2021 was another successful year at Commute Options. Central, Eastern and Southern Oregonians of all ages participated in programs and events to make our community healthier, our environment cleaner, and to create a stronger economy. Read about a few of the highlights from this year below.
After a year of remote learning, students returned to in person education this year, and so did our Safe Routes to School program! Our program coordinator, Whitney Bennett got back into schools and led pedestrian and bike safety courses. Students throughout Central Oregon participated in two walk and roll events (International Walk+Roll Day, and Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day) this fall, and Bear Creek Elementary in Bend implemented a regular Walking School Bus. Now, multiple days per week, students start and end their days walking.
Thanks to the help of (what is the grant name) Whitney was able to install four traffic gardens this year in Madras and Bend. Traffic gardens help students learn to walk and bike safely, while having fun.
This year was another successful one for the Get There program. During the October Get There Challenge, over 400 Central and Eastern Oregonians logged trips and completed achievements, making up almost one third of the total statewide participants! Our Super Commuter program celebrated three individuals who commuted to and from work and school in innovative ways, saving thousands of dollars and 8.2 tons of CO2 from entering our skies.
In addition to coordinating the Get There platform and Challenge, our Community Engagement Coordinator, Kim Curley, worked hard this year to grow our Vanpool Program. In partnership with Cascade East Transit and Enterprise, Kim coordinated two vanpools for employees of the Deschutes National Forest and Black Butte Ranch, allowing them to get to and from work together safely and with less money.
The Oregon Friendly Driver program continued to set drivers up for success and safety, by teaching them how to share the road and be conscientious of people walking and biking. 169 people took the free, online class, scoring on average 15% higher on safe driving tests after. We are thankful to Kim and Whitney for coordinating these classes and instructional materials, and for all those who enrolled!
In addition to these successes, our team grew, we were awarded new funding, and continued to solidify internally our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the communities we serve. Our Executive Director, Brian Potwin, even ran his first 50k, despite such a busy and successful year!
We want to thank our community and active transportation heroes. We could not do any of this without your support and encouragement! We look forward to continuing to grow and strengthen our programs together in 2022.