Video: More transportation options needed

Good morning, readers.

This video landed in The Bus Blog’s inbox over the weekend and it’s definitely worth checking out. It emphasizes the need for a network of transportation options, not just one or two.

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Notes from the DART Forward 2035 public meetings

Good morning, readers.

Your editor has been utterly consumed in recent weeks with the planning, preparation and execution of the nine public meetings held across the metro last week about the DART Forward 2035 Recommendations. Now that they’re over, I hope to resume my regular posts to The Bus Blog.

A few notes from the public meetings:

  • We met with nearly 200 of you. Many were happy with the direction that the redesign of the transit system is taking. Others, not so much. DART is proposing big changes, and change is hard, especially on those who are affected most adversely. Our goal is for the new transit system to be a net gain, improving services for the most people possible.
  • These are draft recommendations. It is fair to say that the final Transit Services Plan will likely resemble the recommendations fairly closely. However, adjustments will mostly probably be made based on feedback from you, the loyal riders of DART. (Yes, we really are listening to your comments, emails and letters.)
  • Once finalized this fall, the Transit Services Plan would begin to be implemented in 2012.

If you haven’t already, spend a little time with the DART Forward 2035 Recommendations — click here to review them — and feel free to shoot me an email with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Gunnar Olson, DART Public Information Officer and The Bus Blog Editor

Big Day: Breaking Ground on Transit Facility, Unveiling New Name

Good morning, readers.

The big day is finally upon us: We’re breaking ground on the new transit facility in downtown Des Moines. Please join us.

11 a.m. Friday, May 20th

620 Cherry Street (South of Cherry Street between 6th Avenue and 7th Street)

We will be announcing the new name of the facility, which you so kindly helped pick out by offering suggestions and ranking finalists in a survey.

See you on the bus, and hope to see you on Friday.

Time to Ride: Cyclists ride the bus for free during Bike to Work Week

Grab your bike helmets and bus schedules. It’s time to ride.

Next week is Bike to Work Week, and to encourage people to ride the bus and their bikes, DART is offering free bus rides to cyclists Monday through Friday, May 16-20.

All you need to ride the bus for free is a working bicycle and a coupon. Coupons are at Bike Month events, at DART headquarters, and at local bike shops including:

Bike World, 6600 Douglas Avenue, Urbandale

Barr Bicycle, 1710 86th Street, Clive

Bike Country, 825 East First Street, Ankeny

Rasmussen Bike Shop, 301 Grand Avenue, West Des Moines

Using DART’s bike racks is easy, as those of you who’ve tried them already know (34,000 uses in the past year alone!). But for anyone who’d like to practice using them, you have a chance to try them out in a stress-free setting during Bike Month. Now through May 31, DART will have its new, full-sized bike rack displays at Bike Country in Ankeny and Rasmussen Bike Shop in West Des Moines for you to check out. You can also click here for online instructions.

Last but not least, please join us for the Two Wheel Caucus on Monday morning. DART staff, including Public Information Officer Gunnar Olson (@gunnarbolson) and Planner Stefanie Toftey (@BusStopDiva), will be meeting up with Congressman Leonard Boswell and others at the parking lot at 39th and Grand Avenue at 6:50 a.m., then riding our bikes to work downtown. Click here for other Bike Month news and events.

Happy riding!

DART Lends Trolley Artifacts to State Historical Museum

Dear Readers:

Your editor recently had the pleasure of digging through DART’s small stash of artifacts from the days of street trolleys, along with Michael Smith of the State Historical Museum of Iowa. The Museum is putting together an exhibit on trolleys, to open in June, and approached DART about borrowing a few things.

The exhibit will be worth checking out in person, especially for you transit junkies out there. Here’s a small teaser from DART’s stash:

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Please join the discussion: Future of Greater Des Moines transit is being decided now

Dear Readers,

Now is a great time to be a transit advocate in Greater Des Moines.

Starting next week, the public is being asked to help DART and a team of nationally recognized transit planning consultants develop a long-range regional transit plan called DART Forward 2035. When complete later this year, the plan will serve as a guide for the DART Commission on near- and long-term investments in public transit in Greater Des Moines over the next 25 years.

We hope you join the discussion. We will be holding four public meetings in the first week of April to gather public input. Basically, we’re asking what you think the transit system of the future should look like.

  • Des Moines Central Library, 1000 Grand Avenue
    • 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 5• 5:30 p.m.
    • Wednesday, April 6
  • Urbandale Public Library, 3520 86th Street
    • 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 5
  • Ankeny City Hall, 410 West First Street
    • 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7

In addition, we would encourage you to also fill out a survey: www.surveymonkey.com/s/DARTforward.

The information gathered from these meetings and the survey will be used to develop specific recommendations for updating DART’s transit system. Those recommendations will be complete by this summer, and a second round of public meetings will follow for the public to give feedback.

More information about the planning study is available online at www.ridedart.com/dart‐forward‐2035.cfm.

Bus Driver Appreciation Day

Good morning, readers.

Please join The Bus Blog in thanking your bus drivers this Friday, March 18th, which is Bus Driver Appreciation Day.

They’ve got their eyes on the road while we’ve got our heads in a book or plugged into ear buds. Without them, we wouldn’t have a public transit system.

Information on Bus Driver Appreciation Day is scarce, but it appears to have originated in Seattle, where the “Bus Chick” started it and the Seattle Transit Blog promoted it. According to the blog post:

Why March 18? Every transit nerd should know that the first bus service in the world started on March 18, 1662, in Paris.

Who’s your favorite driver?