Winning an Uphill Battle for Transit

Marie Cusick reports on a community driven effort to bring bus service to a challenged neighborhood in Albany, New York.
April 8, 2012, 11am PDT | jerinbrent
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Residents of Albany's South End neighborhood struggle with crime and poverty and, until recently, they struggled with the Morton Avenue hill. With the bus stop stationed at the bottom of the steep hill, many riders faced a daily hike. Willie White, who has spent most of his life on Morton Ave., came to appreciate the unique challenges created by the landscape and the transit system when he was injured in 2009. White observed a mobility disaster as seniors, attempting to top the hill with shopping carts, would have to give up mid-trek to rest, and wheelchairs ran out of batteries as they powered uphill.

With extra time on his hands as he recovered from his injury, White decided to take action. What started as a single community meeting lead to a grassroots organization, AVillage, a petition of 1,300 signatures, and a new bus line, Route 100. The new bus route carries passengers up the Morton Avenue hill and connects the transit depended neighborhood to jobs and health care. With the success of his transit advocacy effort, White has now turned his attention to other community building initiatives such as neighborhood gardens and voter registration.

Thanks to Jessica Brent

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Published on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 in NPR
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