Thank you to all our neighborhood leaders who made last weeks session of Pizza With Planners a great success! We had 70 participants attend the Transportation Planning session on Feb 19th.
And a super thank you to our presenters who provided a wealth of information and resources.
Tim Moreland, a planner for the Memphis Metropolitan Planning Organization gave an overview of the MPO, explaining the difference between the LRTP (Long Range Transportation Plan - over 20 years) and TIP (Transportation Improvement Program - over just a few years). Tim also cataloged the heirarchy of the MPO, showing how the regional justidictions and agencies interact with the many MPO committees.
James Collins and Kenny Monroe, transportation engineers with Kimley-Horn (the firm that wrote Memphis' current LRTP), explained some of the concepts in the LRTP. They talked about connectivity - how roads patterns can either cause or alleviate "conflict" (a traffic engineering term for congestion and accidents). James outlined the timeline and funding allocation for the different types of transportation plans. Kenny explained about road design and community's road needs depending on its rural, suburban or urban quality.
Citizens had lots of questions about implementation. Clark Odor, transporation manager for the City of Memphis, and Martha Lott, MPO director, answered questions about who decides and what plans move from ideas to reality and who funds them. (Being the heart of the issue, the CLC will look into a future PWP session that just focuses on the "nuts-and-bolts" of decision making.) They both mentioned budget reductions and the need to prioritize expenditures. (This conversation included strategies for stimulus funds and the redirection of funding to upgrading the stadium to ADA requirements.)
Anthony Sirracusa, bike advocate who runs Revolutions Community Bicycle Shop, talked passionately about the need to citizens to get organized and push their agenda. Anthony explained his journey with BPAC, the MPO's Bicycle and Pedestration Advisory Committee, and talked about the need to "get political" and seek out an ally who can champion your issue.
During the Q&A session, citizens again raised concerns that they were not being heard. The CLC highlighted the strength in building a coalition, and offered to assist neighborhoods in accomplishing their specific goals. Membership does include technical support.
This PWP Transportation Planning was a great beginning of a much-needed, longer conversation. The next step might include putting together a CLC committee to come up with a policy agenda to advocate for bike/ped and neighborhood transportation concerns. Contact Sarah if you want to take this next step.
For those of you who missed this session, contact me for a free CD of resources including a calendar of MPO public meeting and a digital copy of the LRTP. Download a copy of presentation here and order your free copy of the Federal Highway Administration's publication A Resident's Guide for Creating Safe and Walkable Communities.
Keep an eye out for our next session of Pizza With Planners and thank-you to Mary Cashiola for posting the event on her blog.