Spring is always good news – and there’s a lot to be hopeful about this spring in particular!
For transit, the best news is that the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) approved the New Links regional transit network redesign proposal! You read that right – it’s not even an April Fools’ Day joke!
Read on below for our full April month-in-review on all the good things happening:
Victory! New Links passed!
After a more than two-year process and hundreds of community conversations, the New Links regional transit network redesign is now official RTA policy! The RTA board unanimously approved moving forward with the redesign at the March RTA board meeting. By this time next year, riders should have a much better, more equitable, and more effective transit network to rely on! You and hundreds of other riders and advocates made this happen through your dedication and participation. If you’d like to let the RTA know how you feel, sign our thank you petition.
New Links: what’s next?
Changing a transit network takes a lot of time to prepare – so this won’t happen overnight. There will be a multiple months long implementation process, that includes additional community meetings before the changes are finalized, internal RTA staff training, infrastructure changes (like new bus stop signs), and lots of community outreach/education about the changes. Likely we won’t see the full network redesign implemented until early 2022. We’ll keep you posted on progress and will let you know how to get involved with the final round of community meetings when we learn more.
Closer to a true downtown transfer center
Last month, the RTA formerly chose the intersection of Basin and Canal as the location for a new downtown transfer center. This is the location the majority of riders we’ve spoken with over the last few years preferred, with easy transfers to Canal Street, space for an indoor facility, and relatively easy access for buses from both the West Bank and New Orleans East. While the RTA still needs to identify funding for the project before construction can start, we’re closer than we’ve ever been to this rider priority. And with the potential for a federal infrastructure funding bill (see below), this could move faster than some expect. RIDE has been pushing for this for seven long years so we’re especially happy to see this progress!
RTA recommits to better bus stops!
We have another win! Last year, riders like you pushed the RTA to budget for a round of new bus stop shelters to go in the ground in 2021. At March’s Operations Committee, we received confirmation that the process has started! The RTA will be formally identifying contractors to do the work in the next few months, and staff estimates the shelters will be in the ground late this year or early 2022. In the meantime, the RTA will be finalizing a formal criteria for how to prioritize which bus stops get shelters first. If you’d like to participate in this process, there will likely be several RTA Riders’ Advisory Committee (RAC) meetings in the coming months to discuss it. Here’s a link to the Riders Advisor Committee meeting schedule or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you’d like to be involved.
Give NOLA Day is on the way
It’s that time of year! May 4th, 2021 is Give NOLA Day. With the approval of New Links and so many other exciting changes, things are looking up for transit riders! RIDE helps to secure progress like that by working every day to make things better for transit riders. But we can’t do it without your help. Can we count on you to donate to RIDE this Give NOLA Day?
Federal help for transit – and more on the way?
President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) into law on March 11, meaning, among other things, an additional $30.5 billion in federal funding. Now President Biden has proposed a significant boost to federal investments in public transit funding to $85 billion, in recognition of the essential role it plays in local communities. The plan would double federal funding for transit. If you’d like to read up on the ARP funding, take a look at this Department of Transportation overview.
Join the Youth Transit Leadership Cohort (YTLC)!
Our YTLC is looking for people ages 16-24 who take transit and want to make New Orleans region transit service better. The YTLC will help young transit riders have a seat at the table with transit decision-makers and be a part of creating policy and winning tangible change! All members who participate will be awarded a stipend for their time! If or someone you know is interested please contact Autumn and Courtney at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org