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.