Transportation Advisory Committee drives towards next goals

"Do's and don'ts" of committees covered

Feb. 17, 2021 — The Florence Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) met Feb. 11 with changes in membership and, by the meeting’s conclusion, a new chairperson in Terry Tomeny along with new Vice Chairperson Sylvia Napoles.

The two were elected to those positions by a unanimous voice vote after outgoing Chairperson Robert Steele announced he would be stepping down as chair while welcoming TAC members and previewing the evening agenda.

Tomeny has been serving as vice chair of TAC and Napoles is a committee member with previous experience working with Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), as well as experience in public information and advertising. Both said they were appreciative of the support of their fellow volunteers.

The meeting was facilitated by Senior City Planner Roxanne Johnston, along with and City Economic Development Coordinator Kelli Weese, who gave an overview of the responsibilities of TAC members and the upcoming timeline for meetings this year.

As she is doing for other city committees, Weese presented slides covering the “do’s and don’ts” that are associated with being a member of TAC, the goal of the group and some of its limitations.

The upcoming work for the committee includes an update to its workplan suggestions for the Florence City Council, the creation or continuation of TAC subcommittees, and the development of the Florence Transportation System Plan.

“We try to have a good representation of people that are interested in different sectors of the transportation for our community,” said Weese.

She also emphasized the distinction between speaking as a community member — where personal opinions can be shared — and as a member of TAC, where it should not.

Besides Tomeny, Steele and Napoles, the current make-up of TAC includes Joseph Cullivan, Vicki Dunaway, Larry Farnsworth, Susan Jones, Gary Plunkett, Stephen Raley and Gary Trevisan. Ex-officio members include City Councilor Woody Woodbury, Josh Haring representing River Cities Taxi, David Hope representing Coos County Area Transit, John Ahlen representing Lane Transit District and Kelly Clarke from the Lane Council of Governments.

Trevisan is a new member of TAC who was added during the January vetting process at the suggestion of City Councilor Sally Wantz.

“My goal is to lend the handicapped vision of transportation,” Trevisan explained. “I am handicapped. I am still able to walk fairly well but I do use a wheelchair, so I am trying to give an idea of what the transportation system could be like for someone who is handicapped. I know when I was able bodied, I never gave it much thought. Now that I am not, it is right in my face.”

The portfolio for TAC includes most aspects of transportation in the Florence area. Over the past three years, the committee has overseen the addition of public transportation options to Yachats, Coos Bay and Eugene from Florence.

In addition to public transportation, TAC deals with parking issues, including the looming debate over parking in Historic Old Town Florence, bicycle paths and regulations, and other traffic-related issues. 

The group has also been central to the reinvigoration of the Florence Municipal Airport, working with Florence Public Works to obtain grant funding to improve the lighting systems and the runway surfaces, which has led to an increase in air traffic to and from the airport.

Tomeny, a pilot and a volunteer at the airport, said he is pleased with the recent higher profile of the committee and people who have joined the group.

“I am very happy that we got some more volunteers. I’m sorry that we lost some folks that had been on the committee, but I think the backgrounds of people are fantastic and I think that will bring a lot to the committee,” he said.

He tasked the committee members with considering subcommittees to serve on.

TAC meetings are generally scheduled on the second Thursday of the month, with the next meeting planned for March 11, beginning at 2:30 p.m.

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