Should there be a speed bump there? Should the school speed zone be extended? Do we need a crosswalk here? How can we improve transportation to get tourists to visit? What can the city do to help ensure the elderly and disabled can get to the doctor and the grocery store? All these types of questions will be guided by Estacada's new Transportation System Plan, which is currently getting its first big overhaul in 15 years.
The plan will guide key elements of life in Estacada such as where drivers can park and where new walking paths or safety barriers might be placed.
"The city, as everyone knows is growing really quickly. Our Transportation System Plan hasn't had robust public input since 2007," said Taylor Campi, Estacada's community development director.
Estacada's population has doubled over those 15 years, creating more traffic and new transportation needs and issues. Some roads have become much busier and new housing developments are creating intersections where there were none a few years ago.
"We are pretty early in the process," Campi said, but she urged people who live, work or just enjoy coming to Estacada to share their thoughts on transportation issues.
The newly revised Transportation System Plan "will guide how we develop and invest in our transportation system to meet the current and future needs of Estacada and surrounding areas," the city said on its website explaining the project.
"This process will help determine which projects, policies and programs are important to protecting and enhancing the quality of life in the City of Estacada, and that may receive funding over the next 20 years," it said.
The update has eight goals. Each goal gets more specific with multiple objectives.
For example, the first goal of the update, not surprisingly, is safety; to make getting around town safer for walkers, drivers and everyone else.
One of the objectives under the safety goal is "apply appropriate traffic calming measures to support neighborhood livability" and another is to "create a resilient transportation system that supports the movement of people and emergency responders during natural disasters."
The second goal covers "active transportation" and calls for "safe networks of facilities that make walking and biking an attractive choice by people of all ages and abilities."
The third goal covers mobility and accessibility and the fourth, equity.
Goal five aims to "minimize environmental impacts on natural resources and encourage carbon-neutral or efficient transportation alternatives."
The sixth goal is to promote economic development and tourism.
Goal seven is to make investments in the transportation system cost effective, and finally, the eighth goal covers regional coordination.
Several groups are involved in the process of crafting an updated plan. The city's newly formed Traffic and Public Safety Committee will be a key participant in the update, although it is so new, it has not had its first meeting yet. The city's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee is involved. And, a stakeholder group has been formed with people from the local community, the school district, county, TriMet, Oregon Department of Transportation and others.
The process to update the transportation plan started in May will take about 18 months. The city council is expected to adopt a new plan in the summer of 2023.
What say you?
The city is giving area residents ample opportunity to share their ideas and give input. Multiple public meetings and community workshops are being held in-person and online. Materials related to the meeting are posted on the city's web site and will be updated.
Surveys will be sent to people. The city has a mailing list for folks to get regular updates. Social media is being used.
On Friday, Sept. 9, for example, the city posted on social media urging middle and high school-aged students to weigh in on their needs and thoughts about getting around Estacada using a QR code.
One question for the teens asked about how safe they feel traveling around Estacada and what would make it easier and safer for them to travel.
Campi urges people to make their transportation needs and opinions known. "With as much as the city is growing, this (transportation and safety) is on people's minds."
Opportunities to get involved
The next meeting for updating the Transportation System Plan (TSP) will be part of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee meeting, held from 1-2 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 26, at Estacada City Hall, 475 S.E. Main St. in the council chambers. It is also being held via Zoom. Visit: bit.ly/3RTp764 for more details and Zoom address.
The TSP stakeholder group will hold its second meeting from 3-5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29 at City Hall and online.
A good opportunity for a comprehensive overview of the update project will be a briefing for the Estacada City Council from 6-7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10 at City Hall. The city is also planning an open house for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, also at City Hall.
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