DRCOG Civic Advisory Group – February 23, 2021

The Civic Advisory Group has been meeting for about 18 months to provide feedback for DRCOG’s 2050 Metro Vision Regional Transportation Plan (MVRTP).

Civic Advisory Group input summary and future – Lisa Houde, public engagement specialist, summarized the input that has been given by the Civic Advisory Group over the year-plus that the group has been convening. Lisa also explained that since the group was a pilot to guide the development of the MVRTP and with the plan nearing completion, DRCOG will be working over the next six months or so to determine a structure for a potential formalized version of the group. This group would potentially have a wider focus on many DRCOG initiatives.

Draft plan review input – Lisa described the public engagement strategy for the draft plan review phase, including a virtual open house, public meetings, opportunities for public comment, and a public hearing. 2050 RTP draft overview –Alvan-Bidal Sanchez, transportation planner, described the project schedule, key milestones, public and stakeholder input highlights, and introduced the key priorities and funding structure of the plan. Jacob Riger, long-range transportation manager, provided details on each of the six main priorities of the plan: safety, active transportation, multimodal mobility, air quality, freight, and regional transit. He also described the other topics covered in the plan. Interactive polling was integrated into the presentation to assess initial reactions to each of the six priorities or topics. For each topic, attendees were asked – How well do you think the 2050 RTP will improve this topic? How important to you is this topic? Finally, a more general question was asked: How well does the plan align with your ideal transportation system?

Discussion – Lisa facilitated a discussion of the plan using an interactive whiteboard where group members discussed their thoughts about the draft plan and identified strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Strengths included the integrated street typologies of Complete Streets into future projects and planning. Also, many stakeholders and counties have provided input, so it seems that everyone has some part in the plan or has had their say. Will the trends of people moving from urban to rural areas in pandemic be a strength, weakness, opportunity, or threat? The amount of investment in public transit was noted as a strength as well. Weaknesses noted included interest in seeing some subways/streetcars/ transportation that will go with the denser city environment the region will become. Bus rapid transit may not keep up with demand or attract new residents. This may lead to increased congestion. Additionally, it seems like a lot of these projects are focused on making more capacity. There still seems to be a great deal of road widening and attention to highways.

The Civic Advisory Group was invited to help get the word out about providing feedback on the draft plan and to continue to participate in public engagement opportunities.

Visit DRCOG’s 2050 Metro Vision Regional Transportation Plan website page.