So, What is South Central Planning and Development Commission?We are one of eight Regional Planning Commissions in the State establishedby State enabling legislation in 1973 to represent the Bayou Parishes of Terrebonne, Lafourche and Assumption and the River Parishes of St James, St John and St Charles.Here we are, number 3, as shown upon the map.And that is a artists rendering of our building which is located on LA 24 between Houma and Thibodaux (on Bayou Terrebonne)
Here is a better view with South Central’s 6 Parishes there in the purple.
We have a growing population of 111,860 persons within the 6 Parish region in 2010. 120,806 in Saint Parishes on the River.As you can see all the jurisdictions in our region have grown since 2000.
Also of note is the interconnectivity of the 3 Regional Planning Districts which compromise the Super Region and influence the transportation corridor being considered for intercity rail.
The super region as depicted takes in the west bank of many of the Parishes identified. I’m sure even the folks south of your gray area will want access to the proposed intercity rail, via feeder transit lines and/or by their own personal vehicle, which they will then need to park and secure somewhere.Right now to get to either New Orleans or Baton Rouge to access the I-10 Corridor, they are all funneled to the various Mississippi River Bridges, of which we have 3 in the SCPDC Parishes, The Sunshine Bridge in St James Parish, the Veterans Memorial Bridge in St James on the East Bank and St John on the West Bank as well as the Hale Boggs Bridge in St Charles Parish, which connects directly to US 90 - the proposed I-49 another important corridor to consider. These bridges and attendant roadways present significant opportunities for centrally located feeder lines as well as strategic locations for park and ride facilities.
What can your local MPO do for you? It can evaluated transportation alternatives through traffic modeling. It can provide you a forum in which to offer advice or ask questions. It can provide you with the latest demographic information. It can be used as a means of encouraging regionalism to provide efficiency of resources and cooperation of multi-jurisdictions. And it can be used to advocate regional initiatives like corridor preservation, specific projects, revenue source proposals, etc...
What can you do for your MPO? Well for starters you can become involved in the public meetings and provide your opinions. You could be an advocate. Please encourage the public officials to stay on track with the derived initiatives through the process.Encourage other citizens that you know of to participate in the process.Educate yourself on smart growth principles because it is important for transportation officials to understand the impacts of land use upon the transportation system.And lastly, stay informed by visiting your MPO website.
Established in 1973 Created out of State enabling legislation One of eight Regional Planning Commissions in the State South Central Planning and Development Commission
PRIORITY ONE:Ensure a strong transit component is incorporated into the DOTD’s transportation plan update. For MPOs, RTAs - In your region, what are the new issues or projects have evolved in the last ten years and how will you communicate these to DOTD to incorporate into the updated plan? South Central Planning and Development Commission (SCPDC) Is heavily involved with our Parishes Comprehensive and Land Use Planning Processes, inclusive of Transportation Element (although not necessarily a dedicated transit element) Assumption Parish Comprehensive Plan - Adopted May 2009 (SCPDC) St Charles Comprehensive Plan Update – Adopted June 2011 (CPEX with Wallace, Robert and Todd Inc. out of their Coral Gables, Florida office) Terrebonne Parish's Comprehensive Plan Update – Currently Underway Lafourche Comprehensive Plan – Currently Underway (CPEX, with Brown and Danos out of Baton Rouge) St James Comprehensive Plan - Adopted June 2011 (SCPDC) St John Comprehensive Plan - Currently Underway
PRIORITY ONE:Ensure a strong transit component is incorporated into the DOTD’s transportation plan update. Houma Thibodaux MPO LA APA award winning Metropolitan Transportation Plan – adopted May 2010 with Public Transit Element inclusive of a Sketch Planning Model and a needs analysis of the existing transit network (HTMPO with Neel-Shaffer Inc.) HTMPO has a Transit Planning budget from the FTA and SCPDC has found grant opportunities to fund 2 new planning positions within the Transportation Division with areas of emphasis being transit, bike/ped and transportation safety on a regional (6 parish) scale. Good Earth Transit (GET), our fixed route provider in the Houma area started service in the late 90s. River Parish Transit Authority (RPTA) began providing service to the Saint Parishes on the River two years ago. GET Expansion into Thibodaux with new Circulator Route within the next few weeks SCPDC’s Transportation Division is an active participant in DOTD’s CHSTP program and is implementing it at the regional level. The grantees applications/awards are adopted into the TIP and this is provided to DOTD for inclusion in the STIP. The reimbursable amounts from agencies using HST services continue to be reduced. Agency reimbursement needs to be based on the actual cost of providing transportation using a standardized cost allocation model. A significant issue is the local match required for federal funding. There needs to be an effort to split the local match between the state and local agencies to maximize the federal match.
