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Posted by on Jul 24, 2009 in Transit | 15 comments

2030 Transportation Plan Public Hearing

METROPLAN ORLANDO is holding a public hearing to seek input on future transportation plans in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties.  The hearing includes highway, transit, bicycle and pedestrian projects that make up the region’s proposed 2030 Long Range Transportation Plan.

Tuesday, July 28
2030 Long Range Transportation Plan
Lynx Central Station, 2nd floor
455 North Garland Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801

Bicycle Parking: racks at the south end of the bus station (NE corner of Livingston & Garland)

Car Parking: lot at the NE corner of Amelia and Garland

5:00 p.m. Maps and materials available for review
Question and answers

6:00 p.m. Formal presentation
Public comment

Comments can also be made within 10 days of the public hearing by
writing: METROPLAN ORLANDO, 315 E. Robinson Street, Suite 355,
Orlando, FL 32801 or by emailing lrtp@metroplanorlando.com. For more
information about the 2030 Long Range Transportation Plan, visit
www.metroplanorlando.com or call (407) 481-5672.

15 Comments

  1. Interesting planning documents. In my opinion, the most interesting document was the one on mode choice, found at:

    http://www.metroplanorlando.com/site/upload/documents/TechMemo5_ModeChoice.pdf

    One of the most significant factors is that by the year 2030 we will be well over peak oil and rather far down the far side of Hubbert’s Curve. This factor does not appear to be taken into account by this planning document. Indeed, any assertion that its mode breakdowns bear any resemblance whatsoever to the year 2030 must be considered to fall into the category of bizarre and delusional.

    I further notice, from page 7 of the document, that bicycle use was not even considered as one of the transportation modes. Again, bizarre.

    If I was one of the taxpayers, I would be demanding my money back from the consultants who prepared this ludicrous study.

  2. What Kevin is referring to is the model, which, it’s true, does not model bicycle or really even walk trips (walking is only modeled in relation to transit).

    The reason for this is that our computer models are simply not capable of predicting bike or walk trips. Hopefully someone will soon develop such models, but we’re not there yet.

    Why doesn’t peak oil factor into the scenario? Well, it’s true that most people have their heads in the sand on this matter. But even if we wanted to model for it we’d have a tough time. Current models address only time delay as the “cost” for a trip. The cost of fuel has historically been a negligible proportion of trip cost, so none of the standard models address it. Our modeling guy, who’s one of the best in the nation, is looking for workable examples on how gas prices might affect mode and trip choice, but again, we don’t have it now.

    The model is not the plan. It’s an important component of it that helps guide policy and priorities. What is very different about this plan is its focus on compact and mixed land use. The primary reason transit, biking and walking fare so poorly in our area is sprawling land use with poor street connectivity; i.e. auto-oriented land use. Build auto-oriented land use and you’ll get most trips made by auto. Build transit-oriented land use and you’ll get many more trips made by rail, bus, bike, and walk. So a key aspect of this plan is to support transit-oriented land use.

  3. I looked at the documents, and plan to attend if only to learn something. I can see that there is a lot that I don’t understand. I have to agree with Kevin that there doesn’t seem to be any emphasis on the lack of future fossil fuels. Could we be planning for transportation that we can’t afford?? I look forward to hearing more Tuesday evening.

  4. Mighk said; “The primary reason transit, biking and walking fare so poorly in our area is sprawling land use with poor street connectivity; i.e. auto-oriented land use.

    Keri has told me that another difficulty in your area is lakes. She explained to me that they serve to reduce many travel options to sometimes just a single through highway, with the predictable result of high volume corridors.

    Some of your obstacles may be geographical in nature.

  5. Indeed, lakes are a real challenge here. Just look at Google Maps and you’ll see. Then add in cul de sacs and loops and walled subdivisions and you see why everybody has to end up on a 4-lane or 6-lane arterial for some part of a trip.

  6. Mighk wrote:
    “The reason for this is that our computer models are simply not capable of predicting bike or walk trips. Hopefully someone will soon develop such models, but we’re not there yet.”

    Kevin’s comment:
    Fortunately, someone has indeed developed such models. They are used in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTAH) planning agency Metrolinx. See:

    http://www.metrolinx.com/

    I’m also guessing that similar modelling underlies the Dutch Bicycle Master Plan, but the technical documents are far beyond my very limited command of the Dutch language to interpret. If someone knows of an English translation available on the internet, please let me know.

    The Toronto planning document is looking at the year 2031, only one year after Orlando’s 2030. For the entire region, this year looks like:

    33% public transit commuting mode share
    20% cycling and walking commuting mode share

    This is the “base case” which assumes a 200% increase in auto operating costs due to peak oil. The modelling analysis also looks at the impact of a 400% increase in auto operating costs due to peak oil. It also looks at the effect of an auto road pricing scheme with tolls of 20 cents per km. Finally, the modelling analysis looks at the effects of land use planning, considering the effects of sharply increased density vs. allowing more urban sprawl as compared to the base case.

    This sort of modelling is very useful, as it enables decision-makers to look at the effects of their decisions.

  7. Mighk wrote:

    “Our modeling guy, who’s one of the best in the nation, is looking for workable examples on how gas prices might affect mode and trip choice, but again, we don’t have it now.”

    Kevin’s comment:

    We’ve got it in Toronto. From page 16 of:

    http://www.metrolinx.com/Docs/big_move/RTP_Backgrounder_Modelling.pdf

    “Two sensitivity model runs were carried out to assess the effects of changes in auto operating costs. The first estimated the impact of applying road pricing on all controlled access expressways in the GTHA. The second estimated the impact of a more significant increase in auto operating costs by 400 per cent over 2008 levels rather than 200 per cent as assumed for the base case, on the assumption that energy prices could increase more significantly by 2031 if petroleum production levels are unable to keep up with rising demand levels.”

