WMPO To Hold Public Meetings On Cape Fear Transportation 2040 Plan

WMPO To Hold Public Meetings On Cape Fear Transportation 2040 Plan Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 04 March 2015 05:00

Managing Editor

NEW HANOVER CTY - The Carolina Beach Town Council will hear a presentation on long range transportation planning in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties during their upcoming March 10th, meeting.
Steve Stanton and Suraiya Rashid, Senior Transportation Planner with the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (WMPO) will present the draft proposed plans for the Cape Fear Transportation 2040 long-range transportation plan. Stanton represents Carolina Beach as a member of the WMPO Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC).
Stanton and Rashid will present an information packet to the Council regarding proposed projects and information on upcoming public open-house meetings.
The plan contains a set of draft project lists and maps intended to showcase projects proposed for inclusion in the "fiscally-constrained" long range transportation plan.
The WMPO hopes to solicit comments on the proposals in the coming months from elected leaders and citizens.
According to Mike Kozlosky, Executive Director of the Wilmington MPO, "The metropolitan transportation plan will look 25 years into the future and address a broad spectrum of transportation requirements for the entire Wilmington MPO planning area. Creating a metropolitan transportation plan is a federal mandate for MPOs to receive federal and state transportation funding. The plan will include an examination and evaluation of potential roadway, rail, freight, bus, ferry, aviation, bicycle and pedestrian projects in New Hanover County and parts of Brunswick and Pender Counties."
Kozlosky explained, "The Cape Fear Transportation 2040 Plan will include extensive public participation and outreach. The Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) will be working with the Transportation Advisory Committee to draft this plan."
In 2013 the Citizens Advisory Committee created a survey and launched a plan to conduct broad public outreach throughout the community over an 18 month period to receive citizen input and transportation recommendations.
Residents of the Cape Fear region were able to offer their ideas by visiting the plan’s website at www.transportation2040.org, filling out the survey, and attending outreach events.
In addition to looking to the general public for input, the CAC gathered data on the needs and opportunities associated with different transportation modes from committees of subject matter experts. Cape Fear Transportation 2040 gathered data from committees of experts around the following topics: Aviation; Bicycle;  Ferry; Freight/Rail; Mass Transit;  Pedestrian; Roadways; Transportation Demand Management (TDM) and Transportation Systems Management (TSM).
Kozlosky explained, "It is a federal requirement that area transportation projects funded by the state or federal government be included in this region’s metropolitan transportation plan, which is updated every four years. Cape Fear Transportation 2040 will look at the relationship between regional population growth and the transportation network. Integral to this examination is a look at impacts of transportation projects on quality of life, health and the environment."
The Cape Fear Transportation 2040 will replace the current plan, Cape Fear Commutes 2035, which will expire in December 2015. According to the WMPO, the region has seen a tremendous amount of investments from transportation plans.
A few accomplishments from the Cape Fear Commutes 2035 Plan include:
• Gary Shell Cross City Trail construction.
• Wave Transit service to Pleasure Island.
• Wave Transit express bus route (108).
• I-140 Wilmington Bypass (to be completed by 2016).
• Hampstead Bypass Draft Environmental Document.
Cape Fear Transportation 2040 is the federally mandated assessment of the current and future transportation needs of people and goods within the Wilmington MPO area.
The plan will consider all modes of transportation, including automobiles, trucks, buses, trains, airplanes, ferries, bicycles, and even walking. The plan will make specific recommendations for transportation projects and funding sources.
Public input is a crucial component in identifying transportation needs and projects to address transportation needs. There is a federal requirement to update this plan every 4 years.
The Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (or WMPO) is the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the greater Wilmington area. The WMPO consists of these twelve member agencies: New Hanover County, Brunswick County, Pender County, City of Wilmington, Town of Leland,  Town of Wrightsville Beach,  Town of Carolina Beach,  Town of Kure Beach, Town of Belville, Town of Navassa,  Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority, and NC Board of Transportation.
The presentation scheduled for the March 10th, Council meeting offers proposed draft plans covering a wide range of projects.
The plan proposes improvements to the Wilmington International Airport including extending runways, replacing airfield lights, terminal improvements, retrofitting the outbound bag room, construction of a boat launch and other improvements. In total, the plan proposes $53.1 million dollars in Aviation improvements.
The plan includes numerous bicycle lane and sidewalk projects as well as multi-use paths, crosswalks and other related improvements throughout the Cape Fear Region. A total of 142 projects are listed and prioritized in the packet delivered to the Town Council, but out of respect for the length of the packet, the WMPO says additional projects and details will be available at upcoming open house meetings.
The plan also calls for an additional North Carolina Ferry and mooring locations throughout the region.
The presentation includes a section concerning Alternate Funding Mechanisms including a Local Option Sales Tax,  Transportation Improvement Bonds, Municipal License Tax, Vehicle Registration Fees, Vehicle Rental Tax and tolling for specific projects.
The Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (WMPO) is urging the public to attend open house meetings on the draft Cape Fear Transportation 2040 proposal:
• Thursday, April 2nd 1PM-3PM at Forden Station, 505 Cando Street, Wilmington
• Tuesday, April 7th 4PM-6PM at the Hillcrest Community Center, 1402 Meares Street
• Tuesday, April 13th 4PM-6PM at the Halyburton Memorial Park, 4099 South 17th Street, Wilmington
• Tuesday, April 14th 4PM-6PM at Carolina Beach Town Hall, 1121North Lake Park Boulevard, Carolina Beach
• Thursday, April 16th 4PM-6PM at Leland Town Hall, 102 Town Hall Drive, Leland
• Thursday, April 23rd 4PM-6PM at the Pender County Hampstead Annex, 15060 US Hwy 17 Hampstead
• Monday April 27th 4PM-6PM at Bradley Creek Elementary School, 6211 Greenville Loop Road
The Council will hear the presentation at their upcoming March 10th, meeting at 6:30PM at Town Hall. 1121 N. Lake Park Blvd. For more info, visit www.transportation2040.org


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