• 9 Feb 2021 8:38 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    Feb. 6—Metro Transit is proposing route changes that would shift almost 30% of buses from State Street, but it's largely to accommodate the coming Bus Rapid Transit system, not a first step in transforming the city's most renowned street into a pedestrian mall, officials said. 

    There long has been a desire to reduce the number of buses on State Street, especially during peak hours, and the city needs to make room for BRT, city transportation director Tom Lynch said. The coming resurfacing of West Washington Avenue provides an opportunity to create a transit lane there that allows Metro to relocate bus routes off of State Street, he said.

    Despite recently revived public conversation about taking all buses off State Street, the city is not now moving in that direction, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said.

    "We're in the process of reshaping Metro service to prepare for Bus Rapid Transit, and to best serve our entire community," the mayor said. "These changes are part of that, and I think are a good step. However, I don't support removing Metro from State Street or (Capitol) Square entirely. Transit is an important part of our community and should be at our front doors, where it can best serve employees, customers, visitors and residents."

    Downtown Ald. Mike Verveer, 4th District, said the proposed changes will better serve residents and that he's been hearing "a widespread cry" for seriously considering making State Street a pedestrian mall.

    "I have long supported reducing the amount of traffic on State Street and trying to move to a more pedestrian-friendly concept," he said. "Every bus, especially diesel buses, we remove from State Street is progress in that direction."

    The proposed changes would affect routes 8, 12, 15, 70 and 72. The moves are part of a series of proposed route changes in several parts of the city to be considered at a Metro and city Transportation Commission online public hearing scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday.

    Already, current bus service on State Street is almost 30% less than before the COVID-19 pandemic, Lynch said. The proposed changes will reduce the number of buses by another 25-30% on a daily basis, and almost 40% during evening peaks, he said.

    Both the route changes and the West Washington Avenue lane configuration changes must be approved by the Transportation Commission, Lynch said. The route changes and resurfacing are planned for this year, he said.

    The State Street route changes were being contemplated before the recent discussions about removing all buses, he said. "This change will help implement Bus Rapid Transit and address some of the noise complaints during the evening rush hour."

    "The recent discussion of buses on State Street has been incomplete," he said. "Fire lane requirements, challenges with State Street's four existing pedestrian-only spaces, and equitable access to the Downtown are all key factors," he said.

    "Downtown, there are always complications," Verveer said. "There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed."

    Still, even a limited reduction is finding support.

    "Moving several key Metro Transit bus routes to West Washington Avenue will help create a more open and pedestrian-friendly State Street promenade, allowing visitors to better enjoy the shops, restaurants and cultural amenities on Wisconsin's main street," said Jason Ilstrup, president of Downtown Madison, Inc.

    "The move will also help ensure buses move more quickly on the Isthmus, thereby getting workers and visitors into and through Downtown with more speed, efficiency and reliability," he said. "The new routes will also better connect a densely populated section of Downtown all while improving the pedestrian and bike infrastructure and safety."

    DMI hasn't taken a formal position on removing buses from State Street, but will be starting a discussion soon, Ilstrup said, adding, "Certainly moving nearly 30% of the buses off is an important step in potentially turning State Street into a pedestrian mall."

    Metro, Verveer noted, is conducting a comprehensive review of its current route structure in the hopes to reformat the system to better serve the community, improve ridership and complement the new BRT system. The possibility of removing more buses from State Street should be part of the review, he said.

         ___

         (c)2021 The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.)

    https://www.masstransitmag.com/bus/news/21209155/wi-metro-transit-proposes-moving-almost-30-of-buses-off-state-street


  • 1 Feb 2021 8:47 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an Order imposing a mask requirement applicable to public transportation systems, rail, and van, bus and motorcoach service providers to mitigate the risk of COVID-19.  The CDC Order implements President Biden’s Executive Order 13998, Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel, “to save lives and allow all Americans, including the millions of people employed in the transportation industry, to travel and work safely.”

    Science-based measures are critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19. Mask-wearing is one of several proven life-saving measures including physical distancing, appropriate ventilation and timely testing that can reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Requiring masks will protect America’s transportation workers and passengers, help control the transmission of COVID-19, and aid in re-opening America’s economy.

    In addition to the CDC order, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) anticipates issuing additional information and guidance on this topic.

    The U.S. Department of Transportation has posted Frequently Asked Questions online and will continue to add to this site with additional information in the coming days. The Department will be scheduling stakeholder calls beginning the week of February 1, 2021.

    Please share the mask mandate information with colleagues and send questions to: TransitMaskUp@dot.gov

    Links

    US DOT Mask Requirement for Public Transportation FAQs

    Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel
    CDC Order: Requirement for Persons to Wear Masks While on Conveyances and at Transportation Hubs
    CDC Federal Register Notice
    TSA 
    COVID-19 hub
    TSA 
    COVID-19 FAQs


  • 18 Jan 2021 11:09 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    MENASHA (WLUK) -- Two Northeast Wisconsin transit services are seeking input from riders who use Interstate 41 for travel.

    Go Transit of Oshkosh and Valley Transit are teaming up with UW-Oshkosh and East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission to offer a survey for those who use the interstate to commute between Oshkosh and the Fox Cities.

    The purpose of the survey is to better understand the needs of riders in the Fox Valley. Both transit systems are considering new services and expand amenities for a convenient ride, according to a news release.

