Monday, November 21, 2016

What I’m thankful for

In this busy time of the year, we focus our energies on preparing for the holidays – shopping, cooking, cleaning, and more. In the rush to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner, then to move on to Christmas, we tend to forget about why we are celebrating Thanksgiving in the first place.

I have made an effort to reverse this trend and have taken the time to reflect on what I am thankful for.

While I’m incredibly thankful for many things in my personal life – most notably my family and friends – today I’m writing about what I’m thankful for as the Executive Director of COMPASS.

I am thankful for…

State and Federal Legislation. The Idaho Legislature and Congress stepped up over the past two years to provide additional state transportation funding and a long-term federal transportation bill. While I continue to push for additional funding – our needs still greatly surpass our revenues – I am thankful for what we did get and recognize the amount of compromise and effort it took to get there.

One Less Unfunded Project. In Communities in Motion 2040 we list 33 unfunded priority corridors and projects. In June 2016 we were able to reduce that list by one! Project #23 – Interstate 84/State Highway 55/Midland Boulevard – was funded by the Idaho Transportation Department and the City of Nampa.

New Programs. We’ve made some exciting changes this past year to help serve our members. Through our new Project Development Program and focusing a staff position specifically on assisting member agencies in finding and applying for grant funding, we are helping projects around the region move from great ideas to solid accomplishments like we never have before.

New Members. Golden Gate Highway District and the Cities of Melba and Notus joined COMPASS just last month. We’re excited to have them on board and look forward to their perspectives on continuing to make the Treasure Valley a great place to live.

All Members. Membership in COMPASS demonstrates a long-term investment in the region. Thank you all for your continued efforts – your time, expertise, support, and regional vision.

The COMPASS Board of Directors. I can’t say enough about the leadership and dedication of our Board of Directors. Your ongoing commitment to the future of our valley inspires me on a daily basis.

COMPASS Staff. While our members provide the leadership and policy direction for COMPASS, none of what we do could be accomplished without our amazing staff. I have the honor of working with a group of professionals who are smart, dedicated, and willing to go the extra mile. Thank you for all you do.

I wish you all a safe, happy, and thankful Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Are we moving the needle?

I often write about plans we are developing or on-the-ground projects that are implementing those plans. We celebrate accomplishments with ribbon cuttings, our Leadership in Motion awards, and more. We even celebrate maintenance! (Check out our Maintenance Matters! video, if you haven’t already!)

But, frequently missing from these conversations is a discussion of how – or if -- these
accomplishments are helping us reach regional goals. Are we actually “moving the needle”?

To answer this question, we track our progress toward meeting regional goals. Through Communities in Motion, we established regional targets for the year 2040, for everything from number of bike crashes to congested miles of interstate to acres of parks. By comparing current data to baseline conditions and 2040 targets, we track trends to see if the region is moving in the right direction.

This information is all reported in performance monitoring (“Change in Motion”) reports. However, we recognize that, especially in today’s culture of fast-paced news tidbits, very few people take the time to read reports.

So, we are finding new ways to share this information with you. Be watching for…
  • A compilation of all these weekly posts on our web site
  • Quarterly posts in this blog to provide a broader discussion of key trends
  • An updated online dashboard – coming next year – to help you find and use the data you care about

If a specific “did you know?” or blog post piques your interest and you want to learn more, don’t hesitate to contact us at The future of the Treasure Valley belongs to you. 

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.