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A number of important events and activities are underway in the next 2 weeks to support transit. Read below for all the details on Wisconsin Transportation Town Hall Meetings, National Transit Action Month, Bike to Work activities, Milwaukee Streetcar social and more! And if you keep scrolling down, you’ll find links to articles and updates from the past few months.

Moving Forward Together
Coalition for Advancing Transit

It’s Bike to Work Week! From May 11-17, many communities across the state have scheduled fun events to encourage more people to consider bike commuting and to reward those that already do! Learn more at the Wisconsin Bike Federation website, and search for events near you.

Milwaukee Streetcar Update
Read the latest developments in their April newsletter, including an upcoming social on Thursday, May 15 from 5:00-6:30 p.m., a local retailer who re-located his business from the suburbs to be on the streetcar route will host a Streetcar Social. This free, casual gathering of like-minded people is the first in a series of periodic events to promote ridership, raise awareness and support businesses along the route. Learn more here>>>

Transportation Moves Wisconsin – Town Hall Meetings
Presented by WI Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb

These town hall meetings are unprecedented—and so is the challenge the secretary will be tackling: a $700 million budget shortfall, which will only continue to increase in the coming years. Big changes are coming. Town Hall participants can:

  • Fill out a green sheet with comments
  • Videotape a brief message (30 seconds) about why transit or paratransit are important to you. Come prepared with your message!
  • Listen to the Secretary’s remarks and ask a question.

This is an important time to speak up for transit as economic, workforce, and quality of life priorities, and urge the Secretary to support transit policies that are vital to our economy.

Meetings will be held in SE WI next week – Secretary’s presentation is at 5:30 p.m., Q&A to follow.
View this flyer for important event details and transit information.

Tuesday, May 20 – 5:00 to 6:30pm
MATC West Allis Campus, Room 117, 1200 South 71st Street
MCTS bus Rts: 23, 56, 76, Blue Line.www.ridemcts.com  Parking map:http://bit.ly/SzXSjp

Wednesday, May 21 – 5:00 to 6:30pm
At Gateway Technical College, Madrigrano Auditorium, 3520 – 30th Avenue
Kenosha Transit bus Rts: 1, 3, 6. http://bit.ly/1mC5lM7

SE WI Transit Systems:  http://www.yourotherwheels.com/

For more information about the Transportation Moves initiative and the Town Hall meetings: http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/about/tmw/index.htm

May is Transit Action Month
On Tuesday, May 20th, participate in National Transit Call Congress Day

Join transit riders, workers and advocates to call for more and better public transit.  Transit supporters can let their elected officials know they support increased funding for public transit in the surface transportation bill and the impact that massive service cuts and fare increases have had in recent years. Tell them about the importance of transit to get to work, school and everywhere in between!

Find Wisconsin US Congress Members here. Link includes name, district and phone numbers for the representatives able to work directly on federal transit funding.

Learn more about Transit Action Month here or at www.TransitIsGreater.com

Wisconsin Transit Riders Alliance Meeting: Thursday, May 22 at 10:00am, Madison
In Rm. 302 of the Madison Public Library’s Central Branch 201 W. Mifflin St. (a block away from the downtown square).
Learn more about this affiliate of WURTA at www.witransitriders.org

Milwaukee Transit Riders Union Meeting: Thursday, June 5 at 5pm
At Hillside Terrace Resource Center, 1452 N. 7th Street, Milwaukee
“Jobs and Justice: A forum on regional transit”
Learn more at www.transitridersunion.org

New website launched dedicated to car-free transportation options
Bus, bike, walk has information about getting around the state using transit (intercity and intra-city transport info and links are provided) as well as policy background and advocacy for transit, biking and walking. Check it out here: http://www.busbikewalk.org/

IN THE NEWS

Yes! Bike Sharing is coming this summer (UrbanMilwaukee 5/14/14)

Biking with the Mayors (UrbanMilwaukee 5/13/14)

Who Will Be Streetcar Operator? (UrbanMilwaukee 5/8/14)

City of Milwaukee expects $20M more needed for streetcar project (BusinessJournal 4/22/14)

What To Do About DOT’s $650 Million Funding Gap (WUWM 4/18/14)

More Transit Funding Needed, Fitch Ratings Warns (UrbanMilwaukee Streetsblog 4/9/14)

WisDOT secretary outlines funding crisis (BizTimes Morning Headlines 4/9/14)

