September 29, 2022

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

ATC hears about BEST NEST, considers ruffling ‘a lot of feathers’

6 min read
With the former CAT site being repurposed as a site for active transportation non-profits, and another pedestrian fatality, the city's ACT advisory committee discussed future directions.

With Eugene seeing another pedestrian fatality, and the former CAT site being repurposed for active transportation non-profits, the city's ACT advisory committee discussed future directions.

With many organizations now promoting biking and walking, what will be the future for the City of Eugene’s Active Transportation Committee?

[00:00:11] Karen Mason: Given the landscape of where the community is now with more organizations working on active transportation issues than ever before, what do you think the value and importance of having an advisory committee to staff is?

[00:00:28] Shane Rhodes: I want to clarify that we are not considering that the ATC is too much and we don’t have the staff time to deal with that. Just to be clear, we just want to maximize the effectiveness.

[00:00:42] Sue Wolling: I think there are a lot of different groups doing a lot of different things, but, you know, everybody seems to have their own little niche. And so maybe we can be the hub for all these various spokes because, I don’t think even we are aware of all the different things that you’re talking about and I’m sure the community isn’t. So if we can be the hub for all these different things to, to talk to one another and be aware of one another and support one another, that would be helpful.

[00:01:06] Steve Abbott: I’m looking at it through a very similar lens to Sue: how do we get traction to make effective change? I think the opportunity to really input back to staff about those things has been very, very limited, especially in the subcommittee format. I think the advisory role of ATC needs to be thought about, formalized a little bit more. I think work plans can be very useful. And for recruitment, look for people in marketing or change management, or even people that are experienced in launching new businesses, because unless we get people that are experienced in onboarding the public and getting people to adopt these changes, it doesn’t do a lot of good.

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[00:01:45] Julie Daniel: I think the value of this group is that we are selected to represent the community and all the nonprofits— they’re corporations, and they’re basically private entities. And while they’re not closed, they are not an open, public, appointed forum, which is a very, very different format. And I love those groups and they do wonderful work, and they play very valuable roles, but we are the one group that is open to the public where anyone in the community can tune into this meeting and speak to us or come to us.

[00:02:23] Josh Kashinsky: I often feel like City Council does not trust staff on controversial issues and transportation, especially when you’re talking about making driving harder, or really anything else but driving the default, is a controversial issue and we have a long way to go. We are not anywhere near being on track to tripling mode share by 2035. We’re doing a lot of good work. There’s a lot of great things happening. Staff is amazing, way better than when I started attending these meetings in 2013. And we’re still nowhere close. So we need to put a lot more effort in and that’s gonna ruffle some or a lot of feathers.

[00:03:08] Anne Brown: Can we replicate studies that have been done elsewhere about how much people spend at businesses by mode? So we can say, like, all those bikers spend a lot of money at businesses too. So can we use this group to, bring voices together, identify the questions and issues before us, and then use also our resources to go out and measure those and then bring it back to help staff push for different solutions.

[00:03:33] Allen Hancock: One of the things that staff has done historically has made sure that we represent a geographic spread across the city and also has made it an effort to create other kinds of balance, gender balance or racial background, so forth to make this a more diverse committee and that’s not necessarily the case with other non-profits. So I value that tremendously. And I’m just going to give a shout out to Reed Dunbar, because he has brought numerous questions to the committee at large, as well as the infrastructure subcommittee over the years, asking our opinion, and we’ve given some very specific feedback at times, which he and other staff often take it to heart and implement that. It doesn’t always get accepted, but a lot of the time it does. And then making sure that when citizens come to make comments that they get some follow-up from staff or the committee in the weeks and months to follow so that they know that they’ve been heard.

[00:04:41] Sue Wolling: One thing that would help me at least is if we could have a listing of who’s doing what. If I have a question about bike theft, who’s the best person to talk to. If I have a question about safety, who, who should I talk to? If it’s something about the condition of a particular bike path, or if it’s somebody trying to learn to navigate, who’s the best person to talk to him as various things?

[00:05:05] Papa Awari: I’d liked the committee to try and create the bicycle paths, in areas, where people don’t have them that are low income areas and try and put some kind of bicycle transportation areas over there. And that would be my hope for the future.

[00:05:23] Pete Knox: The value proposition that we have with staff is that we can come in and say, Hey, you know, have you thought of this? And I think having that lay person perspective can help staff do a better job, because they get a fresh perspective on things. And I think that’s one of the really important things is that relationship between staff and people in the outside world as it were.

[00:05:51] John Q: Shane Rhodes noted changes at BEST: Better Eugene Springfield Transportation.

[00:05:57] Shane Rhodes: The landscape has changed in that there’s more people doing this work and I think BEST is one of those examples of an organization that now has staff working on these kinds of projects that just weren’t there before. The NEST is forming.

[00:06:13] Karen Mason: The Nexus for Eugene Sustainable Transportation. That is the acronym .

[00:06:18] Shane Rhodes: Yeah, that’s the acronym. But for me it’s this gathering place. It’s where you take things from the community and you put them together and create a welcoming, nurturing space for things to then, gain their wings and fly out into the community. Creating a homey space that feels comfortable for anyone to come to.

So The NEST is the building at 455 West First, which is where CAT (Center for Appropriate Transport) has been housed for the last 29 years. And that nonprofit is dissolving and the building is being donated to BEST, Better Eugene Springfield Transportation. The BEST is creating this NEST, which will be a new home for Cascadia Mobility who has taken over valet bike parking, and they’re interested in doing more bike safety education classes, doing more tours and meeting pieces that will round out some of the things they do around Bike Share to encourage more people to get on their bikes more often.

This new rebuilt building will come into being that will be a base for a lot of different organizations or some organizations around active transportation.

[00:07:30] John Q: Daniel Wilson reminded the group of the importance of its work.

[00:07:35] Daniel Wilson: We had a pedestrian die on 11th downtown a couple weeks ago. And we need to make sure that this stuff is front and center.

[00:07:44] John Q: With increasing pedestrian and bicycle fatalities, a goal to triple bike and walking trips by 2035, and the forthcoming BEST NEST, a new era begins for the Active Transportation Committee.

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