We can develop smart transportation systems that are safe, accessible, and clean. There are a number of projects we can work on; such as a well rounded, connected and reliable public transit system, increased service and improvements to rail, as well as well-maintained pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure to foster safer neighborhoods.
Firstly, with 1,400 miles of county roads commissioners have an obligation to continually address quality and maintenance issues, and to update plans for connectivity and transportation options. Solving our climate crisis will require creative solutions and cooperation between federal, state, and local officials.
I am proud to be one of the local leaders who brought the Safe Routes to Schools Program to our community as a pilot program in the mid-2000's. This collaborative approach led to the development of a model that is now embedded in the three largest school districts in Lane County.
As we develop active transportation routes, we must also ensure the safety of our bikers and pedestrians. Our roads can be made safe for all. As a former board member for BEST (Better Eugene Springfield Transit), I am proud to have helped lead the way to push the City of Eugene to pass Vision Zero with the goal to prevent loss of life or serious injury on local roadways.
Secondly, we must focus on thoughtful and appropriate neighborhood development that includes active transportation options for the health of our community and the environment. We’ve seen some important advances in our local transit system and attempts to connect our region to other areas in Oregon through the I-5 corridor and I am excited for us to expand and improve to further benefit our region.
Thirdly, our infrastructure must not only be maintained, it must be made safer and more reliable through functional, accessible, and affordable mass transit, bike lanes that are safe and illuminated, visible signage and connected walkways and structurally sound roadways and bridges. I also recognize that many of our neighborhoods face slow response times for emergency services, which must be addressed.
While there is a decline in usage of public transit during COVID-19, many still rely on public transportation in order to get to work or meet their basic needs. We must work together with Lane Transit District to ensure that bus routes provide our most marginalized neighborhoods with the transportation they need, that all public transportation is accessible for community members with disabilities, and that it is also financially accessible to riders.
For more on the relationship to our environment see CLIMATE CHANGE AND OUR ENVIRONMENT.