Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Request a stop!

The MTU is rolling out an online form that will help them see what important gaps exist in the current system and which new stops might be prioritized going forward.

Is there a spot you can't get to by bus right now? Fill out the form. Woud you take the bus to work or church or play but the bus doesn't go there? Fill out the form!

Not only will this help the MTU see where new stops could be sites, it will also help them talk to businesses, employers, and elected leaders about the need for increased local support for public transit! 


Sunday, May 21, 2023

Our trip on the #10

On Saturday morning, May 20, the weather was great and we were the only folks on the bus (though two people had gotten off before we got on). Our interstate trip to La Crescent on Saturday was a fun and educational experience.

The bus, a partnership between the City of La Crescent and the La Crosse MTU, offers hourly day service between the two cities Mondays through Saturdays. If you live in La Crescent and work on a bus route in La Crosse, you should be able to use this bus for your commute.

After leaving the transit center, the #10 heads straight for the bridge, crossing the pike, past Pettibone Park and the off-road access to the Wagon Wheel bike trail.

We were impressed by the coverage this one route offers, winding through the neighborhoods, through the downtown, past schools and parks, back through downtown, and along the industrial waterfront area before returning directly to the transit center.

We could have gotten off the first time the bus passed through downtown, but we rode the whole loop so had just about one hour to accomplish our second mission, lunch at Kaddy's Kafe, just half a block from the bus stop. 

This restaurant was perfect for us; the 10:42 bus arrived at our stop at 11:12, just as Kaddy's was adding its lunch menu to the extensive breakfast offerings. We finished comfortably, with just a few minutes wait for the 12:12 bus (which was actually about five minutes late).

We did participate in the stop announcement audit, too, with only two stops announced (that we could (barely) hear) during either of the rides.

We decided to make this an annual, if not more often, event and hope you can join us next time we go!

Friday, May 19, 2023

La Crosse Needs An Overnight Bus Route

By Kevin Hundt. Cross-posted from Coulee Progressives.

If we're serious about meeting our climate obligations, we need to reduce car use.  La Crosse’s new Climate Action Plan states that about ⅓ of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions come from vehicle use, and calls for doubling the use of mass transit to 3% of commuters by 2030.
In order to do that we need to make mass transit as accessible as possible for as many people as possible. But for anyone whose workday starts or ends when buses aren't running (between 10 PM and 5 AM on weekdays or 6 PM and 8 AM on weekends), taking the bus in La Crosse isn't an option. That includes many workers in food service/hospitality, retail, 2nd and 3rd shift manufacturing, etc- in other words, many jobs which are already at the low end of wages. Anyone who works late or early has to either live near enough to their workplace to be able to walk, or drive.

Furthermore, if someone owns a car because they need to have one for one reason, they're going to be more likely to use it for other reasons- why bother learning the bus system or walking ten minutes when the car is right there in the driveway?

We need to take away as many factors that force car ownership as possible, and one straightforward way to do that is to provide a mass transit option for every trip. Overnight service for the MTU fills a services gap for people who need it the most.

In addition, reducing night driving reduces the most dangerous driving- even though only about 25% of vehicle miles are at night,* half of traffic fatalities are at night.**

It's not necessary to provide the full route menu as in daytime hours. Buses running north-south routes on an hourly basis would be at least something, if they target the business areas where workers are most likely to need to reach (such as downtown, the Highway 16 retail area, and several warehouse and factory areas) and go through the bulk of residential areas. One possible loop map is presented below.


 * National Household Travel Survey https://nhts.ornl.gov/

** National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Overview of Motor Vehicle Traffic Crashes in 2021 https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/813435 page 17 

Thursday, May 11, 2023

May Updates

Please take some time to review the draft chapters of the updated La Crosse Comprehensive Plan. You can find them here: https://forwardlacrosse.org/ At least be sure to review the Transportation section. It seems like every new plan that comes out includes, “increase transit ridership,” as a goal, yet we have yet to see any funding increases proposed to help do that. Increasing ridership will not happen with half- or one-hour service that ends relatively early on weekends and misses many important public facilities, job centers, and neighborhoods. Our comments are important. Please do this one thing if nothing else. DEADLINE: MAY 15!

LATA is collecting some data and you can help. Did you know stop announcements (either recorded or by the driver) are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act? Not every stop must be announced, but it is required for transfer points, major intersections and destinations, and points along a route sufficient to help riders with visual impairments be oriented on the route. We want to know if there are gaps in this important service and you can help. Though the end of this month, when you ride the bus, please pay attention to stop announcments. If you can, note which ones you hear. Fill out the form at https://tinyurl.com/LATAStopTest for every ride you remember to keep track. We'd also like you to note if a stop is unintelligible, too soft to hear, or too late to do any good. Let's see what happens!

