At Friday's MPO Board meeting, a dozen people spoke in support of Scenario C, focusing on the benefits of scenario C in terms of consistency with the community's support for a balanced multi-modal transportation, efficient transportation plans that reduce costs, the need to lower vehicle miles traveled, the desire for more walking and biking choices, more transit and transit-oriented development, its consistency with quality of life goals, protection of natural resources, and long-term economic viability of community. Public comments also focused equally on the importance of the process that had developed these land use scenarios, with many compliments for the excellent way the staff and consultant team had engaged the many stakeholders, the public, the MPO Board and committees throughout the process.
The process, which married technical analysis with citizen input, was hailed as a model for future efforts by the MPO and other agencies and initiatives countywide. As BikeWalkLee pointed out, this effort represents the successful culmination of nearly four years of planned and focused work in enacting resolutions adopted by the Board in December 2010, which set out stated goals to significantly reduce VMTs, support a balanced multi-modal transportation system, and use our limited transportation resources in most cost efficient and effective way.
Organizations speaking in support of Scenario C included BikeWalkLee, the Conservancy of SWFL, Lee Public Voice (LPV), Estero Council of Community Leaders (ECCL), Responsible Growth Management Coalition (RGMC), Bayshore Community Concerned Citizens Assoc., the SWFL Council of the Blind, and individual members of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC).
|Mary Ann Alexander (SWFL Assoc. of Blind) with FDOT's Carmen Monroy|
During MPO Board discussions, Fort Myers Councilman Flanders heralded the process as a breath of fresh air and said he hopes that the Lee MPO and others in the county will continue doing business this way. Cape Coral Councilman Burch spoke about Scenario C as about quality of life. He said that our current transportation funding situation is unsustainable and we have to shift to a multi-modal mindset. He said this excellent land use scenario process sets up a model for the remainder of the 2040 LRTP development, and is the kind of thinking that should be rewarded.
BikeWalkLee extends its thanks to the MPO Board for endorsing Scenario C, to the MPO staff Director, Don Scott, and the Jacobs consultant team of Ned Baier and Bill Spikowski, the MPO Committees (TAC and CAC), the planning and transportation staffs of all the local jurisdictions who participated in the development of the proposals, the dozens of organizations and individuals who spoke or wrote in support of the proposal, and to the almost 1,300 individuals who participated in the online survey. it was truly a model process of collaboration and public participation--one we hope to see replicated in the future--and one that yielded a result that will move our county in a positive direction going forward.
What's the next step? This long range growth scenario will now be incorporated into the transportation planning model, which will be used for determining our future transportation needs and their costs, and will result in a prioritization of the transportation projects that we can do within our projected future resources. This process culminates in the Board's adoption of the 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) in December 2015. Between now and then, there is a great deal of work to do and we will keep you posted along the way as to ongoing opportunities for public participation and input.
For additional background see:
On June 12th, BikeWalkLee sent a letter to the Lee MPO Board urging them to support land use scenario C.
See BWL's earlier action alert on this issue.
See SW Spotlight Magazine's July 1, 2014 article, "MPO Opts for Future Infill, Not Sprawl"