Connections 2045 Regional Mobility Plan

OVERVIEW

The Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency (CRTPA) is required to update the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) in five-year cycles.  The LRTP is the most important document produced by the CRTPA since it provides guidance on the direction of the transportation system in the region for a horizon period of 20 years.  This document will include all modes of transportation ranging from pedestrian, bike, transit, roadway, freight and rail. The LRTP, known as the Connections 2045 Regional Mobility Plan, or RMP is scheduled to be adopted in November 2020.

CRTPA BOARD MEETINGS

The project was kicked off at the June 17, 2019 CRTPA Board meeting with additional Board presentations at the January 21, 2020 and February 18, 2020 meetings.  The following are the discussion points that were presented at the January and February 2020 meetings.

January 2020

The presentation for the January meeting includes the discussion point below.

RMP Goals

One of the first efforts to occur with the updating of any long range transportation plan is setting the goals for the project.  This effort provides directions for staff and consultants to utilize in the development of the plan.

The Connections 2040 RMP Goals provided a great foundation and should require minimal change.

However, shortly after adopting the Connections 2040 RMP in November of 2015 a new transportation bill was passed by Congress known as Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act).  Contained within the FAST Act legislation are “planning factors” that are to be used in the development of long range plans such as the Connections 2045 RMP.

The good news is that the Goals that were developed for the 2040 RMP are well organized and will require very little change to ensure that the FAST Act legislation is met or exceeded.  Therefore, the Connections 2045 RMP will build on the previous goals developed by the Technical Advisory.

Committee (TAC) and Citizen Multimodal Advisory Committee (CMAC) to demonstrate compliance with the new legislation. The Goals for the Connections 2045 RMP address:

        • Safety
        • Connectivity
        • Access
        • Multimodalism
        • Land Use
        • Security
        • Economic Development
        • Natural Resource Protection and Conservation
        • Public Health
MetroQuest Survey

One of the major tools being utilized for citizens input into the Connections 2045 RMP process is a MetroQuest Survey.  The benefits to the survey are that it allows for access from your phone or computer at your convenience.  Since the survey was introduced in November 2019 there has been 270 participants with the Project Team gathering survey data from public meetings and at the City of Tallahassee Winter Festival.  Additionally, at the beginning of January 2020 the Project Team worked with City of Tallahassee Neighborhood Services to provide the survey link to all neighborhood associations and homeowner associations in Leon County (over 450).  The survey is open for input until the end of January, so the Project Team is expecting the responses to increase.

Milestones

One of the major milestones of the RMP is to approve the Cost Feasible Plan in June of 2020.  This will allow for the projects to be immediately utilized in the Project Prioritization Process and the Project Priority Lists to be submitted later this year.  In order to meet this deadline, the Project Team developed a schedule that will require CRTPA Board meetings for January – June of 2020.  The Draft schedule includes:

        • February
          • Needs Plan
          • Prioritization Criteria
          • Jurisdictional and Agency Outreach
        • March
          • Necessary Needs Plan
          • Prioritized Projects – Draft
        • April
          • Prioritized Projects – Revised
          • Projected Revenues
          • Project Cost Estimates
          • Cost Feasible Plan – Layout and Assumptions
        • May
          • Cost Feasible Plan – Draft
          • Public Workshop Series #2
        • June
          • Cost Feasible Plan – Adoption
          • Project Documentation – Outline
February 2020

The presentation for the February meeting includes the discussion point below.

Needs Plan

The Needs Plan is created to aggregate all projects into a single list for evaluation and analysis to determine if the project should move into the next step of the process.  The projects are not ranked, and it does not matter where the projects are located.  The documents used to create the Needs Plan include previous plans, public input, congestion data, and safety conditions.  After the Needs Plan is created the Evaluation Criteria is applied to determine which projects move further into the RMP process for evaluation using the Prioritization Criteria.  Both the Evaluation Criteria and Prioritization Criteria are presented and discussed on the following pages.

Evaluation Criteria

The overall process for producing a Cost Feasible Plan calls for the Needs Plan to be measured against criteria that will provide a list based on a project’s viability and utility (the process used in the development of the 2040 RMP).  After the Board reviews and provides comments on the criteria, the next step will be to assign a “score” or “weight” to each project based on how well each project meets that criteria. The “scoring” and “weighting” of the criteria is scheduled to be discussed at the March Board meeting.

Prioritization Criteria

After the Evaluation Criteria analysis is complete, the next step in the process is the application of the Prioritization Criteria to the remaining projects.  The Prioritization Criteria determines the performance of each project against the other projects to create a priority list of projects.  Like the Evaluation Criteria, after the Board reviews and provides comments on the Prioritization Criteria, the next step will be to assign a “score” or “weight” to each project based on how well each project meets that criteria. The “scoring” and “weighting” of the criteria is scheduled to be discussed at the March Board meeting.

After the Prioritization Criteria process is complete, additional steps include the application of projected revenues to the prioritized list (April 2020) followed by creating “Tiers” of projects (May 2020) that feed into the Priority Projects List (June 2020).

Jurisdictional Outreach

Since the January 21, 2020 CRTPA Board meeting, the Project Team has scheduled meetings to discuss the Connections 2045 RMP with member governments including:

        • February 7, 2020 – Town of Havana
        • February 7, 2020 – City of Midway
        • February 26, 2020 – City of Quincy
        • February 26, 2020 – City of Gretna
        • February 28, 2020 – Town of Greensboro
        • February 28, 2020 – City of Chattahoochee

Additional meetings are being scheduled to discuss the project with the City of Sopchoppy, City of St. Marks, and the City of Monticello.

