January 21, 2021

Planning

FREDERICKSBURG, VA — The Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization has named Ian Ollis, a former member of the South African parliament, as its new administrator. Ollis will also serve as the George Washington Regional Commission’s director of transportation.

Ollis will lead FAMPO’s urban transportation planning efforts and will work to improve rural transportation planning for GWRC. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ollis received a master’s degree in city planning, with a specialization in transportation. He previously worked on transportation planning for Transit Matters in Boston.

For almost a year, FAMPO has been without an administrator. Paul Agnello, the former administrator, is now with Spotsylvania County’s transportation office.

“Selecting the right person to lead our regional transportation efforts for FAMPO was arguably the most important decision we needed to make this year and the selection of Ian was unanimous,” FAMPO Chair and Stafford County Supervisor Cindy Shelton said in a statement.

“His political and transportation planning experience as well as his availability at this time is an amazing gift to the residents of our region,” Shelton said. “Transportation remains the number one issue in our region as Stafford takes its first steps to use citizen approved bonds to fund local improvements and other localities follow suit.”

Ollis, a native of South Africa, resigned his seat in South Africa’s parliament in August 2018 to complete a second master’s degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He started in his new position with FAMPO on Nov. 1.

In an email to Patch, Ollis said his priority will be working on a unified planning process for transportation projects covering the counties of Stafford and Spotsylvania as well as the city of Fredericksburg.

“Congestion and transportation infrastructure and systems are interrelated,” Ollis said. “We also supply rural transportation planning services to the counties of Caroline and King George.”

Member jurisdictions in the Fredericksburg area all contribute funds to the respective regional bodies. Although revenue streams are kept separate, the George Washington Regional Commission acts as the fiscal agent for FAMPO.

Additionally, GWRC formally hires staff for FAMPO. Both regional transportation bodies also receive other funding sources. For FAMPO, that includes state and federal transportation money. GWRC’s other funding sources include various grants.

“Mr. Ollis is a welcome addition in assisting GWRC and FAMPO on a path forward for regional transportation planning,” George Washington Regional Commission Chair and King George County Supervisor Cathy Binder said in a statement. “The diverse and international background Ian brings to the table will help all five GWRC localities chart a positive course for our unique region.”

Ollis said he hopes the regional bodies can marshal all the resources needed to improve the transportation system for all residents of the area.

“There are current and planned investments coming in highways such as the I-95 and both the VRE and Amtrak service which are exciting indications of improvements to come,” he said. “I want to work with the state institutions involved in these improvements as well

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Like the song says, you’re going to the chapel to do you-know-what. But how’s Mom getting there? Or your bridesmaids, or for that matter, your fiancé(e)? And just as important, how’s everybody (wedding guests included!) getting from the ceremony to the reception… and then home? Unless you plan on beaming up to your destination, it’s time to work out some wedding transportation logistics. Start with our expert guide.

When Should You Book Your Wedding Transportation?

When there are between four and six months to go, it’s time to think about your transportation… aka when you’ve long settled on your date, ceremony and reception sites and wedding party size. If you’re marrying in April, May or June—prom and graduation season—high-class vehicles will be in high demand, so you’ll need to book your transportation even earlier. Pro tip: Make the final reservation in person so you can inspect the vehicles and ask which one(s) you’ll be getting.

Who Should You Transport?

Your first step is to take a headcount for immediate family and VIPs. For many weddings, that means the couple, their wedding party, both sets of parents, siblings not in the wedding party and grandparents. Some couples also provide wedding transportation services for close relatives, out-of-towners or all guests. So where do you draw the line? The decision will probably come down to budget, but you should also consider the following:

Distance: If your ceremony and reception venues are only a short distance away from each other, you’re in the clear. But there’s a cutoff—if they’re more than 30 minutes apart, you should definitely consider providing transportation for all wedding guests so you don’t inconvenience them with Uber charges and long, tedious drives. Keep other distances, like the miles between your wedding venue(s) and the hotel where you’ve booked room blocks, in mind too.

Location: If you have lots of people coming in from out of town (who might not have cars with them) and/or have a hard-to-get-to or hard-to-find location, you should also consider booking transportation for guests.

Special needs: Think about anyone who might otherwise struggle to transport themselves and organize a travel plan for them—for example, asking your brother to pick up your 90-year-old grandma who isn’t comfortable behind the wheel. 

Even if you decide not to book transportation for certain guests, you can still throw them a bone. In your invitation suite or on your wedding website, do provide information about public transportation. This can include where to catch a cab, phone numbers of (reputable!) local services, and estimates of how much each option will cost (that way, no one will have to worry whether they have enough cash on them). Another thoughtful option is providing discount codes for rental cars. (FYI: Wedding guests get up to 25 percent off the bill if they book a Budget rental car through The Knot.) 

Also, check with the hotels you’ve reserved rooms at to see whether they provide any sort of airport shuttle service; if they do, definitely clue

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