Few residents showed up at the last public input session for the 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, but that doesn't mean the document is devoid of citizen recommendations.
The draft 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan is an 83-page document meant to guide local decisions regarding the transportation system, and how federal transportation dollars should be spent to alleviate congestion points, safety hazards and connectivity limitations. At Thursday night's last public input session, only a couple of individuals showed up to provide suggestions that will further guide officials as they finalize a planning document that will affect Bloomington, Ellettsville and some other parts of Monroe County.
"I think everybody has had a bite of the apple," Pat Martin, senior transportation planner in the city of Bloomington's Planning and Transportation Department, said in response to the small turnout.
Martin said there have been dozens of public meetings since the process started in 2013, with some meetings boasting upward of 40 individuals. Recommendations from the public have been incorporated in the planning document and suggest a wide array of changes to the way people get around. Some recommendations are speculative, for instance, involving some people's concern that I-69 will widen Ind. 46. Others are more conceptual, such as asking that the needs of an aging population be considered. Some hope to continue trends, such as establishing more bicycle routes, and still others address longtime pain points, such as the need for a major east-west corridor through the city.
The transporation plan is updated every five years, but this most recent plan was delayed by about a year due to consultant staffing issues. On top of that, city planning services manager Scott Robinson said, this plan will only be applicable for a couple of years. So the public's recommendations and the work required by federal agencies will guide policy before informing the next planning document.
"This has a very short shelf life," Robinson said. "In all honesty, we're going to be starting this process all over again soon."