Friends of Transit: Getting There Together Weekly

May 4, 2009

The Tipping the Balance Edition

Folks,

We’re now about twenty hours from the polls opening.

Last chance to send out the word–VOTE YES on the Silver Line Millage!

Please call, e-mail or visit your neighbors! The election will be put in the balance tomorrow and we need your help to weigh down the Silver Line side of the scales!

Speaking of balance, there was a balanced article in the Grand Rapids Press on Sunday about the election. However, their balance focused on the pros and cons of the Silver Line. They failed to mention that the Friends of Transit website lists over 400 hundred endorsing organizations and individuals compared to the one person’s name (yes, there’s only one person listed) on the so-called “opponent’s” website.

We know there are hundreds of people who have said they will support the Silver Line. We know that tens of thousands have received mailings and phone calls and e-mails educating them and encouraging a YES VOTE.

But we need your help in these final hours to do all you can to tip the balance in favor of the Silver Line! All of these efforts are for naught if we do not get the YES VOTE out tomorrow.

Of course, remember to vote tomorrow if you live in East Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids, Grandville, Kentwood, Walker or Wyoming!

All for today.

Dave

P.S. Almost last calls for these two:

(1) The Business Case for Employing Persons with Disabilities
West Michigan is presenting a creative approach for organizations who are seeking to improve productivity in these economic times. Three national companies (Walgreens, Fifth Third Bank, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center) will present keynotes on their business models and how they utilized creative employment to achieve productivity goals through the employment of persons with disabilities. Skot Welch, Global Bridgebuilders, will address the business case for the employment of persons with disabilities.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
8:30 am to 3:30 pm
3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Reception
Crossroads Banquets & Conference Center
(Next to the Holiday Inn Express)
6569 Clay Ave. SW,
Grand Rapids MI 49548

(2) MAYOR’S BIKE RIDE
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
John Ball Park – West Fulton, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
6:00pm – .8 mile family ride around the park
6:30 pm – 4.8 mile group ride downtown and back
· bike polo scrimmage by the WWMBA
· bike safety and maintenance presentations
· BMX racetrack representatives
· Rapid Wheelmen Bicycle club
· bicycle licensing and fire safety
For more information call 456-3168

The Final Four Edition

Folks,

No basketball hoop-la happening here–we are simply down to our final four days until the Silver Line election. Some might even call it May Madness!

So, suit up and get in to the action!

Friday’s task–did you send that e-mail yet to your family, friends and neighbors to ask them to VOTE YES on May 5th for the Silver Line? No better time than the present!

Saturday’s task–how about walking through a neighborhood and dropping off some literature to get folks to the polls voting YES for the Silver Line? Details are at the Friends of Transit website. We’re meeting at the Kent Ionia Labor Council Hall, 918 Benjamin NE (off of Fuller Ave) at 9:30 a.m. that morning. If you can’t walk with us, how about a stroll up and down your own street encouraging the YES vote for the Silver Line? The weather should be fine.

Sunday’s task–the blogosphere is calling. Seems that the few opponents to the Silver Line are jamming the message boards on the local media outlets. This Sunday, the GR Press will be running an article on the Silver Line and we need you to log in to www.mlive.com, find the article on the millage campaign and then post a message in favor of the Silver Line.

Monday’s task–this one’s easy. Just call a couple dozen of your family or friends to remind them to VOTE YES for the Silver Line!

Of course, Tuesday is saved for voting and then the celebration that evening of some very hard work.

All for today.

Dave

April 28, 2009

The Silver Line Express Special Edition

Folks,

One week to election day.

Have you e-mailed your family, friends and neighbors to ask them to VOTE YES on May 5th for the Silver Line?

This special edition of GTT Weekly is focussed only on this critical need–the Silver Line’s future needs you to send a very brief, “express” message to every one you know via any and all means available.

The express message:

Vote YES on May 5th for the Silver Line.

If you want to send along additional information, how about a link to the Silver Line commercial which shows the animated Silver Line in action.

Or, you could send along a link to the video of bus rapid transit in action in Cleveland.

At the risk of overloading your e-mail, there is always tons of info at the Silver Line website or the fact-packed Friends of Transit website.

Enough from me–please don’t delay in sending your VOTE YES e-mails!

All for today.

Dave

February 13, 2009

The One Small Step Edition

Folks,

Isn’t the 21st century just grand? Well, Wednesday, on behalf of moving public transportation forward in Kent County and West Michigan, I took one small step further into this century. I put aside my 19th century sensibilities and asked my thirteen-year-old daughter to help me sign up on Facebook.

Talk about making a young woman’s evening. “Really?” she asked with excitement. “Yes,” I said, apprehensive of the move into totally unknown territory. Before I could change my mind, she was instantly at the computer, signed on to Facebook and away we went! Next thing I knew, she had asked a few dozen people to “be my friend” and she was ready to start showing me other wonders of this new world. I had to put an end to that evening’s lessons. I can only time travel so much on a February evening.

And there it is. I’m on Facebook. I don’t know what this means for certain, but tomorrow will bring the next lessons from my daughter. I guess I can ask you to be my friend, too. (If I knew how to send you to the place in Facebook to accomplish this, I would. I hope that secret is in tomorrow’s lesson.)

