Across the country, transportation planning is the responsibility of metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) established by the Federal government. The McLean County Regional Planning Commission is the agency designated as MPO for the Bloomington-Normal region. The planning process includes the local governments of McLean County, City of Bloomington, and the Town of Normal, plus Connect Transit, Central Illinois Regional Airport, and the Illinois Department of Transportation.
The transportation planning process includes forecasting future population growth, forecasting future travel demand, identifying growth corridors and analyzing transportation improvements. Key documents produced by the metropolitan planning process are the Unified Work Program, Long Range Transportation Plan, and the Transportation Improvement Program.
Some MPO’s take on other responsibilities outside their purview as an MPO, and this is the case with MCRPC. In addition to its designation as MPO, the MCRPC is also a regional planning agency, undertaking comprehensive plans and other local planning efforts.
A comprehensive plan is a document designed to guide the future actions of a community. It depicts how and where the city will grow and change to accommodate expected population and job growth. In recent years, local comprehensive plans have indeed become more “comprehensive.” The latest Bloomington Comprehensive includes chapters on Fiscal Impact Study, Education, Arts, Culture & History, Healthy Community, Neighborhoods. The Normal Comprehensive Plan includes Economic Vitality, Health and Sustainability, Humanitarian and Social Aspects, Town and Gown, Community Identity and Public Places. As the forward by the Normal City Manager states, “This robust document goes far beyond the traditional topics of “comp plans,” confined to strategies for land use, transportation, and the development of infrastructure.”
This article is not about master plans and comprehensive planning. That’s another discussion for another day.
Comprehensive planning is not transportation planning. The Unified Work Programs for FY2017 and FY2018 show federal transportation planning funds as the funding source for comprehensive planning activity. In fact, the UWPs show a significant portion of the transportation planning funds the last couple of years being used for local planning. Are federal officials aware that federal transportation funds are being spent for local planning activities in McLean County?
See PDF page 23: http://www.mcplan.org/egov/documents/1500476633_26232.pdf
This picture is on that page – a large part has nothing to do with Transportation:
You can see where Complete Streets came from and wasting millions on Connect Transit. The McLean County Regional Planning Commission thinks they can change your behavior. Governments who try always fail.
More planning is taking place. I received a FOIA today for what’s on the agenda now. Here’s what stood out to me:
See the complete FOIA here: Proposed Strategic Priorities FY 2019-FY2023
This pic is from page 3. Your roads aren’t being fixed because they want you to dump your car. They don’t want you to have the freedom to travel when and where you want to, only a car provides that.
Government no longer works for you, they control you! The bikes lanes aren’t used. Empty buses further destroy the streets. Even Amtrak traffic is down. Money that should be spent fixing roads is being wasted on their wants, not what you need. There isn’t any “Great Need” for multi modal except in their heads.
The only way to fix it is to dump them – and the current director of the McLean County Regional Planning Commission.