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transpo-update

From left, Ward 4 Corvallis Councilor Barbara Bull, City Engineer Greg Gescher and consultant John Bosket discuss the city's transportation system plan update at an open house Tuesday at the Public Works Department.

When the city held an open house Jan. 24 for its transportation system plan update, a crowd of about 100 packed into the main meeting room of the library and surrounded the charts and project lists.

Tuesday’s event at the Public Works Department was more sedate. The session, designed to give councilors another shot at reviewing the information and asking questions of staff and project consultants, attracted five councilors who received virtually one-on-one attention.

Twelve lists and maps ringed the room dealing with street classifications, natural features, household and employment growth, transit system routes, pedestrian and bicycle projects and multimodal auto-freight issues.

Councilors Penny York (Ward 1), Hyatt Lytle (Ward 3), Barbara Bull (Ward 4), Charlyn Ellis (Ward 5) and Nancy Wyse (Ward 6) participated in the two-hour event.

“I’m really excited about some of the changes for bus service,” said Wyse, “More frequency, better on-time service and expanded service to downtown.”

Lytle also was interested in transit issues, noting that she continually hears from her South Corvallis constituents that it takes too long to get downtown on the Route 6 loop. And she was surprised to find out at the open house that the route has the second-highest ridership in the Corvallis Transit System, trailing only Route 5, which serves Oregon State University.

Ellis homed in on pedestrian issues and noted that the earlier open house “was such a zoo. Here, I could talk to people and they were able to clarify a few things.”

Adam Steele, the project manager for Public Works, admitted that “some of the councilors did not get a lot of time to get their questions answered” at the first session.

Also on hand from the city were Greg Gescher, the city engineer; Lisa Scherf, transportation services supervisor; and Public Works Director Mary Steckel. John Bosket, a senior project manager with DKS Associates, was present, along with three of his staff.

“This was an opportunity for councilors to get more information" about the Transportation System Plan, Steckel said. “How we got to where we are now.”

Work on the plan began in 2015, with the project team providing quarterly updates to the City Council. Councilors are scheduled to receive another update March 22. Once the project’s steering committee finalizes its plan, it will be presented to the council at a public hearing, likely sometime early this summer. The document is designed to guide city transportation issues for the next 20 years.

Wyse noted the challenge the city will face in ensuring that its planning documents mesh properly and complement each other. For example, she said, the transportation update will be approved before the city’s buildable lands inventory work is completed, noting that land-use changes in the inventory might require transportation tweaks.

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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