities to connect and advocate for public transportation.

On Saturday, July 23, we hope to table at the Disability Pride Fest, an event hosted by the Disability Action Network from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Copeland Park. IF YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR A SHIFT, please complete the form at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0F4CAEAE28AAFECE9-lata

On Wednesday, July 27, LATA will host its second annual RIDE SMRT 2 VIROQUA event. We will board the SMRT Yellow Route as it goes through La Crosse between about 9:30 and 10:00 a.m. and arrive in Viroqua at about 11:00 a.m. This year, we have invited our elected representatives: Senator Brad Pfaff, Representative Jill Billings, and Representative Loren Oldenburg, to join us on the ride or at a discussion about regional public transportaton and rural public transit. Those details are still being worked out. So far, Sen. Pfaff has accepted our invitation.

SPACE IS LIMITED! Please sign up by July 22 at tinyurl.com/LATA2Viroqua

Flyer for SMRT to Viroqua trip on July 27

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

The e-bus is HERE!

Please join the MTU and the City of La Crosse for an open house to roll out the new electric buses at 10 a.m. at the La Crosse Center!

 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

May 21 - Wisconsin Transit Riders Alliance

Thanks to all who attended out April 28 Transit Talk program! And special thanks to MTU Director Adam Lorentz and LAPC Transportation Planner Jackie Eastwood. We heard about the Regional Transit Development Plan process and looked a bit at some specific suggestions. Adam talked about plans for this year, including updating bus shelters, rolling out the e-buses, and testing and adding a new smartphone fare payment app that will offer more options.

If you have suggestions for places for shelters, issues with existing stops or shelters, or if you would like to be a tester for the new app, please email lorentza@cityoflacrosse.org.

We were able to record the program and will have it posted this weekend. The link should be available by May 1..

The next event for transit advocates is the annual meeting of Wisconsin Transit Riders Alliance on Saturday, May 21 from 10 a.m. to about noon. We'll talk with transit professionals from around the state about what's new and how transit is moving forward in Wisconsin this year and beyond. Please register for the zoom link at tinyurl.com/WTRA-052122

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Area Transit in 2022 - What's the Plan?

 

After nearly a year of work by a transit planning team from SRF Consulting, the Final Regional Transit Development Plan is available for viewing, sharing, and download. You can read the executive summary, the needs assessment, and the recommendations at the LAPC Modal Planning page. Scroll down to Public Transit and Passenger Rail Planning. 

On Thursday, April 28, we will welcome two guests to discuss details and answer questions in an ONLINE program from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Jackie Eastwood, Transportation Planner with the La Crosse Area Planning Committee, will talk about the planning process and outcomes, recommendations and next steps. 

Adam Lorentz, Director, Municipal Transit Utility, will let us know how the report and other issues, including stimulus funds, local needs, and continuing COVID challenges, will affect transit operations this year and in the future. 

Please register in advance for this Zoom event at tinyurl.com/LATA-042822 OR text or call 608-315-2693 (leave a message for call back). Everyone is welcome to the free program.

If you have questions for our guests, please email them to us at LaCrosseTransitAdvocates@protonmail.com.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Earth Month: Ride with a Guide

The quicker people shift their transportation habits - away from personal fossil fuel vehicles to biking, walking, and taking the bus - the better. To be sure, the greenest transportation options are those that use human power, but sometimes we need to go farther than our legs can carry us. That's when some of us can switch to a bike or an e-bike. But, when that's not practical, van-pool or bus is best. More people in one vehicle reduces the per person emissions. As bus fleets electrify, emissions drop even more, and as the electric "fuel" comes from renewable sources, they drop to near zero.

During Earth Month, LATA will offer four Ride with a Guide events. We will meet at the Transit Center for a brief overview of the MTU and connected systems, the fare and transfer system, good rider habits, bikes on buses, and more. Then, we'll board a bus and ride one complete circuit. After the ride, we'll answer any more questions that come up. Cost is bus fare: $1.50 for adults ($0.75 for a senior with a Medicare card).

The Transit Center is at 314 Jay Street, on the southeast corner of the intersection of Third and Jay. If you are a driver, you may park your car along JayvStreet or in the city ramp on the northwest corner of the same intersection. Be sure to register at the kiosk; the first three hours in the ramp are free for registered vehicles.

Dates:

  • Saturday, April 2 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Monday, April 11 from 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 21 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 30 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Sign up (space is limited) at this link OR call us at 608-315-2693 and leave your name and number for a call back. 

