October 27, 2009

County's transit plan is coming together

About 50 people showed up Tuesday night at the first of three sessions this week at which the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission introduced the first five chapters of its Racine County Transit Plan. About 15 stayed long enough to hear a short present ion by SEWRPC senior planner Sonia Dubielzig and ask a few questions.

The meeting was held in Racine's Metro Transit Center, with buses loading and unloading on one side, and -- perfect timing -- a train passing by on the other. Perfect because it illustrated the mix of commuting choices that local transit proponents desperately want; somewhat less than perfect in that nobody could hear anything but train noises as it passed by.

The beautifully restored railroad waiting room -- it never fails to impress -- was lined with information posters from the transit plan's draft, showing things like current bus routes and their daily usage, the upward arc of bus passengers (until 1981) and the downward arc since then (higher fares, general economic issues), and the direction of almost 500,000 "commuting" trips per day made by Racine County residents -- mostly by car.

The information came from the preliminary draft of the first five chapters, all of which are online in individual .pdf files:
The multi-agency workgroup responsible for the study hopes to evaluate bus and other existing transit systems, identify unmet transit needs and -- most important -- "recommend actions to coordinate existing transportation services or initiate needed new transit services." That their work is cut out for them was illustrated earlier this week, when the Caledonia Village Board voted to cut its already meager $33,000 annual payment to the Belle Urban System in favor of using the money for local parks. How Caledonia residents who depend upon the bus to get to work -- or even to the park -- are supposed to do so in the future is anyone's guess.

Fill in your own blanks. Public comments are encouraged -- either at the meetings, or online.

Another public meeting is scheduled today and next week:
  • Wednesday, Oct. 28, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Burlington Town Hall, 32288 Bushnell Road.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 4, 5 - 7 p.m., Ives Grove Office Complex Auditorium, 14200 Washington Ave., Sturtevant.
Click here for more details and to submit comments online.
Click here to see Racine County 5-Year Transit Plan Newsletter

For more information contact Transit NOW at 262-246-6151.


  1. Once again an editorial disguised as news.

  2. And who are you, Jack Webb? "Just the facts, mam!"
    I felt there was more information in this article than in anything the other media put out.

  3. 50 people, with 15 staying? Yes, I can see just how DESPERATELY we need this.

  4. If the powers-that-be want to really do something RIGHT for this county, expand the existing bus system to cover the entire county. Make it possible to get from Elmwood Park to Wind Lake, from Burlington to Crest View, from Racine to Waterford, etc., and do it with buses that burn clean LP gas (it’s cheaper than gasoline or diesel and emits almost no fumes as it burns 99% clean). Put the money where it's really needed and service the entire county. Kill the KRM nonsense; a single straight-line train isn't going to cover 1/100TH of the area the buses will and will cost two to three times more to subsidize.

    The buses will truly stimulate the county economy. Example: a friend of mine could have had a job out near Hwy. 11 and I-94, but he couldn't get there because the bus goes no further than Wal-Mart. If the entire county had bus access to Racine, it could be a shot in the arm for the city, but all the KRM is going to do is take people out of Racine to spend their money in Milwaukee and Chicago. It isn't going to create any jobs in Racine and nothing is going to build up along noisy railroad tracks.

    Also, go to smaller 20 – 30 passenger buses that burn less fuel. There is no need for huge 66 passenger buses to transport only a dozen people. Think of all the new drivers it will put to work, not to mention maintenance personnel. Sell monthly passes that are good county wide for a reasonable price and advertise and encourage the population to use it. Do that and you would have my support for adding a-half-a-cent to the existing sales tax.

  5. 7:12

    Transit Now is not paying you enough, ask for a raise

  6. I'm 7:12. I'm opposed to krm in it's present form, I agree totally with Graham, and I was just stating that for someone looking for information, whether for or against regional transit, this article had a lot of links to it.

  7. It's unreal how some are so uninformed of what an RTA and tax that would go with it, would do for our 3 county area. How do you educate them? You don't. Tunnel vision is UNFORTUNATELY instilled.
    It's no with no know. Could they pass a quiz of what it's all about? I hope it's not just being selfishly cheap without knowing what an RTA could do for all of us. And that's whether you ride this alternative transportation or not.