September 29, 2022

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Coming in November: The BEST NEST

3 min read
The building at 455 West 1st Avenue will be the Nexus for Eugene Sustainable Transportation.

The building at 455 West 1st Avenue will be the Nexus for Eugene Sustainable Transportation.

EUGENE (Oct. 28, 2021) — On November 1, 2021, Better Eugene-Springfield Transportation (BEST) will acquire the building at 455 West 1st Avenue, to be renamed the Nexus for Eugene Sustainable Transportation (NEST).

The location will continue to be a hub for all things biking; BEST will transform the space and its partnerships to offer an open and welcoming place for the whole community.

The building has long been the home of the Center for Appropriate Transport (CAT). Founded by Jan VanderTuin, CAT’s projects have included Eugene Bicycle Works, Valet Bike Parking, an alternative charter high school, an apprenticeship program for cargo bike manufacturers, and more. These programs shared the building with the kindred bike businesses Pedalers Express and Human Powered Machines.

Last year, after the pandemic hit, CAT closed its doors to the public for safety reasons. Recently, VanderTuin and his board of directors decided to disband CAT.

In response, the current building owner asked BEST to take over the building on the condition that it be used for sustainable transportation purposes.

BEST Executive Director Rob Zako explains, “Our vision for the NEST is to continue the culture of CAT, building on the good work of Jan VanderTuin and many others, but passing the torch to the next generation. We see ourselves as stewards, managing the space in the public interest, leasing it to local nonprofits and programs on a sliding scale below market rates, and aiming to bring together different complementary efforts around bicycle and sustainable transportation education, service, innovation, and advocacy.”

By the end of the year, the NEST will welcome its first new tenant, Cascadia Mobility, the operator of PeaceHealth Rides bike share. Cascadia Mobility has also expanded to take on valet bike parking operations for events city-wide.

Looking ahead, the NEST is taking inspiration from similar hubs around the country and is in discussions with other local organizations interested in sharing the space. The NEST is also soliciting ideas from the broader community via an online survey: www.best-oregon.org/nest-survey.

CAT president Ted White reflected, ”Over 29 years, CAT did some of the most innovative, hands-on bike advocacy work in the country. CAT helped change the landscape for bike use within Eugene and also inspired many who visited CAT from other parts of the country to undertake bike projects in their own communities. We’re glad that BEST and Cascadia Mobility will be continuing to do a range of bike advocacy work at this location.”

According to Cascadia Mobility CEO Brodie Hylton, “The future for active transportation is bright. As the City of Eugene continues to make needed investments in safe cycling infrastructure, the NEST will serve as the hub for sustainable transportation culture and programming. Cascadia Mobility is proud to play a key role in getting people active, riding bikes, and out of cars, making Eugene healthier and more closely connected. What better way to do this than together with our partners at the NEST!”

CAT, a non-profit founded in 1992, has been committed to community involvement in manufacturing, using, and advocating sustainable modes of transportation. The sum of its diverse projects under one roof has encouraged synchronicity furthering this mission.

BEST, a non-profit founded in 2012, is building a successful community by bringing people together to promote transportation options, safe streets, and walkable neighborhoods.

Cascadia Mobility, a non-profit founded in 2020, provides access to clean human-powered and electric transportation by operating equitable shared transportation programs at scale in partnership with cities, transit agencies, and transportation technology providers.

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