Planners seek input on TIP change
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Mar 06, 2014 | 811 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cleveland Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization executive board has released for public comment a Transportation Improvement Program amendment.

The issue had been discussed earlier in the day Wednesday by the Technical Coordinating committee of the organization, with approval given for a move to the public comment stage.

The amendment was to bring in additional funding for the widening of State Route 60 from Westlake Drive to State Route 306.

MPO Coordinator Greg Thomas said this would not have an impact on any part of the local project this year. He said the amendment increases the amount of money available for right of way for the entire project.

“It’s changing it from federal funding of $6,080,000 to $10,920,000,” Thomas said.

The request for the amendment was brought to the organization from the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Public comment can be made on the amendment until the May meeting of the MPO. Copies of the amendment will be available at the Cleveland/Bradley County Public Library, Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce and online at http://www.clevelandtn. gov/MPO/mpo.html.

The project funding is effective until 2017.

The committees also discussed updating the Urban Boundary based on 2010 census urban boundary data.

Thomas said the data needed some “smoothing,” such as adding subdivisions that are next to and within the urban boundary area.

“What we can’t do is make any subtraction from this area that was published by the census,” Thomas said.

The map showing the boundary lines includes the cities of Cleveland and Charleston urban boundaries, as well as the 20-year growth boundaries for each of the cities.

A draft of the changes to the 2010 census was submitted to the committee members and later the executive board. The suggestions will be discussed at a meeting of the TCC committee in April before the executive board decides whether to release it for public comment.

Thomas said the changes to the 2010 census boundary would be made to include urbanized areas and sectors expected to become urbanized, as well as having the boundary “make sense.” The MPO has until July 1 to make any changes to the urban boundary. The boundary will also need to include the Cleveland Regional Jetport.

Including a representative from Calhoun in McMinn County to serve on the Cleveland MPO executive board was also discussed. Thomas said it was something he would confer upon with the TDOT.

“The membership of the board is up to the MPO,” said Kevin Herrit of TDOT.

The 2010 census urban boundary indicates Calhoun and parts of unincorporated McMinn County are within the boundary.

The boundary lines will eventually be approved by the MPO, then a state organization and finally the governor.

Helping commuters to Chattanooga and Dalton, Ga., by making public transportation easier was also discussed.

MPO board chairman Tom Rowland asked if research could be done on how many commuters there were. He said it would be good to partner with CARTA in Chattanooga, where one of their buses could meet a SETHRA bus halfway and switch passengers. Rowland said he would like to have something similar worked out for Dalton.

The idea had been discussed in the past but nothing was ever worked out.

Bill Harmon of SETHRA said there are two buses that go to Chattanooga from Cleveland each day.