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.
The Cedar Rapids Neighborhood Reinvestment Action Plans have been published on the Corridor Recovery website. This plan was developed by Sasaki Associates with a great deal of community input through the Neighborhood Planning Process during the first few months of 2009. It was approved by the City Council on May 13, to guide short and long term redevelopment in flood-affected neighborhoods. The final action plan includes a specific set of tasks to be completed that will compliment comprehensive goals.
Today I participated in the second of three community workshops for the Cedar Rapids Neighborhood Planning Process for the River Corridor Redevelopment Plan. The focus of today’s workshop was on transportation and connectivity, and land use in the redevelopment plan. Individuals from Sasaki Associates, the Boston design firm selected last year (pre-flood) to develop a riverfront redevelopment plan, were there to present different scenarios and facilitate discussion.
The first breakout session was to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of three scenarios presented on transportation, connectivity and open space. All scenarios were based off a tentative plan for a greenway / flood protection system. The second breakout session considered land use and locations to focus housing and business revitalization. My table was fairly diverse – one older man, a retired woman formerly a planning consultant, two women from Time Check, one of their daughters; and our table leader, a planner with the City Community Development Department.
Turn out looked pretty good, maybe 150-250, but I could be way off. I saw a lot of familiar faces from City Hall and in the business community. I thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and hearing what other citizens had to say about the schemes, as well as offer my own input. Despite being six hours long, it seemed to go by pretty quickly and was actually really pretty fun for me. I look forward to participating in the next meetings I’m able to make it, as I’ll be returning to Ames tomorrow for school.
The next meeting will be Tuesday, March 31, from 6pm – 9pm, at the Crowne Plaza, for scenario evaluation and determining a preferred scenario. The last of three workshops will be April 25. An action plan will be confirmed at a May 5 meeting and will be presented to the City Council on May 13. I encourage anyone and everyone from Cedar Rapids to get involved in this process.
Cedar Rapids’ neighboring city, Marion, is kicking off a community brainstorming initiative this week called Imagine8 to come up with eight ideas to focus on for the city’s future. This is similar to Cedar Rapids’ Fifteen in 5 plan that identified fifteen projects or issues for the future and progress that could be made within five years. An Imagine8 Marion Community Visioning Kick Off Breakfast will be held Thursday, January 15, at the Longbranch from 7:30 – 8:30am.