CARTA’s network of bus shelters, now with solar-powered lighting, is growing fast

May 26, 2019. The Post and Courier.

One of the worst things about using the Charleston area’s bus system — waiting at a bus stop with no shelter, exposed to the elements — is getting a lot better.

The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority is in the midst of a bus-shelter-construction boom, with the near-term goal of having shelters at 20 percent of CARTA’s bus stops. That would be 171 stops with shelters, 44 of which are expected to be installed this year.

In addition, the new perforated steel shelters and the existing shelters are lighted, using solar panels on the shelter roofs. Daniel Brock, a spokesman for the authority, said the solar systems already installed have been working well.

Interfaith group pushes Fayette to address higher rates of suspensions for black students

May 24, 2019. Lexington Herald-Leader.

A “high number of suspensions and racial disparities” in Fayette County Public Schools is motivating Belinda Snead to implore school board members to make changes.

Snead said that she is not only speaking as a member of an interfaith organization but as a grandmother of students in Fayette County schools who have been suspended.

“I’m very concerned about the high number of suspensions and racial disparities,” Snead told school board members at their May 20 meeting. “My grandchildren have been suspended three times as have other families represented by the BUILD organization and we know that kids do better when they stay in school.

CARTA will eliminate transfer fees, expand senior fares in response to CAJM plan

May 15, 2019. Charleston City Paper.

A week after a social justice group called for improvements in the area’s public transit system, the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority announced fares that are friendlier to low-income and older riders.

The system will expand its $1-a-ride senior fares to all operating hours. Currently, the discount is only available between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., a restriction that advocates say prevents older, low-income users from riding during peak hours.

Transfer fees, which cost 50 cents each, will be eliminated. In addition, $15 unlimited weekly passes and $25 weekly unlimited express passes will be introduced.

CARTA’s board of directors voted to revise its policies at a meeting on Wednesday, according to a press release. The changes will come up for approval on July 15.

The changes come after the Charleston Area Justice Ministry, an advocacy group made up of 30 interfaith congregations, held its annual Nehemiah Action rally at Mount Moriah Baptist Church in North Charleston on May 6.

Commissioners lose patience with affordable-housing advocates’ tactics

May 14, 2019. The Columbus Dispatch.

Partway into the Rev. Charles Leister’s recitation on the parable of the wheat and the tares, the Franklin County commissioners had had enough.

Leister, senior pastor of the New Beginning Christian Center, spoke during the commissioners meeting Tuesday as co-president of the interfaith group BREAD, which stands for “Building Responsibility, Equality and Dignity.” For months, members have appeared regularly before the commissioners and the Columbus City Council to urge more funding for affordable housing.

On Tuesday, Leister used his three minutes of public comment time to voice his disappointment that the commissioners did not attend a recent BREAD event.

Nine Charleston-area officials vow to help better transportation and housing at smooth-sailing CAJM rally

May 7, 2019. Charleston City Paper.

As 1,800 people greeted their friends and took their seats, there was no question what inspired them to attend a two-hour rally about local issues on a Monday night.

“The driving force of the Charleston Area Justice Ministry is not the causes we pursue, but the call we discern from God our creator,” said Rev. Brian Henderson of St. James Presbyterian Church, one of the 30 congregations that make up the Ministry, at the group’s annual Nehemiah Action.

Held at Mount Moriah Baptist Church in North Charleston, the rally sought to convince public officials to commit to demands inspired by the Ministry’s research on local transit and affordable housing.