Fellow Cedar Rapids Transit advocate, Samantha Dahlby wrote on her Bus Party blog about her appreciation for the friendly and helpful bus drivers. I would agree that an overwhelming majority of CR Transit drivers are friendly, but with both a driver’s and passenger’s perspective, I often find myself either critiquing drivers or considering ways to improve my own passenger relations.
At CyRide, providing value-added service to customers is number three of four core principles, just behind 1. safety, and 2. waving to other drivers. : ) I delight in providing friendly service to passengers and honestly consider it one the perks of my job. As a university student, interacting with so many different members of the community while driving a bus has really given me a sense of connection with the Ames community that a majority of students may not experience.
Samantha is a member of the Corridor Metro Planning Organization and organizes monthly “bus parties” to encourage those unfamiliar with the Cedar Rapids transit system to try it out. Increasing awareness is an important step among many to start improving transit in Cedar Rapids, which is currently lacking for a city of its size. Check out the Bus Party blog for more information and to read some commentary and ideas from another local transit advocate.
This is probably also a good time to once again plug the Corridor MPO’s CR Transit survey. Feedback will assist the consultants currently studying short term transit improvements and changes. The first of three open houses for the study will be held this Tuesday, Sept. 22, from 6pm – 7:30, at the Crowne Plaza Ballroom. Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend, but look forward to seeing what changes the consultants propose.
The City of Cedar Rapids held the first of three public open houses today at the Crowne Plaza, presenting information on future of city facilities and parks and recreation resources. I attended today’s open house and submitted my feedback. Comment cards with specific questions were provided to help guide the decision making on flooded city buildings. Three options have been presented: 1. to return to flood-affected buildings restored to their pre-flood conditions, 2. to return to flood-affected buildings with improvements and/or expansion, or 3. relocate functions to a new facility or facilities possibly shared with the county or school district.
I believe a combination of options two and three are most appropriate. Since the county has already decided to return to it’s pre-flood administration building, it doesn’t seem to make sense to still attempt a co-location for administration. I believe it’d be best to return City Hall to Veterans Memorial Building, which I have argued previously. However, some city buildings obviously need to be replaced and would actually serve the community better in a new facility.
For those unable to attend the open house today, the city will be setting up a website so citizens can submit feedback online. The next open house will be August 18, and the preferred options will be presented at the final open house on October 6.
Additionally the Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization will hold an open house this week to present their funding decision for metro area transportation projects in 2013. This will be held Friday, June 26, at the Hiawatha Community Center from 5:30 – 7pm.
Also… see update to “Planning for Better Transit” post below regarding CR Transit system analysis.
KCRG ran a story yesterday about possible route and service changes coming to Cedar Rapids Transit to make the system more convenient and efficient for citizens to use. Prompted by feedback from the Neighborhood Planning Process, the Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization intends to study alternative route structures this summer, such as using Lindale and Westdale malls as hubs. The current “spoke and wheel” system, in which all routes originate from downtown, only works well if you are heading to or away from downtown. Another issue is frequency of service and limited hours of operation.
* UPDATE (6/23) *
The Corridor MPO has put out an RFP for a fixed route analysis of the Cedar Rapids Transit system. A consulting firm is to be selected by July 17, with the study completed by November of this year. The selected firm is expected to hold three open houses for the public and interested parties to provide input.