Help the environment. Help your family budget. Help decrease air pollution, improve traffic safety, and strengthen community cohesion. Help your children learn to be self-sufficient and independent. Ride the bus!




Sunday, March 13, 2022

Upcoming events and opportunities!

 

While the public transportation mask mandate has been extended for one more month (April 18), we have hopes that things will improve enough by early summer for mask-free rider and safe in-person events.

Coming up:

Friday, March 18 is Transit Drivers Appreciation Day! LATA will deliver a thank you card by email and in person on Friday morning. If you'd like to sign it, please do so BY THURSDAY AT 5 P.M. Sign the card at this link!

The Regional Transit Development Plan is done and available to read at the La Crosse Area Planning Committee's website. I hope we can do a program about this in the coming weeks. We'll announce it here if and when we can schedule something.

Do you ride or know anyone who rides the Route 10 Apple Express? The Minnesota DOT has contracted with a consultant to prepare a Local Human Service Transportation Coordination Plan for Minnesota, and they are looking for input from riders for a rider focus group.  Visit https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/6742337/Focus-Group-TCP2022

The Wisconsin Association of Rail Passengers is holding its spring meeting on Saturday, March 26 in Appleton AND online. Please register soon if you plan to attend in person. Zoom attendance is free of charge. The featured speakers will be Arun Rao of WisDOT and Derrick James of Amtrak. For more information, and to register, go here: https://wisarp.wordpress.com/calendar/meetings/

LATA will table at the Earth Fair, April 24 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Myrick Park alongside the MTU electric bus which will be near the mid-park parking lot. The bus will be next to the electric vehicle (cars and bikes) display. If you could help table for an hour or more on that day, please reply to this email. It's our opportunity to support the MTU by letting people know WE ride and they should too. All materials are provided - tablers just need to talk to people who stop by.

The Wisconsin Transit Riders Alliance will hold its annual meeting from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 21 ONLINE. Details are not yet finalized but we do know that Beth Osborne, Director of Transportation for America, will provide opening remarks followed by a panel of transit professionals from around the state including Peter Fletcher, Executive Director, LAPC! Watch this site for more information.

We are working on another SMRT2Viroqua trip. We rode the SMRT bus from La Crosse to Viroqua for a day of sight-seeing, shopping, and eating last July and want to do that again. This time, possible, we can connect with some Viroqua area transit advocates, too. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Best bus stop contest

 

How many of us take pics of bus stops, train stations, bike lanes, traffic intersections, and bike parking facilities on vacation? 🖐️ Maybe some day we can do a program about them.

In the meantime, StreetsBlog USA is replacing its usual Worst Bus Stop contest with a BEST Bus Stop one. Are there any contenders in our area? Visit their contest page for more info. The deadline to enter is March 14.

The MTU is planning upgrades of existing and installation of new shelters in the coming year, including at least some that include solar lights. They'll use data about most used stops, but maybe there are others that need improved access or protection from the elements. Where do you think new shelters should be placed? What have you seen at other shelters that could be added here?

I suggested looking at some real time arrival time signs: 


Especially where more than one bus stops, like on Losey at The Village Shopping Center, knowing when other buses will arrive in real time could make a difference.


But, pulling one thread starts to unravel the sleeve. The official transfer policy is very tight, so even if you wanted to transfer to the bus that's coming in three minutes, it might not be allowed. Still, even if you just want to TAKE a bus, knowing when the next one will arrive is helpful. And not everyone has the phone app available, especially, possibly, new riders just trying the system out.

This week, think about bus stops and shelters. Remember the good ones you've experienced and imagine the great ones we could have. Email your suggestions to us







Thursday, February 24, 2022

An Historic Occasion!

From Dan Krom, Director of MNDOT's passenger rail service.

Please join us for the signing of the federal grant agreement for the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago (TCMC) Intercity Passenger Rail Project that will improve transportation in the Midwest.

The event is scheduled for:

1 p.m.Wednesday, March 9th at the Amtrak Station in La Crosse

The program is open to the public, and confirmed speakers include WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson, acting MnDOT Commissioner Nancy Daubenberger, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Administrator Amit Bose, Amtrak President and CEO Stephen Gardner, and a representative of Canadian Pacific Rail.

