New plan will help the city of Canby meet myriad transportation needs moving forward

The Canby City Council passed its Transit Master Plan during its Oct. 15 meeting.

In a memo to the city council, Transit Director Julie Wehling explained that the city has been working with Jarrett Walker + Associates to update its Transit Master Plan over the last year.

In the winter of 2017, JWA published a "choices report," which described the existing conditions of transit in Canby, and a key choice that arose about the future: whether to make the next service investment in intercity service (e.g. on Route 99) or in a restored local circulator route within the city.

The Canby Herald.

The memo notes that "In the spring of 2017, JWA and city staff engaged a large and diverse set of Canby stakeholders in that key choice. The Transit Advisory Committee recommended a phased approach to improvements that reflected the public input, with the first phase being increased frequency on Route 99."

City Administrator Rick Robinson said the passing of the plan is a positive development for the city.

"The city is really glad to have the Transit Master Plan approved by the city council," said Robinson. "We're excited it came together as well as it has.

"It really is the blueprint for the next steps of our transit program to move forward," he added, noting that a new requirement in obtaining certain types of federal funds is having a current master plan in place approved by the government body.

Wehling noted that "We now have a roadmap for how to go forward that includes public input. It's the first plan that's been adopted since 2001 by the city council (though there have been a couple of aborted previous attempts). It has been a long time in coming. We're pretty excited about it."

Wehling's memo detailed that the city received 34 comments, in both English and Spanish, in support of one or another phase of improvements in the plan.

"I was very pleased with the input we got from the Spanish-speaking members of the community," said Wehling.

The phasing of the plan will be:

Phase 0 – Make Dial-a-ride and ADA paratransit services more efficient, so that the same number of people can be served at slightly lower cost to the city. This phase is already underway.

Phase 1 – Add some frequency to Route 99, using fund saved in Phase 0. It may also be appropriate at this time to add structure to the premium paratransit service between Canby and Oregon City.

Phase 2A – Add Saturday trips on Route 99.

Phase 2B – Add a local circulator route within Canby on weekdays.

Phase 3 – Add more weekend service on Route 99, or add weekend service within Canby (as general public dial-a-ride service, or a local circulator with ADA paratransit).

When the plan was begun in 2016, city officials assumed that no additional transit funding would be available in the next few years, which meant Canby would have to improve efficiency in order to add either Route 99 or local circulator service.

However, the Oregon Legislature established a new statewide fund for transit in July 2017 (Statewide Transit Investment Fund). Canby expects to start receiving this funding in 2018, though he amount and requirements that come with it are not yet known. Still, a new funding source could allow CAT to work its way through the phases more quickly than originally thought.

"What this does is informs the planning process for a transit plan on Highway 99E that's basically been initiated by Salem-Keizer Transit," said Wehling, who added that a connection from Oregon City to Salem is being studied. "There's a push for a better connection so people can go all the way (Oregon City to Salem). They will actually be starting stakeholder groups for that plan after the first of the year.

Having the plan really positions us very well for the new funding (STIF) that's happening," she added. "It's pretty clear that it will require a plan to get part of those funds. This puts us in a good position to identify what we will do next."

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