Route 12 Bus Party

2010-07-15

When: Saturday, July 24th, 11:10 am – 12:09 pm. The bus will leave at 11:20, so get there early to park if you’re driving down, ask questions, and get your $1.25 or bus pass ready.
Who: Everyone! Bring your friends and family of all ages. Children 4 and under are free, check out the transit site for other fare options.
Where: Corner of 12th Ave & 2nd St SE (transit transfer site). It is across from the African American Museum and it is part of the large parking lot, Lot 44. Meet inside the waiting area building.
After: Lunch! Walk, drive, or ride a bike or bus to a downtown restaurant.

We are finally completing our first round of CR Transit routes! It’s hard to believe that we’ve been doing this for over a year now, but Route 12 is the final route and will be taking us on a tour of the southwest side of Cedar Rapids. The biggest destination on this route is Westdale Mall and all of the services it currently houses. So come out and join us for the final CR Transit Bus Party (until they change the routes)!

Parking is available in Lot 44 at the SE corner of 8th Ave SE and 2nd St SE: here.

Disclaimer: Please check out general guidelines for riding the buses. You are responsible for your own actions. Also, I do not work for Cedar Rapids Transit or the city. I will gladly listen to your opinions and complaints, but they will be even more effective if you also share them with the transit department. See their main site for the latest contact information.

Route 12 Map

Tips and Tricks: Freedom Festival and Summer Fares

2010-06-21

Every year Cedar Rapids hosts the Freedom Festival, three weeks of festivities that lead up to the 4th of July. Many of the events require you to have a Freedom Festival button to attend, and the buttons are only $3. That $3 button also gets you free bus rides for the duration of the Freedom Festival. I didn’t get to this post right away, but there are still two weeks left of the festival, more than enough to make the $3 a steal!

Cedar Rapids sent out the following press release:

“CR Transit is offering free bus rides to anyone wearing an official 2010 Freedom Festival Button through July 4th.  CR Transit buses visit all Freedom Festival event locations, making attending daytime events easy and affordable for the entire family.  Anyone can find a bus that goes to their event by visiting the website at www.cedar-rapids.org and selecting the City Buses link at the bottom of every page.   Ride Route 10 to see the Zoo Man performance at the Cedar Rapids library on June 17th or hop on Route 7 to check out the 100 Adventure base at the Kirkwood Campus on June 18th.  CR Transit is working to help families enjoy all the City of Cedar Rapids has to offer this summer.”

I like that they’re promoting both the Freedom Festival events and the routes that can be taken to get there. Let’s see more of this!

The other deal is summer fares for students. Each summer CR Transit reduces the fare for students 18 and younger, presumably to encourage them to use transit to travel safely around the city. That makes their fare only $0.50, but only applies to cash (no discounted passes). This deal last from June 14th to August 21st this year, so get your students out exploring the community on the cheap, or better yet, getting them to a summer job to make some money!

More information can be found on CR Transit’s site.

Route 11 Bus Party Recap

2010-06-05

Today’s Bus Party had five riders for Route 11. We checked out the south side of Cedar Rapids and talked about the development projects going on in the area. Route 11 covers a lot of the industrial areas, as its main backbone is 6th St. SW. It is also the route that goes to the airport, Community College school campus, and the southern tip of Kirkwood. It wasn’t too busy this Saturday afternoon, but I bet it’s pretty well used during the work week.

Topics discussed were the potential purchasing of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, who the three bidders might be for the old public library, road construction projects, potential road closures, and what downtown might look and feel like as these projects finish.

Four of us traveled on to Sykora’s Bakery in Czech Village for some delicious sub sandwiches and then went our separate ways. My husband and I biked down to the bus party and then biked back after taking a bus closer to home. The weather cooperated for biking and made the ride nice and cool for a perfect car-less day.

Next month is Route 12 and the last of the CR Transit routes. See you then!