  8. Models are just that, models. I’ve reviewed documents that use models to determine mode split and honestly it’s really just a guess in most cases. I’ve reviewed development proposals (DRIs to be exact, the biggies) that ambitiously predict 15-25% modal split with TRANSIT. *Maybe* in San Francisco and Manhattan they can get that kind of transit share, but here in Orlando? Not likely in the real world, but in the modeling world yes.

    We’re getting more and more compact mixed use development, but they’re often being built where the land is cheap and there’s plenty of it, the suburbs and beyond. Not where it should be – near the urban core. But transit is being front-loaded into the designs of these projects and hopefully one day we can have light rail to help connect these areas to the urban core and other commerce centers cropping up – ie Lake Nona, I-Drive, Maitland Center, Altamonte Springs, UCF area.

  9. Rick said “I have to agree with Kevin that there doesn’t seem to be any emphasis on the lack of future fossil fuels. Could we be planning for transportation that we can’t afford?? I look forward to hearing more Tuesday evening.”

    I’d also like to echo Mighk’s comments about the changes in this plan. There has been a fundamental change in the thought process going into the development of the plan. To a lay person or just someone that hasn’t been involved in the development of this plan and previous plans I’m sure it seems lacking.

    In previous years the emphasis was more on roads – new ones, widening existing ones, adding grade separated crossings at major intersections (SR 50 & 436, Maitland Blvd and 434, 17-92 & 436), etc. Not much on changing land use patterns or improving transit. This time around the plan recognizes that we don’t have the money or land to continue emphasizing roadways. Transit plays a much bigger role in this plan.

    As for peak oil. This plan will be updated in 5 yrs. Hopefully by then, we’ll continue moving forward recognizing the benefits of improving connectivity through compact mixed use development and transit. When a community embraces other forms of transportation other than the automobile, conditions improve for all other modes. When roadways are emphasized, it’s to the detriment of all other modes. We’re talking about turning a freighter in the middle of the ocean here. Metro Orlando has been doing these plans since the early 70s. It’s going to take more than one plan update to make that full turn.

    I’d encourage people to attend the meeting. I warn that you may come away frustrated with the slow pace and feel that your voice falls on deaf ears, but they do incorporate comments. A critical issue facing the community today is the lack of a dedicated funding source for transit. You’re going to hear a bit of talk within Orange County about approving additional gas taxes. Our elected officials need to hear that investing in our infrastructure today through gas taxes will help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels in the future.

  10. I’d be interested to learn more about how MetroLinx factored the increased operating costs into changes in trip and mode choice. The paper Kevin referenced doesn’t explain that (and I looked around the site a bit but couldn’t find anything more on it).

    I saw that the Toronto region did a pretty big transportation survey a while back; it looks like that gave them some basis for estimates of bike and walk trips. Toronto is fortunate that so many more people have been biking and walking already; it makes for a larger set of real behavior to draw from. Here only 1.5% of commute trips are walk and about 0.5% are bike. We’d need a really, really big sample to get meaningful data with such small numbers. The Dutch of course never went much below 10% bike share, so they could justify investing more in modeling as well as use smaller samples.

    For our next LRTP I’m sure we’ll be addressing those matters more thoroughly. If you’d seen our 2020 plan you’d see how far we’ve come.

  11. I am pleased to see that MetroPlan has built into the 20 year plan “How Shall We Grow.” Transportation planning does not work very well inside a bubble and that was why transportation was considered to be but one part of the MPO planning scheme before it wasn’t and MetroPlan was born.

    Sadly, the “How Shall We Grow” also points out the deficiencies of the MPO.

    I happen to know some of the politician signatories socially and I see their cynicism there. Such as how can someone sign on to this thing, limiting sprawl, but then speak up in a meeting and complain that property rights are being infringed upon because the “plan” says that the owner can’t subdivide his property into 1/4 acre lots.

    So when it suits them, they are against sprawl, but only when it suits them.

    So, I pretty much see “more of the same.” I will come to the meeting, but after hearing 40 years of BS, sorry if I am a bit jaded.

  12. Mighk, I mis-read the post and thought it started at 7:00 PM. Imagine my suprise, arriving a few minutes late, to see everyone leaving. Sorry I missed it, my bad.

  13. Mighk wrote:
    “I’d be interested to learn more about how MetroLinx factored the increased operating costs into changes in trip and mode choice.”

    Kevin’s comment:
    Me too. I suspect that this is the proprietary core skill of the consultants. So they don’t want us to know, and their government clients are sworn to secrecy.

  14. I suspect that this is the proprietary core skill of the consultants. So they don’t want us to know, and their government clients are sworn to secrecy.

    We need to hire them here in FL where our public records laws are VERY liberal ;-)

  15. Eric said, “So, I pretty much see “more of the same.” I will come to the meeting, but after hearing 40 years of BS, sorry if I am a bit jaded.”

    Eric, I feel your pain. While I haven’t been hearing 40 yrs of BS, I’ve been involved in planning professionaly going on 20 yrs. In 1999 many of our current crop of elected officials and a few of their successors didn’t think that we needed light rail and voted against it. One was appointed to the Bush administration and then became one of our Senators. His successor initially didn’t support transit. But in 2007 every single local government in the region voted to support SunRail. That’s a blink of an eye in terms of political climate change.

    And, we all know what has transpired since.