July 29--The Coastal Region Metropolitan Planning Organization is looking for more public feedback on its Total Mobility Plan, a document detailing the county's long-range road projects over the next 20 to 30 years.
The plan expands upon the Framework Mobility Plan, adopted in 2009, to address transportation options, road improvements and concerns about how best to serve a mobile, growing population.
Tom Thomson, executive director of the Metropolitan Planning Commission, said every five years their organization has to refine the plan to meet federal and state requirements pertaining to estimated costs and latest planning assumptions.
The Total Mobility Plan will also incorporate new studies such as the Interstate 16 ramp removal study and a park and ride study.
Since the last review, some projects have had to be dropped, Thomson said, as the pot of money has shrunk. Any project not included in the Total Mobility Plan will not be eligible for federal funding.
"The bad news is, we lose some projects. The good news is, most of the things on the front burner that have been under development are in there," said Thomson.
He said some of those projects include the Jimmy DeLoach extension to I-16, the Causton Bluff
Bridge, improvements to DeRenne Avenue and Bay Street and the congested Interstate 95 interchange at I-16, which has funding in place to begin reconstruction this year.
One of the bigger changes from previous plans is the addition of a thoroughfare plan, looking at the characteristics of several major roadways and identifying their function -- as a collector, principal or major or minor arterial.
The other new element is the incorporation of so-called Complete Streets practices for all mobility projects, part of a new statewide policy to enable safer access for all road users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders.
Thomson said the old planning model used to emphasize increased capacity through the addition of more traffic lanes. Applying the Complete Streets concepts, planners and engineers can design more context sensitive roads, meeting bikeways goals and considering its aesthetics to the surrounding community.
There are three more public meetings for those interested in learning more or giving feedback on the Mobility Plan. The next meeting will be at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force.
Thomson said the final Total Mobility Plan is expected to be adopted by Aug. 27, after which it will be reviewed by federal and state regulators.
IF YOU GO
--5 p.m. Wednesday at Mighty 8th Air Force Museum.
--5 p.m. Aug. 21 at MPC Office, 112 E. State St.
--10 a.m. Aug. 27 at MPC Office, 112 E. State St., final public hearing.
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