Transportation Commission: A Proposal for Ann Arbor

I was the Chair of the Pedestrian Safety and Access Task force, that turned in our final report September 2015. One of the recommendations in that report was to have a more permanent place in the city to advocate for pedestrian issues. After consultation with city people, transportation people, and those who have been studying this far longer than I have there was general agreement and encouragement to form a new commission, that would deal with transportation as a whole. One of the reasons, in addition to having a more holistic perspective, is how money is considered and distributed. To have money for bikes and pedestrians, we need to look at the budget early in the process – not just a tiny entity asking for a small slice of the pie.
And foremost in my mind are the many reports and studies that are now set aside for the current crisis. I want a commission that will keep that work and great work in front of decision makers. I want those recommendations to be part of the planning and budgeting process.
The following is a possible charter for a Transportation Commission for Ann Arbor. It is a working draft, now in its seventh draft form after lots of input from many sources.
Your input is welcome. Contact me personally, or leave a comment. Thanks.

Proposed Transportation Commission for City of Ann Arbor
Working Document — Seventh DRAFT by Linda Diane Feldt
With modifications suggested by Larry Deck and others — Revised most recent March 3 2016

Purpose:
The Transportation Commission advises the City Council regarding motorized and non motorized transportation matters and recommends projects and policies to enhance safety mobility and access for all people.

The Commission’s roles include:
• Harmonization — Check the alignment of City Council plans and proposals with publicly generated reports from task forces and committees; and other accepted recommendations including a commitment to vision zero.
• Proposals — Bring forward proposals based on the above body of work, and provide updated proposals and recommendations based on a holistic and inclusive overview of the mobility needs of all people.
• Planning — Participate in long-term planning based on past studies and recommendations, including Vision Zero goals.
• Budget – Participate in the city budget process where it pertains to transportation.

Composition:
7-9 people who serve two-year terms.
At least one City Council liaison.
One city staff resource person, part time.
Appointed by Mayor with approval of City Council.
Commissioners represent pedestrian interests, bicyclist interests, car drivers, UM, health care and prevention, environmental concerns, handicapped and disabled interests, bus transportation, train travel and future planning, also possibly aging and young populations. There will be overlap, as few people represent only one category. Looking for balance and diversity.

Resources to consult and incorpoate:
The Pedestrian Safety and Access Task Force Report, 2015
Non-motorized Transportation Plan — 2007 and 2013 Update
City Transportation Plan — 1990 and 2009 Update
Parks & Recreation Open Space Plan 2011-2015
The Ride Five-Year Transit Improvement Plan 2014
Complete Streets Resolution 2011
Re-imagine Washtenaw Ave 2015
North Main Task Force report 2013
Vision Zero Resolution 2015
Ann Arbor Climate Action Plan 2012
Allen Creek Greenway Task Force (in process)
Relevant documents from other Ann Arbor city Commissions including Disabilities, Energy, and Environment.
And these city-generated studies:
South State Street Study, (Downtown Street Typology?) (South Main Street?) (Seventh Street recommendations?), 2010 Ann Arbor Connector Feasibility Study, (Parking recommendations esp. DDA?), as well as county and state generated studies accepted by the city

Communication responsibilities:
• Planning — Create a rolling ten-year plan based on the completed documents mentioned above, including items for immediate action and advocacy. [consider council approval as part of the process]
• Response — Respond to identified citizen and council needs and requests.
• Education — Create a public access information and education component to help direct people to appropriate resources, advocates, and methods for resolving problems or recommending improvements.
• Outreach — Help the city to disseminate information and updates on transportation activities.
• Online information — Maintain a publicly accessible Google group for resources, minutes, agendas, plans, task force reports, and all other materials used. Incorporate this into the city web site as possible.
• Cooperation — Interact with other commissions where the work overlaps.
• Evaluation – Conduct yearly evaluation of progress based on setting goals for the commission and also monitoring previously identified metrics including crashes, fatalities, infrastructure improvements, planning documents, and educational and advocacy efforts.

Logistics:
Meets minimally once a month
Receives information and alerts from city staff and council and the mayor regarding transportation funding, projects, planning, and engineering initiatives
Thorough orientation and a reading list
Elect a chair for one-year term, follow Robert’s Rules and adhere to the Open Meeting Act.

Utilize sub committees for work on specific topics, include additional public members, the commission retains the final approval for all committee work and each committee has 1-2 commission members at a minimum. Committee members chosen by?

Training and staff support:
TBD

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