The program will consist of brief remarks on the significance of the Federal Railroad Administration’s Consolidated Railroad and Infrastructure Safety Improvement (CRISI) grant. The funds will be used to advance a second daily, round-trip, that will provide a new, travel option to connect the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago areas, and multiple cities along the way.

The short program will be followed by media interview opportunities.

Because of limited space, please RSVP me at daniel.krom@state.mn.us  by Wednesday, March 2 to confirm attendance or for any questions.

We are excited to see this important second daily train connecting a few important Midwestern cities move forward. It's a step in the right direction. Here's a map of Wisconsin passenger rail (Amtrak) and related bus service in Wisconsin and surrounding states.

Here's a glimpse of where we could go.  

Passenger rail service in Switzerland, France, Netherlands. Wisconsin is about 3.4 times bigger than Switzerland and The Netherlands, and about 3.9 times smaller than France, and about 3.3 times bigger than the Netherlands.


 


Tuesday, February 22, 2022

LAPC Regional Transit Development Plan update

This just in!

The Service and Policy Recommendations Report for the La Crosse Regional Transit Development Plan (TDP) is now posted on the project website.

PROJECT WEBSITE: https://www.lacrossecounty.org/metropolitan-planning-organization/LAPC-Home/regional-transit-development-plan

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: https://www.lacrossecounty.org/docs/default-source/metropolitan-planning-organization/lacrosseregtdp_executivesummary.pdf?sfvrsn=277f4eb_0

TRANSIT NEEDS ASSESSMENT REPORT: https://www.lacrossecounty.org/docs/default-source/metropolitan-planning-organization/needsassessment_202109155892ae9d88de472fa1bab2fc76f90134.pdf?sfvrsn=f4ddb022_0

SERVICE AND POLICY RECOMMENDATION REPORT: https://www.lacrossecounty.org/docs/default-source/metropolitan-planning-organization/lacrossetdp_finalreport_final20211230-4final.pdf?sfvrsn=ce40291e_0

The La Crosse Regional TDP provides a vision for La Crosse area transit services provided by La Crosse Municipal Transit Utility (MTU), Onalaska Shared Ride (OSR), and Scenic Mississippi Regional Transit (SMRT) to meet the travel needs of residents and visitors in the region over the next ten years, with an emphasis on future needs and sustainable growth. 

The project is an initiative of the La Crosse Area Planning Committee (LAPC) and their partners. The LAPC will provide the plan to MTU, the City of Onalaska, and SMRT for their consideration and possible future implementation.

Please contact Peter Fletcher or Jackie Eastwood at the LAPC with any questions.

Menno Schukking, AIC Transit Planner III, SRF Consulting Group

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Where are the signs?


Friends of LATA recently sent this story:

We went out for Indian food yesterday at Jackson Plaza, intending to come home on the Circulator. Even though the app said there were bus stops at East/Jackson and at 20th/Jackson, there were no bus stop signs.

We contacted the MTU. Apparently, the contractor on the Jackson St./State Road project took out (nearly) ALL of the bus stop signs. Now it seems that city workers are working to put the signs back in.

If the signs were removed as part of a state DOT project, why is it the city’s responsibility (and expense) to replace the signs? Why isn’t that the DOT’s responsibility? Will the tate is reimbursing the city for this expense, but haven’t brought it up ourselves yet.

I had the same experience on January 31 when I took the circulator from visiting a relative to meet someone at the transit center for a ride-along. 

For new riders, it's confusing enough trying to read the schedule and figure out which bus goes where. Having to guess where the bus stops makes it even less likely people will try a ride.

Do you have a story to share? Email LaCrosseTransitAdvocates@protonmail.com. We'll be highlighting some of the rider stories people submitted during Transit Equity Days.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Thank you!

Thanks to all who helped with and participated in last week's Transit Equity Days! Thank you drivers, riders, advocates, elected leaders, and media. We will.share some of the stories collected during the week and hope to use some in this year's programming.

Next up, the Wisconsin Association of Rail Passengers, WisARP, will hold it's spring conference in person and online on Saturday, March 26 in Appleton. Learn more here: https://wisarp.wordpress.com/calendar/meetings/

Monday, January 24, 2022

Transit Equity Days are coming soon!

We're excited to see Transit Equity Days (January 31 through February 4) coming together! Our flyer is done and ready to be shared on social media. If you'd like a printed copy, please use this .pdf version

Our transit riders story collection tools are ready to collect! Use the online form or look for a paper version at the Transit Center and Public Library. Plus, you can ride the circulator free from the one display to the other!

