“That’s one I’m watching, not because I’m a big fan of streetcars, but because it was a controversial project and I found it unique,” said Chancey. “I’m interested to see how that project progresses and to see the impact on the downtown core in terms of transit use and redevelopment.”
aige Townsend is the Senior Planner at RVTD, where she oversees short- and long-range planning. However, the title belies her responsibilities as she manages the marketing department, the Transportation Options (TO) program and support services. She’s also in charge of grant management.
your street system that someone from Eugene wouldn’t know about.” How much has ridership increased since adding evening and Saturday service in 2012? “We served 1.4 million passengers in 2013,” said Townsend. “That was a 16% increase in ridership. Quite a few people shared with us that they’ve been able to extend their day instead of rushing home after work. Our passengers can go shopping, run errands and attend evening classes at Southern Oregon University.” What’s next for these services? “The evening and Saturday service is funded by another three-year demonstration project like RVCL,” said Townsend. “We needed to identify funding. RVTD is looking at its first increase in public funding in more than thirty years. If the November levy passes, we will be able to maintain weekday evening and daytime Saturday service and add two additional routes.” What else lies ahead? “We’re looking at an express service for Highway 99,” said Townsend. “We’re just starting the long-range planning with a tentative launch for 2020. This past year, we did a community engagement process that identified one of the primary reasons why people do not use the transit service: it takes too long. We want to fix that. We’re proposing an express service that gets you from Ashland to Medford in 30 minutes.”
Didn’t you recently attend a TO policy meeting in Salem? “Yes, I’m RVTD’s liaison for federal and state public transit programs that provide not only funding but also advice for our agency,” said Townsend. “However, a lot of what we do is centered on the area where we operate. As a transit planner I have to understand your geography, major trip generators, demographics and September 5, 2014
Your favorite transit system? “Zion National Park offers a free transit service using a propane-powered shuttle fleet that takes visitors up to the hiking trails,” said Townsend. “The park faced traffic, parking and air quality issues that led to restricting cars and commercial buses in favor of transit. Their problem is a good example of what we are experiencing in our congested cities.” odotmovingahead.com
Moving Ahead - Fall Edition 2014