I attended an Indy Connect meeting this Tuesday, February 23rd at Pike High School (Northwest Indy). The Indy Connect is a joint venture between the Indy MPO, CIRTA, and IndyGo. The meetings are the first step towards the creation of a new Long-Range Transportation Plan.
These meetings are a great opportunity to meet and discuss issues with a group of people that determine the future of Indianapolis transportation. I strongly encourage anyone interested in the state of transportation in our city, including pedestrian, biking, rail transit, bus transit, and automobility to attend one of these meetings. The planners need feedback to ensure they are delivering the best plan possible.
The planners are real people and not politicians. There is no need to argue with them or blame them for the traffic jam that happened on the way to work. Their job is to interpret the values of the community and form a comprehensive strategy to meet the region’s needs. It is clear that the values of our region are changing. While many continue to argue for more and wider roads, the MPO realizes that there is no strategy that can meet the region’s needs that does not involve multiple modes of transportation.
I have some suggestions to help anyone interested in attending on of these meetings to get the most from their experience. First of all, come prepared to discuss. The room is filled with stations representing important issues, such as biking or pedestrian plans, with planners hosting each one. This is everyone’s chance to discuss these issues in-depth with the planners. I suggest bringing a list of questions about topics that matter.
Next, come prepared to fill out questionnaires and surveys. Each station has a special survey for people to complete. The typical survey asks people to prioritize their concerns about different issues. At the bottom of each survey is a free response area where people can write down anything they want.
Finally, feel free to disregard the static. Some people love to say “NO!” and these events are no exception. It is unlikely that anyone with this attitude will change their mind, so concentrate instead on how to learn from the planners and how to communicate priorities of the public to them in a civil manner.