Monday, June 7, 2010

Best Tidbits from the Draft DOT Strategic Plan

I read the 74-page Department of Transportation Draft Strategic Plan so you would not have to read every section and every word. This is DOT’s first ever draft plan and the agency invites the public to comment on its proposals. So read the blog, read the meaty parts of the draft plan and share your responses with DOT.

In a series of five (yes, five) subsequent blog entries are some facts and objectives buried in the proposed plan. I’ve divided up the blog entries in pretty much the same way DOT has categorized its proposed strategies, with a couple of departures. The blog entries will separately address safety, livability, the Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility, environment and sustainability, and emergency preparedness. The plan also covers employee performance and practices.

Feel free to use these blog entries as a guide to the draft plan and an easy way to find what interests you. Share your responses with the DOT by submitting public comments.

There are some quotes in these blog posts, but mostly I paraphrase pretty closely about interesting tidbits. While my observations follow, I recognize that coming up with such an ambitious document takes great diplomacy a balancing of interests, and fulfilling legislative requirements.

A Bird’s Eye View of the Draft Plan:

The terms that come to mind after reading the entire draft plan are livability, multi-modal, transportation choices and environmental friendliness – or the actual term used, sustainability. Pedestrians, bicyclists as well as the National Complete Streets coalition should be pleased as these three interests are woven into the fabric of DOT’s vision for livable communities with good transportation options beyond the automobile.

Public transportation is featured prominently. It is seen as a safe travel choice and as one that promotes our national goals of reducing reliance on foreign fuel, reducing congestion and improving our environment. Human services transportation is recognized as a big contributor to livability for people who are transportation challenged and wish to remain in their homes.

Not at all mentioned are the privately-run and publicly available modes of taxis (the original guaranteed ride home) and intercity bus service, which complement public transportation and the zero-emission modes of biking and walking. High-speed rail, perhaps because of the crucial role of federal funding, is mentioned, though not given too much space.

Auto travel is prominently discussed in the draft plan, with safety and environmental concerns providing the most interesting reading about that mode. Automobile issues are not covered in this blog except where directly relevant to public and human services transportation.

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