It’s hard to get around Jackson Hole, for people and wildlife, no matter how you’re trying to get where you need to go. Our neighborhoods lack sidewalks. Our streets aren’t safe for our kids to ride bikes to school. Unless you’re going to and from Teton Village during the winter, the START bus just doesn’t work for most of us. There’s rarely another route we can take to get to our destination. These obstacles force many of us into our cars, resulting in ground transportation accounting for approximately 60% of our community’s climate change causing pollution.
On average, 114 mule deer, 35 elk, and 15 moose are struck and killed by motorists every year on Teton County roads. The summer tourist season floods our roads with traffic. Because of this seasonal congestion, and because many mistakenly believe that wider roads will alleviate congestion (despite decades of data proving wider roads only encourage people to drive more and do not reduce congestion), proposals are in place to dramatically expand the highways that bisect our community, which would harm our community character and make it even harder to get around.
Jackson Hole should invest
in a better transportation future that
aligns with our values of protecting wildlife
and community character, provides
everyone with the freedom to safely and
conveniently get where they need to go on
foot, bike, or transit, and does
not include expanded highways.
To get on the right path we’ll need an honest conservation about the long-term consequences of our transportation decisions based on facts and data. An honest conversation that asks hard questions about entrenched assumptions used to plan our transportation investments. A conversation that helps us rethink our approach to transportation and leads to smart, fiscally responsible, strategic transportation investments that align with our values and help build a better transportation future.
In order to provide everyone with the freedom to safely and conveniently get where they need to go, our community should:
- Approve a dedicated funding source for significant investments in walking, bicycling, and transit.
- Expand and improve transit service on existing routes and between Jackson and Wilson/Teton Village; the airport/Grand Teton National Park; Teton County, ID; and Lincoln County, WY; and on other strategic routes.
- Build a network of wildlife crossings or similar wildlife-vehicle collision mitigation measures.
- Ask hard questions about the assumptions behind any proposals to expand our highways.
- Direct growth out of rural areas into walkable neighborhoods.
Transportation Case Study
Alicia Cox, the Executive Director of the Yellowstone-Teton Clean Energy Coalition, is charging forward on transportation in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Alicia moved to Jackson Hole from the Midwest in the fall of 2010 to pursue a career in conservation biology. Soon after her arrival, she found herself working as a research associate here at the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, and she later landed a role working as a wildlife biologist for the Teton Science Schools.
Then in early 2011, Alicia was granted the opportunity to combine her field research work with her passion for transportation advocacy when she was hired by the Yellowstone-Teton Clean Energy Coalition (YTCEC), a U.S. Department of Energy designee for the Clean Cities program, an innovative program designed to advance our nation’s economic, environmental, and energy security by supporting local actions to reduce petroleum use in transportation.
Recently promoted to executive director of the YTCEC, Alicia is tasked with the herculean mission of leading a campaign to reduce the use of fossil fuels in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, improve air quality by reducing vehicle emissions, and increase the region’s energy security and sustainability. Her efforts have centered on the promotion of alternative fuels and vehicles, encouraging the expansion of our regional transit system, and implementing innovative conservation strategies and technologies to reduce energy consumption, particularly from fossil fuels.
In June 2014, through an innovative partnership between the Town of Jackson and Energy Conservation Works, YTCEC paved the pathway for the installation of the first publicly available electric vehicle charging stations in the state of Wyoming; one located on the Town Square and the other in the public parking garage on Millward Street.
Under Alicia’s leadership, the Yellowstone-Teton Clean Energy Coalition is currently laying the foundation necessary to create a region-wide electric vehicle-charging infrastructure in the Greater Yellowstone Region. The organization also plans to lead an initiative to re-introduce public transit service between the town of Jackson, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone National Parks – an initiative on which the Alliance looks forward to partnering with Alicia and the YTCEC.
Alicia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology form Central Michigan University, a Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Conservation Biology from Miami University, and is a graduate of the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance’s Conservation Leadership Institute.
What You Can Do
- Sign up to volunteer with the Alliance’s Better Jackson Hole campaign here.
- Sign up to volunteer with Safe Wildlife Crossings, the Alliance’s campaign to make it safe for wildlife to cross the road here.
- Walk, ride your bike, take transit, or carpool to work one day a week – you’ll love it the Hole time!