Category Archives: Transit

Corvallis-area transportation safety plan: an opportunity for community involvement

The Corvallis Area Metropolitan Planning Organization or CAMPO is hosting a public meeting to start work on a Transportation Safety Plan.  The meeting is open-house style, so drop by any time:

Safety Plan Kick-off Meeting
June 5th from 5:00-7:00 pm
Linus Pauling Middle School Cafeteria
1111 Cleveland Ave, Corvallis

Please show your support for rail service to Corvallis

Please show your support for bringing rail service to Corvallis!  ODOT is currently procuring public feedback on several options, including one which would bring a passenger rail line through Corvallis.  You can find out more and add your opinion at an open house at the Albany Public Library, Wednesday January 16, 2013, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Or online here until the end of the month.  Be sure to start the presentation and leave (positive) comments.

Please send this to as many people as you can!

Public transit and customer service

The image of public transportation – that it is for those who cannot afford private transportation – is not aided by poor customer service.  On our recent bikepacking trip, my partner and I took the Valley Retriever from Corvallis to Sisters.  I describe our experience here, in an email I sent to Amtrak from whom we bought our tickets and from whom we have had nothing but great customer service, directly. Continue reading

Bicycle+transit commuting joys

I am up in Portland today for a meeting and to stay for the weekend.  I biked to the Albany train station my usual way (by the red route) and crossed paths with a few cyclists commuting into town (marked by their attire and panniers) as well as a few recreational riders (marked by their attire and lack of panniers).  Each of them gave a wave or nod, including one very appreciated raised fist in solidarity as each of us battled along the less than pleasant 34.  At the Albany train station, my bike started a conversation with a nascent tourer as we exchanged knowledge (my encouragement to not bother with front panniers for a first tour and taking the bus to the coast and his positive feedback on the Corvallis to Coast trail, which is now on my list of things to do).  On the train, I was able to work, complete with wifi to stay on top of email.  In Portland, I enjoyed a easy ride through downtown at the same speed of traffic, limited by the traffic lights which are timed to … bike speed.

None of those things would have happened or been as pleasant had I driven.

Corvallis-to-Coast transit+bike day trip

I’d heard about NW Oregon Transit Alliance’s ConnectOR project in the fall and am happy to see the changes to rural inter-city transit in the area.  The Coast to Valley Express already has added and improved service:

  • the bus now runs on Saturday and Sunday in addition to MWF
  • the route extends to Albany
  • the route is no longer made up of two bus routes with a change at the county border in the middle of the Coastal Range

So now one can enjoy a day jaunt on the weekend to the coast without the use of a car.  Before, this was not possible.  I’ll voice my light criticisms in the hopes they will be considered constructively: some of the buses from Corvallis to the Coast goes through Albany, returning along 34 but not stopping in Corvallis, adding 45 needless minutes to the journey; the cost is $10 whether you are going from Philomath to Corvallis or Albany to the coast.  Improving both would certainly improve ridership, which surely would increase revenue.

But this bus did allow me and my partner to enjoy a wonderful day at the coast.  Sadly, we were the only people on the bus — in both directions.  We took our bikes with us and opted to pick up the bus in Philomath to save sitting on the bus for an extra 45 minutes.  We also got off in Toledo and biked into Newport alongside Yaquina Bay.  The road was quiet, winding, scenic and flat.  A wonderful combination.  We also discovered that Toledo has an amazing selection of public art and puts Corvallis to shame.

The cost?  $40 for two people.  Cheaper than renting a car for the day, but not competitive with ~$10 gas the trip would use.  However, if we use a lowball $1.00/mile estimate for the true cost of driving a personal vehicle, we see that $40 is very competitive to $100.  And we got to safely do crossword puzzles on the bus ride.