    “Many residents travel the I-41 corridor daily. These travelers need and want to travel between communities; therefore, it’s increasingly important we find transportation alternatives to personal automobiles,” said Jim Collins, Transportation Director for the City of Oshkosh, in the release. “There are also many residents who do not have access to or the means to procure a personal automobile. We are seeking public input in devising feasible transportation solutions that will be well received and used to help make these connections.”

    The survey, which is available until next Friday, Jan. 22, can be completed online.

  • 8 Jan 2021 7:41 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    Midwestern states have been collaborating on a variety of transportation issues, from the future of vehicle technology to their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These efforts, led by the Mid America Association of Transportation Officials (MAASTO), are the topic of a special three-part series of Transportation Connects Us, the official podcast of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).

    "While each of the 10 states in the Midwest have their own unique characteristics and challenges, at the same time there are a lot of similarities in some of the issues that we deal with," said Craig Thompson, MAASTO President and WisDOT Secretary-designee. "And for the public, transportation doesn't end at the state line. The more that we can collaborate and learn from our neighbors, the better we can serve the people of Wisconsin," he said.  Read more..,

  • 7 Jan 2021 8:40 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    MADISON, Wis. - Gov. Tony Evers announced on Wednesday, Dec. 23 that 57 public and non-profit transit agencies will receive $3,799,860 in federal and state funds.

    The agencies that will receive funds provide specialized transit to seniors and individuals with disabilities. The funds will be administered by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).

    https://www.fox6now.com/news/gov-evers-awards-3-8m-to-wisconsin-specialized-transit


  • 28 Dec 2020 12:51 PM | JoEllen Graber (Administrator)

    WASHINGTON (December 21, 2020) – “The American Public Transportation Association (APTA), on behalf of the entire public transportation industry, urges immediate passage of the newly proposed H.R. 133, the ‘Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021’. This bill includes COVID-19 emergency relief, annual appropriations for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, tax extenders, and many other important provisions. The bill provides $14 billion of COVID-19 emergency funding for public transit and $1 billion for Amtrak. In addition, the bill provides annual appropriations of almost $13 billion for public transit, a $47 million increase from FY 2020.

    This $14 billion of desperately needed emergency transit funding is vital to the industry’s survival and is a much-needed immediate step in bolstering an industry ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

    The proposed legislation is a critical step in supporting public transit agencies so that they can survive and help our communities and nation recover from the economic fallout of the pandemic. However, this legislation is just one important step. APTA and the public transportation industry will continue to advocate for additional emergency funding in the new year, with at least $32 billion needed to serve essential workers and help our communities recover.”


  • 17 Dec 2020 10:29 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    Milwaukee County was awarded a $40.9-million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), clearing the way for the East-West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project to move forward.

    "This $40.9 million federal grant will provide Milwaukee residents increased access to jobs, healthcare, educational opportunities and other community services," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

    This Small Starts Grant Agreement (SSGA) is a significant milestone achievement in that it finalizes the federal government’s commitment to cover almost 80 percent of the $55.05-million project. Funding for the East-West BRT project is provided through FTA's Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program, which provides funding for major transit infrastructure projects nationwide.  For more information click here.


  • 16 Dec 2020 10:05 AM | JoEllen Graber (Administrator)

    WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced a $40.9 million grant award to Milwaukee County for the East West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The project will provide faster, more reliable transit service along the region’s busiest travel corridor from downtown Milwaukee to Marquette University and the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center.

    "This $40.9 million federal grant will provide Milwaukee residents increased access to jobs, healthcare, educational opportunities, and other community services," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

    The Milwaukee County project is a 9-mile BRT line from downtown Milwaukee to the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center, of which a four-mile segment will operate in exclusive bus lanes. The total cost of the project is $55.1 million with $40.9 million in funding provided through FTA’s Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program.

    "FTA is proud to join our partners in Wisconsin to improve public transportation in Milwaukee," said FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams. "The East West BRT project will provide fast and efficient service, improving mobility and travel times in this busy corridor."

    Williams added "This federal investment is an economic boost for Milwaukee County as the project will create jobs and help communities continue to recover from the COVID-19 public health emergency."

    Funding for the East West BRT project is provided through FTA's Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program, which provides funding for major transit infrastructure projects nationwide. Projects accepted into the program must go through a multi-year, multi-step process according to requirements in law to be eligible for consideration to receive program funds. 

    With this announcement, FTA has advanced funding for 40 new CIG projects throughout the nation under the Trump administration since January 20, 2017, totaling approximately $10.7 billion in funding commitments.

  • 10 Dec 2020 8:25 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    Dec. 8—EAU CLAIRE — Instead of regular city buses on a route that gets few riders on weeknights and Saturdays, a new study says Eau Claire could instead consider starting an on-demand public vehicle service. 

    Among the many recommendations contained in a 295-page Transit Development Plan presented Monday night to the Eau Claire City Council is the idea of using a smartphone app and smaller vehicles to replace a bus currently serving part of the north side.

    "The user experience would be a lot like Uber or Lyft," said Joseph Kapper, who served as project manager from consultant firm SRF on the transit study.  Read more:


  • 9 Dec 2020 10:01 AM | Ann Smith (Administrator)

    A new rapid bus service connecting downtown Milwaukee to the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center in Wauwatosa should be operating by October 2022.

    That's according to a report provided Wednesday to the County Board's Transportation, Public Works and Transit Committee.

    Construction on the new service, known as the East-West Bus Rapid Transit, is to begin in 2021, said Mike Zabel, a project manager at HNTB Corp., which is overseeing the project for the Milwaukee County Transit System.

    The $55 million project is being funded mainly with a $40.9 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration. The remaining funds are coming from Milwaukee County.  Read more


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