Active Transportation COI: Responding Quickly to Community Access Challenges

Late last December, the ATCOI received a small grant for community support activities that would increase civic participation and access to materials related to the 2020 Census. The group discussed the immediate possible uses of the funds and decided upon two types of allocations. The first allocation supported community communications by enhancing several COI partners’ remote work software, and the second allocation, accounting for the bulk of the funding, was used for direct mobility assistance to those most affected by transportation issues, especially during the pandemic.

The pandemic has caused not only a spike in unemployment, but also in reliance on food banks. Because those experiencing food insecurity often also have challenges accessing needed destinations, the ATCOI decided to obtain 100 ORCA transit cards loaded with $10 of credit each to distribute through local food banks to their clients. The organizations that received ORCA cards were:

• YWCA - 20 cards

• Nourish Pierce County Food Bank - 15 cards

• Food Connection and St. Leo’s Parish - 20 cards

• Trinity Presbyterian Church - 20 cards

• Tacoma Mutual Aid Collective - 25 cards

During the COI’s discussions on how to distribute these cards, it was shared that Pierce Transit offers a Human Service Agency Ticket and Pass Program which allows certified Human Service Agencies (HSAs) to obtain One Ride Tickets and All Day Passes from Pierce Transit for the clientele they serve. For more information, contact Pierce Transit at 253.983.2727 or apply online at:

Special thanks to Kristina Walker, Penny Grellier, Cindy Haverkamp, Meagan Kula, Jenn Halverson Kuehn, and Liz Kaster for organizing and delivering the ORCA passes to these sites throughout our community. This cooperative effort and the learning opportunity it also provided are examples of the importance of working on mobility issues in a coalition such as the ATCOI. 

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