Local elected officials have stepped up to support the effort by passing a County Board proclamation and a City Council resolution. Governor Evers has also proclaimed February 4 as Transit Equity Day. 

We are also welcoming local elected leaders to schedule a bus ride, so constituents can  "Ride with Your Rep," and drivers and riders can talk about their transportation needs. 

We're working on our display which will be at the La Crosse Public Library from Monday, January 31 through Friday, February 4. A companion display, sponsored by the MTU, will be at the Transit Center and feature highlights from We Walk: A History of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 519 and La Crosse Labors, books on La Crosse area transit and labor history by local labor leader and retired driver, Terry Hicks.

We encourage you to try the bus during Transit Equity Days! If you want someone to ride with you, please contact us and we'll find an experienced bus rider to meet you, help you understand the route map and fare/transfer system, and answer your questions while we ride.

And, we encourage you to pick up a THANK YOU, DRIVERS! sticker at one of the displays or download and print one or make your own sign to show appreciation for our essential transit drivers.


Please share this event, one of hundreds around the country, with your family, friends, co-workers and personal networks. Please plan to ride the bus at least once during Transit Equity Days, visit the displays, talk to drivers and riders, and learn why good public transit is a civil right and an important way to provide and equitable and just transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.




Thursday, January 20, 2022

Speak up by January 24!

"The squeaky wheel gets the grease." 

Sometimes, it seems like this old adage has it all wrong. It seems, more often than not, the squeaky wheel gets replaced with a quiet one bought with money from people who don't want anything to change.

The recent surprise announcement by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation--that it will drop its decades-long push to build a new highway through the marsh--does give hope that constant, relentless, uncompromising noisy advocacy can make a difference.

But, there are mountains upon mountains of projects that, without scrutiny and comment, will continue down the path of inequity, wasteful spending, unhealthy priorities, and environmental degradation. And, often, you must comment decades before a project reveals its idiocy or inadequacy, because the process is so compartmentalized and circuitous, that something decided in 1998 cannot be undone or fixed in 2023 when it is unveiled for a final review.

A new disaster-in-the-making requires our attention now. This is from Mary Pustejovsky, a Wisconsin transportation equity advocate. 

I wanted to remind everyone that Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is collecting comments on their draft 2050 plan.The website is here:
The last day to submit comments is January 24th, so there is not much time.  I am sharing my comments here in case anyone wants talking points. There is a lot more that could be said, and your comments would be helpful. The more voices they hear, the better. If it's not obvious from my comments, I think the plan is more of the same that we've gotten from them for years. It's time for them to do better.

--------------------
My comments: 

As a citizen of Wisconsin, I welcome the opportunity to provide feedback on the Connect 2050 plan.


Goal 4 states that “The department will continue to prioritize reducing congestion”. A few things: it was *not* a priority from looking at most of the comments from Wisconsites all over the state. The most common priority was “alternatives to driving”, with 700 comments mentioning it, more than any other comment type (https://connect2050.wisconsindot.gov/outreach). It’s embarrassing that WisDOT states its priority is to reduce congestion yet ignores the cheapest option: reducing vehicle miles traveled. When people have alternatives to driving alone, congestion decreases. Yet in your own documents, you show VMT continuing to go up! At least Minnesota DOT has made decreasing VMT a priority. Wisconsin should look to their plans, as our states are similar and have similar challenges.


Also on the interactive website, when selecting Goal 4, then Mobility, you tout “what we are doing now” by presenting a bicycle plan from 1998. REALLY? A 23 year old plan is what you are doing now? You should be ashamed of yourselves. It would have been better not to show it at all because it shows how little you are doing for people outside of motor vehicles.


For Objective 8b: Prioritize emissions reduction and alternative fuels to improve air quality.

Again, WisDOT ignores the most straightforward way to do this: reduce VMT. With fewer miles traveled, emissions go down, and air quality improves. Even electric vehicles won’t save us as they have tires that turn into micro particles that pollute our water (https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1131916_report-microplastic-pollution-from-vehicle-tires-is-a-serious-global-issue).


WisDOT states “Balance transportation needs with those of the natural environment, socioeconomic, historic and cultural resources.” Yet the federal guideline states: “Protect and *enhance* the environment, promote energy conservation, improve the quality of life, and promote consistency between transportation improvements and state and local planned growth and economic development patterns.”


