MDN: Matching Donations Available for Transportation Projects

MDN: Matching Donations Available for Transportation Projects

Two Memphis-based transportation projects have been selected in a nationwide search to qualify for a $100,000 donation match through the TransitCenter.

The projects take a fresh look at how public transportation is funded and motivated by the community’s needs.

Organizer Susannah Barton is raising $5,000 to empower the Overton Park Conservancy to install four high-visibility crosswalks at Tucker Street and Poplar Avenue, a key entrance to the park.

In the second project, Livable Memphis and advertising and consulting firm DCA have combined efforts in their design for enhanced, bike friendly bus stops. The “Ride, Rally, Ride” project seeks $12,000 to install bike racks, bike work stations and bus schedule signs at bus stops across the city.

The two Memphis projects were chosen nationally to compete with eight other projects as part of online crowdfunding platform ioby’s Trick out my Trip campaign. New York-based nonprofit TransitCenter is matching every dollar given to the top 10 projects until Aug. 5.

“Knowing that MATA (Memphis Area Transit Authority) has limited capacity, we’re trying to see what we can do and put into our own hands,” said Essence Jackson, a project manager with Livable Memphis who is dependent on the city’s bus system.

Her portion of the Ride, Rally, Ride project includes raising funds to install permanent panels at key bus stops. The panels would display printed maps of time points for those buses.

Currently, the only way to get a MATA schedule is to visit a transit center or use the recently launched TransLoc app.

“If you don’t know the bus system, you don’t know which bus comes to that stop,” Jackson said. “I thought we should make things easier for people because there are a lot of people who do not know about or do not understand the TransLoc app.”

In May, MATA authorized its most significant route overhaul in years with 16 bus routes effected. Jackson said the changes underline the need for permanent bus route maps at heavily used transfer points.

MATA already has about 200 panels and associated equipment, but it lacks a robust maintenance team to install them. Jackson is seeking $2,000 to host a volunteer event where 50 people would travel around Memphis’ key points putting up the panels. She expects that the group could install between 75 and 100 panels.

Sarah Studdard, project manager with DCA, is responsible for the other half of the project. She hopes to enhance bike accessibility at a bus stop on South Main, at one near the Harahan Bridge, and at the Cossitt Public Library at 33 S. Front St. At the three Downtown bus stops, Studdard would place bike racks and bike work stations complete with basic tools and an air pump.

“There are a lot of folks that access Cossitt by riding the bus and taking their bike there, so we want to create an environment around it that has nice shade and is comfortable and also has bike racks, which don’t currently exist and would be a huge asset for Cossitt and Downtown,” Studdard said.

She said the project dovetails with the Mid-South Regional Greenprint and Sustainability Plan because it promotes shared mobility across different types of transportation. With the larger Greenprint plan in mind, a combination bike and bus station would allow Memphians to travel greater distances with ease and decrease reliance on cars.

More information and donation options for the projects can be found at ioby.org/campaign/trick-out-my-trip-2016. The campaign ends on Aug. 6.

MDN: Matching Donations Available for Transportation Projects

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