Public Engagement

Since the January 21, 2020 CRTPA Board meeting the Project Team has been pursuing additional opportunities to let citizens in the region know about the MetroQuest survey.  To date, the survey was included in the Tallahassee Democrat (February 2, 2020) on the Leon County Link page.  This page can also be found on Leon County’s website at:

http://www2.leoncountyfl.gov/coAdmin/pio/pdf/links/February-2020.pdf

March 2020

The March CRTPA Board meeting was canceled with an abundance of caution for COVID-19.  These materials are moving to the next CRTPA Board meeting (post quarantine).

Needs Plan

Since the February Board meeting the Project Team has developed a Needs Plan that is divided amongst several transportation categories as shown in the attachments below.  As a reminder, the Needs Plan pulls together projects from previous plans and updated planning documents (Comprehensive Plans, Town Plans, Bike and Pedestrian Plans, etc.…), congestion data that the Project Team has received through analysis using the 2045 Transportation Model, Safety Conditions that can be addressed as a component of the RMP process, public feedback received at Public Engagement events and via the MetroQuest Surveys, and the Jurisdictional meetings with municipalities in the CRTPA region.  The list of projects for the Needs Plan is shown as the following eleven attachments:

After the Needs Plan is created the weighted Evaluation Criteria and Prioritization Criteria are applied to produce a score for each project.

Existing and Committed Projects

There are projects that are currently underway or committed to be constructed in the next five-year time period.  These projects include the following:

Roads

        • Bannerman Road – Thomasville Road to Bull Headley Road
        • Capital Circle, Southwest – Orange Avenue to Springhill Road
        • Capital Circle, Southwest – Springhill Road to Crawfordville Road
        • Crawfordville Road – Leon County Line to Bloxham Cutoff
        • Crawfordville Road – Bloxham Cutoff to East Ivan Road
        • Welaunee Boulevard – Fleischmann Road to Roberts Road
        • Welaunee Extension – Shamrock Street to Welaunee Boulevard

Trails

        • Coastal Trail – Surf Road to Tower Road
        • Coastal Trail – Tower Road to Wakulla High School
        • Coastal Trail – St. Marks Trail to Lighthouse Road
Updated Evaluation Criteria and Prioritization Criteria

Presented in February, the Needs Plan is evaluated through a two-step process using Evaluation and Prioritization Criteria.  Since the February meeting, additional criteria were brought forward from the 2040 RMP, description changes were incorporated, and recommended removal of criteria was incorporated into this effort. These changes are presented below.

Project Phases Completed (Evaluation Criteria)

One of the tenets of the transportation process for project development is to complete projects that have been started.  As long range plans are updated it is necessary to incorporate criteria that places an emphasis on projects that are requiring phase funding for construction, right of way or design.  Ultimately, this will feed into the Priority Project Process for funding (June 2020).  This criterion was included in the Connections 2040 RMP and was added back into the process in February.

Universal Accessibility (Prioritization Criteria)

Added in the Connections 2040 RMP, this criterion measures a projects ability to connect compatible facility types, remove barriers, reconstruct or alter the physical environment, retrofit existing facilities, or add enhanced sidewalks, signage, and wayfinding, signalization, crosswalk enhancements, lighting, street furniture, shaded areas, bus stops, technology enhancements, or other accessories to improve comfort and safety.  This criterion was included in the Connections 2040 RMP and was added back into the process in February.

Existing Congestion Reduction and Future Project Congestion (Prioritization Criteria)

This criteria was added to reflect the congestion data from the district-wide transportation model.

Safety Improvement (Prioritization Criteria)

The description of the criteria changed from:

Original language: “Project addresses one of the worst crash locations in the region, as identified in the Existing Conditions report.”

Updated Language: “Project addresses one of the worst crash locations in the region, as identified in the State of the Region Report or Congestion Management Plan.”

The criteria already incorporated Congestion Management but that wasn’t specifically stated, and the State of the Region Report will also provide information to consider as part of this criteria. Evacuation Route This criterion was moved from Evaluation Criteria to roadway specific criteria.

Identified Gateway (Prioritization Criteria – Removed)

This criterion was incorporated during the 2040 RMP, and reads:

“Project is located in or adjacent to an area designated as a future gateway improvement location”

This criterion has a varying definitions across the region and therefore the Project Team recommended its removal.

Weighting of the Criteria

The weighting of criteria approach that was initiated with the Connections 2040 RMP is also being used in the development of the Connections 2045 RMP with a focus on “finishing what was started”.  The purpose of this approach is to ensure that there is a consistency amongst the projects as they move through the RMP and into the Priority Project Process, i.e., projects seeking construction are the highest priority followed by those seeking Right of Way, Design, and Project Development and Environment (PD&E), respectively.

Within the individual phases, the project may be further prioritized based on Board members preference and project scoring.  For example, if there is one project seeking construction funding and three seeking Right of Way funding, the project seeking construction funding will always be ranked higher.  However, the three projects seeking Right of Way can be prioritized within the “right of way” group.  This approach will allow for consistency with the RMP process and the Project Prioritization Process.

Based on this approach the “Project Phases Completed” criterion has the most points (100) of any criteria, more details on the weighting of the Evaluation Criteria and Prioritization Criteria can be found in Attachment 12.

 

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