A greener, more connected future through public transportation
The City of Thousand Oaks, in an extension of its Visioning 2064 program, which brought together residents to plan the ideal community of the future, is embarking on its most comprehensive transit planning process in its 51-year history.
For over 40 years the City has provided public transportation services through a variety of bus services as well as on-demand transportation services for seniors and those with disabilities. But the support of transit goes beyond just bus and dial-a-ride services. The city has invested millions into programs and facilities to promote carpooling, to make accessing a bus easier throughout the city, and to make the community a more bike and pedestrian-friendly place to live and work. As a founding member of the East County Transit Alliance, the City of Thousand Oaks is part of a group of agencies working to provide more integrated transportation options to area residents.
“Singularly, this is the most important planning element for transit the city has undertaken that will set the foundation for how transit services are delivered for the next 20 years,” said Mike Houser, the city’s transit manager. “We have seen unprecedented growth and demand for transit services in the past decade and we can envision a future where the cities in eastern Ventura County come together and form a seamless and integrated transit system that reflects the needs and values of the area: sustainable, environmentally responsible, inclusive and cost effective.”
Utilizing a California Department of Transportation grant, the city is developing a Transit Master Plan with the assistance of a consultant and the Southern California Association of Governments. Mailers will be distributed to the majority of households in the Conejo Valley in November inviting comments and participation in an on-line community survey. A special website, http://www.TOTransitMasterPlan.com has been set up with information about the project.
In December, a series of at least 10 public outreach workshops will provide transit users and non-users a once-in-a-generation opportunity to express what type of transit services are best for the community and to address existing service issues and shortcomings. In addition to the public outreach sessions, over 100 stakeholder groups will be contacted to get their perspectives and opinions on the future of transit in Thousand Oaks and beyond.
This public testimony and feedback, along with analysis of existing services and in-person interviews conducted on-board transit services, will be compiled and presented to the City Council in summer 2016 for consideration and adoption.
“This will be the most impactful process for the delivery of transit services since the creation of Thousand Oaks Transit 31 years ago,” said Houser. “While only 8 percent of the community uses public transit now, we see that growing to nearly 50 percent by 2035. This is a critical time for the future of transit and we want to see the limited dollars available to us spent in a meaningful way.”