Coulee Vision 2050 Transit Recommendations
Coulee Vision 2050 envisions the implementation of
land use and transportation policies that will focus growth as infill
development both through targeting development and adopting policies to
restrict and prevent sprawl. In order to support infill development the
regionís transit system will need to be enhanced to accommodate the
increased demand while improving the quality of life for the residences of
the La Crosse/La Crescent area. This could be accomplished through the
Strengthen Existing Service
La Crosse Municipal Transit Utility (MTU) currently provides fixed-route
transit service in the Cities of La Crosse, Onalaska and La Crescent and the
Town of Campbell. MTU operates eight fixed routes and two flex routes within
the service area. MTU contracts with First Transit to provide MTU Mobility
Plus, a paratransit service for individuals unable to use fixed-route buses.
In addition to MTU service, Onalaska/Holmen/West Salem Public Transit (OHWSPT)
provides a demand-response, door-to-door public transportation system
serving the citizens of the City of Onalaska and the Villages of Holmen and
West Salem. In 2009, the La Crosse County Aging Unit contracted with
Running, Inc. to expand the OHWSPT service to any resident in the Town of
Holland and the Villages of Bangor and Rockland.
Beginning in 2012, Scenic Mississippi Regional Transit (S.M.R.T.) provides
regional bus service between La Crosse, Genoa, Stoddard, Coon Valley, Westby
and Viroqua, where passengers can transfer to buses traveling to Prairie du
Chien via Readstown, Soldiers Grove, Gays Mills, Mt. Sterling, Seneca, and
Coulee Vision 2050 does not analyze or recommend modifying the route
structure for any of the existing transit services, other than to adjust
frequencies to better match future demand.
Expand Transit Service
Coulee Vision 2050 focuses on building on the existing transit service with
the addition of four new routes that would extend the regionís fixed-route
service area to include the Town of Shelby and the Villages of West Salem
and Holmen, and expanded service within the City of Onalaska. These routes
will provide new transit connections between La Crosse and the expanded
service area by connecting existing employment, educational institutions,
medical institutions and retail centers with their employees, students,
patients and customers.
Enhanced Bus Service
In addition to expanding transit service, the La Crosse/La Crescent region
should explore opportunities to improve transit and accessibility within the
core urban areas. This would likely include considering the implementation
of features commonly associated with bus rapid transit (BRT) or
corridor-based bus improvements. These features would focus on improving the
transit service in two ways: faster service and improved rider experience.
Faster service can be implemented through a number of improvements including
transit signal priority, queue jumps, bus-only shoulders, dedicated transit
lanes, improved frequency, and off-board fare collection. Improved rider
experience can be achieved through improvements such as stop amenities,
heated shelters, real-time information, improved pedestrian environment near
stop locations and route/vehicle branding. These improvements enhance the
overall travel experience which could attract additional riders.
Regional Approach to Transit
The La Crosse/La Crescent area should explore pursuing a regional approach
to providing and funding transit service. Within the La Crosse/La Crescent
region there are currently four public entities providing transit service,
each of which is funded separately (MTU, OHWSPT, La Crosse County Aging
Unit, and S.M.R.T.). This distributed model is a result of a piecemeal
approach to transit, wherein local communities and stakeholders have
created, funded, and maintained their own transit solutions to their own
needs. As the region has grown more interdependent, this model is no longer
meeting the needs of residents and businesses. The region should consider
consolidating the administration and funding of transit service under a
single organization to improve efficiencies and reduce disparities in
service within the region.
Please see this
Map of Proposed Transit Service Expansion.
Please follow the links on the left to see
more details on the results of the Coulee Vision 2050 process.