Lawrence and Douglas County planners are looking for help deciding how to connect with city and county residents when it comes to transportation issues.
To help guide the process, take an online survey.
Written surveys also are available in Lawrence from the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt.; City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets; Community Building, 115 W. 11th St.; East Lawrence Recreation Center, 1245 E. 15th St.; Lawrence Jewish Community Center, 917 Highland Drive;Outside of Lawrence, written surveys are available from the Baldwin City Public Library, 800 Seventh St.; Eudora Public Library, 14 E. Ninth St.; and Lecompton City Hall, 327 Elmore St.
The deadline for survey responses is Dec. 19.
Planners want to know the best way to learn the transportation needs and wants of area drivers, walkers, cyclists and others, and they’re going straight to the sources for information.
A new online questionnaire is designed to help planners identify:
• Obstacles that prevent citizens from participating in the regional transportation planning process.
• Better ways to keep citizens informed about regional transportation planning issues.
• Improvements to responding to public concerns.
• Improvements to incorporate public comments into regional transportation planning activities.
In the end, planners hope, Douglas County residents will become more involved in charting a map for projects, services and other investments that could make getting around easier, more convenient and, ultimately, increasingly useful and cost-effective.
“This is a two-way street,” said Bart Rudolph, the city’s transportation planner. “We have to give people information, and we need to listen to them ... so they’re actually involved in the decision-making process.”
The city is busy updating its public-participation program with regard to transportation plans. The plans guide the community’s direction involving all forms of transportation.
The plans also are required for receiving money from the federal government for transportation-related projects and services: about $1.08 million a year for roads and bridge projects in Lawrence, plus another $436,000 for Douglas County. For transit, the federal investment hits about $1.7 million, a total tentatively expected to hit $3.9 million in 2012.
That’s just federal money, and doesn’t include investments from the state or the city on its own, said Rudolph, who is leading the effort to update the public-participation plan that was last approved in 2004.
“We don’t want to spend our time and money on things that are not effective,” he said. “Transportation affects everybody — whether it’s your commute to work or trips to school. Long-range planning dictates, basically, how you live your life.”
Even people who don’t drive, ride bikes, walk around or leave home in any capacity should be concerned about the community’s long-range transportation plans, he said.
“Even if you’re not getting around, all your goods and services are getting around,” he said. “It affects everything from congestion to air quality.”