Transit Humor

2010-05-24

I follow several transit blogs from around the world and last week this humorous post went up on SEPTA Watch, a blog that covers rail in Philadelphia. I thoroughly enjoyed it because that is exactly what happens on CR Transit right about now each year, at least it feels like it to me. I’m almost always cold, so I tend to enjoy the hot Iowa summer, but dressing actually becomes more of a challenge come May when I go from the hot outdoors to the full-on AC in the bus and then varying temperatures at work. I do prefer the cooler temperature over a sweltering bus ride, but the bus temperature controls seem to only understand on and off. This goes for the heat in the winter too, but I can’t complain about being warm.

I hope this SEPTA Watch post makes you chuckle like I did or at least crack a smile!

Route 11 Bus Party

2010-05-23

When: Saturday, June 5th, 11:10 am – 12:06 pm. The bus will leave at 11:20, so get there early to park if you’re driving down, ask questions, and get your $1.25 or bus pass ready.
Who: Everyone! Bring your friends and family of all ages. Children 4 and under are free, check out the transit site for other fare options.
Where: Corner of 12th Ave & 2nd St SE (transit transfer site). It is across from the African American Museum and it is part of the large parking lot, Lot 44. Meet inside the waiting area building.
After: Lunch! Walk, drive, or ride a bike or bus to a downtown restaurant.

Take me to the airport! Route 11 serves south Cedar Rapids and has a stop at the airport as well as covering the College Community School campus. Other major areas along this route include 33rd Ave and 6th St. SW. This is the second to last route as we round up the first trip through CR Transit’s route line up and I hope you can join us for this ride after the first Downtown Farmers’ Market!

Parking is available in Lot 44 at the SE corner of 8th Ave SE and 2nd St SE: here.

Disclaimer: Please check out general guidelines for riding the buses. You are responsible for your own actions. Also, I do not work for Cedar Rapids Transit or the city. I will gladly listen to your opinions and complaints, but they will be even more effective if you also share them with the transit department. See their main site for the latest contact information.

Route 11 Map

Last Connections 2040 Open House

2010-05-21

Do you know what I haven’t done in a while? Gone to a city open house!

This coming Monday and Tuesday we’ll all get to do just that. It will be our last chance to weigh in on Connections 2040, the Corridor MPO’s long-range plan. And weighing in is more important than you think.

The Corridor MPO had our monthly meeting yesterday and we went over the draft for the long-range plan. The ~200 page thick draft has a lot of information in it, but the concern is not how long it might take one to read, but in how we will achieve our plan with the limited MPO funds that we control. We will of course be looking at creative ways to fill in funding gaps, but it is just as important to make sure the projects we choose are necessary and prioritized appropriately. This is where YOU come in to play. Let the Corridor MPO know which projects are important and which ones can wait or be removed. Share your opinion and vision for our metro area so that our money is flowing in the right directions. Also, make sure that the plan reflects how you want to see the area grow because transportation and development go hand in hand.

Two afternoon open houses will be held from 11:00 to 1:00 pm at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (350 1st Avenue NE in Cedar Rapids) on Monday, May 24th and Tuesday, May 25th. An evening open house will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 pm in the Hiawatha Community Center (101 Emmons Street in Hiawatha) on Monday, May 24th. They will be open house format and you are encouraged to come and go when you can. A brief presentation will be held twice during each open house, at 11:15 am and 12:15 pm during the afternoons, and at 4:45 and 5:45 pm during the evening.

The official press release can be found Corridor MPO_Press Release_May 20 2010, and for more information you can visit www.connections2040.com.

Free Bus Rides for Bicyclists

2010-05-12

Have you heard about the great bike-bus collaboration next week? May is National Bike Month and Cedar Rapids bicyclists and city staff have been busy preparing lots of activities to spread the word about biking. I love biking to work, but I’m definitely a fair weather rider, so with all of the recent rain we’re getting I was giddy to see that CR Transit is getting involved in Bike to Work Week!

