Commute Options’ New Year’s Updates

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(Photo | Courtesy of Commute Options)

2020 Brings New Ways to Ride the Bus in Central Oregon

Thanks to the Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund (STIF), Oregon established a new dedicated source of funding for improving or expanding public transportation service in Oregon. This new funding source is called the Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund, or STIF. The Rail and Public Transit Division, or RPTD, has developed programs and policies to implement the STIF under the oversight of the Oregon Transportation Commission. ODOT staff developed the STIF programs with significant input from the Oregon State Public Transportation Advisory Committee, public transportation providers and other interested stakeholders. You can view STIF Fact Sheets in English and in Spanish.

Locally, STIF funds are being used to create easier ways to get on the bus! For instance, new in 2020 is Saturday service on the Community Connector system beginning in February.

Right now, expect an improvement to Route 4, which serves Hawthorne Station north to Cascade Village Shopping Center. Check out Route 4. 

New Faces and Roles at Commute Options

We say farewell to Kate Armstrong, who will be heading back to school to pursue a degree in nursing. She will be replaced by Rachel Levy,  a new Bend transplant by way of Helena, Montana. She is an avid bike and walk commuter who looks forward to sharing her passion and knowledge with the community. She has worked with public schools for ten years and is no stranger to creating programs within schools and rallying a school community around a goal or cause. Rachel enjoys camping, hiking and nordic skiing, usually with her dog in tow.

We also welcome Ashley Hooper, a new Board of Directors member. Ashley Hooper has lived in Bend since 2018, moving west from Raleigh, North Carolina. The UNC graduate currently works as the Community Outreach Specialist for the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC), where she spends her days planning and facilitating public meetings and open houses to preach the gospel of Cascades East Transit improvements for our growing region.

Prior to joining the staff at COIC, Ashley worked for a regional transit agency in Durham, NC, where she was responsible for community engagement on behalf of a $2.3 billion transit plan in one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation. In addition to maintaining her Commute Options Board status, Ashley is a program committee member with the Bend City Club and research volunteer at ReachAnother Foundation.

We also say goodbye and thank you to James Cook, former Board of Directors member. James came to web development and illustration the long way around; via a degree in architecture, a detour as a professional hot-air balloon pilot and a stint as the author of a weekly newspaper column. Highlights of his career include award-winning infographics for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a children’s book, the annual St. Lou is… 4 Kids! activity and coloring book, and an amazing variety of projects for more than 100 other clients. For over two decades, Jim has specialized in producing websites graphics, logos and illustrations optimized for online readability and performance in addition to print work. After a lifetime in the Midwest, he came to Central Oregon in 2010 to be near grandchildren and now considers the High Desert his home. We wish James the best in his work on the Homeless Leadership Coalition.

In other news, current team members Kersey Marion and David Hopper have new titles!

Kersey is transitioning from being the Walking School Bus and Volunteer Coordinator to the new Commute Options Administrator. She will be working on multiple contracts while providing services not specifically outlined in current contracts and being a connector with the staff to create office culture and professional development. She will assist with marketing and fundraising goals, complete reports, provide education opportunities for the staff around equity work in transportation and fill the role as HR representative for the staff.

David Hopper Coordinates the Walking School Bus Program, working closely with schools in the Bend-La Pine School District and around Central Oregon to create walking routes and employ leaders who guide students to and from school. David is committed to supporting community wellness on and off the clock and can often be found zooming around town on his bike, playing Dungeons & Dragons and cooking big meals with friends.

Looking for a Carpool Match?

With the winter tourist season in full swing in Central Oregon, traffic congestion can be frustrating! Have you considered finding a carpool buddy? Check out this article about how Get There Oregon can save parking, improve safety on the road and reduce traffic congestion.

Walk Yourself into Wellness!

To get the health benefits of walking, try to walk for at least 30 minutes as briskly as you can on most days of the week. The walk to and from work could be just the ticket. Read more about the benefits of walking. 

Stop as Yield Law Change for People Riding Bikes

On January 1, 2020, new rules went into effect in Oregon that allow people riding bicycles to yield at stop signs or flashing red beacons instead of stopping completely, under certain conditions. People riding bicycles must still completely stop at a solid red traffic signal. The new rules were created in part due to the physical effort required to stop and start a bicycle. Get info here.

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