Thursday, August 16, 2007

Regional Transportation Authority plan consultant promises bold vision

Frank Spielberg of Vanasse Hangen Brustlin (consulting firm) presented to the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) some preliminary ideas about formation of a Regional Transit Authority (RTA) in our region. Spielberg said that he expected to start out with "a bold vision" in recommending a structure for an RTA in our region. He gave no indication of what he means by bold. I suggested at the end of the MPO meeting - my first opportunity to comment on this, but well after Spielberg had left the building - that I believe an RTA consisting of more than only Albemarle and Charlottesville is necessary, otherwise the RTA is an approximate replication of the jurisdictions and transit providers currently represented on the MPO policy board. My proposal - that I wouldn't classify as bold, but rather obvious - is to include jurisdictions surrounding Albemarle County with significant traffic flows to and from Albemarle-Charlottesville. This would potentially include at least the other counties in the Thomas Jefferson Planning District (Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa, Nelson) and possibly other areas as well. An RTA with this scope doesn't mean that the transit system would necessarily serve all of these jurisdictions immediately, but that they would be part of the long term planning for transit investments. Including these jurisdictions in an RTA is consistent with the scope of our regional long range transportation plan known as UnJAM 2025 (United Jefferson Area Mobility Plan).

The relevant online definition of 'bold' from is "beyond the usual limits of conventional thought or action; imaginative." I guess I will have to wait to discover what the RTA consultants come up with that will satisfy the promise of a bold vision. The preliminary ideas presented (and that you can hear them as a podcast on the Charlottesville Tomorrow website) sounded rather conventional to me. Maybe the boldness is yet to come.

NOTE: podcast link added and a few grammatical and typographical errors correct on Aug. 18, 2007.

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