PRIORITY TWO:Adopt Complete Streets policies at regional and municipal levels What is your agency’s jurisdiction over implementing Complete Streets? SCPDC’s Transportation Divisioncan and does educate and advise local elected officials regarding Complete Street policies albeit in an advisory role. How can community members impact adoption of Complete Streets policies on the local or regional level? (RPC/DOTD) SCPDC’s Transportation Divisionstaff seek to educate and promote Complete Street policies at the Parish and Municipal levels. Through our Policy and Technical Advisory Committee meetings as well as our Active Transportation Sub-Committee. SCPDC Regional “Active Transportation” Planning Effort underway, inventory and mapping of existing, corridor identification and preservation. Identify and prioritize linkage needed. In our current UPWP. Sidewalk inventory and analysis in our next UPWP.
PRIORITY THREE:Enhance human services and paratransit coordination What are the legal or regulatory responsibilities your agency has to coordinate or ensure delivery of HST? SCPDC implements the DOTD regional CHSTP program for Assumption, St. James, Lafourche, and Terrebonne Parishes. Grantees receiving funds in these parishes are mandated by DOTD to attend quarterly meetings and ensure their funding is listed in the regional HTMPO Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), both of which are FTA requirements. The CHSTP was adopted in 2009 and quarterly coordination meetings are held in conjunction with DOTD’s Public Transit section. RPTA participates in the NORPC CHSTP program. Are you aware of HCR 131 passed in the 2011 legislative session and its support for the coordination of HST? SCPDC is a participating agency in HCR 131 and is on the HST council, which is responsible for meeting prior to October 1, 2011 and making recommendations to the legislature in the spring of 2012. SCPDC is an active participant in DOTD’s Public Transportation sections’ transportation coordination effort.
In order to advance this issue, the Governor’s Office should form a task force and require agency participation and cooperation in order to identify and reduce overlap of transportation resources by multiple agencies that are charged with different missions and are not primarily involved in providing transportation. What impediments or challenges are you concerned about regarding this issue (including interagency cooperation and agreements)? The actual amount of funding spent on transportation services within Louisiana through various agencies is unknown; interagency agreements become entangled in local politics; state/local agencies protect “turf” despite providing a redundancy of transportation service; cost-allocation between agencies is lacking, and there are “perceived” local and regional boundaries that often serve as impediments to cooperation.
PRIORITY Four:Support formation of Rail Compact What jurisdiction/authority over rail or planning for rail does your agency currently have? The River Parishes Transit Authority (RPTA) is a state enabled, multiple-parish, transit authority. What relationship does your agency anticipate with the Rail Compact? Enter into compact; develop revenue generating transit station sites and facilities. What actions should the Rail Compact initiate once formed? Acquire property and ROW. If the use of eminent domain in accordance with state law is required, it may take several years to resolve in the court system. What initial funding opportunities might exist for the Rail Compact? Congestion Management and Air Quality (CMAQ): Significant portions of Louisiana are anticipated to be in nonattainment status for air-quality in the fall of 2011. Trips (ridership) on passenger rail can be used to demonstrate a regional reduction in CO2 emitting vehicular trips.
What can your local MPO do for you? Evaluate transportation alternatives Give the public a voice in the planning process Provide data Encourage Regionalism Advocacy 12
What can you do for your MPO? 13 Be involved in the process Participate in public meetings by providing insight of your own opinions. Be an advocate for transportation planning Encourage your public elected officials to stay on track with derived initiatives through the transportation Planning Process. Encourage other citizens that you know who have special insight into transportation issues to become involved. Educate yourself on principles such as “Complete Streets” and “Smart Growth” and how they relate to transportation planning initiatives in your area. Stay informed of initiatives through visiting your MPO website or request to receive mailings