9/23/2011- Friday Update has been added at the bottom of this post with new information.
Mount Pleasant, SC, USA- East Cooper's effort to build a better CARTA transit system joins a global event on Saturday, September 24th when the East Cooper CARTA Riders will take transit information into Mount Pleasant's Old Village after a breakfast meeting, knocking on doors with the message that success for the new East Cooper Connector #401 Route means "the bus up to us."
Volunteers will enjoy a Dutch treat breakfast at Page’s Okra Grill at its new location at 302 Coleman Boulevard at 8 am, then move out about 9 am on foot, by bike and on the CARTA #401 East Cooper Connector Bus for a morning of transit awareness development and outreach focused on Coleman Blvd. and the walkable, transit accessible community and shopping district being redeveloped along Mount Pleasant’s Main Street and nearby areas. Most of the effort will be hanging bags with transit literature on door knobs and talking to people about the new routes.
Such efforts have already proven successful here, raising ridership on the #40 Trans Mount Pleasant bus route by 16%.
University School of the Lowcountry Students have already been at work in this effort earlier this month. This wonderful video gives you an idea of what we’ll be doing Saturday after breakfast.
This event marks the beginning of the last full week in the probationary evaluation period for the new route, which will be rated by the CARTA staff and board based on its performance for the period ending September 30, 2011. Based on ridership and farebox revenue figures to that date the bus may be continued, modified or terminated.
This is part of the Moving Planet Global event focused on reducing carbon emissions www.moving-planet.org with thousands of activities around the world that day. We’ll connect with that Global effort online during our activities here in Mount Pleasant.
Friday Update to this Post
Rhonda Weichsel facilitated a very productive survey of the Old Village / Coleman Blvd. area this morning in preparation for tomorrow’s door to door transit outreach canvass with community volunteers and students from the University School of the Lowcountry.
Rhonda’s detailed knowledge of her neighborhood showed me areas which would need transit information I didn’t know existed. We highlighted a map which will be refined today for handing out to the volunteers during the breakfast at Page’s Okra Grill. Our target is 600 residences and an information table at Royall Hardware. We expect to reach over 1000 potential transit riders.
I’ll lead the Old Village area door to door effort. Linda Page will lead the effort along Whipple Road, which will start with the Anchorage Apartments. Thomasina Stokes Marshall, also of the CARTA board and Mt. Pleasant Town Council will also be working with us.
We also visited Mt. Pleasant Academy, Sullivan’s Island Elementary (currently at the old Whitesides Campus on the #401 Route) and Stella Marris Schools where we began the process of involving them in our
effort this morning.
Tri County Link is joining our effort for the first time tomorrow. They run the bus services in rural areas, including the route which connects McClellenville & Awendaw to Mount Pleasant. They’re bringing their costumed Mascot to assist us Saturday. One of their vehicles will be visiting the University School to drop off printed materials today.
Everyone planning to work tomorrow should wear good walking shoes, bring a reusable bottle of water and an empty backpack if they have
one. We’l go rain or shine, so dress appropriately.
It was clear from this morning’s survey that there is a lot of need for transit here. We saw people waiting for the #401 East Cooper Connector in several places. Frankly I saw mobile home parks and low income areas likely to need transit that I, a 20 year resident of Mount Pleasant, didn’t know existed. If we can connect that need to the resources CARTA has operating, we can keep these routes and build this transit system beyond the 2000 additional riders per month we’ve already put on the buses.
The University School of the Lowcountry is stuffing 600 bags with transit material today and for the first time, we’ll be including material from Trident Links as well as CARTA. The students have also been making posters. Our
efforts would be impossible without the help of our school volunteers, including the massive Wando effort last Spring.
Tomorrow our effort will be one of thousands in 176 countries which are part of the Moving Planet event. We’ll be sending out images and video of our efforts here to that global effort. Your efforts Saturday open a weekend of working for a more sustainable, greener world that continues on Sunday with the Charleston Green Fair, at which CARTA and Trident Links will both operate information booths.
Our East Cooper effort will continue with a promotion to ride CARTA downtown for the Second Sunday on King Street event in October, a
major student lead outreach effort at the Mount Pleasant Children’s Festival, support of the restart of CARTA at Night in our area and Black Friday on the Bus, the day after Thanksgiving. We’re in contact with transit activists in N. Charleston and James Island who are beginning work similar to ours at East Cooper CARTA Riders.
It has been a long, hot summer but now that the community is back together and schools, churches and other organizations are active again, the network we began last Spring is working. Thanks for helping us begin the journey we take together for public transit East of the Cooper.