INDEPENDENCE — Work has already started on updating Independence’s transportation system plan.

“It’s going to work like a typical planning process where you identify the problems, you set goals, you inventory, you look at stuff, you analyze alternatives, you select a preferred alternative and then you implement,” said Fred Evander, city planner.

The last transportation plan was done in 2007. The city is working with Portland-based Kittelson & Associates on the update.

Public outreach will start in May, Evander told councilors at their Jan. 28 meeting.

“Right now (Kittelson) is summarizing our existing plans related to parks and open space and all of the various trails, the southwest area, all of the various plans that we have,” Evander said. “They’re going to prepare a document that summarizes those plans.”

City staff will then identify some goals for the project.

“Based on all of that stuff, we’re going to go out to the public and we’re going to say, ‘Hey are these the right goals? Are these actually what’s going on in the transportation system? Are there things that we’re missing?’ That’s going to be sort of the goal for that first outreach,” Evander said.

The consultants will take that information and look at how the existing systems works, “and when you put a whole bunch of development into the system, what happens,” he said.

Kittelson will then identify some alternatives to address any potential issues, he said.

Public outreach for that phase will be in July, Evander said.

In September, the third phase will be to hear more feedback on the alternatives and a funding plan.

Evander anticipates the final phase — to approve the new transportation system plan — will be from December through February of next year.

“We’re going to work with Cherriots,” Evander said. “We’re going to look at how transit works in the community.”

That includes trails, non-motorized modes of transportation and transportation demand management, he said.

“So we clearly know there’s some road improvements necessary,” Evander said. “Some of those non-motorized, some of those alternative modes are something that we can definitely do a whole lot better on.”

Councilor Shannon Corr asked how participation in the citizen’s advisory committee will be solicited.

“What we’ve talked about at this point is letting people sit on the committee if they’re interested,” he said. “We’re also going to specifically reach out to groups like the traffic committee here, the planning commission. There’s all sorts of newsletters, fact sheets, there’s going to be a project website.”

Councilor Kathy Martin-Willis said she thinks this would be a great opportunity for community members who have “been very vocal in regards to transportation” to have input.

Tom Pessemier, city manager, said they want representation from all the different modes of transportation on the citizen advisory committee.

“I just wanted Fred to come here tonight to let you know this project has started,” Pessemier said. “It is officially underway.”

He said they will have the consultant come give a presentation on the project, probably on Feb. 25.

“It should be a lot of fun,” Evander said. “There is a lot of outreach that’s built into it. Based on the scope of work, I don’t know, I guess I’m pretty excited. I like transportation a whole lot, and so I’m excited about this project.”

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