Press release: New Study: Riders Want Improved Transit. Abele Offers Plan to Add Service, Asks For County Board Support  (Posted on UrbanMilwaukee 4/8/14)

County Executive Chris Abele offers sound plan on transit services (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial 4/7/14)

Chris Abele renews push for outside operator of transit system (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 4/2/14)

4th Street Forum – Beyond Roads: Transportation Issues Today and Tomorrow (Aired 3/21/14)

Milwaukee’s Transit Decrease in Context: Our estimate puts 2013 as the worst year in the last 25 years of Milwaukee’s bus system (Milwaukee Magazine 3/11/14)

Milwaukee transit ridership down, bucking national trend (BizTimes 3/11/14)

Milwaukee out of step as public transit use rises nationally (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 3/10/14)

Sen. Miller: Introduces bills to improve public transit throughout Wisconsin (WisPolitics 3/7/14)

The Transit Agenda: Supporters headed to the State Capitol for “Public Transportation Day,” meeting with legislators, promoting their agenda, and handing out awards (UrbanMilwaukee 3/7/14)

Supervisors seek new bus contract bids, with county-run option in play (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 3/5/14)

Wisconsin Urban & Rural Transit Association (WURTA) 2014 Legislative Day at the Capitol (Mass Transit Magazine newsletter 3/5/14)

Greater Milwaukee Committee group wants to jump-start transit debate (BusinessJournal 2/25/14)

Our View: Legislature should allow creation of regional transit authorities (JSOnline 2/13/14)

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We’re passing along information about a few upcoming events you may find of interest. Scroll down for details and a few recent articles!

Community Conversation on Transportation: A Vision for metro Milwaukee
Thursday, February 6, 2014

5:00 networking & refreshments, 5:30-7:00 PM program
At ManpowerGroup,100 Manpower Place, Milwaukee, WI, 53212

Join them for a fast-paced conversation, hear from community visionaries, and pitch in your ideas that will strengthen our communities, spur economic opportunities, and create the lifestyle that you imagine.

Speakers include Jeramey Jannene, Urban Milwaukee (moderator), Bob Monnat, Mandel Group, Inc., Dean Magda Peck, UWM Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, Carl Quindel, ACTS Housing, Jerry Roberts, Helen Bader Foundation and Alex Runner, transit and bike rider.

SE WI Regional Planning Commission will bring us up to speed on VISION 2050, and listen to your ideas. Your input will become part of VISION 2050, our region’s transportation and land use vision and plan, including the 5-year steps to reach the build out.

RSVP here: http://urbanmilwaukee.com/metrogo-community-conversation/ or visit MetroGo on Facebook for additional information and updates.

MV Transportation Open Houses in February
MV Transportation has been holding a series of Open Houses in locations throughout Milwaukee County to meet with residents and answer questions about their bid to provide transportation services.  Click here to see a list of upcoming dates and times from February 6-27 or visit them at GoodBeingHere.com and scroll down for a list of FAQ’s

Also, SEWRPC has posted results from the first two phases of VISION 2050. This website is updated regularly and information about the process is available at http://vision2050sewis.org/Vision2050/The-Process

ARTICLES & INFORMATION

Federal government approves change to streetcar route (BizTimes 1/16)

Our View: Mayor Tom Barrett is right to push ahead on streetcar project (JSOnline 1/16)

Wisconsin should get on board (JSOnline Opinion 1/11/14)

Point Counterpoint Q&A: Debating Milwaukee’s streetcar (The Business Journal 1/10/14):
Wangard on benefits to development and Donovan on costs

You are invited!  Join us on Thursday, January 9th for the second series of VISION 2050 Planning in partnership with the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC). Workshops were held in each county earlier this month, but if you missed it, this is your chance to participate!

On the agenda:

  • Hear from SEWRPC staff the results of the first series of VISION 2050 workshops.
  • View a set of draft Guiding Statements about regional land use and transportation.
  • Provide your feedback on the Guiding Statements – review, rate and suggest improvements.

Details:

Thursday, January 9, 2014 from 3:30-5:00pm
Held at ManpowerGroup, 100 E. Manpower Place, Milwaukee  MAP
Refreshments will be provided.
RSVP HERE

This workshop and review of the statements will serve as a guide for how the Region should move forward and for developing “sketch” future land use and transportation scenarios—the next step in the VISION 2050 process.

