Alternative Transportation & Greenways System Plan

3535 words - 14 pages

Alternative Transportation & Greenways System Plan

In Transportation Alternative's "Bicycle Blueprint" for the five boroughs of New York City, John Kaehny, executive director, states:

Making greenway networks a reality will require partnership between planners and advocates, on the one hand, and public officials controlling purse strings on the other. Local elected officials, particularly city council members and borough presidents, have to be reminded that greenways can multiply the value and variety of open space in the region at very low cost in public resources; under ISTEA, bike and pedestrian projects may be paid for using a 20/80 local/federal matching formula. What's more, by offering fresh air, recreation, quiet and sheer visual relief, this enhanced open space can increase property values for both residential and commercial uses along the route. Greenways can also save or generate money by reducing infrastructure and energy costs, improving air quality and public health, and boosting tourism.1

Of course, Bloomington is a far cry from New York City but the statements made above hold just as strongly for the city of Bloomington, Indiana as for any other community interested in developing an alternative transportation greenway network. Over the past several months the city of Bloomington has been holding a series of public meetings and discussions to aid Bloomington planners in the creation of a greenways plan for the community. "The city already has miles of alternative transportation routes, including bike routes and lanes, trails, side paths, and multi-use trails, and the idea is to connect the parts," states Tom Micuda, Bloomington Planning Director.2

In fact, even before the public meetings began a group of representatives from the city planning department, the planning commission, the city council, the environmental commissions, CONA (Council of Neighborhood Associations), the bicycle pedestrian commission, transit, utilities, parks, the university and the community gathered to form the City of Bloomington's Greenways Steering Committee. This committee is charged with guiding Ratio Architects, the city contracted engineering firm, in facilitating public workshops, preparing the planning document, and crafting a comprehensive plan.

This paper will explore the policy process underlying the development of the City of Bloomington's Alternative Transportation and Greenways System Plan. It will investigate the issues and the actors, the rules and policies that influence an outcome, priorities and alternatives, as well as the lessons that can be learned from this project and others like it.

Issues

First and foremost, the most pressing issue and reason for the current greenways project rests on the desire of the citizenry to realize and exercise alternative means of transportation. Indiana, like most mid-western states, is heavily dependent upon fossil fuels and recognizes the strong hold that fuel economies have on...

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