Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lee MPO Peer Exchange--25 Year Vision for Transportation in the Greater Nashville Area, June 21st

Mark your calendars and plan to attend the June 21st MPO Board meeting to learn from Nashville, TN MPO officials about how they developed and are now implementing an award-winning visionary transportation plan.

The Lee MPO Board will soon embark on the process of updating its 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).  In order to learn from other communities' experiences, the MPO Board is planning a series of "Peer Exchanges".  The first "Peer Exchange" is scheduled for June 21st and will feature Michael Skipper, Executive Director of the Nashville Area MPO along with one of the MPO Board members.  The Lee MPO Board meeting starts at 9 a.m. in the Cape Coral City Council Chambers (1015 Cultural Park Blvd., Cape Coral).

It is fitting that Nashville is the kick-off presentation because their award-winning Regional Transportation Plan, adopted in 2010, has much to offer Lee County, a similarly sprawled out region. By integrating land use and transportation planning, adopting a bold vision for a sustainable future which included mass transit, support for active transportation and walkable communities, and the preservation and enhancement of strategic roadway corridors, right-sizing projects and focusing on a "fix-it-first" approach, they have reduced the cost of their LRTP by about 50%.  Their collaboration with local universities and businesses to an impressive degree, both in formulating the plan and now in its implementation.

Here's the link to a short video about the Nashville Regional Transportation Plan.

The Nashville MPO Director sums up the significance of the 2010 Regional Transportation when it was adopted on December 15, 2010:
 “The MPO mayors, working in partnership with their constituents, the business community, state and local agencies, transit authorities, and planning experts from across the region, have accomplished something remarkable in today’s adoption of this Plan,” said MPO Director Michael Skipper. “We’re now better prepared to absorb the population growth that accompanies continued efforts to grow our local economies –bringing us new jobs and additional prosperity–without sacrificing Middle Tennessee as we know it today. Diversifying our transportation investment strategies –to more seriously support alternative modes, such as transit, walking and biking– will help us to conserve open space and fuel, manage congestion, and connect people with the places they want to go: work, school, shopping, or entertainment.”

This is an important opportunity for the MPO Board, as well as other local elected officials, agencies, staff and MPO and County committee members, and citizens, to learn how another community has shifted to a new transportation paradigm.  In help Board members be prepared to engage in an in-depth discussion of how we can take lessons from their experiences and apply them to Lee County, below are links to a series of articles and reports on the Nashville approach. 

Once the MPO agenda package is posted online (around June 14th), there will be another blog post alerting you to the specifics of the agenda and any additional background information on the speakers and their presentations.

Future "MPO Peer Exchanges" will feature Broward County MPO officials (Sept. 20th), and Hillsborough County MPO officials (TBA), among others, so stay tuned!

Background Reading

2.  Nashville, TN plan: 2035 Regional Plan Documents

(Nashville, TN is one of 17 case studies in national report)

TN Department of Transportation:

5.      TennesseeDOT Moves Past Road-Widening as a Congestion Reduction Strategy, August30, 2012.

By Darla Letourneau

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