Join us on Saturday, May 20 (NOT 21!) for a little trip on the Apple Express. We'll leave the La Crosse Transit Center at 10:42 and land in La Crescent, Minnesota a bit after 11. We'll have lunch together and then return on our own (last hourly service leaves La Crescent at 3:42). There's no official sign up, but you could email LaCrosseTransitAdvocates@proton.me if you have a suggestion for lunch location.

For the past several weeks, Susan Gaeddert of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin has led a Community Transportation Academy at UWL, with a look at many aspects of transportation and advocacy. There will be a program about the academy, including a few local participants, next Wednesday, May 17 at noon. Learn more and register for the link here: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYsfu6urTgsHtX3BMmz2PnXO87HT1yW2DRl#/registration

We will table at Juneteenth this year! The Juneteenth event is on Sunday, June 18 at Riverside Park. If you could be at our table for an hour or two, please email or call 608-315-2693. The event begins at noon and ends at 7 p.m. You're going anyway! So, please consider spending some time at the LATA table talking about the importance of public transportation. Please let us know when you are available.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Public transit is essential!

A good reminder that public transit is essential for many reasons.

Get out and vote!
The leading lady and I did. Made it count.

The best part about this was what happened right before this photo.

The clerk who assisted me out the door asked if she could take me to my car. I said you already did she’s right next to me. Well, that was a moment. She profusely apologized and happily took a photo to commemorate this memory.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Coming soon!

First, please help us do a little CITIZEN SCIENCE by participating in an assessment of stop announcements on the MTU. If you've ever ridden at night or had your view blocked by people or bus wrappers, you know how important an audible signal is to help you know where you are on the route and when you should be ready to exit.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires fixed route systems to announce stops, "at least at transfer points with other fixed routes, other major intersections and destination points, and intervals along a route sufficient to permit individuals with visual impairments or other disabilities to be oriented to their location. Further, the transit personnel must announce any stop upon request of an individual with a disability."

But, do they? We are going to spend the month of May gathering data to see if the system needs to improve. So, if you can help, please do the following:

Whenever you take the bus during May, please note the route number, bus number, date, time and location of boarding, and every announcement you hear while riding. In addition, sometimes stops are announced after you've passed them or with so little notice as to make it impossible for you to pull the cord before the stop has gone by. Also, sometimes the volume of the automated announcement is so low that you can't really hear it or, if the bus goes over a railroad track or bumpy spot or if there's talking around you, it's hard to hear.

Please help and participate by completing this audit form every time you ride (and remember) in May!


LATA will ride the #10 Apple Express to lunch in La Crescent on Saturday, May 21
. We'll board at the Grand River Station Transit Center at 10:42 and get to downtown La Crescent a little after 11 a.m. We're looking for some La Crescent transit advocates to meet up with for lunch, and then we'll return (on your own - last bus leaves downtown La Crescent at about 3:12) to the La Crosse Transit Center. There's no official sign up, but if you have a suggestion for best place for a group lunch, please email LaCrosseTransitAdvocates@proton.me

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Intermodal connections or not?

A friend who is trying to green his travel reported that he'd tried to take the bus to the airport--the #7 is supposed to offer a demand-response airport stop if you tell the driver as soon as you board the bus or call no more than 15 minutes before the scheduled pickup time and be waiting for the bus (the bus will not wait for you). This, in itself, is kind of confusing (what if you call 20 minutes ahead of time?), but, as my friend experienced, even if you follow the rules, you may be out of luck.

Even though he requested a stop at the airport when he boarded the bus, he had to get off at the industrial park and walk to the airport! And, coming back, even though he called the office to request an airport pick up and was told the bus would stop there, it didn't.

Connecting to the airport and the Amtrak are incredibly important. As we pointed out to Jonathon Stalls when he visited for the Pedestrian Dignity event on Tuesday morning, if you want to take the bus from the train station, you have to either walk several blocks to pick up the #5 or walk across the rocks and tracks and through a yard and back alleyway to catch the #6.

As we anticipate the start of the TCMC second daily bidirectional Amtrak, having a solid bus connection is key. 

Have you experienced similar issues? I have done the Amtrak scramble, which is kind of a pain if you have luggage or the weather is bad! Have you tried connecting at the airport or the Amtrak station? Tell us your story!