WisDOT’s statement is NOT actually what the federal guideline calls for. What does “balance” mean here? If vehicular delay is reduced by 1 minute is that a “good balance” with the environment? It is so vague as to be meaningless, and allows for vehicular delay to be seen as equivalent with our need for a livable planet.


Federal guideline: 8. Emphasize the preservation of the existing transportation system.


WisDOT:

  • Pursue continuous improvement and expand data-driven decision-making processes.

  • Maximize technology benefits.


This is NOT the same! WisDOT should be focused on repairing existing systems rather than expanding them. We do not have infinite money, and we need to keep our existing system in good repair. Even WisDOT states that it’s important to pay attention to funding sources (goal 1).


Your section on safety is disappointing. You use the talk of Vision Zero “zero traffic deaths” and “5 Es” yet you don’t seem to properly understand them, nor how they work in a hierarchy. The standard 5 Es are: Evaluation, Engineering, Enforcement, Education, and Encouragement. Some have swapped out Enforcement for Equity because it has been well established that the current system of traffic enforcement in our country can result in discriminatory outcomes. Still, I have NEVER seen anyone state that EMS or “Everyone” is part of the 5 Es. It is a complete abdication of your responsibility as a state transportation department to say that “everyone” is responsible. You continue to design roads that encourage speeding. You prevent ENGINEERING changes to East Washington in Madison that would provide more safety on a road where multiple people are killed each year. Yet “everyone” is responsible? That is some next level gaslighting, or maybe you truly are that oblivious to transportation research on appropriate traffic engineering measures that have measurable impact in reducing road violence. 


Your idea of safety is laughable. You state that you want to decrease traffic deaths, yet your own GOALS for 2021 were *higher* than 2020! Your scorecard (https://wisconsindot.gov/Documents/about-wisdot/performance/mapss/scorecard.pdf)  stated that the goal for traffic crashes was 127,892. In the same line it states that 2020 was 114,697.  I realize that this 2050 plan does not have individual metrics, which will be found in other plans, but you can see why I am skeptical of your “goals” and “objectives”. Your goals clearly state that you will do worse than before, then if you come in under your absurdly high goal, you will get a green arrow showing what a good job you’ve done. This is unconscionable.


Finally, the second most common comment was around funding. As I’ve mentioned previously, decreasing VMT is the fastest, cheapest way to ensure that our roads are able to last longer and stay in good condition. The next area that needs to be explored and proposed by WisDOT to the legislature is increasing fees based on vehicle weight. Any engineer will tell you that more weight causes more road damage. It is simple physics. As people switch to (heavy) EVs that do not pay gas tax, they need to pay for their use of the road. As drivers choose heavier vehicles such as oversive SUVs, they need to pay for the damage they do to roads. France is doing this and it is one of the only ways to make it fair for all road users. People who do more damage to the road need to pay for funding the improvements. It is as simple as that. This needs to be considered in all your discussions around fiscal responsibility (ie Goal 1).


Monday, January 10, 2022

Transit Equity Days update - resolutions and proclamations

 

We are fortunate to have many great advocates for public transportation among our city and county elected officials and government professionals. Thanks to them, we have one of the best bus systems in the state, a regional transportation system (SMRT) even without a regional taxing authority, and an MTU that is a leader in transitioning to renewable energy.

Thanks to some of these great allies, the City of La Crosse will pass a resolution supporting Transit Equity Day at its January meeting next week. The resolution, co-sponsored by Council members Mackenzie Mindel and Justice Weaver, highlights the importance of public transportation and transit equity in our community. It passed unanimously in the Judiciary and Administrative Committee on January 5. A Mayoral resolution is also in the works. 

At the county level, thanks to County Board members Maureen Freedland and Randy Erickson, a proclamation supporting February 4 as Transit Equity Day is on the agenda for tonight's meeting

If you have time, please email the county board to thank them for supporting public transit through passage of this proclamation. Assuming the city's resolution passes next week (!) please contact our  La Crosse city council representatives and mayor, too, to thank them for their support.

We are still planning for the following events and actions. If you would like to help, please email us at lacrossetransitadvocates@protonmail.com.

Display at La Crosse Public Library from January 31 through February 4. Thanks to the MTU circulator, you can ride the bus from the library to the Grand River Transit Center where a Municipal Transit Utility display will be hosted!

Collecting Riders' Stories   Our online form is ready to collect your stories! You may submit info anonymously or add your contact info if you wish. We will soon have paper forms available at the library, Transit Center, and other places around town.

