Cleveland planner Lindsay Smart said the meeting goal is to present the results from the first public meeting and encourage more collaboration with residents of the community on traffic problems, bike paths, sidewalk areas, bus service and truck routes in Cleveland and Bradley County.
Public input is used to develop the transportation plan. At the first meeting, people who volunteered their time were asked to set priorities among four main goals: To preserve the existing rural character; strengthen partnerships through collaboration; promote targeted growth and sustainability; and enhance and maintain transportation choices.
Under each goal, several potential supporting objectives that could be implemented were listed.
Most people chose enhancing and maintaining transportation choices as their main goal with a number of people identifying enhancements for bicycles/pedestrians, or enhancements to roadways and intersections as their top priority.
Promoting targeted growth and sustainability received the second highest number of priority votes. Under that category, developing traffic calming options and updating the downtown plan both received a significant number of votes.
A number of people in attendance considered development of green space, or a green corridor plan and establishing gateways as top objectives under the goal of preserving the existing rural character.
The objective to establish public-private partnerships received a number of votes as a means of supporting the goal of strengthening partnerships through collaboration.
Doug Coulter, owner of Scott’s Bikes, who attended the Oct. 18 meeting said it was exciting that Cleveland was looking at transportation through the eyes of the public. His vision is for more bicycle friendliness.
Nothing worth doing is easy, he said, but adults ride bikes to work and children ride them to school in other communities. There is an up-front cost but he said a bicycle and pedestrian friendly infrastructure is cheaper in the long run.
“In Portland, Ore., the biking community is huge,” he said. “They were taking parking areas for cars and changing them into parking for bicycles. They added a lane to a bridge. Instead of adding a lane for cars, they added a lane for bicycles, the cost of that is minuscule compared to adding a lane for cars.”
Coulter said the main challenge would be to change the community mindset and be more aware of the two-wheelers.
“At the same time, people on bicycles need to obey the rules of the road,” he said. “I think it will take a little bit to get it going, but I think once we get it going and change the mindset it will be awesome.”
The Long-range Transportation Plan is a multimodel strategy and capital improvement program.
The 20-plus year plan is being developed to guide the effective investment of public funds in transportation facilities to help manage congestion, increase regional mobility options, and conform to national air quality standards.
The LRTP is updated every four years. The current 2030 LRTP was adopted in 2006. The 2035 LRTP is expected to be adopted in May 2011.
The current 162-page plan begins by describing transportation at the movement of people and products, a need of vital importance throughout human history. Settlement of people in towns and cities, and the shape, size, and location of these settlements has substantially depended upon transportation.
It shows Cleveland and Bradley County were shaped by transportation from the beginning: Cleveland developed at the juncture of the Old Copper Road and the railroad; Charleston developed at a river crossing connecting to Calhoun and points north; roads and human settlement extended through Bradley County’s valleys linking to points in Georgia.
The geography of the region also shaped the transportation arteries of Bradley County, which is located within the Appalachian region.
The region includes all of West Virginia and parts of 12 other states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Bradley County is one of 15 counties within the Appalachian region of East Tennessee. It contains approximately 330 square miles bordered to the north by the Hiwassee River which drains most of the county through three main tributaries: Candies Creek, South Mouse Creek, and Chatata Creek. The southeastern portion of the county drains toward the Conasauga River in neighboring Polk County to the east and Georgia to the south.
The county is part of the Appalachian Mountain foothills characterized by a series of ridges and valleys running generally north and south parallel to the main mountain chain.
Cleveland is located in the approximate center of Bradley County with its traditional downtown occupying a plateau between South Mouse Creek and two major tributaries: Woolen Mill Branch and Fillauer Branch.
Urban development has occurred in a fairly dense concentric fashion around the original downtown with a more recent spoke-like pattern along valleys and ridge lines.
In more recent times, Cleveland and Bradley County have been shaped by transportation projects of local, regional, and even national significance, such as Interstate 75 and the APD-40 by-pass.
The LRTP considers not only transportation as a continued agent of change, but expectations of how transportation systems may also change in response to social pressures.
Some of the possible forces are the shift from manufacturing toward a service and retail-based economy, huge improvements in communications and information technology, shorter and more tenuous employment relationships between employers and employees have changed what it means to go to work.
More people work from a home office or have jobs allowing workers to live just about anywhere. Sprawl, congestion, and continuing growth in vehicle miles traveled continue to challenge efforts to have clean air, a risk to health and quality of life.
The transportation plan considers trends brought about by labor saving technology that has contributed to a society in which average people are more and more pressed for time to meet demands imposed by themselves or others.
More and more, the public has grown to abhor the “dead” time found in commuting to demanding “just in time” delivery of parts. People eat more convenience foods and restaurant meals and want more goods and services to be downstairs or around the corner.
For more information, please visit http://www.cityofclevelandtn.com/MPO/mponewsmeet.html.