The first steps were taken toward crafting a transportation plan that will take Corvallis 20 years into the future.

A steering committee charged with creating transportation and transit plans for the city met for the first time Tuesday evening in the Madison Avenue Meeting Room.

Chaired by former Public Works Director Steve Rogers, the committee will use $1 million in state planning research dollars from the Oregon Department of Transportation to “understand and evaluate” transportation needs and come up with recommendations for the City Council to adopt.

The group will meet five more times, with proposals due to the council in 2017. The current plan was adopted in 1996.

Tuesday night’s session was designed to launch the committee, and no substantive discussions were held. But an exercise that was conducted offered some hints at work to come.

When asked by facilitator Stacy Thomas of JLA Public Involvement what key issue the committee should address, the answers were:

• Make our transit system better than it is.

• Integrate transportation decision with land-use decisions.

• Produce a plan that is relevant to today.

• Emphasize regional connectivity.

• Try to make things stay at least as good as they are.

• Find funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

• Aim for social outcomes that are healthy and sustainable.

JLA Public Involvement is one of three outside consultants retained by the city. As its name suggests, JLA Public Involvement is charged with the public participation aspects of the project.

DKS Associates will focus on the transportation system plan, while representatives of Nelson/Nygaard will work on the transit development plan.

Two public open houses are planned, although no dates have been determined. The committee tentatively plans to meet two more times this year, twice in 2016 and once in 2017.

Public comment will be taken at all meetings, but the committee has allotted just 10 minutes per session and has requested that individuals needing more than one minute for their testimony should look to submit it in writing to Robyn Bassett, the city’s project manager, at robyn.bassett@corvallisoregon.gov.

Eight residents spoke at Tuesday’s meeting. Subjects raised included coordinating this plan update with other city planning work, looking at drainage as a transportation issue, parking challenges and whether the committee strikes the right balance.

Residents expressed concern that no one who works in public health or development is on the panel.

Contact reporter James Day at jim.day@gazettetimes.com or 541-758-9542. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.

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