How does a forward-thinking little town best serve its residents while planning for the future?

Sometimes, by committee.

In Silverton, four committees research and recommend action to the City Council regarding the environment, budget, tourism and urban renewal.

Now there’s a fifth, the Transportation Advisory Committee, led by Councilor Matt Plummer, with five seats available to volunteers who want to improve Silverton’s transportation network.

It’s largely seen as a replacement and expansion of the now-defunct Silverton Bike Alliance. Plummer said he hopes to focus on making Silverton more bike and pedestrian friendly, not necessarily on projects for motor vehicles.

“If you focus on cars in your transportation efforts, that’s what you get,” he said. “If you focus on the people, that’s what you get … I just want to make sure our emphasis is on people, not cars.”

Two state-funded projects will be coming to Silverton in the near future, one a $750,000 pedestrian-safety upgrade at the intersection of Highway 214 and Jefferson Street to the north, and the other a bike lane/sidewalk addition along Water Street to the south.

The state’s legislature’s $5.3 billion transportation package, passed in July, named the Jefferson Street project as a priority in the Mid-Willamette Valley.

“One of Silverton’s main goals is connecting all our neighborhoods to schools and the downtown area,” Plummer said. “The South Water project is looking at Pioneer Village, and the Jefferson crossing is looking at the Webb Lake area.”

Silverton’s Transportation Advisory Committee can affect these and other projects by recommending changes and/or updates to the city’s Transportation Systems Plan, Plummer said.

In another part of town, he’s interested in asking the committee to explore the bike path options between…