Manpower is located east of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive (3rd Street), off of Cherry Street and just north of downtown Milwaukee. Parking is available on Cherry Street and in the Visitors Lot north of the building (on Cherry). Bus routes 19, 80, 57 and Green line all run nearby. Visit www.ridemcts.com to plan your trip. 

Learn more & get involved:

Workforce Mobility Study released this week
The Public Policy Forum released their independent study “Getting to Work: Opportunities and obstacles to improving transit service to suburban locations.”  The study was commissioned by Transit NOW with support from Greater Milwaukee Foundation. It provides data-driven information and analysis that will hopefully lead to action steps that will meaningfully address critical workforce transportation issues.

State Rail Plan posted by WisDOT, comments accepted online through December 30. Learn more at http://www.dot.state.wi.us/projects/state/railplan.htm

SB259, a bill to authorize the creation of a Regional Transit Authority in the Fox Cities, is underway. A public hearing was scheduled for today at the State Capitol. Read the bill here: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/proposals/sb259

As we look back on 2013, many exciting opportunities to further transit got underway including the 2013-15 State Biennial Budget and VISION 2050 regional planning process. We look forward to continuing to inform the coalition about these and other ways to continue to show your support for transit in 2014.

Happy Holidays!

Moving Forward Together
Coalition for Advancing Transit

ARTICLES & INFORMATION

Milwaukee sees steep decline in driving, WISPIRG study contends (JSOnline 12/11/13)

21st century technology is the new ticket for Milwaukee County Buses (JSOnline 11/29/13)

Bill Targets Federal Transit and Bike Funding (Streetsblog, posted on Urban Milwaukee 11/20/13)

Who Will Run the County Buses?  (Urban Milwaukee 11/14/13)

Once nearly extinct, streetcar gets new life  (Associated Press 11/12/13)

Just wanted to remind you about tomorrow’s VISION 2050 public input workshop.  UEDA is hosting this visioning session in partnership with the Southeastern Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC).   A critical part of the VISION 2050 process will be public involvement and input.

Scroll down for details on the VISION 2050 workshop or RSVP here.

Also, below are a some recent articles, including the feature story by Milwaukee Magazine on MCTS, the history of Milwaukee’s transit system and the effort to switch to a private contractor.

ARTICLES & INFORMATION:

The Milwaukee Streetcar project recently launched a new Facebook page.  “Like” them here and get all the latest updates in your newsfeed:  www.facebook.com/themilwaukeestreetcar

Milwaukee Magazine:  “End of the Line” (November 2013)
The Milwaukee County Transit System has been trapped in a budget-induced death spiral – increased fares and reduced service, leading to fewer riders and less revenue, leading to increased fares and reduced service. But it wasn’t always that way.

“Current transit system operator will run Milwaukee County buses for another year” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 10/25/14)

“Technology gives lift to car- and bike-sharing movement: Transit services also implementing mobile apps” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 10/1/13)

Moving Forward Together
Coalition for Advancing Transit

Thursday, November 14, 2013: VISION 2050 Public Input Session
UEDA will be hosting this visioning session in partnership with the Southeastern Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC).  VISION 2050 is an important opportunity to talk about the future of our region and this workshop will give SE WI residents the opportunity to provide their input to create a land use and transportation plan for the year 2050.

Join us! Share your vision for the region.
Thursday, November 14 from 4:00pm to 5:30pm
RSVP
HERE
At ManpowerGroup, 100 E. Manpower Place, Milwaukee  MAP
Refreshments will be provided.

At the workshop, you’ll:

  • Help map out Important Places
  • View & vote on a slideshow of different land use & transportation options
  • Share your opinions on the strengths, challenges & opportunities in the region
  • Identify goals for the region.

Manpower is located east of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive (3rd Street), off of Cherry Street and just north of downtown Milwaukee. Parking is available on Cherry Street and in the Visitors Lot north of the building (on Cherry). Bus routes 19, 80, 57 and Green line all run nearby. Visit www.ridemcts.com to plan your trip.

Our past work with UEDA and other partners on public transportation issues has made clear that a regional approach to investments in infrastructure and assets such as public transportation, housing development and land use is imperative to the economic vitality of SE WI.

It’s been a busy summer and public transportation continues to be in the news.  The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) released a report detailing the future sustainability of the transit system, the 2013 budget process for Milwaukee County is underway and Congress passed a Federal Transportation bill.  Scroll down for the latest updates on both local and national public transportation issues.

