Thursday, January 15, 2009

Last Night's Town Hall Meeting

It was a bit of a surprise to me when I walked in to the Monroe Council Chambers last night at 7:00 pm to find a full house! There was a Town Hall Meeting concerning our community's transportation needs and was headed by Sharon Fipps from Benton County Transportation. Why there is no bus service between Monroe and Junction City or between Monroe and Corvallis has often been a subject of conversation at the library here. Last night's meeting addressed this issue and Monroe's community came out in force to voice their needs. It came as a surprise to Ms. Fipps that there was a need to travel between Monroe and Junction City; she was prepared to hear mostly comments on the need to travel within Benton County. Travel between Monroe and Junction City crosses county boundaries and makes it difficult for either county's transit system to take on this challenge. There were many comments and suggestions from our community members, and even one of our Latina community members came and voiced concerns coming from our Hispanic population. It's downright hard sometimes to get between here and Corvallis or Junction City when there are doctor's visits, shopping trips or social events happening. And in the interest of saving gas in these hard times, something should be done to make travel possible and/or easier. Mostly what Ms. Fipps spoke about would happen in 2011-2013. This is very far away when the need is now. One idea suggested was for the City of Monroe to own it's own van/vehicle and hire it's own drivers to bring community members to either Corvallis or Junction City where they could then pick up on either Benton or Lane County's transit systems and continue on to their destinations. I loved this idea! Wouldn't there be grants out there that would make the purchase of a vehicle possible for something as innovative as this? Think about the publicity our small town would receive for solving this problem of transportation on our own! This sounds like a great possiblity to me...

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