MPO picks transportation study consultant
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Aug 07, 2014 | 792 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cleveland Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization executive board selected Parsons-Brinkerhoff as the consultant for the MPO’s 2040 Regional Transportation plan during a meeting Wednesday.

MPO coordinator Greg Thomas said the worldwide company has a Nashville office.

“They’re the firm that does our on-call consulting for the MPO,” Thomas said.

He said the firm has done good work in the past.

A subcommittee of the MPO technical coordinating committee reviewed submissions for the consulting contract and gave feedback to Thomas on a recommendation. The suggestion was approved by the coordinating committee in a meeting Wednesday, before it was presented to the executive board.

A contract has not been determined; therefore a cost for the consulting is unknown at this time.

The updated plan must be completed by May 2016.

Thomas said the consultant will help with required graphs and information in developing the plan, making sure it stays in line with new laws and recent modifications to the local urban area. The consultant will also be involved in public meetings to accept input on the proposed plans.

The executive board heard an update on the Multimodal Access Grant. A proposed bus shelter and two sidewalks on secondary roads have been eliminated from the project.

Thomas said one of the bus shelters was eliminated, because the business property owner did not want a bus shelter on the site. The other proposed shelters will be constructed as planned.

“Ridership is up 7 percent,” said SETHRA executive director Bill Harmon.

Thomas said sidewalks on Chippewa Avenue and 12th Street were eliminated to keep the project in budget. Plans for a sidewalk on Blythe Avenue and Wildwood Avenue/Dalton Pike have not changed.

During the MPO TCC meeting, Janice Casteel, city manager, said the side street sidewalk could be done at a later date.

Thomas said the MPO has also asked the Tennessee Department of Transportation if it will allow the city to complete the construction engineer inspection to keep the project in the budget. The MPO is waiting on a response.

The executive board also adopted an updated unified planning work program.

The program outlines planning work that needs to be done in line with available funding.

A public hearing was held on the plan during Wednesday’s meeting. No public comments were given on the plan.

Thomas said there was no public comment made on the plan, and staff recommended it.

Also during the MPO TCC meeting, Scott Allen with the Federal Highway Administration gave an update on the Federal Highway Trust Fund. He said Congress committed money to the fund through May 31, 1015. The $10.8 billion bill is waiting for the president’s signature.

Allen said Congress is expected to begin work on a longer-term solution when it reconvenes in the fall.