Public transportation: Dubuque’s hidden ‘Jule’

Could multimodal transportation help ease Loras’ parking issues?

The future of transportation in Dubuque is paving the way for holistic transportation reform in cities across the U.S. and modeling a smart philosophy for college campuses.

The recent development of the Transportation Services Department is the most recent step taken by the City of Dubuque to promote multimodal transportation options as the solution to parking, traffic and community needs.

The Dubuque City Manager recently approved the consolidation of the City of Dubuque Transit Division (The Jule) and the City of Dubuque Parking Division into the Transportation Services Department.

This move demonstrates an asset-based approach to coordinate multimodal transportation options for residents. Promotion of this same transit philosophy and existing City resources on campus might reveal a solution to overcrowded parking lots, dangerous winter driving and other transportation issues affecting Loras students.

Multimodal transportation is a developing term which focuses on expanding traffic and travel capacities through both traditional and alternative transportation methods. This includes investment not only in personal vehicles and roadways but also in public transit systems, ride-share programs and pedestrian/bicycle transportation. This diverse transit philosophy offers viable alternatives to personal car usage for college students and Dubuque residents.

Reducing the number of cars on campus may help ease many of the safety and space concerns routinely reported by students.

“Parking is a continuous conversation among student leaders and staff on campus,” said Student Union member Emily Ney. While Loras officials grasp for a solution to overcrowded and dangerous parking lots, the City of Dubuque’s “Park & Ride” program provides a model for finite parking in high-demand areas.

The Jule’s “Park & Ride” program encourages users to park in a free downtown parking lot and then catch the bus which shuttles passengers to downtown workplaces. Implementing a similar program on campus might encourage students to park in the lower Keane Parking Lot, depend on personal vehicles only for out-of-town trips, and freely use The Jule for everyday errands, work or social events.

Dean of Students Art Sunleaf recommends the use of multimodal transportation options.

“I highly encourage students to take advantage of car-free transit in the city. The Jule is a convenient and safe alternative to driving one’s own vehicle. It’s an easy and great way to get around Dubuque.”

The Jule is a public transit system highly geared towards multimodal activity that is a convenient and reliable resource for students. Loras students ride for free on The Jule with a valid student ID – day or night.

All Jule buses are equipped with accessible ramps or lifts and free-to-use bike racks so passengers can use both the bus and a bicycle to get to a destination. Loras students also have a high level of access to the bus as it provides frequent service Monday – Saturday to several stops on campus, including a safe and convenient stop directly across from Hoffman Hall.

Transportation Services Director Candace Eudaley-Loebach hopes to improve outreach to college students and continue Duhawk ridership increases on The Jule. Eudaley-Loebach is a strong proponent of multimodal transportation and encourages students to use college to experiment with car-free living.

“Going car-free is entirely feasible if people are making smart choices about where they live and work,” said Eudaley-Loebach. For Eudaley-Loebach, who has played a large role in moving the City’s transportation philosophy forward, sustainable and equitable alternative transportation is always a possibility with proper planning and decision-making.

Loras might find a role to play in that planning. Investing in bicycle storage facilities or pedestrian improvements on and around campus might be future considerations reflective of the City’s greater vision. Additionally, expanding partnerships with both public and private transportation providers might open up alternative transit opportunities to students and reduce the need for students to own cars on campus.

These and other investments in both existing and proposed transportation assets contribute to the City of Dubuque’s mission to be a viable, equitable, and sustainable community while also addressing ongoing on-campus traffic and parking concerns.
The future of transportation in Dubuque is moving forward, and Loras might be along for the ride.

 

Due to technological difficulties, articles from the Feb. 15 issue were posted late. The Lorian apologizes for the late update.

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