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Q&A: Mt. Shasta exploring ‘transformative transportation change’

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A biker's POV.

In the face of climate change many communities are exploring ways to lessen their dependence on cars. The city of Mt. Shasta is nearing completion of a plan that will reduce its carbon footprint and meet other needs of its 3,000 residents. It’s called the Walk Bike Ride Mt. Shasta Mobility Plan. NSPR’s Ken Devol recently spoke with Katie Selin, a planner with Alta Planning + Design, a consulting firm working with the city.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

On the community’s involvement with the “Walk Bike Ride” plan 

We've been working with the city of Mt. Shasta, Siskiyou County, Siskiyou Outdoor Recreation Alliance, school districts, Mount Shasta Trail Association, many of the downtown businesses, and of course, the broader Mt. Shasta community. Overwhelmingly, we've heard from Mt. Shasta residents that people want to walk and bike more and drive less than they currently do. We've heard that infrastructure gaps are the biggest barrier and thing that's preventing people from being able to walk and bike more. We've also heard that safety is a top concern. And folks also want better access to transit.

“Overwhelmingly, we've heard from Mt. Shasta residents that people want to walk and bike more and drive less than they currently do. We've heard that infrastructure gaps are the biggest barrier and thing that's preventing people from being able to walk and bike more. We've also heard that safety is a top concern.”
– Katie Selin, planner at Alta Planning + Design

Over 50% of trips in and around downtown Mt. Shasta are actually under three miles. We know that there's a lot of opportunity for improvement. Currently, only 1% of roads in the study area that we looked at have a bike facility, and only 12% have sidewalks.

On the sustainability of the plan 

A focus of the plan is adapting the transportation system to be more sustainable and resilient in the face of climate change. Getting people out of their cars, the emissions reductions that can create are huge. I'd also like to mention the kind of connection between tourism and transportation and how that is covered. And in addition to helping residents get where they need to go. We also really want to highlight and elevate Mt. Shasta as a destination.

The city of Mt. Shasta is interested in taking transformative transportation change to better meet the needs of both residents and visitors to the community.

On emergency transportation infrastructure issues 

Fires and emergency preparedness are top of mind and that’s something that we’ve looked at. Evacuation routes, for example, there’s many cul-de-sacs and we’ve added these like neighborhood connectors that will add another way that folks can get out of their neighborhood if they need to evacuate.

On the plan’s future 

We're going to present this to the city council on Oct. 10. To get more feedback from them. Then we'll present it to city council for adoption on Oct. 24. We are circulating the draft plan for public comment. It's on our website.

Ken came to NSPR through the back door as a volunteer, doing all the things that volunteers do. Almost nothing – nothing -- in his previous work experience suggests that he would ever be on public radio.