The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Annette Shacklett
LOG Editor 

Vision of coordinated transportation coming together

 


A huge step in coordinating public transportation in Seward happened last week when the representative of the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) met with the Seward Coordinated Transportation Committee (CTC) to put the vision together with the technical pieces.

“We’re working to coordinate the transportation resources in Seward, private and public, and make the best use of them without overlapping,” Seward Senior Center Executive Director Dana Paperman, who spearheads CTC, told The LOG.

Charles “Charlie” Rutkowski of CTAA out of Washington D.C. was here Dec. 3.

CTAA is working with the committee to first define what the stakeholders want, which is what last week’s mobility visioning workshop was about, then his group, the Rural Passenger Transportation Technical Assistance Program, begins preparing a report that describes how to pull current community resources together to make the most of what is in place and what resources may be needed. “We don’t want to make a report that sits on the shelf,” Rutkowski said. CTAA will also describe what’s needed for implementation.

Preparing the report is a year-long process and CTAA will visit Seward several more times. Costs are covered by a USDA grant.

Now at the visioning stage the committee is looking at unmet mobility needs and planning projects to make better use of the private and public resources that get people to their health appointments, the post office or to work.

When CTC started looking at what’s here and the vision last week, it became clear that “This can happen,” Paperman said. “We can have accessible and affordable transportation.”

“We’ve found we have robust resources and we want to maximize what’s in place,” Rutkowski said.

The next milestone is taking an inventory of all the resources of those who will participate in coordinated transportation. This will determine capacity.

The committee wants to engage with more of the area’s private transportation businesses such as taxis. “These are the professionals. We want to enhance their revenue,” Paperman said. “We invite them to the table.”

Participating in Seward’s Coordinated Transportation are Seward Senior Center, First Student, SeaView Community Services, Independent Living Center, Seward Community Health Center, Qutekcak Native Tribe/Chugachmiut, Seward Parks and Recreation, Providence, Seward Boys & Girls Club and Seward Taxi.

CTAA was formed 46 years ago by rural transportation organizations who wanted a representative in the nation’s capitol. It’s not a lobbying group. CTAA assists rural and tribal communities with things like tech systems and programs. It assists with planning and implementation, puts on some trade shows, publishes transportation-related magazines, a website with blogs, and provides a format for networking.

If a rural community has no transit, CTAA can help plan and implement a system. Or it works with communities to expand and improve a system.

CTAA selected Seward as one of four communities to work with this year.

In Alaska, CTAA has worked or is working with CARTS (of which Seward is a part), Kodiak, Mat-Su, Ketchikan, Chickaloon Valdez, Sitka and more. It is familiar with rural Alaska’s unique challenges.

Reach Annette Shacklett at editor@TheSewardPhoenixLOG.com

 

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