Overdosing on citizen input: Will planners compare notes?

The City of Cedar Rapids put out two news releases on Tuesday asking for citizen participation in transportation planning: One about something called the Connections 2040 Visioning Forum and the other one about developing the Comprehensive Trails Master Plan.

Both seem like fine ideas. I’m all for public input.

A question or two, however:

  • How will the vision from the Connections 2040 Visioning Forum on Dec. 3 incorporate the ideas for “trails and multimodal connectivity” that are being solicited on Dec. 7?
  • Should trails not be considered part of our long-range transportation planning?

Aren’t these issues connected?

Maybe everything will come together clearly at some point, but a person does begin to wonder if our planners have a plan for comparing their plans.

Maybe I’ll participate in the “interactive exercise to design the region and future travel connections” on Thursday, and comment on the trails network online.

One comment might be: See suggestions made at the 2040 thing.

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4 Responses to “Overdosing on citizen input: Will planners compare notes?”

  1. 1 Eric December 2, 2009 at 8:06 am

    I’ve been asking that question also. The 2040 thing was a surprise to me, I didn’t know it was coming up. The Comprehensive Trails plan is a committee I’m on. There is an MPO member on the Trails plan committee also. The County Board didn’t know about the CR trails plan committee. Marion has a rep on the committee but Hiawatha does not.

    I’m getting worried about if these plans will ever “meet in the middle” or not.

  2. 2 Eric December 2, 2009 at 8:08 am

    Marion and Cedar Rapids are also starting to look at the sidewalk situation and how to address the areas without sidewalks. Cedar Rapids has an upcoming meeting but I’m not sure on the time/place yet. Marion has just started thinking about it so they don’t have anything in place yet.

  3. 3 Samantha December 2, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    I agree with your concern and have asked that same question several times. We have the Corridor MPO, the Bicycle Advisory Committee, and the Trails Steering Committee all looking at trails. The best answer I have for this potential problem is what Eric said. We have some of the same people involved with each of the groups pushing the same issues. We have two MPO members on the Trails Steering Committee, one who is also involved with the sidewalk group, and I’m at least notified of the BAC work although I still haven’t been able to make one of the meetings yet. I do try to bug our city staff members from the BAC and MPO to talk frequently. The citizen issue is all of the open houses that come out of these separate groups, which tend to ask the same questions. I know that the groups are using information that was gathered from the Neighborhood Planning Process, but it would be great to find a way to bridge the current open houses to limit open house burn out.

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