EASTERN SHORE METROPOLITAN PLANNING ORGANIZATION
THE EASTERN SHORE – September 26, 2014 – The Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Policy Board held a meeting on Wednesday, September 24, 2014, in the Council Chambers at Daphne City Hall in Daphne, Alabama. The Policy Board is the governing body of the MPO.
The MPO Policy Board and Advisory Committees held elections for fiscal year 2015 officers. The Policy Board elected Fairhope Mayor Timothy Kant as Chairperson and Daphne Mayor Dane Haygood as Vice Chairperson. The Technical Advisory Committee re-elected Daphne Public Works Director Richard Johnson as Chairperson and City of Fairhope Public Works Director Jennifer Fidler as Vice Chairperson. The Citizens Advisory Committee re-elected Mr. Andrew James as Chairperson and Mr. Tedson Meyers as Vice Chairperson. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee re-elected Mr. Jeff Hudson as Chairperson and Mr. Phil Hooper as Vice Chairperson.
The Policy Board considered and adopted Resolution 2014-16 establishing a policy regarding the expenditure of MPO Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds. The MPO anticipates receiving approximately $1.2 million dollars in STP funds every year. According to the new policy adopted by the Policy Board, these funds should be spent on projects that meet the following two criteria:
- MPO Surface Transportation Program funds should be spent on projects that will in some way increase the capacity of the existing transportation network. A project increases the capacity of the existing transportation network if the project results in an increase in the number of vehicles that can pass through the project area in a given amount of time.
- MPO Surface Transportation Program funds should be spent on improvements that have a regional impact. Improvements that have the greatest positive impact on the greatest number of MPO member governments will be deemed to have the greatest regional impact.
The Policy Board discussed the Draft 2014 Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and adopted Resolution 2014-20 approving the Draft Plan. The Draft Plan focuses on bicycling and walking as a form of transportation. The Plan explains that, transportation planners are tasked with promoting infrastructure and operations strategies that have positive impacts on network capacity. For this reason the Eastern Shore MPO Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan takes a distinctly different approach to bicycle and pedestrian planning. The plan focuses on promoting utilitarian cycling and walking while still accommodating recreational and leisure users. A utilitarian trip moves a person or product from location A to location B with the aim of accomplishing a specific purpose at location B. A trip is classified as utilitarian if the user would have taken a motor vehicle but for the user’s decision to travel by bicycle or on foot. Thus, utilitarian trips remove vehicles from the roadway and have a positive impact on network capacity.
The MPO received several comments on the Plan from individuals who both supported and opposed various aspects of the Plan. The overall response to the Plan was positive and the MPO Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee approved the Plan unanimously. The Draft Plan is available for viewing on the MPO website (www.easternshorempo.org). The Final Plan will be published for a second 30-day comment period in November and December for anticipated adoption by the MPO in January.
The MPO Policy Board agreed to submit a public comment in support of approving the Draft Environment Impact Study (EIS) for the Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Widening project. Both organizations and individuals can submit public comments supporting or opposing the Draft EIS. The Policy Board authorized Mayor Kant to submit a comment form on behalf of the MPO stating, “The Eastern Shore MPO supports approval of the Draft Environmental Impact Study for the I-10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Widening.” The Policy Board further authorized Mayor Kant to send a letter of support on behalf of the Policy Board specifically supporting the B’ build option for the Mobile River Bridge.
A the September meeting the Policy Board also reviewed and approved the Final Fiscal Year 2015 Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) which serves as the planning and administrative budget for the MPO. The Final document was published for public comment at nineteen different locations throughout the MPO Planning Area. No public comments were received.
The next meeting of the Eastern Shore MPO Policy Board is scheduled for Wednesday, October 22, 2014, at 10:00 AM at Daphne City Hall. For more information regarding the Eastern Shore MPO please visit www.easternshorempo.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.