Ride with your Rep   We are sending invitations for elected officials in our area asking them to pick and ride one bus circuit. We will post a schedule so you might be able to ride with your rep and talk transit. Remember, all riders on public transportation must wear a mask! 

Thank you drivers!   We'll have Thank You Driver signs you can download (or make your own!) and wear or show when you board the bus or at your local bus stop. Our wondersul essential worker drivers are that backbone of our public transportation system.

Letters to the Editor   Let others know why you love and support public transportation, how important it is to you, and why we celebrate Transit Equity Day. If you've never written a letter to the editor before and want some tips or proofreading help, please email us at lacrossetransitriders.org.

Stay tuned for more updates, and please share the event page with your contacts!

Monday, January 3, 2022

Include transit in N-S transportation planning



[2020 Mobility GIF of the Year from @urbanthoughts11]🥂

The good news at the end of 2021 was that the Wisconsin DOT has decided to stop planning for another roadway to help individuals in private vehicles get from north of La Crosse into the city faster. We never needed it. We don't need it now. The dire congestion predictions never came to pass. And now we have new priorities like getting people out of their single occupant, fossil-fueled cars and reducing private-vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.

Unfortunately, so far, reporting and quotes about this pivot leave out any mention of PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. That must change. The project web page is, so far, just a map and brief description of the update plans. Now 8s the time to start talking about transit.

Let's make sure public transportation is one of the top solutions considered, planned, and budgeted as new planning goes forward.

For starters, please email or call Rep. Jill Billings, Sen. Brad Pfaff, Mayor Mitch Reynolds, and WisDOT project manager Josh Koebernick ((608) 246-3859 joshua.koebernick@dot.wi.gov) and Michael Bie, WisDOT Southwest Region Communications Manager(608) 246-7928 michael.bie@dot.wi.gov. Let them know public transit is an important part of this planning.


Saturday, January 1, 2022

Your public transit resolution for 2022

Among the many benefits of public transportation, switching from a fossil-fueled private vehicle to public transit is one of the quickest, least expensive ways to immediately reduce your household carbon emissions. 

While New Year's resolutions are often dismissed by social media and pindits because it is hard to change habits and many people don't follow through, if you don't make a decision to change, you probably won't. If it's important for you to replace a less ideal behavior with a healthier one, then it's important to start and to try.

So, make a goal for 2022 to take public transportation when you can. As La Crosse greens its fleet with newer hybrid buses and electric buses, you will not only save money but you'll also help clean the air, increase public safety, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Here are some tips for new public transit riders.

  • Download and read the MTU route map AND circulator map 
  • Also pick up a paper copy of this map from the MTU Transit Center at Third & Jay. Having a paper map is recommended as you get started; you can mark where you live and where you want to go to get a better idea of which buses you want to use.
  • Decide how you will pay. A phone option will be coming later in 2022. For now you will need to pay by cash, token, or pass.
  • If you use a smartphone, get the MTU DoubleMap app from the Google Play Store or Apple Store. This will show you where buses are in real time and when the next bus is expected at a particular stop.
  • Pick a ride to try or a route to explore. (If you want to  explore by riding a complete circuit, please mention this to the driver when you board the bus.) Figure out where to catch the bus. Use your app to track your bus before your ride day and time how long it takes you to get to the stop. Plan to get there a few minutes early. Have your fare ready. If you don't use tokens or passes, rolls of quarters are good to have on hand because exact change is required. Dress for the weather. Make sure you have your good mask. Go!
If you want help or want someone to ride with you the first time, please contact us! We'll find a Bus Buddy who can meet you and go through the whole process, answering questions as you ride. Email LaCrosseTransitAdvocates@protonmail.com or text or leave a message at 608-315-2693.

Behaviorists say new habits can be formed if your goal is targeted and reasonable (ride the bus instead of driving at least one time per week, say) and if your motivation is strong (like, fight the climate crisis!) If you have thought about, visualized and plan for changing your habit, you'll have a better chance to succeed. If you anticipate challenges when you are planning, you won't be as likely to give up before you start. If you give yourself a pep talk while you are doing the new thing, you will help reset possible negative internal dialog. And, successfully completing the new behavior will increase your chances if future success.

Taking the bus is a great (new) habit. We encourage you to try it and repeat it.

One last thing - if you find it hard to take the bus because of current routes, schedules, or frequency, please join our effort to support and improve and local transit!