Milwaukee County Budget Process:  County Executive Chris Abele will be holding two Town Hall meetings, which will allow the public to voice their opinions on next year’s budget – this is a great opportunity to show your support for transit

Monday, August 13, 2012 – 5:00pm-6:30pm
At McGovern Park Senior Center, 4500 W Custer Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53218

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 – 10:00am-11:30am
At West Allis City Hall Council Chambers, 7525 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis, WI 53214

RSVP required: countyexec@milwcnty.com

Looking for more information on the upcoming budget?  The Milwaukee County Mental Health Task Force has created a page on their website dedicated to the 2013 Milwaukee County Budget, which includes materials on transportation issues.

Milwaukee County Transit System’s Future Sustainability Appears Bleak:
Last Month MCTS released a report  indicating that the financial sustainability over the next five years looks bleak. Federal CMAQ funds, the latest stop gap funding mechanism used to keep the system functioning, will expire in February of 2014 and a recent cut in state funding will have a significant impact.  The report estimates that if nothing is done, MCTS may have to cut service  from 19 to 29%. Below are links to articles and stories that discuss the potential impact:

Upcoming Public Transportation Conference:  August 14-16th in Chicago, IL
At the State Public Transportation Conference hear about best practices and programs of state associations and state transportation departments, as well as federal, state and local partnerships for public transportation. Click here to view the workshop schedule and program offerings. Co-sponsored by AASHTO and CTAA.

New Federal Transportation Bill Approved:
More than 1000 days after the last transportation bill expired, Congress finally voted to approve a new transportation bill. Unfortunately for those hoping for a bold step into the future, this bill represents a definite step backwards, the last gasp of an outdated 20th century program. Learn more about the bill here.

In The News:

 

Many thanks to those who came out on March 22nd for the State Transportation Commission hearing…transit was the overwhelming issue and your support really made the difference.  Also, an extension for the Federal Transportation bill was signed last week – scroll down for article links.

NEWaukee is hosting Transit Day on April 16th as the kick off of YP Week!
Scroll down to see details for events that day.

Additionally, the week includes the Milwaukee Young Leader Awards by Newaukee & Young Milwaukee.

One of the categories is “Transit: An individual who has passion for the evolution of Milwaukee transit system. One who strives to make Milwaukee more efficient and clean to move through.”
The nominations deadline is TODAY, April 4th! Make your nomination for outstanding commitment and work for transit here.

Lunch N Learn: Noon to 1:30pm
A discussion and presentation about biking in Milwaukee, Complimentary appetizers will be served for all attendees.
Will also include a bike rack demo and “try it on for size”, and demo of a new mobile app.
Location: Cafe Hollander, located at 2608 N. Downer Avenue,Milwaukee
Hosted by Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin & MKEBKE

Evening Event: Milwaukee’s Future in Transit: 5:30 to 8:00pm
(Must arrive before 6:00pm)

A discussion and presentation about Milwaukee’s future in transit.
Complimentary appetizers and cash bar.
Located at Foley and Lardner LLP, 777 E. Wisconsin Ave. #40 (40th Floor of US Bank Building)
Hosted by Urban Milwaukee (Alderman Kovac, Alderman Bauman, Jeramey Jannene)

IN THE NEWS:

Starting January 29, Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) will be implementing a series of route changes, plus the addition of 3 new MetroExpress Routes:  The Blue Line  (Fond du Lac-National), the Green Line  (Bayshore-Airport), and the Red Line  (Capitol Drive). For details on all upcoming route changes, visit the MCTS website page to access maps, the latest edition of “Bus Lines” the MCTS newsletter, and a 2012 Transit Guide.  You may also find the following links and/or files helpful:

Also, starting Monday, January 23, MCTS will have a special hotline that will be staffed to answer any questions regarding upcoming service changes. They will be available every day from 6:00am to 6:00pm for a limited time and the number is 414-937-0460.  Scroll down for article links covering both the service change, as well as the switch to a “smart card” fare system.

Other Items of Interest

The National Alliance of Public Transportation Advocates (NAPTA) has joined together with a public advocacy campaign, “Public Transportation Takes Us There” to include a number of useful resources and online tools in one website for public transportation riders, advocates and grassroots supporters of transit:

  • Contact elected officials and get the latest news from Congress
  • Promote public transit with social media
  • Build a transit coalition in your community
  • Measure the benefits of transit investment in your community

Visit www.publictransportation.org to see the new site and all the features.  To learn more about NAPTA, click here.

