ALACHUA COUNTY - Prior to approval of a proposed Comprehensive Plan
Amendment to identify future transportation corridors for right-of-way preservation, Alachua County is scheduling a public workshop to obtain additional citizen and landowner comments. The purpose of the workshop is to determine whether any refinements are needed in the map or supporting policies before they are presented to Board of County Commissioners for adoption.
The workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, November 7 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Grace Knight Conference Room at the Alachua County Administration Building, 12 SE 1st St., Gainesville.
In developing the map of potential future transportation connections earlier this year, Alachua County met with the municipalities, held two public workshops, and presented a draft to the Board of County Commissioners and County Planning Commission to obtain comments and guidance. Following the Board's transmittal of the proposed amendment to the state for review, Alachua County made presentations to the Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization and its various subcommittees and the Alachua County League of Cities. This workshop provides another opportunity for citizen input on shaping the future in Alachua County.
The workshop is an open house format, meaning that people may stop by anytime during the scheduled workshop hours to review maps, talk with staff and consultants, and share their questions or comments.
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. This Comprehensive Plan Amendment was reviewed by the Florida Department of Community Affairs and the Department had no objections, recommendations or comments. The Comprehensive Plan Amendment has been found to be consistent with the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council's Regional Policy Plan.
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 with the Alachua County Public Works Department, at (352) 374-5245, ext. 218 or Whit Blanton with Renaissance Planning Group, at (407) 487-0061, ext. 13.