ALACHUA COUNTY - On the heels of the model citizen participation in the Springhills Public Hearing, the County is again asking for citizen input on shaping the future in Alachua County.
Alachua County Government is conducting two public workshops to obtain input on future transportation connections in Alachua County. The workshops are on Thursday, May 10, 2007. They are at alternative times and locations to provide multiple opportunities for the public to attend and offer comments. The first workshop is from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Alachua County Health Department, 224 SE 24th Street, Gainesville. The second workshop is from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Doyle Conner Building Auditorium, 1911 SW 34th Street, Gainesville.
Alachua County is updating its Future Traffic Circulation Map, a requirement of the Comprehensive Plan. The map identifies potential transportation connections needed to handle the expected growth of 60,000 more residents in the County, bringing the total population to about 300,000 by 2025. That does not account for traffic created by rapid growth in adjacent counties and people traveling into regional job centers like the University of Florida, the airport area and downtown Gainesville. "We’re identifying future connections that will provide alternatives to roads that are congested today, like Newberry or Archer Roads, and for roads we expect to become congested in the future," said Michael J. Fay, Alachua County’s Assistant Public Works Director. "It is our hope that by defining these connections now we can work with land owners in the future to meet our transportation needs with less cost to the taxpayer."
Both workshops are "open house" formated, meaning people may stop by anytime during the scheduled workshop hours to review maps, talk with staff and consultants, and share their questions or comments.
Renaissance Planning Group, the Orlando-based transportation planning firm that is spearheading the planning process under contract to Alachua County, has evaluated a large number of potential connections and scored them based on several factors. Evaluation criteria include environmental impact, number of property owners affected, relief to congested or constrained roads, improved access to town centers and activity centers, multimodal connectivity, and use of existing roads or right-of-way. A future transportation connection map series has been created that places connections into three scoring categories. The map series defines potential bicycle, sidewalk and transit connections, as well as future roadways.
Various constraints make it increasingly difficult to widen roads. Big road projects have become prohibitively expensive, disrupt communities and natural areas, and often result in a cycle of more commercial growth that fuels more travel demand. Rather, Alachua County is focusing its attention on developing a more interconnected network of two-lane streets that can provide alternative travel options linking high growth areas like Newberry, Alachua/High Springs, Jonesville and Gainesville. Completing this network not only will improve mobility for automobile travel, but makes walking, bicycling and taking transit more viable with proper multimodal planning and design that emphasizes connectivity and accessibility over travel speed.
For more information on the public workshops or nature of the project, please contact Michael Fay or John Sabatella with the Alachua County Public Works Department, at 352.374.5245 or Whit Blanton Renaissance Planning Group (407) 487-0061, ext. 13