If you’re already out on Facebook, you should head to a couple of fan sites that are there as well.

First, Friends of Transit has a Facebook page. View the Friends of Transit Facebook page.
Right now, there are only 6 friends linked to this page so sign up today if you’re on Facebook.

Second, the Silver Line has a Facebook page as well. The line itself is proving to be way more popular with 59 friends. Why not take a moment to link to this one as well?

If you are still back in the 20th centuries where I want to be, you can still get all the information you need from the Friends of Transit website. Slowly we are working to get this updated and I’ll be pointing out the milestones in that effort as they occur. For today, you should at least take your own small step and head to the endorsement form and sign on as an endorser of the Silver Line millage: . If you would like a less complicated version (i.e. non PDF file), I can send along a Word copy of this form. Just send a request this way.

As you’re thinking about the Silver Line and Bus Rapid Transit, in general, here are a couple more websites for your review. Both of these feature real live, Bus Rapid Transit lines operating not too far from here. The first takes us to the shore of Lake Erie and Cleveland’s Healthline. The second sends us just north of Lake Ontario and York’s viva system. Seems like a Great Lakes theme. Info on the system coming to a few cities near Lake Michigan at: http://www.ridetherapid.org/about/great-transit.

Finally, one last small step for today. Please mark your calendar for Tuesday, March 10, 12:00 to 12:50pm. This is the time for Friends of Transit’s non-profit and faith community training on the legalities of these types of organizations being involved in the millage campaign (it is legal) and a more in-depth presentation on the Silver Line will also occur that day. We’re still working to nail down the location; more on that in the coming week.

One small step into the 21st century. I fear where this journey may lead me.

All for today.

Dave
RapidYes.org

February 7, 2009

The Ice Fishing Edition

Folks,

Sorry for the delay in getting this edition to you on a Saturday. I’ve been off Thursday and Friday hanging out with about 60 third-graders and a handful of parents and teachers. We were on the annual camp overnight for this C.A. Frost class and, boy, did we have fun. You’ve got to love walking through the woods, sitting around a campfire and sliding down a snowy hill in a homemade cardboard, plastic and duct tape sled! And, yes, ice fishing! I will spare you my true feelings with you about ice fishing. Suffice it to say that sitting on a block of ice staring into a six inch hole hoping that a near frozen fish grabs a hold of your insect larva on a hook may not be in my top ten things to do on a February morning. But this day is not about me. It’s about the kids and their outdoor education.

Which brings me back to transit. You see, as we debriefed the ice fishing foray onto Little Bostwick Lake, Mr. Peterson, the awesome Environmental Lab teacher, spoke with excitement about the upcoming fifth grade excursion to Reeds Lake to try their luck at some ice fishing. My contribution to this conversation was that a couple ice fishing poles and a five-gallon pail was all a kid needed to get out to a day of ice fishing fun at Reeds Lake. They don’t even need their parents to drive. All they need is the know-how to grab a Route 6 bus. “That’s right,” another parent quickly chimed in, “They need to learn how to ride the city bus.” “Yes, the bus can get them there,” another added.

Can you see it now? Packs of third-graders roaming through Rapid Central Station carrying ice fishing gear in five gallon pails! Hours and hours of outdoor fun await out on Reeds Lake and it’s only the price of a bus ticket away! And, as the kids get older, they can move up to bigger fish and head to the Fourth Street Dam and try their luck while pursuing steelhead when they’re running. Route 7 or 11 will get you pretty close depending on what side of the river you want to wander into (http://www.ridetherapid.org/ride/routes). (Before you know it, there will be a kayak run on the Grand River downtown and then The Rapid will have to put kayak racks on the back of the buses!)

As for more direct transit news, nothing too exciting to report from Washington or Lansing. The governor did mention transit in her State of the State Address on Tuesday evening (full text at: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/gov/SOS2009_265915_7.pdf), but this was only a teaser for things to come: “Soon, I also will recommend long-term reforms to achieve affordable but stable funding for maintenance and repairs to our roads, bridges and transit systems.” In the U.S. Senate, the fight continues on the Stimulus Plan. We’ll see what the weekend brings. (Maybe the congressional leaders need to head out to an ice shanty and work this out.)

On the local scene, plans for the upcoming Friends of Transit campaign are starting to get into focus. I hope you’ve been doing your work to get ready for May 5. Remember:

(1) Mark your calendar for 8:00pm, May 5, “party to celebrate our hard work;”

(2) Read up on Bus Rapid Transit and what we’re planning to do in The Rapid service area (http://www.ridetherapid.org/about/great-transit) or see what’s been launched in Cleveland (http://www.rtahealthline.com/); and

(3) Book mark http://www.rapidyes.org/. This still is the “thank you” page from the last campaign, but you won’t want to be unprepared when the new, “Vote Yes for the Silver Line” page goes live!

So, grab your five gallon pail and enjoy the ice fishing while we have it. Soon enough spring will be here and we’ll all be too busy campaigning to enjoy any leisurely day of fishing until May 6. That’s good since trout season kicks off the last Saturday of April and then bass season at the end of May.

All for today.

Dave
RapidYes.org

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