Senior Planner Paul Brewster updated the Thurston Regional Planning Council Transportation Policy Board about the Rural Community Support Program Call for Projects schedule and the county’s bicycle map during a meeting yesterday, July 12.
Brewster also presented the seventh and latest edition of the Thurston County Bicycle Map, available as an interactive map, app, or printable document on its website. The map is not yet in print production.
“This is our seventh edition. The bike map first came out, I believe, it was around 1999 and 2000...The last, several versions of divisions of the map had been produced by TRPC,” Brewster said.
“It is our most printed publication, and paper, and it maintains to be the most popular visited website on trpc.org,” added Brewster.
The map contains a bicycler’s guide to the whole urban and rural county, traffic safety laws, bike shop locations list, and pertinent contact information.
“The map certainly provides community benefits. A map aids people with navigation and wayfinding. But also really importantly, it helps promote education and awareness of bicycle traffic laws,” Brewster explained.
Free physical copies of the map are distributed through bike shops, sporting goods, retailers, workplaces, government offices, city halls, Timberland Regional Library, and volunteers.
The Rural Community Support Program (RCSP) is a grant program Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC) initiated in partnership with Thurston County.
In 2022, the Council set aside a $600,000 Surface Transportation Block Grant (Rural) to continue funding the RCSP, and awarded it to Thurston County, which will award $500,000 to successful RCSP applicants and reserve $50,000 for administrative costs.
“We've had the same version of a rural community support program since the early 2000s. And it was more of an informal program. In 2020, TRPC and Thurston County formalized this program through an interlocal agreement between TRPC and the county,” Brewster said.
This year was the initial schedule for the RCSP Call for Projects, but conducting the RCSP call simultaneously with the Federal Transportation Funding’s call is now being considered.
“What staff is proposing for the Rural Community Program is instead of doing a call for projects this fall, staff and applicants would both benefit from more time to run this process in tandem with our 2024 call for projects grant programs,” Brewster explained.
Aside from being cost-effective, some of the additional reasons for the suggested postponement revolve around how previously-awarded applicants have yet to start their projects, and moving it to 2024 offers TRPC and Thurston County staff and policymakers more time to establish the RCSP process details.
Editors note: Article edited to add that the bike map has just been presented, and is not yet in print.
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