Monday, April 17, 2023

UPDATE for tomorrow's event!

They have added a SECOND start point for tomorrow's pedestrian dignity event. 

Bus riders can start at the Bridgeview Plaza stop. 

LATA will leave the Transit Center at 9:12 a.m. on the #6. I have some free bus passes, too, so look for a short person with white  "Bernie hair" and ask for a pass. See you then!

Friday, April 14, 2023

April opportunities for advocacy!

On Tuesday, April 18, AARP will host Jonathon Stalls (@pedestriandignity on Instagram and TikTok) for Pedestrian Dignity Experiences throughout Wisconsin in April. Pedestrian Dignity events center the lived experience of all who walk, use a wheelchair and take transit as their primary form of transportation. We will move with the many gaps and opportunities facing all who walk, roll and use the bus in car-dominated built environments. Participants will be invited to connect to one another around pedestrian behavior related to practical trips (origins/destinations) and co-create solutions and next steps around what can be done to protect, honor and care for today's pedestrian. All who are involved in policy or planning that affect the daily lives of people that walk or roll are invited to attend.

The 90-minute Pedestrian Dignity Experience in La Crosse will begin at 10 a.m. at The Eagle Watch Area on Rose Street just north of W. Gregory Street.

LATA encourages everyone who is able to attend this event. It's a great chance to discuss sidewalk and pavement conditions (especially crosswalks!), crossing infrastructure (the stress-inducing 5 second crossing light sprint), bus routes and connections with important spaces (this starting site is not adjacent to a bus stop, for example), and more. We can also discuss event timing since the 9:42 bus arrives at the start destination five minutes after the start time!

Please join us on the #6 bus leaving the Grand River Station Transit Center at 9:12 to participate in this important event!

On April 30 LATA will table at the La Crosse Earth Fair from 11 to 4 at Myrick Park. We will be in the lower parking lot (near the Marsh Trailhead and the Rod and Gun Shelter) next to the MTU e-bus.

Can you help staff the table? Mostly, it's talking to people about taking the bus--how to figure out the route map, why it's a good thing to do, what you like about being a bus rider. If you can help out for an hour or more, please email LaCrosseTransitAdvocate@proton.me.

We are finalizing details about our May Ride the Apple Express outing to La Crescent on the #10 bus. We'll take the bus to La Crescent, have lunch together, maybe with some La Crescent bus advocates (do you have a fav place to eat? Let us know!) and then come back to La Crosse. The hourly service works well with this plan. Stay tuned!

We are finalizing another initiative, this one to track the use of audible stop announcements, recorded or called by the driver. Not only are these required by the Americans with Disabilities Act to help blind and visually impaired individuals find their stops, they are also useful for new riders, tourists, and those who might have trouble seeing where the bus is at night (especially buses that have wrappers over the windows and interior lights on) or on a crowded bus. We hope to roll this out later in April or early in May.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Wis. Association of Rail Passengers Spring Meeting


The full agenda is here Microsoft Word - WisARP 2023 Spring Meeting Agenda.docx (wordpress.com)

There is no charge for this meeting but you must register in advance at the link below. You will be able to submit questions during the meeting which will read out by the Chair. This Webinar format is easier to manage than traditional Zoom with a large group. 
Webinar Registration - Zoom

Information from WisARP is available by joining our Facebook Group. Wisconsin Association of Rail Passengers (WisARP) | Facebook 

Find WisARP on the Web at Wisconsin Association of Railroad Passengers | Leading Wisconsin in promoting a statewide rail network for the 21st century (wordpress.com)

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Register now! Transit Advocates Tools and Tactics

La Crosse Area Transit Advocates is a member of the Wisconsin Transit Riders Alliance. WTRA includes local transit advocate groups and individuals from around the state. The group's goal is to research, educate about, advocate for, and support better public transportation in our state. This annual spring meeting is a way to share information, tools, and tactics with members and friends.

Please join us for the Saturday, March 11 meeting on Zoom, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Register for the link here: tinyurl.com/WTRA-031123 and learn more about the program here: WITransitRiders.org/Annual-Meeting


The March LATA Leaders meeting is being rescheduled because of competing important programming on March 8, International Women's Day. If you are interested in joining us for our March meeting, please email LaCrosseTransitAdvocates@proton.me for the new date and time.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Thank you! Transit Equity Days

Thank you to everyone who helped or participated in this year's Transit Equity Day!

We had some wonderful opportunities to bring this important issue to the front of the conversation and point out how connected it is to almost everything, including climate action, jobs and education, access to health care and services, and communities' and families' finances.

