What helps break the boredom of riding the bus from point A to point B? A poem of course! And what better way to share your talent with others in your community than to have one of your poems displayed on the bus! From modest origins less than a decade ago, and with the involvement of Edgewood College’s Graphic Design program, Metro Transit has teamed up with Madison’s Poet Laureate to sponsor a “Bilingual Bus Lines Poetry Contest.”1 Anyone of any age is invited to send short poems, haiku, prose poems, or excerpts of 3-5 lines from longer poems to the Bus Lines 2018 open call for poetry. Submissions can be made in English or Spanish. The theme this year is home: “What is that special thing (event, person, place) about Madison that makes you call it ‘home?’”
The Poet Laureate wades though the submissions and picks the top poems (30 poems were selected last year).
This story originally appeared in the Simpson Street Free Press. The story was written by Jacqueline Zuniga Paiz, an Assistant Editor at SSFP.
Every year, over 800 Wisconsin parents, youth, teachers, school faculty, and community members come together to attend Urban League’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Recognition Breakfast. Held at Edgewood High School this year, the annual event celebrates local students’ academic achievement, extracurricular participation, and commitment to community service. About 200 middle and high school students of color from Dane County receive Outstanding Young Person awards at the event, which is one of the state’s biggest youth and family-focused celebrations of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Simpson Street staff and students are proud to announce that three of our young reporters were among those who received awards at this year’s community celebration. from St.
One of the many examples of the disconnect between public transportation and land use in Madison that has been disenfranchising transit-dependent people for years is the impending relocation of the state’s Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) Service Centers on the west side. The new location will make it more accessible to car travel but less accessible to bus travel. One must go to a DMV Service Center to obtain the photo ID card now necessary for both voting in Wisconsin and receiving many federal services (i.e. a “Real ID,” passports can also be used at federal agencies, but are more expensive). Governmental and non-governmental organizations have for decades been relocating offices from oftentimes cramped quarters downtown to more spacious accommodations in car-centric and sprawly fringe areas of Madison. The Madison Area’s own Transportation Planning Board (MPO) moved its meetings from downtown to a location with limited transit access some years ago.
Madison’s leadership in the transportation of disabled people may be coming to an end. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires public transportation agencies to provide a complementary “paratransit” service for disabled people who cannot use mainline transit. However, more than a decade earlier, Madison adopted a special transportation program for elderly and handicapped people that provided service “over and above” the lower bar stipulated by the ADA. Madison is now looking to shed those “over and above” services. And while Metro will continue to contract rides out to other vendors, it will cease to operate its own in-house fleet of paratransit vehicles.
The reason for this column is the supposed lack of newsworthiness of transit issues in Madison. We say “supposed” because what journalism students are taught in a for-profit media market and what the situation might be in another context could be very different. Currently however, though public transit is an integral part of what makes Madison, Madison. It is usually just ignored or taken-for-granted, either way under-reported. The only times it may appear in mainstream media are when fares rise, an accident occurs or service gets cut, as most recently appears to be the fate of our beloved “above and beyond” paratransit service for disabled people. Such negative exposure conveys the notion that public transit is problematic rather than the treasure it really is. This was brought home recently when listening to a UW-Madison journalism student speak about transportation equity.
Even the best built roads have a lifetime, and many of Madison’s older streets have either been, or will soon be, reconstructed or resurfaced. The price tag? Millions of dollars, and not having that money to spend on such “quality of life” items as golf courses, skating rinks, playground equipment, sidewalks, extended library hours and more. Wide roads in particular are expensive and built as part of what Charles Marohn calls a “Ponzi Scheme;“ a short term illusion of wealth in exchange for enormous long term liabilities. Those roads are old enough now that we are beginning to finally see some of those “long term liabilities” while newer growth is still in the earlier “illusion” stage.
This story originally appeared in the Simpsons Street Free Press. It was written by Amanda Welch, an incoming eighth grade student at Sennett Middle School. Amanda has been with Simpson Street Free Press since elementary school with one of our other publications--Glendale Free Press. She has continued on her writing by joining Sennett Free Press. Besides having an interest in reading and writing, Amanda enjoys practicing the violin.