Metropolitan Planning Organization for the La Crosse, Wisconsin and La Crescent, Minnesota Area 

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Coulee Vision 2050 Home

Final Report (pdf)

Public Input and Focus Groups
Land Use Vision
Guiding Principles
Transit Recommendations

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 following:

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 Eastman.

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.



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La Crosse Area Planning Committee
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