Thanks to local transit advocates who helped make everything happen: Avery, Bridget, Cathy, Joella, Kevin, Liz, Obbie, RoZ, and Sandy. Also thank you to La Crosse labor leader Terry Hicks for allowing us to include highlights of his book, We Walk: A History of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 519, at the Transit Center display.

Thank you to co-sponsors and supporters, including Citizen Action of Wisconsin Driftless Co-op, Coulee Region Sierra Club, the La Crosse MTU, Onalaska Holmen West Salem Shared Ride Taxi, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Scenic Mississippi Regional Transit, and the Sustainability Institute. And thanks to Western Technical College, the MTU, and the La Crosse Public Library for hosting TED displays.

Mayor Reynolds' TED proclamation, press event
Thank you to elected and community leaders who rode or will ride (we have to reschedule some rides because of illness or other schedule disruptions) or attended the February 1 press event: State Senator Brad Pfaff; La Crosse Mayor Reynolds; Onalaska Mayor Kim Smith; County Board Chair Monica Kruse; La Crosse County Board members Randy Erickson, Maurine Freedland, Ralph Geary, and David Pierce; La Crosse City Council members Doug Happel, Barb Janssen, Christine Kahlow, Mark Neumann, Rebecca Schwarz, and Jennifer Trost; Onalaska City Council members Larry Jiracek, Leanne Stokes, and Diane Wulf, ATU 519 president Todd Strasser, and La Crosse Neighborhoods leader Jim Bagniewski.(Apologies if we missed anyone! Email and we will update!)

Electeds on the bus!
We are grateful for excellent reporting on the events and the issues raised:

Thanks to those who shared their transit rider stories, through the online form, the paper forms, or social media. We hope to have a new Transit Tales page available at this site by February 12. Please check back! 

 If you missed Transit Equity Day programs, you can watch them here:

If you have comments about this year's event or suggestion for next year or if you would like to help plan future local events with La Crosse Area Transit Advocates, please email us at LaCrosseTransitAdvocates@proton.me or call 608-315-2693. 

Finally, if you are a transit rider or advocate, please consider becoming an official member of our group, so we can provide more education, more advocacy, and more support for great public transportation in our area.

Governor Evers' proclamation

Mayor Reynolds' proclamation

TED 23 display at La Crosse Public Library

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Bus reading

Today while you are riding the bus (SMRT is free today too!), please read this great essay, The Power of Public Transit in Social Justice. As we heard last night from Susan Gaeddert, many people do not necessarily connect public transit and reducing carbon emissions. But that's not the only connection to transit that many miss or misunderstand.

This essay talks about public transit and social justice. 

Although the majority of Americans commute to work by car, 21 per cent of urban residents use public transit on a regular basis. However, commuters vary substantially by race and income. In US cities, 34 per cent of Black people and 27 per cent of Hispanic people rely on public transit as their main method of transportation, compared to only 15 per cent of white urban residents.

And, in this piece, 6 Ways to Advance Equity in Public TransportationAmanda Merck looks at how, sometimes, the wrong things are prioritized which can end up making  matters worse. 

State and federal tax dollars often pay for projects that widen gaps in access to transportation options for low-income people and people of color.

Transit projects too often focus on economic development and property values.

Moreover, when it comes to equity policy, transit agencies are often only tasked with limiting further harm to people of color─rather than advancing equity.

And, if you have your earbuds along, check out this recorded Transit Chat from Transportation Choices, Transit Funding is Transit Equity.

In this Transit Chat series, we will explore how transit funding is the foundation for transit equity. How are transportation projects currently funded on federal, state, and local levels? How do we secure transit funding to ensure we are moving towards an equitable future (a future that gives everyone the freedom and ability to get where they need to go in an affordable and reliable manner)? And how do we get to a future where fares are free, transit is abundant and ubiquitous, and communities are connected to opportunities to work, play, and thrive?

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Transit Equity Days updates

Cold weather and illness are taking some toll on our best-laid plans! We have had to adjust some scheduling to accommodate.

Monday's press event has been rescheduled. Please join us at the Transit Center on WEDNESDAY morning at 10 a.m. for a Transit Equity Day press conference.

Tuesday morning's bus ride with State Senator Brad Pfaff has been postponed due to illness. We are working to reschedule this ride sometime later this week or later this spring.

As of now, all other TED events are running on schedule, including tonight's 7 p.m. online program with Susan Gaeddert, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin and tomorrow's 2 p.m. online Sustainability Chat about local public transit.

