BEST calls on transportation officials to better engage with the public

By Rob Zako
April 15, 2024

Commenting on the draft Public Participation Plan, BEST calls on the Central Lane Metropolitan Planning Organization to follow industry best practices, to continually inform the public, and to measure the effectiveness of public input.

Source: Central Lane MPO

In formal comments on their draft Public Participation Plan (“Plan”), BEST recommends:

  1. The Central Lane Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) should follow industry best practices for engaging effectively with the public, in particular, those Lane Transit District is proposing in its draft Community Outreach Framework.
  2. To have a “continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive” (3C) transportation planning process, the Central Lane MPO should continually inform the public, not only when decisions are made but as taxpayer monies are spent.
  3. The Central Lane MPO should measure the ultimate effectiveness of public input by how often it proves to be useful, resulting in changes to what would have happened absent that input.

By May 12, 2024, you may submit comments on the Plan.

Draft Guiding Principles for Community Engagement
Draft Guiding Principles for Community Engagement. Source: Lane Transit District

Central Lane Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

The Central Lane Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is the lead agency for regional transportation planning and distributing federal transportation dollars for the Central Lane (Eugene-Springfield-Coburg) metropolitan area. The Central Lane MPO works cooperatively with local governments and transit providers to set priorities for transportation needs. This process enables the area to receive millions of dollars annually in federal transportation funding. In 1974, the Governor designated the Lane Council of Governments (LCOG) as the MPO for the area. The Central Lane MPO is one of over 400 MPOs across the country and one of nine MPOs in Oregon.

The Central Lane MPO adopts a Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), Air Quality Conformity Determination (AQCD), Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program (MTIP), Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP), and Public Participation Plan (PPP), as well as making other decisions.

Public Participation Plan (PPP)

The Central Lane MPO Public Participation Plan seeks to ensure broad public participation during the development, review, and refinement of regional transportation programs. The intent is to involve the public early on in the transportation planning process and to include a variety of public involvement opportunities.

The Central Lane MPO last adopted the current Public Participation Plan in October 2015, long before the pandemic and rise of remote meetings.

The draft Public Participation Plan is available for public review and comment through May 12, 2024. BEST executive director Rob Zako was the only person to testify at a public hearing during the April 4, 2024, meeting of the Metropolitan Policy Committee (MPC).

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