The Metro Regional Travel Options grants program has announced the 18 awardees of $2.1 million in federal transportation funding to benefit communities in the Portland region looking to make it easier to walk, bike, take transit and share rides.
Funds from the program will help:
- children get to school more safely in Tigard, Beaverton and around the region
- community college students discover new transportation options for getting to class
- elderly and disabled people get to stores and medical appointments more easily via transit
- make neighborhoods throughout the region safer for walking and bicycling
A third of grant recipients for the 2015 to 2017 cycle are first-time awardees, and bring considerable focus on youth and underserved communities.
"These grants are all about people having choices about how they get around," said Metro Councilor Craig Dirksen, who also chairs the region's Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation. "I'm very pleased that several grants this year will help give children and college students safe routes to walk and bike to school throughout our region."
One of the new grantees is Portland Community College, which will use a $157,000 grant to hire a district-wide active transportation coordinator, install dozens of secure bicycle lockers at its Southeast and Cascade campuses and hold events and workshops to help students and staff learn how to safely walk and bike to class and work.
"The college has aggressive sustainability goals, which thrive on student leadership," said PCC transportation demand management specialist Mark Gorman. "This grant will help us achieve those goals across our campuses."
Also new to this cycle's travel options grants are awards for light infrastructure, such as bike parking, on-road directional and use markings like sharrows and planning grants for local jurisdictions to kickstart implementation of local efforts to improve travel options for residents and commuters. Funded projects will provide easier navigation for pedestrians in Washington Park, fill a key bikeway gap in Gresham's Rockwood neighborhood, build bike shelters in Aloha and support planning for expanded travel choices in Washington County.
"One of the goals of the travel options program is to catalyze new efforts and more partnerships around the region," said Metro program manager Dan Kaempff. "We're really excited about the projects we were able to fund this year."
This grant cycle attracted an overwhelming number of strong applicants, requesting a total of $4.6 million – far more than the program was able to fund. "This year we had way more requests than money to grant, which illustrates what a great need there is for these kinds of transportation improvements around the region," Dirksen said.
But applicants who didn't receive funding are still part of the region's efforts to increase travel choices, Kaempff said. "We're committed to working with partners around the region to accomplish these things we all care about," he said.
The travel options grants are available to government agencies, schools and non-profit organizations that facilitate programs to improve air quality, improve health and reduce drive-alone trips. Later in 2015, Metro will begin a conversation about regional priorities and policies that will inform the region's transportation funding strategies, including future rounds of travel options grants.
Programs funded this cycle include:
|Safe Routes to School Program
||Beaverton School District
|Expanding Access to Bicycling
||Bicycle Transportation Alliance
||City of Gresham
|Active Transportation Counters
||City of Lake Oswego
|Safe Routes to School Coordinator
||City of Tigard
|Student Transportation Initiative
||Clackamas Community College
|East Multnomah County Bicycle Tourism Initiative
||Gresham Chamber of Commerce
|Aloha Park Bike Shelters
||Housing Authority of Washington County
|Regional Safe Routes to School Planning
||National Safe Routes to School Alliance
|Active Portland: Open Streets, Connected Communities
||Portland Bureau of Transportation
|Transportation Demand Management Coordinator and Bicycle Improvements
||Portland Community College
|Healthy Travel Options to School
||Portland Public Schools
|RideWise Urban Mobility Support and Training
|Living Cully Walks, Phase 2
|Washington County Travel Options Planning
|Transit to Trails Wayfinding
||Washington Park Transportation Management Association
|Gorge Hubs and Business Outreach
||West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce
|Westside Transportation Demand Management
||Westside Transportation Alliance
Read more about these programs