We hope, no matter where you are, you will support public transit and consider how we can make our systems better and more accessible for everyone.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Support for transit workers is part of Transit Equity Days

The Labor Network for Sustainability started Transit Equity Day in 2018. Original organizers included transit riders and members of the transit workers union. Transit equity includes sufficient public support and funding for a public transit system that works well for everyone, from riders to workers.

The Transit Equity Day Principles are clear. Transit Equity Days in La Crosse are meant to highlight these issues and find how we can work together to improve them. La Crosse Area Transit Advocates agrees with these principles.


Public Transit provides basic mobility for many in our communities. It is also essential urban infrastructure–just like roads, bridges, tunnels and utilities–that is crucial to the economic, social and environmental well-being of all our regions. Everyone has a right to a public mass transit system that includes:

1. Safe, reliable, environmentally-sustainable and affordable transit that is accessible
to all, regardless of income, national origin, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion, or ability. 

2. An affordable public transit system that reliably connects people in all communities
to the places we need to travel: home, work, school, places of worship, shopping, health, and recreation, in as efficient, and timely a manner as possible. We must ensure that all communities have access to transit, and not leave any community behind. Regional transportation plans must include public transit in rural, less densely populated communities as well, accounting for the special challenges they may present.

3. Living wages, benefits, safe working conditions, and union rights for transit workers, including those who manufacture transit equipment, and access to family-sustaining transit jobs and training opportunities for people from underserved communities.

4. A just transition for workers and communities who are dependent on our current
automobile and highway-centered transportation system, to ensure that no one is left behind as we transition to a more public, accessible, and cleaner transit-based system. 

5. Rapid transition of our transit and school bus systems to electric, non-polluting buses powered by electricity from renewables.

6. Safe, healthy and livable neighborhoods that are connected by public transportation
and by bicycle pathways and sidewalks, and that are planned to expand safe access to transit and reduce single occupancy vehicle miles traveled.

7. Dedicated and sustainable public funding for public transit.

Please join us in supporting transit workers, agencies, and riders during Transit Equity Days by participating in the discussions about what a truly equitable transportation system means and requires.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Coming Soon! Transit Equity Days!

 UPDATE: The press event originally scheduled for Monday has been RESCHEDULED! It will now be held on WEDNESDAY, FEB. 1 AT 10 A.M. AT THE GRAND RIVER STATION TRANSIT CENTER. Please attend if you can!

Please join us in recognizing the importance of public transportation as a civil right during Transit Equity Days in La Crosse. We will look at aspects of transit equity, talk to elected leaders about local transit, share stories, appreciate transit workers, and join with other transit advocates around the country during the Labor Network for Sustainability's live stream on Transit Equity Day, Rosa Parks' birthday, Saturday, February 4.

How can transit advocates use this event to educate and agitate for better transit in our area?

1. Share the flyer above online by emailing your contacts and reposting to your social media. If you want to print and post one, use this .pdf version

2. Sign the Thank You card right now to show local transit workers we recognize and appreciate the essential service they provide. 

3. If you can, attend the press event to kick-off the week on Monday, January 30 at 1 p.m. at the Jay Street Transit Center PRESS EVENT RESCHEDULED TO WEDNESDAY, FEB. 1 AT 10:00 A.M.

4. Please check the event page at tinyurl.com/LaXTED2023 to see if your elected city council representative or county board member will be holding an Office Hour on the Bus and plan to ride with them. If your representative is not on the list yet, please ask them to participate. If you are unable to ride when they are riding, please consider calling or emailing them to talk about transit.

5. If you haven't yet, use this online form to share your transit story. We'll share these stories with decision makers next week and throughout the year.

 6. If you are on Twitter, follow us @LaXWIForTransit and retweet our posts with #LaCrosseTED when you see them. 

These two online events are of particular interest to transit advocates! Please attend if you can:

On Tuesday, January 31 at 7 p.m. Susan Gaeddert of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin will talk about "Transit Equity and Climate Action" in a program hosted by the Coulee Region Sierra Club. Register here: https://tinyurl.com/CRSC-013123

On Wednesday, February 1 at 2 p.m., the Sustainability Institute's monthly Sustainability Chat will cover local and regional public transit with MTU Director, Adam Lorentz and La Crosse Area Planning Committee Executive Director Peter Fletcher who will talk about the SMRT program. Register here: https://www.sustaininstitute.com/event-details/sustainability-chats-local-public-transportation 

Remember to check out the event page for updates and more details!