And, this article discusses  how demographic shifts continue to impact individual choices when it comes to transportation:  “Driving has lost its cool for young Americans”

Stay tuned for more updates as they happen!

Moving Forward Together
Coalition For Advancing Transit (CAT)

ARTICLES & INFORMATION:

As the 2012 County Budget process began, the bus system was slated for deep cuts as a result of a reduction in state funding and other factors.  However, the County Executive and County Board listened to the concerns of citizens and business.  They found a way to keep most bus and paratransit services intact for 2 more years, AND improve express services. (Scroll down to learn more.)

Jobs and the economy continue to be a major concern, with County Executive Abele noting that “This is one of the services the county provides that is ‘crucial’ to the local economy.” In October Milwaukee County was notified that they received $12.7 million in federal funds for new express bus routes. These funds come from Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funding left over from the defunct KRM (Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee) commuter rail project.

If approved, this would create three new express routes in Milwaukee County that connect UW-Milwaukee to  124th Street along Capitol Drive, from Bayshore Town Center to Mitchell International Airport (Route 15), and along Fond du Lac Avenue’s Route 23.  The folks at UrbanMilwaukee.com put together a great summary of these routes with a map, particularly Route 15: http://bit.ly/twGZBz

WHAT CAN YOU DO ?

The County Board votes on the 2012 Budget THIS Monday, November 7.  TODAY is the last day to contact them and let them know you support our bus system.  Tell them you support the express bus plan – it will enhance service AND preserve most of the routes and services that were proposed for elimination just weeks ago.  Your voice is very important!

  • Call the County Board at 414-278-4222  and ask to be connected to your supervisor’s office.
  • If your supervisor is not there, it’s fine to leave a voicemail.  Email is also a good way to contact your supervisor too –visit our Contact Elected Officials page for a list of County Supervisors and their contact information.
  • Contact County Executive Abele and thank him for his hard work to preserve and maintain our transit system.  Call, email or write him a letter.

Join us on Monday, November 14 from 9:00-11:00am

We are partnering with the Coalition for Wisconsin Aging Groups (CWAG) and Transit Now to hold an informational meeting:  “Building Aging-Friendly Communities with Transit and Why it Matters to You.”  Mayor Tom Barrett will be there to speak about transportation and there will be a brief overview on the new express bus plan, legislative issues on the horizon and more.  It is FREE and open to the public.  Registration and meet-and-greet will begin at 8:30am.  Registration information will follow early next week.

What’s Next?

This funding also gives Milwaukee County a reprieve with a 2-year window that will allow us to continue working towards a long-term funding solution for our local bus systems.  Stay tuned – many partners in the transit coalition are working hard on a strategy to accomplish this.

ARTICLES & INFORMATION

The Milwaukee County Board is holding hearings on the 2012 County Budget proposed by County Executive Chris Abele.  Maintaining public transportation services has been a key part of the debate.  We need all transit advocates to contact local elected officials and let them know how important it is to preserve transit services in 2012!

Milwaukee County Finance and Audit Committee Budget Hearing:
Monday, October 17 at 9:00a.m.

Department of Transportation and Public Works
Milwaukee County Transit/Paratransit System (transit is first on the agenda so be sure to get there early!)

ATTEND IF YOU CAN AND SPEAK OUT FOR TRANSIT!  Let us know if you do.  Held in Room 203-R, at the Milwaukee County Courthouse, 901 North 9th Street, Milwaukee  MAP

Contact your Milwaukee County Representatives!

Ask them to maintain bus service – both routes and frequency.  When service is cut, not only does this curb the independence of many individuals in our community, but it also means that people cannot get to work, school, medical appointments, shopping centers and more. Transit is the backbone of a strong local economy!  Tell them your story of why we cannot afford any cuts to transit service.

Click HERE to visit our 2012 Milwaukee County Budget & Transit page for details and how to contact them.

Write a Letter to the Editor

Reach out to local media and let everyone else know why you support public transportation and preserving our bus system.  Tell them your story why cuts to service and 2012 will harm our community.  Click HERE to visit our Media Outreach page for more information on how to do this.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN THE NEWS