The COVID-19 emergency is very real, scary, and dangerous for our community. RIDE is committed to keeping you informed of what’s happening to transit during this emergency and advocating to maintain service and to create the climate for a fast recovery.
But in addition to this daily watchdogging, RIDE is also dedicated to winning policies that will make transit comprehensively better moving forward. We think that it’s important to not lose sight of that during an emergency like COVID-19. The problems with our regional transit system will still be there after this emergency – they may be even more pronounced. Even with an uncertain present, we still must forge ahead with policies that can make transit comprehensively better in the years to come.
That’s especially with the critical New Links regional transit network redesign process. Our regional transit system has many problems that require a range of solutions. But we believe that a network redesign is the only comprehensive way that the majority of riders will be able to see transformative and tangible improvements in the next several years.
What this means is that during the COVID-19 emergency RIDE will keep the conversation about the New Links regional transit network redesign process going, even as we also keep you informed about the immediate situation.
New Links entered a critical phase in February when the New Links team released three different concepts of redesign regional networks and asked the public to weigh in. That public input will drive the final proposal. When the COVID-19 emergency hit, the New Links team -with RIDE’s support – was in the middle of a month of intense outreach to busy transit stops and standing community meetings to ensure widespread public engagement.
Over at least the next month, RIDE wants to see that momentum continue. We want to make sure as many people as possible are aware of New Links and can meaningfully participate and let the New Links team know what they like and don’t like about each of the New Links concepts. With social distancing policies in effect, we’ll obviously have to do that remotely. While it’s not ideal, we still think that we can reach a lot of people and make the very best of a not-ideal situation.
We’ll be hosting a number of digital town halls that will further explain the New Links process plus the three concepts and how ideas in each might affect different neighborhoods. We’ll also be producing and posting a number of short videos and other informational items that can help break down New Links and different concepts of a network redesign. And we’ll be reaching out individually to riders and transit supporters within our wide networks to talk directly about New Links, answer questions, and encourage people to ask questions and get involved.
You can help in several ways.
Please participate in our digital town halls as we announce them. Spread the word to as many people within your networks and social circles as possible. Let us know if there are particular groups that we should reach out to directly about New Links. And if you haven’t already, please take the New Link survey to voice your opinions on the New Links concepts – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NewLinksNOLA
We’ll be in touch soon with a schedule for the digital town halls and other items. In the meantime, please let us know if you have any questions or particular areas that you’d like to see us focus on.
Thank you for everything that you do for better NOLA transit and please stay healthy and safe.