Community Transportation Academy

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1000 Friends is excited to introduce a new program, the Community Transportation Academy!

The Community Transportation Academy is designed to help bridge the gap between community advocates and transportation planning entities. Over ten weeks, participants will learn about the fundamentals of transportation planning, hear from guest speakers with local and national expertise, and have the opportunity to propose a solution to a local transportation problem. Community members will come away from the Academy with skills and knowledge to advocate for safe and accessible transportation networks that work for everyone. The first Community Transportation Academy will be held in La Crosse, Wisconsin, in Winter/Spring 2023, taught by Community Programs Director Susan Gaeddert.


Applications are now closed. If you have any questions about the Academy, contact the Community Programs Directorat

Class Schedule

February 15, 2023 – in person
Introductions. Get to know the course, syllabus, and other participants. Dr. Kirk E. Harris, Professor of Urban Planning at UW Milwaukee, will discuss the history and modern implications of racial segregation, post-WWII transportation planning, and urban renewal.

February 22, 2023 – virtual
Local and Regional Transportation Plans and Processes. Jackie Eastwood and Peter Fletcher work for La Crosse Area Planning Commission (LAPC) and will discuss the roles and responsibilities of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) in local and regional transportation planning.

March 1, 2023 – virtual
Vision Zero, Safe Streets, and Dangerous by Design. Beth Osborne, Director of Transportation for America, will discuss the Dangerous by Design 2022 report, which includes data about traffic fatalities, street design and the inequitable distribution of pedestrian deaths and injuries.

March 8, 2023 – virtual
Livable Communities. Darrin Wasniewski of AARP Wisconsin will discuss the definition of livable communities and how transportation factors into making a community welcoming and accessible for people of all ages and abilities. Dr. Gargi Chadhuri, Professor of Geography at UW La Crosse, will present research she has led with students to map transportation patterns and assess challenges in La Crosse and Onalaska.

March 15, 2023 – spring recess, no class.

March 22, 2023 – in person
Transit Planning in Small Cities. Adam Lorentz, Director of La Crosse MTU, will discuss public transit planning and logistics and lead a tour of the bus facilities in La Crosse.

March 29, 2023 – virtual
Climate Change and Transportation. Gregg May, Transportation Policy Director at 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, and Lewis Kuhlman, Planner for the City of La Crosse, will discuss how transportation impacts climate change and how local governments can address climate change through local climate action plans.

April 5, 2023 – virtual
Complete Streets. First will be an overview of complete streets, including the history of complete streets policy in Wisconsin and in the City of La Crosse. Next will be a presentation from UW Madison professors Carey McAndrews and Lori DiPrete Brown, who will discuss gender equity and the role of caregiving in complete streets and transportation planning.

April 12, 2023 – virtual
Local advocacy. Speakers TBA.

April 19, 2023 – in person
Class field trip. We will take a local tour and conduct a walk/roll audit as a class. Exact location TBA.

April 26, 2023 – in person
Project presentations and wrap-up celebration!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the Community Transportation Academy?

The Community Transportation Academy in La Crosse is a ten-week, once-per-week course open to La Crosse area community members with the possibility of enrolled college students completing the course for credit.* The course is free of charge for participants. The Academy helps bridge the gap between community advocates and transportation planning entities, and provides community members with skills and knowledge to advocate for safe and accessible transportation networks that work for everyone.

*UWL students who are interested in participating have the option of earning Environmental Studies credit for their work (1 credit of ENV 499 – Independent Study in Environmental Studies, graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis). Students will be responsible for paying tuition for this credit. Interested students should email the ENV Program Director, Kelly Sultzbach ( She can let you know if any spots are still available, and help you get registered if there are.

Who is the Community Transportation Academy for?

The Community Transportation Academy is for anyone in the La Crosse area who is dedicated to learning about transportation planning, implementation, and solving local transportation issues to improve health, equity, sustainability, and accessibility. There is no requirement for previous knowledge or experience, just a desire to learn and be engaged throughout the course. City staff, elected officials, local advocates, university students, and interested community members are all encouraged to apply. We want a diverse, multi-generational cross-section of the community represented.

When does the class meet?

The class meets on Wednesdays from 4-6pm for ten weeks in winter/spring 2023, starting February 15 and concluding April 26. There is no class on March 15 (UW spring recess).

Is the class in-person or virtual?

Both! Four in-person sessions will take place at UW La Crosse (exact location TBA) on February 15, March 22, April 19, and April 26, 2023. Six virtual sessions will be held February 22, March 1, March 8, March 29, April 5, and April 12, 2023. There will be no class on March 15.

Virtual class sessions will meet on Zoom. Class materials and forum discussions will be on Canvas, the online learning management system used by UW.

Is there homework?

Yes, but don’t let that scare you off! The instructor has compiled an interesting and engaging set of materials, including readings, audio files, and videos, to supplement what you learn from guest speakers. A final project, in which participants describe a local transportation problem and propose one or more solutions to the problem using tools and knowledge they have acquired during the course, is optional* but highly encouraged.

*UW La Crosse students taking the course for credit are required to complete a final project.

Two hours is a long time for a class. What is the format?

Virtual class sessions will include an introduction of the day’s topic from the course instructor, a guest speaker who is an expert on the subject area with an opportunity for questions from the class. We have an exciting line-up of guest speakers with local, statewide, and national profiles and expertise! There will also be plenty of time for participants to dive deep into discussion of weekly topics and supplementary materials and check in on individual projects and advocacy questions as needed.

In-person sessions will be a little different. The first in-person session will be an introduction to the course and an opportunity for the instructor and participants to meet before hearing from the first guest speaker. Two sessions include tours of local transportation systems. The final class session will be project presentations and a celebration to wrap up the course.

How much does it cost?

Thanks to the generosity of our funders, we are able to offer the Community Transportation Academy free of charge for all participants. (Please note that UW La Crosse students enrolled in the course for credit are still responsible for tuition owed to the university.)

However, we understand that some individuals may still have financial or logistical barriers to participation. We have limited stipends available for assistance. More information is available on the application.

How do I apply?

Applications are now closed. If you have any questions about the Academy, contact the Community Programs Director at

More questions?

Contact Susan Gaeddert, Community Programs Director, at