Good morning, readers.
There was plenty of media coverage of public transit over the past couple of weeks, in case you missed it over the holidays. Here’s a recap of two notable pieces:
First up, a year-end review by the Des Moines Business Record under the headline “Public transit creates a buzz.”
If Des Moines public transportation in 2010 were a movie, it could be a prequel. In some cases, the action has already happened, while in others, the storyline is set up to play out in the future. Consider:
• DART gained funding for a new, state-of-the-art transit hub, for which construction will start in 2011.
• A potential passenger rail line from Chicago to Iowa City received the necessary funding to get started, which Des Moines leaders celebrated as a major step toward getting service here.
• Public bicycles made their way downtown with a program expected to be expanded in 2011.
• Bus service from Des Moines to Chicago was more popular than the provider expected.
“There has been a lot of interest (in public transportation), I think a lot more interest – a lot more investment for sure – than maybe we’ve seen in the last four years,” said Dylan Mullenix, senior transportation planner for the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). “Hopefully that’s a sign of things to come.”
Second, The Des Moines Register reported on the increasing DART ridership in Clive, particularly on the Clive On Call.
The service was launched in June 2009, and recently saw a spike in usage with the installation of two new park-and-ride lots last summer along Hickman Road. In August, when the sites were established, the shuttle provided 288 rides. Last month, Clive On Call more than doubled that mark, recording 638 rides.
“The numbers indicate that there is a need in the western suburbs for transit service,” said Steve Brody, a Clive City Council representative and DART commissioner representing West Des Moines, Windsor Heights and Clive. “… it shows that people will value transit if they get an opportunity to use it.”