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Friday, March 25, 2011

All Dressed Up and No Way to Get There?

“Do more with less” seems to be the mantra these days. Communities and many agencies suffer budget and staffing cuts, while simultaneously facing increased demands for services.

COMPASS is working to help ease some of these issues for small rural communities with its “All Dressed Up and No Way to Get There” toolkit. The toolkit was funded through a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The toolkit is designed to provide ideas, resources, and easy-to-use templates for rural communities and others working to help residents find ways to get where they need to go with or without access to a personal vehicle.

It is specifically designed for agencies with limited funding and staff time. The items in the toolkit are easy to use, low-tech, and free or inexpensive to implement.

The toolkit contains background information and lists of ideas for facilitating and promoting carpooling, walking/biking, using community vehicles, and creating ordinances to promote land use that supports these. Templates can be downloaded and customized for many of the items discussed, including model lease agreements, a model ordinance, and a variety of promotion materials. The toolkit also provides links to transportation resources available in southwest Idaho.

Who would use this toolkit? One example might be a senior center that runs a van into Nampa once a week for seniors to shop. The van runs half-full and is struggling financially. The operator sees an opportunity to open the service to non-seniors. By charging a nominal fee this could help offset costs, as well as provide a community service to other residents. However, the operator is a part-time volunteer with no marketing budget or background, and very limited time. This toolkit can provide that volunteer with the resources to market that expanded service.

Check it out online at www.compassidaho.org/prodserv/mobility_toolkit.htm or order a CD of the materials by emailing litkonen@compassidaho.org.

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Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho

COMPASS is the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization responsible for transportation planning in Ada and Canyon Counties. The COMPASS Board comprises 39 members representing the cities, counties, highway districts, educational institutions, state agencies, and other entities within the two counties. COMPASS plays an important role in making decisions about future long-range transportation needs in the Treasure Valley, taking into consideration environmental and economic factors that affect the quality of life.