You can read the full announcement here, but the summary is that they are providing FREE bus rides for anyone who uses the bike rack on the front of the bus. This perk is available during Bike to Work Week which is next week, May 17th – May 21st.

Ok great, but why am I so giddy? Well, being a fair weather rider means that I prefer to ride when it’s “nice”. In Iowa, it can be nice in the morning and turn ugly by the afternoon, so I understand why many people don’t choose bike transportation if they aren’t equipped for weather. I also work downtown and live on the north side. This is great riding downhill most of the way into work, but a bit more challenging uphill on the way home. A little lift for part of the climb can be welcome after a long day! And lastly, we’ve had to modify my morning bus stop drop-off routine due to the Council construction and I guess I just needed a carrot to finally give the bus bike racks a try.

As a last word of encouragement to take advantage of this opportunity, don’t be concerned about how to work the bike racks! The bus drivers are able to help if you need it and the announcement has good instructions. For those of us who learn better visually, you can watch a video with good, well paced instructions and demonstrations on using bus bike racks here. The rack is not exactly the same as what CR Transit buses have, but the setup is.

May is National Bike Month, but take it a step further and use two alternative modes of transportation with CR Transit!

Interested in more Bike Month information? Check out the Bike Iowa site and announce your participation by registering for Bike to Work Week.

Route 10 Bus Party Recap

2010-04-17

Eight Bus Party riders followed Route 10 today. The weather was gorgeous for a tour of the southwest side of Cedar Rapids and we again had one of the new Gillig buses for our journey. This ride rivaled our busiest route yet and neared standing room only several times. There were four new Bus Party riders, one had used CR Transit and wanted to expose her three nephews to a new transportation option for them!

After the trip we went our separate ways, but several went on to check out the New Bohemia Eco-Arts Festival just a few blocks away. It was a great day to be out and a lot of others were enjoying the festivities. Not a bad way to celebrate our one year anniversary of the first Bus Party!

See you next month for Route 11.

Route 10 Bus Party

2010-04-03

When: Saturday, April 17th, 11:10 am – 12:10 pm. The bus will leave at 11:20, so get there early to park if you’re driving down, ask questions, and get your $1.25 or bus pass ready.
Who: Everyone! Bring your friends and family of all ages. Children 4 and under are free, check out the transit site for other fare options.
Where: Corner of 12th Ave & 2nd St SE (transit transfer site). It is across from the African American Museum and it is part of the large parking lot, Lot 44. Meet inside the waiting area building.
After: Lunch! Walk, drive, or ride a bike or bus to a downtown restaurant.

I was quite familiar with Route 10 in 2008 since it was my second route to get to work while my company was in a temporary location. It covers a lot of commercial areas  along Edgewood and Westdale Mall. It also serves Jefferson High School, and is generally packed full once school releases. We’ll also ride through residential areas along 1st Ave. NW and around Jefferson.

Parking is available in Lot 44 at the SE corner of 8th Ave SE and 2nd St SE: here.

Disclaimer: Please check out general guidelines for riding the buses. You are responsible for your own actions. Also, I do not work for Cedar Rapids Transit or the city. I will gladly listen to your opinions and complaints, but they will be even more effective if you also share them with the transit department. See their main site for the latest contact information.

Route 10 Map

Next Step Improvements

2010-03-24

With all of the potential for changes in CR Transit flying around, I start thinking about priorities. A lot of organizations get stuck in strategy and try to push too many things forward at the same time, but this usually results in slow changes and makes tracking progress hard. Focusing on 1 to 3 things can bring about tangible changes for customers and clear items off of the to-do list.

Several hot topics have bubbled up through open houses, community discussions, and at Bus Parties, and I’d like to get feedback on which are considered the most important to tackle next.

So what do you, as a current or potential rider, think is the most important next step for CR Transit?


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